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Monday, October 16, 2017

First Rutting Activity in Virginia Woods (Blog 361)

Sunday morning while bowhunting in Craig County, I witnessed my first rutting activity of this autumn. I watched a  2 1/2-year-old six pointer stroll up a mountain on a logging road. But when he reached a fork in the road, he was met by a 3 1/2-year-old eight pointer that was not pleased with the appearance.

The eight made an aggressive move on the six, then made a scrape on the road. The six pointer decided that the best thing to do was back off about 15 yards. The budding skirmish settled fairly amicably, the two then proceeded to walk up the mountain, the six pointer following discretely behind.

About half hour later, I arrowed a deer and was home for lunch, so it was a good morning.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Canning Venison and Peeling Crabapples (Blog 360)

Today was opening day of Virginia's archery season, and I was fortunate enough to kill a deer on land we own in Craig County. On the drive home, I pulled over and called Elaine and asked if this deer was the one she might want to can. Earlier, Elaine had talked about canning one of the deer I killed this year.

My wife said yes and after I finished removing the meat from the whitetail, and she finished cutting the meat up and placing it in a cooler (Elaine prefer to chill the meat overnight and work it up the next day), we planned out our Sunday. After we finish canning the venison, we will cut up the crabapples I gathered today, and we will make a cobbler.

If we still feel ambitious after those two acts, Elaine says we may make applesauce from some Jonathan apples. I really enjoy talking with her while we do those type things. It's a great way to spend a day together.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Deer Hunting in Virginia and West Virginia (Blog 359)

Last week, I struggled to see deer all week. This week, perhaps because the weather turned colder, sightings - and success - improved.  Thursday, I hunted after school in Roanoke County and killed a deer  during the Urban Archery season.  Then this morning, I drove to Monroe County, West Virginia and killed a nice, mature doe in the morning on that state's bow opening day. Two 25-minute hunts back to back.

I am pondering whether to go Sunday morning to Roanoke County again, but I may sleep in, too. I will check the wind in the morning and see what that is like before making a final decision.

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.