Friday, December 31, 2010

Deer Shotgun Season 1 Day Two in Reflection

Day 2 of Shotgun Season 1,December 5th, started off with Spot and Stalk. I tried to get outside for the morning passage, but the deer came back 15 minutes earlier than  usual. A doe with fawn came trotting through the soybean field heading south through the pasture west of the house. Watching from inside the house I grabbed my shotgun and headed out the backdoor since I was already dressed in my hunters orange.

Down the back steps, stopping to look in all directions, I continued to watch the open space between our trailer and new house construction for signs of deer in the pasture. Trying to sneak... I thought I was doing good,just not good enough. Getting close to the southwest corner of the new house I heard rustling in the timber. A group of six does,fawns and one dominant buck ran swiftly from their bedding area along a fence line bordering the timber/pasture. The does and fawns ran in long leaping strides without looking back, but the buck ran into the middle of the pasture,paused and stared. A challenge?  It was 7:00 A.M. and I let one slug fly...As it would happen the only one in the two Iowa seasons that went from December 4th - 8th, and December 11th-19th. That incident ended my morning hunt. When they leave it is a long time before they return, if they return during daylight hours.

Being outside prior to and between the hunting seasons gave me a front seat to witness rutting pursuits. It ignited fires,the basal feelings of hunter and prey.

The 2:30 hour rolled around and my Mentor had staked his spot in the same place as the day before on our fence line shooting onto my side.

We didn't have any snow at the time. However, it was still cold and I had to get bundled up to stand waiting for the deer heading back out to graze. This time I got in the pick-up and headed to the other end of the property on a fence line bordering another neighbor's crop ground, a very busy location.

I headed out before the call came from the "Group Hunters" to inform Hubby and me they were going to come through the timber again.I apparently was wrong in assuming that they would only be flushing our timber once. My reasoning was they have a huge amount of property between them to hunt. Why would they need to come back?

Standing for what I felt was at least an hour,not seeing ,or hearing anything I moved a few feet to get a different perspective on the trails. A little while later I turned slightly to see two fawns moving quickly in my direction,they saw me and cut into the timber east of me. That is when I saw orange clad men getting lined up,stationed on the far fence for a drive onto the open soybean field.

Feeling uneasy about my location I moved further inside my property to another timber edge. My movements slow in an effort to stalk,I found two fawns bedded down. I sent them straight east...

There was a stirring of dry leaves, activity of deer? I waited and waited.The choice for me to head back to the homestead side of the ravine was made. Upon my reaching the pick-up,putting my shotgun in it's sleeve for transporting, I climbed in and started the engine. I stopped after getting turned around and headed down the lane. Spotting 2 deer in a panic coming out from the ravine to my right I wanted them to cut south for the hunters now in wait. Moving slowly back home I kept scanning for activity.

Reaching the house I looked down the fence line to see my Mentor field dressing another deer. Same time...same circumstances, a lactating doe, as the day before.

Later, I was informed by my neighbor who had gained permission for the "Group Hunters" to be here that he had flushed a "Big Buck" in my direction. However, the large group of deer they were moving wouldn't go until I had vacated the area.

The good news being that the buck intended for me,a 14-point, was taken by my young neighbor,son of the aforementioned neighbor. He sure has started off his hunting experiences with a story to tell....

So went the second day of  Iowa Shotgun Season #1. ; )

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Iowa Deer Shotgun Season 1 Day One in Reflection

I  want to take some time in reflecting on my Whitetail hunting experiences for the shotgun seasons that have just gone by here in Iowa...This post had begun much earlier in the month, but my concentration to complete it has become divided with a few other activities.

What a day for the opener of Shotgun Deer here in Central Iowa! December 4th, started off cold and blustery and ended cold and blustery. We didn't get the snow our fellow Iowans got Friday night...the line fell  northeast of us.

This Fall the snow occurrences have skirted to the West-Northwest and to the East-Northeast. The dusting we received overnight  vanished due to the hefty breezes blowing past. I am thankful for the lack of snow at the moment...

Shotgun Deer for 2009 gave us a couple of feet of  unstable, gravelly snow to trip through. Conditions that I didn't find appealing .I didn't get to spend much time pursuing deer, because my Mom fell and broke her shoulder a few days before the season started.

Getting back to yesterday,I didn't get to go out for the morning passage - when the deer come back from their night-time browsing activities, many times they come through our yard on their way to bed down for a bit.

