Search This Blog

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Seeing the Same Young Four Pointer (Blog 358)

The last two Saturdays I have seen a fair number of deer, but the only whitetail that has presented a shot is a young four pointer that has shown up at the same time to my tree stand both mornings.  Of course, not only are bucks not legal this time of year in Roanoke County or in Virginia's Urban Archery season as a whole, this buck would be too small to shoot anyway.

The young buck appears to be feeling fairly good about himself, as he successfully head butted a button buck this morning. The latter seemed very intimidated, so Mr. Four Pointer definitely won that round.  From the looks of a rub near my stand, he may have a day of reckoning in the future.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hawk Attacks Chicken Runs (Blog 357)

Elaine and I are often fascinated with the  behavior of our heritage Rhode Island Reds, and such was the case again a few days ago.  Late in the afternoon, I heard Don, our lone rooster, sound the alarm note, so I rushed outside to see what had happened.

I saw Don "high stepping" around in his run, and in the adjacent run, I observed that Mary and her two 14-week old pullets and cockerel, Don, Jr., had all run into their hen house.  Then I saw what looked like a Cooper's hawk fly away and Don let out another alarm note.

A good rooster, and Don is probably the best one we've ever had, will constantly be on guard and will fight to protect his flock.  Of course, with the netting over our two runs, the chickens were not in any danger.  Still, Don performed his job admirably.

I was a little dismayed that his offspring, Don, Jr., was cowering in the run with the hens.  But, Elaine said that he was still a cockerel, maybe he would grow into the role of protector.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

First Deer of Virginia Season (Blog 356)

I really enjoy Virginia's Urban Archery season, and the chance to start bowhunting in early September.  But my first three outings were spent either not seeing deer or having the ones I did glimpse smell me and flee.

After striking out Saturday morning, I told Elaine I wanted to give the evening a try, though we were both skeptical of any success.  But at 5:50 P.M. while afield in Roanoke County, I saw four deer walking through a backyard about 80 yards away.

One of those does appeared before me at 6:10, and upon shooting my crossbow, I heard the resounding thump of a lung shot. Elaine and I spent about three hours Saturday evening butchering the deer and will finish the task on Sunday.  She likes to let the meat set up overnight in a cooler.

It's always a thrill to kill that first deer of the season

Saturday, September 2, 2017

All Camouflaged Up and Nowhere to Go (Blog 355)

It's opening day of Virginia's Urban Archery season, and I should be in a tree stand in Roanoke County right now, but it has been raining most of the night, and the precipitation is expected to continue today.

Although I am going to go bowhunting on Sunday and Monday, there is nothing quite like going afield on opening day of any season. The expectation and the planning have both come to a head, and all that remains is to head for the woods.

So what am I going to do today?  I am working on a magazine story about deer and then reading a book about deer.  Those things will have to do on a rainy Saturday.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Preparing for Opening Day of Virginia's Urban Archery (Blog 354)

I am almost ready for next Saturday and the opening of Virginia's urban archery season. My Parker crossbow is sighted in, the hang-on stand is positioned, and shooting lanes have been cut on the Roanoke County parcel I am going to hunt on.

This weekend, I want to shoot a few more times with the crossbow, put my camo in a scent-free container, and pack a daypack. I am also waiting back to hear from another place in Roanoke County where I might could hunt on Labor Day Monday.

Today, I also told Elaine that she needs to wait around the house in case I kill a deer early next Saturday.  I hope we can butcher a whitetail later that morning.  One never knows, though, what the outcome will be in the deer woods.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Walking in the Dark (Blog 353)

One of the joys in my life is walking three miles in the dark before I head to teach high school English. If I time the morning ramble right, I can hear both night and morning birds before I return home to let out our Rhode Island Red chickens.

This morning, for example, while walking up our driveway I heard a barred owl on our creek bottom and the quaverings of a screech owl on the edge of our clearcut. A little while later, I harked to the hoots of a great-horned owl. I was hoping for the fourth member of the morning quartet to chime in - a chuck-wills-widow, but he was silent this morning.

On the way home as dawn began to break, I heard a towhee singing, though instead of his usual "drink your teaaaaa," he only made it to "drink your" before stopping. It is, afterall, August, far past prime singing time. Following the towhee were the usual suspects: Carolina wrens, catbirds, brown thrashers, cardinals, and robins.

As I walked down the driveway, I heard our rooster Don crowing - all was right with the world.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Scouting for Deer in Virginia Mountains (Blog 352)

Today, Elaine and I drove up into the mountains to our Craig County, Virginia land on Johns Creek to do some pre-season scouting, but mostly to check on the ladder stand and trim some shooting lanes. The ladder stand needed a new belt as the old one was quite worn and the proverbial accident waiting to happen.

I can't stand waiting until the week before bow season to check on stands, stand sites, and to cut shooting lanes.  Do those chores now and don't return until the season begins is my philosophy. I have three weeks before Roanoke County's urban archery season begins and then another month until the regular bow season begins.  I am looking forward to both seasons.