Fifty-one degrees at daylight and this is December 6. What is that all about? My owl is complaining about the weather and even though I am sure, it will eventually get light enough to see, it is sure taking a long time. I like owls. The Indians, who we are now told to call Native Americans, view owls as harbingers of trouble. I don’t care.
Wilson Post Blogs
We all know you can freeze to death and we have all heard of hypothermia. To put it simply, that is when the body core gets so cold, basic metabolism and body functions do not work. What is cold enough? Would you believe 95 degrees? True dat. When your body core gets to 95 degrees and stays there long enough, you start shivering and possibly having trouble thinking and focusing. Those are signs of early stages of hypothermia.
I take my time and slip the Parker-Hale .308 off the hook. Lord, the hunts I have had with that gun. I position the Steady-Rest against my hip and nestle the stock into my shoulder. I remember to slip the damn glasses off my nose and settle the crosshairs just behind her shoulder.
Every Thanksgiving, health permitting, I go hunting for an hour or so before the eatin and greetin begins. I suspect this year will be no different. Last year, on a beautiful TG morning, I killed a double, a small buck and a doe. It set the stage for a great Thanksgiving, much better than the one five years ago when I was in a coma in the Vanderbilt ICU.
Tennessee hunters trade one long gun for another Saturday.
Muzzleloader season closes Friday and rifle season opens Saturday. Of course, during the rifle season, hunters may use bow, muzzleloader or rifle. Just be sure and wear the required hunter orange. The bag limit is still three does a day and a total of three bucks for season here in Unit L.
There has been much talk in some areas of late regarding canned hunting. It got a push when a man supposedly shot a deer on an Ohio deer preserve, alleged to have over 600 inches of antlers. I do not know if any of that is true but it sure got folks talking.
What is a canned hunt?
Front stuffer, smoke pole or muzzle loader, call it what you want. Hunting with a muzzleloader is fun and our season opens this Saturday and runs through Nov 16. We can kill three does a day here in Unit L and no more than one buck a day, limit of three for the entire year.
Tam Apo must have worked overtime this morning. I have watched thousands of sunrises. This one, as they all seem, is special. The light filters through the vines and still green leaves, just touching the forest floor here and there. I like it. I enjoy just watching it unfold.
Is it a passing fad or is hunting slowly becoming the “in thing”
Can hunting be the next purse dog, those ugly little dogs that famous actresses and actors, the ones who seem to be out of work and in trouble, keep carrying around?Mark Zukerberg, the billionaire who started Facebook has become a hunter. He has vowed, so they say, to only eat food he has killed, gathered or grown himself. He is becoming a hunter.
Guy named Dwight Garner, another writer I never heard of, wrote a front page story for the NY Times on the new wave toward hunting. It ran Oct. 1, and I reckon the last time hunting made the front page of that august rag was when Cheney shot the guy.
Speaking of Veeps, our current Republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan is an avid bowhunter. The WI native not only hunts, he hunts seriously and has killed some record book animals. In other words, it is not a fad with him. Don’t vote for him just because of that.
Anyway, this guy Garner mentions many people I am not familiar with and a few I am. We all know Sarah Palin is a hunter. Pretty lousy shot from what I saw but a hunter. Course, we all know Uncle Ted Nugent, the loudmouth rock singer. But how many of you have heard of Lily Raf McCaulou, Georgia Pellegrini or Steve Rinela? The truth is, I never heard of any of them. Truth is I had to ask Jeanne who Zukerberg is. I am not on Facebook.
It seems these folks are well known if you are among the garden set or travel in some circles. They are city folks who moved to the country and took up growing things and hunting and writing books about it as if they just discovered dead deer are good to eat. Imagine that!
What spurred them to do so was the desire to eat healthier food, food sans various additives. Some also claim to want to kill their own food.
Make no mistake. Hunting is about killing. It involves blood and guts and if you process your own as I do, it requires some work. They seem to like it. They have come up with all sorts of recipes and ways to serve wild game. About 100-years ago, I published a recipe for wild turkey using Wild Turkey bourbon in the dressing. Folks at Austin Nichols sent me a case of Wild Turkey. Imagine that!
We of course, those of us who have been so fortunate as to have grown up in an advanced section of the country, have always known how to cook backstrap with turnip greens and liver and lights. We know hunting is about killing. However, this is a different segment of the population we are talking about now. They figured their squab came from some store with a fancy name and had no idea it was just a fancy uptown pigeon.
This is a good thing, this exposure to hunting by the young gentry. There are already camouflage clothes with button down collars and even camo undies. But perhaps a more expensive line is on the way. Wonder how long before they realize fur is already a form of camouflage?
Okay. Time to get serious. This is a good thing, this exposure in other than the regular outdoor media. It may be a valuable tool in the preservation of hunting land. It may help to show hunters in a more positive light. However, it may also drive up the price of hunting.
I long ago quit worrying about anti-hunters and animal rights activists. They make up about 15% of the voting public. Hunters compose about the same number so that is a wash. Non-hunters compose 70% of the voting public. If they begin to view hunting in a more positive light, that is good.
Of course, there is a downside. If the more affluent begin to hunt, it could be that they will also begin to buy up land that is now available for hunting. That land is already shrinking. Hunting is on a slide toward the European style of hunting. That is hunting for only the rich and landed. That is not good.