Before Thanksgiving my neighbor to the South who hunts with a  group of at least 14 other guys  using the drive method to concentrate the deer to shorten the time to fill their tags, asked about pushing deer out of my timber. I agreed.

I had some messages on my answering machine that they wanted to come to my timber as the last place on their itinerary for the day. They weren't positive of the time they would be coming through.

Having an errand to run in the morning put me a little behind in my household chores. So I tried to play catch up after lunch.At 2:30 I took Sadie out for a short stroll in preparation  for getting dressed in hunting garb, and get outside to stake a spot. On our stroll behind the garden our activity set off a flurry of activity - it seems to be a perennially popular bedding area at this time of year.While we were making our rounds in the yard I caught sight of my Mentor down the ravine a bit on our fence line. I  hoped our flurry of activity would have sent a deer in his direction,but at that time it didn't happen.

I went back into the house to get all ready to go outside- heading back behind the garden once again to see if I could stir up anymore deer and send them a short distance for the benefit of another. Not seeing anything,I took off, in the direction where  fresh buck rubs had been popping up almost daily for the last two weeks.

On the way to my spot in a downed tree in between two fields I sent a doe and nice sized buck in search of another place to bed down. Being caught off guard and heavy brush kept me from sending a slug in either situation.

Getting to my position I stood for a while before a pick-up truck and occupants headed down to begin the drive through the timber. Hearing gunfire to the south I hoped they would send something in my direction. I saw a young doe come back and enter the timber too far to the east for shooting range. Then I saw a doe with two fawns come trotting in a hurry to get away from the fray. The doe stood visibly upset with nose and mouth pointed to the wind tasting what lay ahead. Then they too took off to the point where the first doe had entered back into the timber.

Another gun shot went off. This time it was up by my house, where I had last seen my Mentor...He had gotten a lactating doe. I am thinking the one that had just past me with young in tow.

I tried to be helpful in getting his deer moved over some rough terrain back to his property and up an incline to his pick-up. We eventually got it loaded and hung in his garage...So went the first day of Iowa Shotgun Season #1.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Day before Christmas

Twas the day before Christmas and all through North Dakota the pick-ups, bobcats, road-graders and Snowplows were all busy moving the new fallen snow....

Jolly ol' Hubby, and  Merry Me, had come north early to escape the travel woes forecast for the holidays. Our little red sleigh filled with happiness and cheer sped lively to here...there.... and here...for we were headed to share the Joy of the season with family not often seen.

Our time will be  spent with family, food and friends. What could be a better combination for celebration than that?

My speedy Santa helper would like to deliver some Seasons greetings to all.

Timber  Life and friends wish you a very Merry Christmas ...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Forensic Find

Warning :To my readers who are squeamish about skeletal remains,this post isn't for you.


This past week I was meandering across the soybean field that was harvested almost a month ago. I like to watch the crops grow in the Spring,and Summer, but appreciate when the fields open up again for exploration, and hunting in the Fall and Winter.

I am a student of my immediate environment, in hopes of observing patterns from year to year.

On this day, our dog Sadie was off getting her sniff quotient satisfied,as I was taking my time moving from one place to another. My eyes to the ground, I kept scanning the crop debris for interesting rocks that have worked their way to the soil surface, or something out of the ordinary.

I came across an exposed rock, one among thousands in the field. However, this one caught my attention with what first looked like broken egg shells laying beside it. I tried to rationalize that some animal may have carried them away from a turkey nest earlier in the season and they were just now being exposed.

Using the tip of my shoe I tried to turn the egg shell over. It soon became apparent that what I was seeing was most certainly not egg shells, but the top part of a skull. I bent over to get a closer look. Scooping away bean chaff I saw something else that reminded me of a canine molar. Again, after closer examination, I found that it was a bone that would make up part of a spine. Eventually, the total picture of what I had found began to take shape.

The whole find could be contained within my closed hands. Holding the skull bones ever so gently so they wouldn't collapse.

Now, what did I find? The jawbone reminds me of a miniature deer. There are remnants of hair on a couple of pieces of the bone, not enough to be used for identification though.

Inside the jawbone are teeth that had not yet erupted to become useful. I did not find any evidence of sharp,ripping type teeth, that would indicate an omnivore.

The condition of the bones lead me to believe that these remains are from the Spring,because they don't show extreme yellowing,or drying.

It is apparent I am missing  pieces to my puzzle that might more clearly give me the answers I seek. For now it is intriguing to consider the possibilities... ;)

What would you venture to say once owned these bones?