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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring's Transition Time (Blog 187)

As I was sitting in Virginia's spring gobbler woods this week, I saw once again the evidence of how this season is a transitional one.  Within the past 10 days, I heard for the first time this year the following birds: wood thrush, yellow-throated vireo, black-and-white warbler, American redstart, scarlet tanager, and hooded warbler among others.

But also as part of this transition time, Elaine and I ate the last of the frozen blackberries and wineberries, both ending up in two cobblers.  And we ate the last of the venison from deer number four, meaning the meat from six whitetails is left in the freezer.

As I look around our back yard, the North Star cherry is replete with blooms.  The tree is still small but we hope that it can produce several pies and cobblers this year.  And the Dolgo crabapple also shows potential as does the Rome apple tree.

Today, I think I will gather some onions and maybe in a week or two, the asparagus will be ready to pick.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Coyote Attacks Hen Decoy (Bog 186)

Yesterday while hunting spring gobblers in Franklin County, I witnessed something I have heard about but never seen...a coyote attacking a hen decoy.  I had heard two gobblers before dawn and set up near the closer one.

Putting out a decoy, I had made a series of hen yelps and jake kee kees with no response from either of the toms.  Suddenly out of the corner of my left eye, I espied a coyote take a flying leap onto the decoy.  The attack knocked over the stake and the bogus hen collapsed under the weight of the coyote.

Immediately upon landing, however, the coyote realized that the prey was not real and departed in the same direction he had come.  I once observed a red-tailed hawk attack the same Flambeau decoy while on a hunt in Tennessee, but the violence of that attack paled in comparison to this one.

I am undecided on whether or not to use a decoy again this spring.  This is the second time a coyote has come in to the fake bird.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Virginia's Opening Day of Spring Gobbler Season (Blog 185)

Several weeks ago, I told Elaine that I had a feeling that I would kill a gobbler on opening day of the Virginia season.  Well, that feeling turned out to be pathetically wrong as not only did I not tag one on Saturday, I also never even saw one.  Heck, I never even had one answer my hen calls.

Over the years when I have had a feeling that I would do well while hunting or fishing, those feelings have been overwhelmingly correct.  Conversely, many times I  have lacked confidence when going afield, either because of weather conditions or the belief that I did not understand what my quarry was doing. And, overwhelmingly when I had those negative feelings, my day afield has not been successful.

I don't believe that having strong feelings of future success is indicative of cockiness nor do I feel that having negative feelings is indicative of undue pessimism.  In both cases, I believe that it was logical to believe the way I did. I wonder whether I will feel confident or pessimistic when I hunt gobblers before school on Monday morning.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Boss versus Johnny - the rivalry continues (Blog 184)

Today, Saturday, Elaine and I had time to clean the henhouse, so Elaine supervised our four Rhode Island Red chickens (Boss, Johnny, Sweetie Pie, and Baby) as they roamed about the yard while I removed the old straw from the house and replaced it with fresh bedding.

While I was still working on the task, Elaine had to go do some household chore, so I put Johnny, Sweetie Pie, and Baby in the chicken tractor and because Boss refused to go inside, I gathered him up and took him inside the chicken run.

Boss did not care for this turn of events and began pacing back and forth inside the run - which caused him to become increasingly frustrated that he could not see his hens.  Finally, he began what I call angry crowing.  Meanwhile, Johnny was alone with the hens for the first time in his one year of living and seemed to be quite content with this propitious change in his status.

When Boss continued to crow, Johnny began to answer.  I have only heard Johnny crow four times since he first crowed in September and on three of those occasions, Boss pecked him quite hard. But with Boss nowhere in sight, Johnny began to belt out crow after crow.

Finally, the henhouse was cleaned, all chickens were placed inside the run, and the natural order of things was restored.  Johnny's one bright shining moment was over.