Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bloggin', BSin', and social media-in'

This blogging thing can be a kind of on-again, off-again thing for me. Sometimes I go for weeks (or is it months?) without adding a post and think I could forget the entire thing. Then there are other times when I believe I could add something every day, if I found the time to sit down to do it. I suppose those of us who do this experience the same thing -- it's not that we can't think of anything to write, heck, we have all sorts of things bouncing around in our noggins -- it's making the effort to post 'em in some fashion we think is sensible enough that someone else will read it. I have a few friends who've reminded me from time to time that I should add something to the page. I start out thinking everything I write will be noble and moving and end up hoping it's not just a bunch of blabbering drivel. Ah, what the hell.

Some years back I had another blog on the old social media site. It wasn't all hunting and fishing like this is. It was about music, puppies, bad drivers; everyday stuff. Maybe a little rant, maybe a little praise. I posted a couple of videos I'm still trying to figure out how to get back. Maybe when I've posted all the fish pics I'll broaden this blog and delve into other areas. Who knows? 

Days are short now. It seems like I get home from work, let the dogs out for a little exercise and feeding, and it's dark before supper time. The weather had been less than ideal, too, but now it's cold and the rain turned to snow so it's actually not too bad. If you don't mind snow and cold, that is. I built a bonfire the other night and stood near the heat wishin' I had a chair and a whiskey, but too lazy to get either one. Next time. 

And I've been discovering and enjoying some of the many other blogs out there. I'm not all that ready to give up fishing (anymore, when I say "fishing" I almost always mean "fly fishing") for winter, so I've been looking at some of the fishing stuff others are doing around the country. I've had a neat year of catching big fish and I'm hopeful for next season, but the nearest trout streams I fish are less than 5 miles away and home to pretty little brookies like those pictured in some of the other sites I visit. I've said it before, they're all trophies to me.

Though not all of the blogs I look at are about fly fishing, so far they are all centered around outdoor living. Hunting birds and waterfowl with dogs are favorites, and I've seen some cool recipes and read some about bee-keeping, mushrooms, natural off-the-grid type living, etc. There are far more out there than I could ever read, but it's fun to give some of it a look. And it's probably better than sitting around on FB.

Speaking of facebook, oh, oh. Years ago a gal from my high school sent an invitation to join fb. I didn't know much about it, but I gave it a try. A short try. Within five minutes of signing up I got spooked by what seemed like too much in your face part of it so I deactivated my account. Or so I thought. I like keeping up with the local music scene and have always been able to check band and business fb pages without an account. I guess fb didn't like that because they took away that access, too. Plus there is all manner of outdoor content that always seems to end with "check the rest out on FB" and the "get on fb so you know what's going on" comments from folks I know and like.

The last straw was when Scotty asked for a photo of one of my dogs to add to the grouse dog site. Ok, I'm in. I went to sign up and found my old account was still valid, and when I opened it up I found requests from friends in the music world and outdoor world both. Sooo... I've updated my page a bit and am going to kind of ease into it. I've always been comfortable with the ignorance-is-bliss mentality but maybe it's time. Let's give it another try.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It's deer season

I spent the day in the woods today. I drove up north to one of my deer hunting areas and for all purposes I was going deer hunting. Years ago I’d leaned a small ladder stand against a pine tree I’d found while I was still-hunting and exploring the area. I sat on a fallen log and leaned against that pine and in the next 90 minutes I saw three different bucks but was unable to get a decent shot at any of them in the heavy cover. I decided then to put a stand against that tree. I’ve shot several good bucks from that stand since.

The stand is kind of my headquarters when I’m in those woods. Sometimes I can sit there all or most of the day, others times I start wandering around after only a short time at the stand. I often find my way back to it for the day's end and once I find my stand, I know I can find the faint trail to my truck. Today was a wandering day.

It was oddly warm for this time of year and we’ve gotten no snow. A storm is predicted for tonight and I was hoping deer would be moving before it, along with what should be close to peak rutting time. I moved slowly, a step or two at a time. Here and there I came upon a small deer track pushed into the damp leaves, a lone fawn wondering where everyone is, but for the most part deer sign was sadly lacking.

Before long my deer hunt evolved into more of a bird watching nature walk. My compact binocular worked perfectly for watching the blue jays, whiskey jacks, chickadees, and pileated woodpeckers. The red squirrels were busy, too, and the longer you go without deer contact, the more that squirrel rustling sounds like whitetail footfalls. Occasionally a raven would fly over croaking and kawking and the honking of a high V of geese reminded me of waterfowl hunting.

It’s neat country I hunt up there near the Canadian border. The bare rock outcrops are ribboned with rough looking scrub oak that drop acorns all over to feed the deer and squirrels. There are huge white pines scattered about, along with birch and aspen stands, spruce and balsam and jackpine thickets. The rock gardens will turn an ankle or worse if you don’t watch were you’re going and in the midst of the thick forest you’ll come across huge rock boulders that leave you wondering how they ever got there, glaciers or not.

I came to the edge of a moss covered outcrop that overlooked a little stream. I sat back and leaned on my pack to enjoy a break and snack all the while keeping an eye on the creek bottom, visualizing that big buck sneaking along the waterway. At my feet wintergreen berries stood out with green leaves and red fruit. The deer didn't show and it was time to keep moving.

I lost direction on this cloudy day and used my compass to find the road. It was nearly dark and I had a mile hike to my truck, but it was easy going compared to the hours I'd just spent in rough cover.

Today I started out hunting deer, but ended up hunting deer sign. I found no rubs, no scrapes. I know where there is better cover that holds more deer, and I’ll likely hunt some of it before the season is over. But there are no secrets anymore and good habitat probably involved logging, and many hunters key in on logged areas for good reason. The hill country I hunt is wild, tough going, and beautifully interesting. In all the years I’ve wandered around up there I’ve never seen another person. I like that.