Saturday, September 15, 2007

The View From The Woods

Today was our archery deer hunting opener and it was pretty chilly! We had a hard frost last night and there was ice on the birdbath this morning when we left. We got all our gear ready last night and you can be sure my long underwear was the first thing on this morning.

We left the house around 5 AM and it's about a 25 minute drive to where we hunt. It was a really nice calm morning, so we could hear the owls hooting as we walked to our hunting stands in total darkness. Thank goodness for those little lights that go on your head! The Spousal Unit got to his stand first, so I took off on my own to my stand farther down in the woods. Last year we utilized the little reflective tacks to mark trees along the trail we use to get to the stands. This has been a lifesaver for me as I tend to lose my sense of direction even with the headlamp. These little reflective tacks shine like a beacon for my headlamp enabling me to get to my stand with no trouble.

Of course, by the time I get there, no matter how chilly it is, I've gotten warm enough from the hike that I have to wait for my eyeglasses to un-steam before I climb the ladder to my stand. Once I get up to my stand, I hook up my safety vest to the tree and I'm ready to sit and wait for the sun to rise and deer to appear.

I really enjoy sitting on my stand in the dark and listening to all the sounds of the woods. Today I heard both the Barred Owl and the Great-Horned Owl. And I can always count on hearing some type of heated verbal dispute between raccoons. Today I also heard a strange sort of barking noise and wondered if it was a fox? The first songbird to start singing this morning was the cardinal, followed shortly thereafter by a bluejay. There is also a pair of Bald Eagles where we hunt, so I got to hear their calls this morning too. And the best thing of all is that my stand is close to the edge of a bluff just above the river, so the background to all of these noises is the river running over the rocks below. It's very peaceful and beautiful and some days I imagine how wonderful it would be to have a house in this woods.

This is sunrise from my deer stand.

Once the sun comes up the grey squirrels wake up and boy, are they busy leaping from tree to tree.

And burying or digging up acorns and other squirrel snacks.

These squirrels in the woods, with their chubby little bodies and beautiful, luxurious furry tails, are much healthier looking than the squirrels that come to raid birdseed in my yard. And they make as much noise as a herd of elephants! There aren't too many dry leaves on the ground yet, but once the leaves start to fall, all their scurrying drives us crazy because we can't tell whether it's a deer or a squirrel.

This morning I saw a large doe with two fawns who were still covered with lots of spots. They were quite a way from where I was sitting--too far even for a photograph. She must have had these babies quite late in the spring, and it was fun to see them trotting along behind her.

It was finally time to leave for home about 9 AM. Now that the sun is up, I can show you some of what I see in this woods around my deer stand.

Here's my stand--it's about 13 feet up in this tree. I wear a safety vest because I have a tendency to nod off once in a while and I've heard horrible stories about people who fall from their stands while sleeping and don't want to become a statistic. What if I fell and broke my arm and couldn't knit???

A few leaves are starting to change and drop. This area is mostly maple trees and it should be quite beautiful in a week or two.
How about these neat little shelf fungi growing inside the hole in the bottom of this tree?

Here are some broken pieces of (clam?) shell along the trail in the woods. I wonder if a raccoon brought it up from the river?

Here's the trail I have to hike to the top of--you probably can't tell how steep it is, but I never get to the top without having to stop and catch my breath partway up.

Here's the view from the top of the trail looking back towards where my stand is. The leaves are all really green yet, but I'm sure this morning's frost will hasten their changeover to fall colors.

Here's my Spousal Unit in his stand (look way at the top of the picture). This is a new location for a stand this year and he was really happy with it after sitting there this morning.

And here's me modeling the latest in scent-control camouflage for the well-dressed woman bow-hunter!


your sissy said...

What a great morning to be out in the woods! The hummers have been extremely busy here all day. It's especially fun to watch them chase after tiny flying insects. I suppose it's a nice change from all that nectar all the time.

MOM said...

There were hummers around the hanging geranium today when I was putting clean bedding in my kitty houses I think they will hang around as long as it is going to be warm again after last nite.
Those are pretty nice pixs of the area around your tree stands. A couple of more weeks and the woods will explode in color for the fall.
Thanks for the trip in the woods and all the little critters you saw and I can imagine the sounds in the silence of darkness and in the first morning lite.
Happy Hunting

Maud said...

Beautiful pictures!

RuthieJ said...

Hello Sissy,
Yes,it sure was nice, but pretty chilly till the sun came up. I suppose those hummers are stoking up for their long southerly trip ahead.

Hi Mom,
I was hoping you would enjoy the pictures. I'm looking forward to photographing the fall colors too.

Hi Maud,
Thank you.

Susie said...

Hi Ruthie,
I enjoyed reading about your morning in the woods. I used to go deer hunting with my Dad many years ago, but not bow hunting. Just loved the beautiful outdoors.

mon@rch said...

The best part about being out like that is enjoying all of the nature around you! Sounds like a wonderful day for sure!

Deb said...

I should take up bow hunting, after hearing your descriptions about being in the woods early in the morning! I was just thinking about how I should get a firearms deer license this year, and spend some time out there. At least I don't have far to go!

Mary said...

Hey Ruth! I love you in your gear and the sights you see. From your descriptions, I can feel the cold, dark, and sounds of nature. Wow. Very cool!

I'm surprised you had a hard frost. It's only September but I guess winter is on its way...

Larry said...

There's something very special about being being in the woods at 5a.m.You get to see and hear a lot that isn't around later in the morning.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Susie,
Thanks for coming along, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's a great time of year to be out in the woods.

Hi Tom,
The other cool part is that you're all in camouflage and "part of the woods"....when I was out again on Saturday evening, I had a black & white warbler probing tree bark about 4 feet away from me--that was really cool!

Hi Deb,
I think you would like bowhunting--lots more women are getting into it now and the new bows they have are so easy to pull back, plus the MN DNR has dropped the draw weight back to 30 lbs, to allow more people to bowhunt. It would be something fun for you and Calvin to do together (if he was interested.)

I used to hunt deer during firearms season, but it's just gotten crazy down here--too many yahoos with guns tromping through the woods. Bowhunting is nice because it's early in the season and not too cold yet, plus I've never heard of another hunter being "accidentally" shot with an arrow.

Hi Mary,
It's a lot of camo, but it sure helps me become "part of the woods."

Our first hard frost isn't usually till a week or so into October, so this one was really early. It's been a strange weather year all around--our high today is supposed to be around 80 with a chance of severe thunderstorms. Go figure!

Hi Larry,
It is pretty cool. I'm glad I've started to learn what some of the sounds are....I used to be quite terrified going out there in the dark like that, but now I kind of look forward to it.

manik said...

which all bows you use? i love recurve bows

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