Friday, October 22, 2010

Signs of fall

I headed up the mountain this morning with the notion of giving the dogs some exercise ahead of the forecast change in the weather; and of course to set up a calling stand or two. I put Bear and Chigger out in front of the pickup and let them hunt the road ahead of me. It was cool this morning, and the dogs moved out at a good clip. I had high expectations of them treeing a squirrel or two, but nothing seemed to be moving. When I thought the dogs had enough I loaded them in the truck and drove to a good location to call. I couldn’t even call up a blue jay! With the cool weather and approaching storm front I thought game would be moving; but we saw neither fur nor feather all day.

We’ve had frost a couple of mornings, and the trees are starting to show off their fall colors. I parked by some pretty maples to eat my lunch.

Fall maples

The dogwood are turning from their summer green to fall red.

Fall dogwood

I’ve heard the clang of cowbells passing my house the last couple of nights as cattle are making their way home after grazing in the mountains all summer. The bear are coming down to lower elevations too.

Bear track

The clouds have been building all afternoon, and it is starting to sprinkle this evening. The forecast says the rest of the weekend is going to be on the wet side. A good rain and some frosty mornings should make a difference on what goes on in the woods.

Regular readers here might notice the new logo at the top of the left column. OUTDOOR BLOOGER NETWORK. This is a new site with a directory of blogs devoted to the outdoors; hunting, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits. Just click on the logo to go there. Check out the directory for the various subjects and blogs available. I’ll bet you find some you would like to read. I did.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Backyard deer and a fox

deer,blacktail deer

The trouble with wildlife photography is that the wildlife doesn’t always cooperate. Several days ago I saw this little bunch of does and fawns in the field right behind my house. I happened to have a still camera handy, so I grabbed it and took this shot. Several shots actually, but this was the best. For the next few days I kept the video camera set up on a tripod hoping the deer would be back. A couple of times I saw 1 or 2 deer in the field, but to late in the evening to shoot any video. So far there has been no further sign of them.

A couple of days ago I took Bear out to set up a couple of calling stands. Drew a blank on the first stand. On the second stand I was using the electronic call, playing cottontail distress sounds. Only a couple of minutes into the call and I caught a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye. There was a fox in the brush, but it saw me at almost the same time I saw it; swapped ends and beat it out of there. I didn’t even have time to turn the camera on. Bear had seen the fox too, so I turned him loose for the run. At least he had some fun out of the deal.

Friday, October 08, 2010

A near miss

It was cloudy and cool this morning, so I took a dog along and hiked to one of my favorite spots to set up a calling stand. Had the video camera on a tripod, and before I even started to call Bear was telling me there was something down the hill in the timber. I called just a couple of minutes with an open reed mouth blown call, and Bear really got excited. Took me a few seconds to see it, but it was down the hill right in front of me, standing just at the tree line. A coyote or fox, I couldn’t be sure which, but I think a coyote. I thought I had it in the view finder when I hit the GO button, but I must have jarred the camera out of position. Bear couldn’t stand it any longer, and he started to bark. Whatever the critter was, it ducked back into cover and out of sight. I let Bear go for a little exercise anyway. When I rolled the tape back, all I had was a shot of the hillside. $%^&! Oh well, you win some and lose some. Better luck next time.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Private property woes

It looks like the timber company that owns most of the property behind me is going to be hard to get along with. That property has historically been open to the public for hunting and about anything else short of pot gardens. When I moved here, over 34 years ago, another timber company owned it. They were good neighbors and easy to get along with. A few years later another company bought it, and aside from discontinuing firewood cutting permits, everything remained pretty much the same. The present owners bought the property 3 years ago.

The last couple of years saw no changes to speak of. Now suddenly in the last 2 - 3 weeks, roads have been gated off and NO TRESPASSING signs put up. They can’t close the main road leading up the mountain, as it is public access to a trailhead, and has been recorded as such at the County Courthouse since 1938; but they are gating off the side roads and posting the property. The company has, or had, an office in a nearby town, but the telephone has been disconnected. A company representative lives down the road from me, but is making himself unavailable. Won’t answer the phone or return calls.

This morning I headed up the mountain as usual to set up a couple of calling stands and maybe bring home a squirrel or two for dinner. As I said, this road is public access. It was down right spooky up there, considering this is deer season. Didn’t see another soul or even hear another vehicle. When I came back down off the mountain I saw a sign that I either hadn’t noticed on my way up, or it was put up behind me. NO TRESPASSING, HUNTING, OR FISHING. I guess you can use the road to reach the trailhead, but if you step off it you are technically trespassing. Time will tell what develops over this, but the present owners of the property have made an awful lot of enemies.