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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tomorrow is Virginia's Last Day of Squirrel Season (Blog 283)

Monday when I arrive home from school, I am going out my backdoor and hunt for squirrels as it is the final day of the bushytail season.  The ending of the season will be little noticed by many state hunters, but I really enjoy walking through the woods on a winter day and pursuing squirrels.

I really don't care if I kill one or not, it is just being out in the woods with a shotgun that is pleasurable to me.  A hollow sycamore is where I plan to take a stand as the creatures should be emerging from the hardwood about 5:00.  Then the action should be really good until dark.

But, then again, I may not see any, as it won't be the last time that I have guessed wrong about squirrels and their peculiarities.  We'll see how things go and whether Elaine will be making a squirrel casserole this week.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wildlife Sign in Snow (Block 282)

Just enough snow blanketed our Botetourt County, Virginia land this Saturday morning for me to go on a wildlife sign expedition before higher temperatures melted what was left of the five inches that fell on Monday. I had only walked a few steps into the woods when I found racoon tracks and only a few more steps showed where several deer had passed by.

When I arrived at the seeded logging road that runs the perimeter of most of our place, I found even more tracks.  An entire flock of turkeys had ambled down the pathway as had numerous whitetails.  I also located coyote scat, squirrel tracks, and where an opossum had been.

It's true that nothing usual had come by, but I still immensely enjoyed the experience.  I can only hope the turkeys will still be here when spring gobbler season arrives.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Elaine Returns Home from Her Cruise (Blog 281)

Elaine came home yesterday evening from her week-long cruise to the Virgin Islands, and I was thrilled to see her again.  Given that we couldn't even talk to each other because of the distance, it was the longest we have been apart in our nearly 38 years of marriage.

Elaine regaled me with stories of seeing Broadway shows and eating lobster tail for dinner, and the sheer majesty of her cruise ship.  I told her how many eggs the chickens had laid while she was gone, how the pot holes on our rural road were finally filled, and how I had cut firewood in advance of a snow.

She once told me that as a girl growing up, she always thought that she would marry some professional man, like a lawyer, doctor, or businessman, and live in the suburbs.  "Instead," she said, "I'm living out in the woods with nature boy."  There was a long pause, and she added, "And I'm very glad that I am."

Welcome home, sweetheart.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Grouse Hunting in the Virginia and West Virginia Mountains (Blog 280)

Today, I went grouse hunting in the Virginia and West Virginia mountains with friends Paul Hinlicky and Andy Rosenberger.  My reflexes and wingshooting skills are terrible and anyone who has ever gone bird hunting with me can attest to that condition.

Which is one of the reasons I enjoy going grouse hunting in January and February after the deer and turkey seasons have closed.  We experienced
a number of flushes today and on one of them the ruff flew very close to my position.  Paul and Andy both asked why I didn't shoot, and I explained that the bird was only visible for two seconds, and, for me, the first second and a half was taken up with my being surprised and the the next half second with my fumbling with my shotgun.

Later, I told Paul how I needed for a bird to act when it flushed.

"A grouse would need to rise up and fly directly away from me in a straight line at an even height for about four seconds, then I might have a chance."

Of course, ruffs don't fly like that, but, nevertheless, I had a great time in the mountains today.