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Monday, November 29, 2010

Opening day

Opening day found me in a tree lounge stand overlooking a open area of woods giving me and my rifle "Adolf Von Klaussen", (you know I name my guns,) . He is an 8 mm Mauser that was made into a sportsmans rifle as my dad always told the story and outfitted with aperture sights, a true deer slayer if there ever was. Now Adolf has a pair of triggers one being a set trigger and the other being the one that fires the weapon, and believe me when you apply the slightest amt of pressure he is talking. I have NEVER missed a deer with this gun or have I ever had to track one as I am a head shooter or spine shooter whichever offers me the best shot. My son is also an excellent shot with his 30-06, and when he draws down, deer will be going to the grinder so to speak. As the morning progresses I am hearing sounds that make me stay on edge but the stand was not offering me the shot I was looking for, so I dropped down and took up behind a huge fall down root ball, sitting with my back to the clay and dirt with some natural vegetation in front, a beautiful sniper hide if there ever was. I am hearing some shooting and already had the word from my son that he had one down and he was bringing it up to the hunting lodge. When he pulled in he had a nice deer on the machine and we made short work of hauling it up on the pole and eviscerating it. Actually he did the work as he is very quick at it and I returned to my spot. In about an hour I hear a couple of shots not 50 yds from me on the edge of the marsh and in 20 min. this guy comes through  looking for a way to haul his deer out of the marsh. Now we have had some trespassing  going on and I was wondering who was shooting so after introductions I discovered that this guy was a family member of the adjoining property owner and had shot  a deer tracking it to where he dispatched it in the  marsh. Now if you have to have a neighbor these people are the ones you want there. Basically the property is a huge triangle with them on one side and us on the other we have woods and marsh and they have fields and marsh so it is perfect for us and them. Any how I digress ( I have always wanted to say that and mean it). So I jump in the chase and show them where I had four wheeler tracks cut through and lend encouragement. Now I am a vet so that was the best I could do okay?
 This guy has a beautiful 8 pointer down and a good 300 yd drag so off it went. I did manage to get this shot of the man and his deer in the marsh. Congratulations are in order to Walt Mumford for his harvest.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mount Rainer

This morning I got up kinda early cause my internal clock is still on eastern time. It was a crisp clear night with the stars out and that big ol moon hanging in the sky was just to much. Looking out the  huge floor to ceiling windows at the Olympic mountain range I was hoping to see Mt. Rainer but the view is not oriented that way but I did notice a pink line off in the distance. Getting a coffee and a pair of Binoculars I settled in to a big comfy chair turned up the fireplace and watched the sun light up the mountains from the top. They came into view a bright pink illuminated  from the reflection off the snow and just majestic as they come. Now I have traveled the world, from the Pacific rim to the alps of Europe and these mountains are as beautiful as any in the world.  In the late 70's my wife and I traveled quite extensively working at Nuclear power plants out west. When we finished up our work at San Onfre units 2 and 3 we took a 7 moth tour around the country heading up to Canada when Mt. Saint Helen's erupted putting an end to our northern trek. We took a left and went into Wyoming, Jackson Hole area. The Tetons are Majestic no doubt but the Olympic range is much larger and has many peaks visible from my vantage point. I still have not seen Mount Rainer yet but when we leave here I will be flying right past it, and then I might have a better view. I have left my port home and cannot post any pictures yet but I promise that when I do I will.
Today is the day before Thanksgiving and I am with my family in Seattle Washington, naturally we will have a traditional feast especially since I have not seen them in a coons age. But keep in mind today and tomorrow that many of us will not be feasting, but battling the cold and just trying to find a warm spot. Now you know I am not a bleeding heart, I am a true work for what you get guy, but sometimes things happen and that job got downsized or may the company you worked for folded. Be thankful for what you have and if you have two give one to a person who could use it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weather out west

