Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another One in the Books (Complete... :-)

This was a great day. I spent my morning and early afternoon covering one of my favorite sections of God's earth and it was wonderful as always. I am sad to say that the season is over for this year. However for the first time since I can remember thinking about such things, I am tired enough to be glad to see it end for a while. Like I said before (previous post) I am tired. I guess it's a sure sign of getting older. Who knows? My little one tells me I just need to hibernate... Yeah, time to put the bear back in the cage I guess. (damnit ;-)

The first bits of sunrise over the valley this morning. Yes, it was farging cold.

One thing I do know for sure, my zeal for slinging lead at the furry-tailed tree rats is not tired or even wavering a little in the cold, stinging January wind. I had some good shots today and didn't hit a damned one of them. I guess all that fiddling about with the bow has made some things not work as well as they should. (uh.. excuse? maybe?) So, I am going to hibernate until the tulips pop out and then I will get to work. There will be no lack of tweaking and practicing this year. Of course the missing could have more to do with cold hands and new gloves and the practicing could just be a contrived excuse to be out among the wild spots again... even if only 100 or so yards of them. No matter. Range time is forthcoming. One thing I have noticed, and am in a quandary around avoiding in the future, is the difference in the enjoyment I feel hunting squirrels with my rifle and hunting deer with my bow.

A side view of the water fall shown here doing much better now and frozen pretty well. I walked over the thing without falling through... Yes, farging cold.

I know for sure now I will never be a hardcore bow guy. I like to think I could do it but no way. The amount of respect I feel for guys who sit the stands 3 days a week for 2 months waiting out that booner is just unreal. My hat is off to you guys. I know for sure I just don't care enough to bathe in scent eliminating wash, use scent free clothes bags and wash, scent lures, trail cameras, etc. etc... and then sit still and chew gum for 2 months. I just don't have it. Not yet anyway. I like the on-the-ground, shoot and move of squirreling as much as anything I have done. And it is so damned simple by comparison. Don't get me wrong. I love (LOVE) to deer hunt. I will surely spend 5 or 6 of my days next fall in a stand or on the ground looking for a rack of suitable size. But in the end deer hunting is the high-priced, high-maintenance trophy wife of hunting. She's demanding but if you really gotta have what she's got to give, you have to do it. By contrast, squirrel hunting is just a simple and smart woman in comfortable sweats who wants to play chess. I can't say which shots are harder for sure because I have yet to draw down on Bambi with the bow, but I can tell you I have dropped a squirrel at 30 yards with my rifle and I can drill (consistently) the deer target at the same range. The squirrel shot is harder thus far. The rifle is harder to learn to do right but is far easier to half-ass and get away with it. Skill requirements are about even it seems. Quandary really... We will see I guess. I suspect I will do plenty of each in the months to come before Christmas 2008...

Sunrise down in the valley. Still farging cold...

Here's a very important picture. This is a wild monkey and her monkey Mama jumped up and flying as I have scared them up by a mistaken wind judgment and a broken twig... ;-) Nah... These are the reasons I come back home and am so glad I am moving on to something different for a while because I am sure it will involve them... Hunting just pales when stacked up with my girls. Lucky me though... I get to have both of them in my life and still go hunting when I can. How cool is that?

My Girls

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Another One in the Books (Almost... :-)

What a month January has been. Things have just been busy as hell here in the Ohio flat lands. Work is crazy (but good finally), the holidays ended in time for all of the post holiday stuff to happen and we saw all of the friends we didn't see in the holiday times, the wife is prepping for he knees getting scoped next week, I am running 4 nights a week and lifting 2 others... I am just tired. To beat it all, I have gotten to hunt two whole times early on in this month of madness. It doesn't make me sad because the enjoyment factor was high in all the other stuff... but now we're facing then end of it.

Squirrel season ends Jan 31 and Deer Archery season ends Feb 3. That doesn't leave much time to gain some closure on the year. For a couple of years I have taken the last two or three hunts of the year and visited my favorite places around the public and private places I hunt. This year I will get to do it once on the 31st for squirrels and once again on the 1st for deer and it will be over for me (again) until September. It's been a great year but I have to think I would be happier if things just went on for 3 or 4 more months.

Of course, the flip side of it all is that I am tired. Five months of getting up at 3 or 4 to drive a couple of hours to hunt all day and then drive home a couple of hours will take its toll and I could use a rest. I think I am actually looking forward to working a five day week again for a few months. (hard to imagine I know...) Still in all it was just such a good year. If you'll indulge me, let's review a few of the high points:
  • I broke my damned squirrel rifle and decided to build a new one.
  • I covered a few new hunting spots and discovered one really grand one up a ridge I had never followed.
  • I entered into the obsessive world of bow hunting and discovered a new love to compete with my obsession for killing tree rats.
  • I located and purchased a great tree stand large enough to accommodate my ample frame. (Summit 180 Max SS, forget the weight limit. It is big enough for me to sit down in and move around and that is tough to find given the width of my torso...)
  • I tried tree stand hunting for the first time ever and changed my opinion of it to something positive.
  • I found an artifact of some origin. A small stone tool with strap notches worn in it. Very exciting for me... Land owner was very kind in allowing me to keep it.
  • Was successfully branded a rambling idiot by the wife for the way I squirrel hunt. (She believes there is too much walking and not enough killing... She thinks it is hiking with a gun and not hunting. I disagree...)
  • My baseball team (Austin Blues, simulated at won the league championship... in my 2nd year as GM. Much love for the baseball...

I will post some good year-end pics from the next round later this week. I am excited about going. I think I will enjoy it very much. Options limited by time tend to focus the elimination process to my favorite spots and I am going there for sure. More later in the week.