Lessons from A Beginner in the Field

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Or the woods, as the case may be.  It was an interesting sit between two big beech trees yesterday.  First, well before light still, I heard a branch come crashing down, I think it landed less than 10 feet behind me and a bit to my left. (Later investigation showed it to be less than 6 feet, the branch 4 inches in diameter.)  I instinctively moved, quickly, to the right around the trunk of the tree my back was against.  Scary.  Widow-maker.  Lesson Learned:  In your scouting for a location from which to hunt, check for widow-makers, be that a ground or tree stand location.  The chances of being hit are small, the consequences large.
I was sitting with my back against the tree to the left
Then, after first light, I heard what sounded like baseballs dropping through the canopy, dropping through the leaves and branches, and hitting the ground with heavy, distinctive thuds.  “That would hurt,” I said to myself!  I actually thought seriously about getting one of those hard hat shells that goes under a baseball cap, and Geri mentioned the same when I told her the story later.  I thought this was interesting because I did not hear any of it before sunrise, then, I heard maybe 10 or 20 fall over the course of 30 minutes or so, then nothing.  It had rained an inch the day before and into early hours, and an inch and a half the day before that.  There was a lot of water in the canopy, and under the trees it seemed like it was still raining as I sat.  At the time I believed that they might be black walnuts, that was all I could think of that made any sense, and I saw a relatively dark trunk (compared to the dominant sugar maples and beeches) maybe 20-25 yards in front of me; they are called black walnut trees for a reason.  I also looked this over during my “later investigation,” and sho’ nuf, there was a big black walnut tree and walnuts littering the forest floor.  Lesson Learned: Do not set your dumb ass under mature black walnut trees in the fall!

A black walnut falls from 80 feet onto your noggin and it is going to hurt,
and raise a lump; hopefully nothing worse
Fall  turkey season opened on the 15th of September; in Michigan in fall you can take either male or female, one per license, whereas in the spring you can only take the male of the species, I presume because it is mating season.  Note:  “After mating, the female turkey prepares a nest under a bush in the woods and lays her eggs. She will lay one egg each day until she has a complete clutch of about 8 to 16 eggs. The eggs are tan and speckled brown eggs. It takes about 28 days for the chicks to hatch. After hatching, the babies will flock with their mother all year.”  That from no more an authoritative source than Vegan Peace, at http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Turkeys.htm  And no, I am not a vegan!  A male turkey is called a tom or a gobbler, a female turkey a hen, and a baby turkey a poult or chick. A young male turkey is called a jake and a young female is called a jenny.
I have seen turkeys as I sat this weekend, this time of year the hens tend to stick with other hens, and the toms with toms.  I am still waiting for that long-beard to come or be coaxed within range.
The first day of fall is the 23rd of September, and deer season opens 1 October.  Hopes are high.
All for now, and thanks in advance for your commentary.
— John 20 September 2015

 

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