Well it has snowed for the past two days and while not deep it is very cold and some ice on the road making for serious travel. I am not driving so it is no big deal to me buckle up and hold on! But this morning I got  a couple of phone calls from back east at like 4 am here and decided to get up and just cruise the net for a bit. Well it has dawned clear and very cold with a phat moon over the Columbia lake and this morning I am just loving life. Of course I am taking a break from the field to relax and I got to tell you that not shooting or being out amongst em is taking it's toll. Now I know there are ducks falling into my pond, the biggest racks of the year passing my stand and my retriever is scamming on how to open the refrigerator and get to my summer sausage! There is a float plane port on the lake and I have seen a few float planes land and take off but not many. A quick look at the lake showed some small clams about the size of a quarter and a gravel bottom perfect for setting decoys out. Now I am seeing a ton of diver ducks buffleheads mostly and they are large but the number of green heads is limited here and no black ducks so far at all or geese but I hear that they are here. Today we will begin to prepare the turkey brining it for cooking this Thanksgiving, going down to the oyster house for a few oysters, when I asked for "Arsters" they did not know what I wanted" (man they talk funny here). I have some hayman sweet potatoes at home that I know are cured and ready to eat, and I love me some sweet potatoes you know. So not much on the hunting front but I am enjoying myself to no end.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seattle fresh market

Yesterday I wandered downtown with my family to the fresh market right off Puget sound, and I was amazed at the amt of fresh vegetables, and wild  mushrooms. I saw mushrooms that I have never seen before, and a ton of fresh fish in any form you can imagine. Fresh Ling cod, Halibut. Pacific oysters, fruit, and veg.. plus the vibe downtown was very positive. A ton of art, street performers,and exotic foods were everywhere not to mention the original Starbucks.  Also something I have not seen in some time a fresh cut butcher shop, with fresh sausages and custom cut meats. Of course my nephew picked us up some fresh Salmon and a few chuck steaks that we finished off nicely with fresh garlic roasted in the pan. In fact I was so  impressed I may wander down there again and pick up dinner for tonight you know I love to cook and my family out here has not experienced Uncle Bill's cooking for sometime. Of course my Nephew and his wife keep a well stocked larder and if I get rooting around who knows what I will find. The rest of the Family will be here tomorrow and Wed, my great nephew is a vegetarian but my Niece is a true carnivore! However in my young life I experienced the vegetarian lifestyle and have no doubt I will be fixing him a very tasty dish. The time has me wacked right now and by Friday I will be in tune, but I leave Friday to get home in time for opening day, I have a guest coming down to hunt and will be here ready to go. Naturally I have my gear all laid out so all I have to do is fall into it and go. Webfoot Gangsta and another young man both missed deer with their bows last week but were happy with the hunt and plan to return so good for me bad for deer....well maybe good for deer!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The great North West

Well today I am in the great NW part of the US and it is really nice. Last night was the height of the rut at home, and I got really good reports from our hunting property of deer and ducks.Out here I am staying on Columbia lake and there is a large population of diver ducks on the lake. Went to a park just down the road and there is a Salmon ladder and a bunch of hiking there. Hopefully I will be able to get out one evening and possibly give a howl or two to see if there are any coyotes out there, I heard that a mountain goat attacked a hiker up in the mountains and that did not go so good. Today I am hoping to get out to a market and visit a winery, maybe go to the fish market and see what is out here.
Lets talk hunting for just a min. like said earlier last night was the height of the rut full moon and hot does go hand in hand with big bucks. My son was hunting the area and drew down on a big buck while his buddy missed a nice doe so these deer are getting educated and smarter by the day. Hopefully when the season comes in Sat we will be in the right place at the right time. and have the opportunity to harvest a nice deer, We shall see.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don't forget the garden

It is fall and time to clean out your garden and get ready for spring. Now I know that spring is a log way off but there are some things that you should be doing now. First lets just clean up the place, pull down the vines, and get the weeds down. trim up the raspberries, and mulch down the blackberry brambles. Next let us go ahead and get the soil test done and apply the lime or soil amendments spreading the lime and mulching with new leaves. If you want garlic and sweet onions then go ahead and prepare the soil and plant them now they will get a big jump on spring and make the bulbs you love so well. Leaves are abundant now and it is time to start composting them for spring. Find a supply of horse manure and a supply of leaves, then layer them about one foot thick with a good six inches of manure, wet the pile so it is moist not wet and repeat the process till you get a pile about 3 feet high and wide. In a couple of days the pile will get smoking hot and steam will be rising off of it. In about three weeks turn it over putting the top on the bottom and the bottom on top. do this about every three weeks and you will have beautiful leaf compost come spring. I like to rototill my beds now and place a good cover of leaves and manure for some sheet composting directly in the garden bed. Turning them over in spring. It does not take long for you to do these chores and we can't hunt most Sundays so get crackin!

