The great thing about a trip to the woods is not knowing what exactly is going to happen.
After a miserable week of hunting my state’s deer gun season with very few deer sightings and warmer than normal temperatures that kept deer movement to a minimum, I was quite happy for a bit of snow on the ground a couple weeks later. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. A day or two after a fresh 6 inches of snow, the weather was calm and clear and I had a day off of work. It was a perfect day for a walk through the woods looking for fresh deer tracks. I was hoping I could figure out where the deer were moving as they certainly were not moving through all the traditional high deer traffic areas on the farm. Yes I was on a mission to figure out those blankety-blank deer prior to the bonus deer gun season coming up the following week.
It is not very often that I have difficulty coming up with a title for a blog post, but this hunt was special for me in many ways. I could have called it shoot a buck and save a doe because that was my deer hunting goal this season. With the declining deer herd across the Midwest and specifically decreased deer sightings on the farm over the entire past year, I wanted to lay off the does this year. And because I hunt only for meat, any buck would do. I could have titled it something about paying dues because as you will read, that thought was going through my head as I was waiting for a deer to show. Or I could have called it being blessed with one more deer. A little more than half the meat we eat comes from wild animals my husband and I take off our farm. We needed one more deer this season to ensure we would not run out of venison before...
There was a time when shooting a button buck would have been the last choice on the list of which deer to shoot. But then there was also a time when deer were plenty and I was not so secure in who I was as a hunter. Times have changed.
There is a huge dichotomy in deer hunting. On one hand, there are times I feel a bit sorry for the white-tailed deer and those male deer that have pointy things growing out the top of their head. Sporting antlers really makes hunting much more complicated than it should be. It makes some people act kind of crazy. It takes the focus of hunting away from the ultimate purpose of hunting which is killing for food in order to live. I often wish deer hunting were as simple as small game hunting. That I could just go out and shoot a deer so that I could eat a deer. But seldom is anything so simple for us human beings who...
A day full of small game hunting is a very good day indeed and nothing can be finer than going squirrel hunting and rabbit hunting in the same day.
As has been my tradition for all of three or four years now, I combined a vacation day with my off weekend to enjoy the first four days of Ohio’s rabbit season. And as the tradition goes, each year on opening day I drive to some nearby public land to kick off the season. With rain pouring down on the morning of day one, I was a bit doubtful of even making it outside, but the rain finally let up in the afternoon. With the dogs loaded in the shotgun seat of the old farm truck, I drove to the nearest piece of public land for 2 hours of fun. I saw a rabbit for one millionth of a second on the second circle and other than that I was listening to the dogs follow the track round and round in chest high weeds. Public land can be the ultimate challenge in rabbit hunting at times. Good habitat for the rabbits for sure.
The next day of my...
One of the things I love the most about hunting are the lessons that hunting teaches. And perhaps what I love about squirrel hunting is that the lessons occur out of the spotlight. There is no glamour surrounding squirrel hunting. There are no celebrities to take the lead. There are no high fives by family and friends back at the house or photos shared in the local newspaper. There are just the woods and the hunter and the life and death of the squirrel. The lessons are deep and rich and intense. Intense yes. Intensity is a natural part of a lesson that includes both life and death. Fortune has blessed me with a large circle of mentors that have ingrained a deep seated respect for animals I hunt, the animals that give their lives to feed my family. As much as I have learned from my teachers, the lessons that happen in the woods when no one else is there often hold the most meaning.
“Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching” ~Aldo Leopold...