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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Leaving Hunting Gear Behind in the Woods (Blog One-hundred nine

Both the fall turkey and bow seasons for deer are currently in here in Virginia, and Thursday I bowhunted after school in Botetourt County and today (Saturday) I drove to Franklin County for opening day of the fall season.  And in two days afield, I managed to lose two more gear items.

On Thursday, I misplaced my Quaker Boy gloves while I was field dressing a deer I had killed with my new Parker Thunderhawk crossbow.  It is my understanding that Quaker Boy no longer makes those gloves, which are the best I have ever used, and they were my next-to-last pair.  I returned to the site where I field dressed the deer on Thursday, and the gloves were nowhere to be found.

Today, I killed a turkey in Franklin and while rushing to the bird, I apparently knocked off my Hi-Viz Turkey Buster front sight  Although I searched for the sight for some 40 minutes, I never found it.  Now my Remington 1100 shotgun is out of order until I can order a new sight.

Two weeks ago, I lost one of my favorite turkey calls, a Perfection 3-D Omega diaphragm, last month I lost the bottom of my ThermaCell, and earlier this week I misplaced my glasses while target shooting with my Matthews Switchback.  Fortunately, I found the glasses a day later...right where I had left them on the sundeck, which is where I shoot from.

Of all the snafus on my part, losing the Quaker Boy gloves is the most exasperating.  I had left them in Craig County while hunting the previous Saturday, so I drove over there after school on Monday to retrieve them.  Then I lost the gloves again on Thursday, this time probably permanently.  My incompetence in keeping up with my hunting gear is really quite pathetic.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Story on Elaine and Casting for Recovery (Blog One-hundred-eight)

In the November/December issue of AMERICAN ANGLER, which has just come out, I have  the Waterlines column for that issue, "She Still Can't Cast." The editors gave the story a subhead of "A story of true love and trout fishing."

The story is about my wonderful wife Elaine, how we met, began dating, and fell in love, her battle with breast cancer, and how Casting for Recovery (CFR) helped her in the healing process.

It's hard to write about one's own writing, but, in all humility, I cannot write any better than this.  When I finished the story, I cried.  When AMERICAN ANGLER accepted the story and I told Elaine about it, she wanted to immediately read the story.  I told her she would have to wait until the story came out, which happened this week.

So when the magazine arrived on Tuesday, Elaine quickly read the story about her, and she too began crying and then said, "That was very sweet of you."

If you have a chance, pick up a copy of AMERICAN ANGLER, and if you are unfamiliar with CFR, please go to its  (Photo by Brad Marlow)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bobcats and Mountain Lions (Blog One hundred-seven)

I just returned from a hunting trip to West Virginia where one of the high points was watching a bobcat hunting through a woodlot where I was aloft in a tree stand.  The wind was blowing in such a manner that the first 20 or so seconds that the cat was in view, it did not detect my presence.

But eventually it came across my scent, and the bobcat immediately made a U-turn and quickly departed from the area.  A few minutes later, a spike buck came through and, I believe, detected the scent of the bobcat and quickly fled.  All in all, it was a fascinating 10 minutes or so, as I observed the reactions of both a predator and a prey species when they winded something that they felt was dangerous to them.

The sighting of the bobcat made me think of a recent episode in my high school English classroom when a student asked if I thought that mountain lions lived in Virginia.  My answer was no and I explained why...that is, that no one has yet been able to confirm that wild mountain lions have become established in Virginia.

Many people who think they have spotted cougars actually have glimpsed bobcats, I believe.  Although, cougars are some five times the size of bobcats, people so very much want to confirm the presence of the big cats that they let that desire overwhelm their better judgement.  Not only is there a great size difference, but the mountain lion boasts a much longer tail than his smaller relative.  A bobcat's tail is just a little stub of thing.

Maybe one day, the mountain lion will become established in Virginia and West Virginia once again.  But as for now, county me as a skeptic.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chickens in the Garden (Blog One-hundred six)

The last of the tomatoes have been picked and eaten, and now it's time to let our chickens do their work.  Elaine and I have been letting our four birds  through the garden gate to search for any pests that remain where our tomatoes, onions, squash, and zukes once grew.

And we have been very pleased with the labor of Ruby, Tallulah, Spotty, and Dot.  They have mowed down the weeds and we frequently see them scratching up some insect to consume.

Followers of our blogs may note the omission of Violet.  Last May, our late rooster Little Jerry crippled one of Violet's legs during his overzealous mating.  A number of times we removed Violet from the flock so that her leg could heal, but it never quite did.  Meanwhile, Violet plunged to the bottom of the pecking order because of her infirmity.

The first thing the other four hens would do, when they were let out of the coop, was to maul poor Violet.  Predictably, she took to remaining in the hen house or hiding under it, and she stopped laying eggs.

Finally after trying and failing to nurse her back to health for many weeks, we had to dispatch her last Sunday.  Her last gift to us was Sunday lunch and several lunches after that.