Slow week for me so far

This week has been slow so far, not able to get out and hunt right now so I am bored to tears. I am working one night a week so that makes for a long day and at my age I don't just rebound like a spring chicken any more. The Holidays are coming and so is the Maryland rifle season which I just love to hunt. I love shooting rifles and in DE. we have to use shotguns which is not exciting to me. At 100 yds I like to cloverleaf shots and with a shotgun if I get a 3 inch group then that is a good thing. I also like to shot them in the head or spine but with a shotgun I usually shoot for the heart lung area.
My favorite rifle is well I have several favorites but lets look at what I would take. If I am hunting the edge of a field and woods I would take my 8mm Mauser custom sporting rifle with aperture sights it is great for the woods and making long shots. If I was deep in the woods shooting off the ground in a bush pile then it is my trusty 30-30 the bullet just eats light brush and the effects are def. positive when you pick up your deer. Now If I am shooting over a open field then it is one of my scoped long range guns and head shots only, no reason to ruin good meat.
I have seen some beautiful pictures of some incredible deer and hearing some really strange stories. Seems one of my friends went hunting and shot a nice deer of about 80-90 lbs with a heart lung shot using the bow. Well the deer ran into a thicket about 80 yds away and ran for the center of the thickest part. My friend decided to wait a few min and give the deer time to lay down and expire. Suddenly from the thicket came a scream best described as a woman crying out in major pain and the thicket was being thrashed inside. Things subsided and he went in the thicket following the frothy blood trail. When he got inside the thicket  an area about 10 feet in diameter had been completely trashed and trees about 1 1/2 inch in diameter had been pushed down. A ragged trail led out of the thicket but there was no more blood trail or hair. I am saying it is a cougar or possibly a canine but that would be a beast of a canine or feline to pull that off.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Deer here!

Well ladies and gents I don't have any big deer story to tell ya. I have been going the past couple of nights and well I haven't even heard a deer. Now in the woods next to my pasture I am hunting there is a bunch of deer which makes for a very thin soup, but they are not crossing over the ditch to come into this abandoned pasture of a couple of Acres. I kinda gave up the spot I had been hunting for the past 20 years as this man wanted to take his kid hunting in there because it is  confining and he could keep an eye on him some. So I moved into a new area for me. This new area is so damn thick that there is just no way to walk it, you got to do the ol hand and knee thing to get into it. Cat briers and honeysuckle make it almost impossible to hunt inside so the pasture is my spot right now. Coming across a big bean field they are moving at night and taking cover in the thicket during the day and just waiting for dark. But this is the rut and all rules are out the window right? Big bucks are wandering and checking their does to find who is in estrus and hot to breed, does are wandering around making scrapes and urinating in them to let the big boy know she is ready. But my pasture remains quiet only a small fox is sniffing the scrapes and the deer are in the thicket tight I guess.  But you know last evening I spied a hole in the brush where something has been passing through and passing on the regular I believe. Maybe tonight I will get a chance to sneak in there and set up getting an opportunity as they gather up for their nightly foray to the bean field for dinner and some Hanky Panky.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Opening Day DE shotgun this Friday

They great thing about living in the state of DE. besides no sales tax is that the shotgun season comes in right during the rut! Now that gives many hunters the opportunity to score a big rack for their wall as deer are really crazy at this time. Now personally a big buck is not really a good eating deer and a doe in heat is really not your best choice for the table, but if you are a dedicated hunter or a one weekend type this is the time of year we all live for as far as deer hunting goes. So far this week in my area I have seen a monster Racked big neck deer and another four pointer that will develop nicely if he makes it through the season. Then last Tue evening I saw another beast of a deer in a mile radius of my stand spot so there are some nice deer in this area for harvest. I have a nice rack on the wall, 11 points 23 3/4 inches inside, a buck deer giving in to his hormones. I had gone to my stand opening morning and someone had stolen it out of the woods, so pissed off I went to my friends house where we had some coffee and fried breakfast. Certainly not worrying about scent control for sure! So while I am moaning and groaning about my situation he says "well go hunt pop's stand because he is not going to hunt". So off we went across the  bean field and down the dirt lane to our respective stands. I am thinking to myself that the scent pads in my front pocket are really reaking through that plastic bag, That ol "TINKS 69" stinking and making me think about the show I saw on Animal Planet the night before. Seems this guy doused deer urine all over his hunting clothes and a deer attacked him while he sat on the ground. It was at that point that I decided I never want to get intimate with a full rut buck deer! Now Pops stand could use some maintenance cause half the steps were missing and the other half rotten, questionable at best, But hey what you going to do so up the tree I go to the platform of this stick built stand.  Now up in the stand I reach for the rope to pull my shotgun up and discover that it is not attached to the end of the rope. Down I  go attaching the gun securely this time, making more noise than a little bit and the sky is turning pink in the East but it is still plenty dark in the woods. Back up the stand I take off my sweater and sit down on the bucket, remove the doe in heat Tinks 69 soaked pads and throw them out around my stand, it is now just light enough to see shapes. Within 5 min. there is a tremendous crashing coming through the woods and within 20 feet of me stands the aforementioned. He was harvested with a classic spine shot and fell in the woods road dead when he hit the ground. He weighed in at a cool 198 lbs with the rack above, naturally I was tickled like a two peckered billy goat.
I went and got the truck driving down the old logging road backing up to the deer and putting him in the back, my friend coming across the field to see what I had shot. Unfortunately for me my friend was not quite as happy as I was and it had led to some tension in the neighborhood as many claimed it as "Their" deer. Seems that the stand was at the junction of three pieces of land, and it came from one piece crossed another and was standing on my friends property when I shot it. Another lesson learned the hard way. Anyhow this Friday be out there amongst em and aim close, like the man said aim small miss small.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bring on the RUT

