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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Opening Day of West Virginia's Bow Season (Blog 313)

Opening day of West Virginia's bow season did not go well for me as I spent the morning hours without seeing a deer, and the evening ones without having any close enough to shoot with a bow.
But some days are like that.

By far the most interesting thing that happened was my watching a raccoon Saturday morning.  The animal came down the Monroe County mountain where I was hunting and walked right toward my stand.  When he reached a log where I had placed my bow in preparation for using a haul rope to lift it into my stand, the raccoon stopped, took a long sniff then turned and scudded quickly back up the mountain.

Just that little whiff of human scent was enough to send the raccoon on its way...absolutely fascinating.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Perfect Wife (Blog 312)

Wednesday afternoon, a landowner on whose property I hunted on contacted me and told me that the deer were streaming onto her property the past few evenings and that I ought to come over and bowhunt. The day before, Elaine and I had gathered wild summer grapes, and I had planned to help her remove the grapes from the stems Wednesday after I finished teaching school for the day.

But the temptation of bowhunting for deer consumed me, so as soon I arrived home I took off to a treestand.  Earlier I had told Elaine that I "might" go deer hunting but that I probably wouldn't.

The landowner's description of the deer movement was accurate and about 45 minutes after I climbed into my stand, I arrowed a whitetail.  The blood trail was short, and soon I was on the way home where I found that Elaine had already done the grape work, and now I was presenting her with another task... our butchering a deer.

We have our butchering routine fairly well set.  Basically, I quarter the animal while upstairs, Elaine does the "fine" work and wraps the bottom and top loins to freeze and cleans the heart and tongue to freeze. The four quarters are put on ice for us to labor on the next day as Elaine feels that that meat works up better after it is chilled.

Through all the butchering Wednesday evening, Elaine never complained even though she had already worked quite long
on the grapes, which today she will turn into jelly... when she has finished working on the quarters.

Yet another reason why Elaine is the perfect wife. The picture above shows her during our summer grape foray.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Coyotes in Suburbia (Blog 311)

Friday evening after school, I went bowhunting in a Virginia neighborhood.  While aloft around 6:35, I saw something trotting south to north and noted it was a coyote. When the animal was just 12 yards distant and running horizontally to my position, I made some doe bleats in hope that I could stop the coyote and attempt a shot.

But, fascinatingly, the coyote never broke stride, looked directly at me high in a tree, then swapped ends and began running in the opposite direction.  It is no wonder that these predators are so difficult to hunt.  This animal zeroed in on the source of the sound, instantaenously realized that it was fake, and simply ran away.

A very impressive performance by a wild animal, indeed.

Monday, September 5, 2016

(Week Four of Bowhunting with Kill Permits (Blog 310)

Weekend four of bowhunting with kill permits had the rare occurrence of the deer doing the same thing on Saturday morning as they did on Monday morning, Labor Day.  Both times deer milled about under my stand in the dark then left before shooting light.  Another group of deer, both mornings, fed to within about 50 or so yards of my stand, then walked the other way.

These maddening circumstances have made me decide to hunt next Saturday from a ground blind.  For some reason, the deer are feeding for about a half hour in a little patch of grass under some pines and two mockernut hickories.  After climbing down from my stand this morning, I checked to see what they are eating and simply can not figure it out.  No oaks are nearby, no clover is in the grassy patch, no important forbs that I can  find.

But the deer are  very fond of that spot.  I will have my blind set up there next Saturday.