Okay my friends I went out looking for a Fox Sat morning and saw one crossing about 300 yds. out at a dead run. I hit the crow call a few times and had a flock of those flying rats hanging out and raising hell around me. I was in my full hand made ghilie  suite and in a ditch so they never saw me. I like crows hanging around they are killer watch keepers and excellent confidence birds. Animals seem to let down their guard when crows are cawing. I had the wind dead to my face and blowing into a small 10 acre patch of woods, I have taken some nice deer out of there and know it to be a place to go get a fat doe early in the season so I was keeping an eye out to see what might appear. The crows moved on to another location east of me and began to caw and raise caine, I settled in the ditch to cover the other side of the hedge row when I detect a slight movement at the edge of the woods. At that point in time a large buck steps out from the woods jumps the ditch my ditch was T'd into and takes a Magazine cover pose for me to admire. Never hesitating and not startled he gave a good shake and walked stiff legged into a bean field for about 30 yds where he laid down. Not wanting to startle or alarm him I quietly got up and began picking up my gear and wrapping up the decoy, whistling a happy tune. I went and picked up my four wheeler and drove out into the cut beans to get my stuff, loaded it up and drove out the field and back through the woods to where I live, but not before I glassed the field one more time and made sure he was still bedded down in the beans. It took a min. but sure enough I could see his white antler tips as he laid there with his nose in the wind. Maybe this year I will get lucky and get a chance to take another trophy all I can do is wait and see.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fox hunting in De.

It is the weekend and I am looking forward to stretching my 243 out a little for some foxes. Ms. Lucy is ready and shooting tight groups, I am ready trying to exploit all of her abilities! I called Dover this week to get some info on a couple of items one being fox hunting.
Is it legal to call foxes and harvest them under the rays of an artificial light?
  The people I spoke with told me No, but when I asked them if I could shoot coons traditionally hunted at night with dogs and lights they said yes. So my question led into if I am coon hunting and  we get a fox could we shoot it with a gun and light? Which led to a couple of holds while I guess they mulled that over. The answer to that question was yes? So I asked them "So if I am coon hunting at night with a gun and light I can shoot a fox if it is in our range under the rays of a artificial light, but I can't call foxes and shoot them under the rays of an artificial light" that answer was NO... no fox hunting at night with a light and call.
Why is it I get the feeling that I won't know what this really means until I get stopped by the man. So if anyone out there has an answer to this question please feel free to help us get right on this subject.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making that hard Cider

Back some time ago I set up some sweet cider I had pressed, and let it go through it's natural fermentation process with the native yeast that were present on the apples when I pressed them. Well that went real well and the cider was working hard. When it slowed down to a bubble every couple of min. I transferred it into a clean carboy for secondary fermentation, and topped it off with some more sweet cider and additional sugar. After a couple of days I added half a packet of champagne yeast  and placed it in my closet where it is nice dark and warm. Today it is bubbling with those fine bubbles that dance in your mouth when you drink champagne, and fermenting that sugar into alcohol. Now when it is done it will clear and I will be able to sample the product and reflect on the fall harvest.