We here in Tennessee are fortunate in that we have over a million acres of land open to hunting. Much of this land is in the form of Wildlife Management Areas-WMA. Fulltime managers manage these areas and much of that land is great hunting, open to all.
However, managing that land is not cost free. As that cost rises at the same time revenue for management decreases, some of the land may have to be sold. That is not good for hunting. In the meantime, I’ll take that positive exposure.
But hey, who are all those people I mentioned?
I was sittin in the back of the Tequila, havin an early beer before the rest of the sand monkeys showed up for the daily fishin report. This traveler was at the bar and I had seen him on the beach a time or two. Directly, he came walkin over with a fresh cold one that he set down in front of me.
It was hot last Wednesday, maybe you recall, 90 degrees at 3:30? I had not had a good day. Nothing major just seemed to stay mad at something all day. Therefore, I went hunting late in the afternoon. When you are about half mad, it is good time to try and kill something. Does that sound right to you?
Warm and windy, 68, right now. I should not even go. I usually don’t do well the first day of the season, Last year was a fluke. Last year I had doe dead by 7:15. It is opening day. I’ll go.It is a short walk and I am just heating up when I reach the tree. I suppose I am dressed strangely for deer hunting-short pants and a short sleeve shirt under my ASAT mesh, Ultimate 3-D camouflage. Traveling light, too. Just a few things in my pockets. The TenPoint Phantom crossbow rides nicely on my shoulder. We have done well, this crossbow and I. I wait.
I could shoot her easy. Probably make the landowner mad. Big cow and that signals time to leave. It is just 7:20, so I make the long, one minute walk to another stand and climb up.
Wind is picking up and it is warming. But it is so nice, I just don’t feel like getting down. I watch the squirrels and little birds and about half-nap between bouts of careful observance. Funny how age and years of opening days round you and blunt the anticipation. I can sit here quietly and just enjoy the woods. I give a nod to Tam Apo with thanks for the morning and my health being enough to enjoy it.
He comes silently, gliding in and stops just out of range. I ease the TenPoint crossbow off the hook and try to silently change arrows. I am not going to ruin a $10 broadhead on longbeard. Time slips and he putts and clucks away.
Coopers Hawk? I think so, maybe. Anyhow, one of the smaller, slicker economy models of woodland squirrel control devices. Every tree rat in the woods goes berserk. I grin to myself and seeing as how it after 10 and I am starving, make the call to get down.
On the way to the truck, I stop and pick some milkweed to use for wind checkers later and stop to admire a turkey feather and a nice deer track in the soft dirt. I smile as I cross the shallow creek-one of my favorite field dressing places.
I’ll hit the woods again this afternoon. Maybe the cold wave will be starting down by then. I’ll probably hunt behind the hayfield that needs cutting. For sure I’ll be back in the morning and probably for the next few mornings. Fifty-five, I think. Fifty-five opening mornings for me. Maybe 56, I don’t know for sure but thankee kindly, Tam Apo. I’ll have another if you please.
Warm and windy. The usual opening day for me. The normal. And the afternoon passes without even a squirrel to break the boredom.
Even so, I enjoy the afternoon. I manage to not get too hot walking in and there is enough breeze to keep me from roasting.
My stand is comfortable and before I know it, it is dark. Time to brave the hayfield again. A morning for which to wish. Cool, bordering cold and calm. The plan is simple. I will hunt stand #2 until 8:30.
If I have not seen anything by then, I shall move to stand #3 and hunt until 10:30. I had not planned on the cramp in my neck at 9:30.
I have had considerable work done on my neck and when I feel a cramp coming, I get down. I wish I waited three more minutes. With a sort and a stomp and hearty hi-ho whitetail, she was gone. She had been on her way between #2 and #3.
Oh well, that is deer hunting and I have the whole season to go including the afternoon. I love afternoon hunts. Thank you Tam Apo.
On the way to the stands, I see seven does and three bucks. I also see a flock of turkeys. It is 4:10. Am I late? I reach my tower stand, a staggering eight feet off the ground and settle in to the plop of acorns and persimmons.
It is a pleasant afternoon, just cooling. I can hear kids playing at a nearby house.
He comes at dusk, just nibbling along. I saw him the minute he stepped out and I have the TenPoint Phantom crossbow at the ready. Thirty one yards.
I have ranged the tree he will pass. That makes him 30. That is the first dot, one inch high. That is where I hold. I squeeze the trigger, the arrow is gone and he drops in his tracks.
An excellent way to start the year and about as fine as deer meat gets. I estimate he will weight about 80-pounds, a fat spike. Perfect.
The TenPoint and I make an awesome combination and I still have the season to go.
Thankee Tam Apo, thankee kindly.
Deer kill on the rise
According to figures from the TWRA, the state’s deer bow kill is steadily climbing. On the opening weekend of 2012, last weekend, Tennessee bow hunters killed 3050 deer compared to 2811 on opening weekend a year ago.
The increase of 239 is double the increase from 2010 to 2011. The figures are somewhat of an indication of two things.
First, the deer herd is healthy. Despite isolated outbreaks of EHD, the overall population is strong,
And second, the weather has cooperated the last two opening weekends.
The moon is full. Werewolves should be happy.
It hangs low over the farmland, not yet covered by approaching clouds. Of course, there are clouds. The clouds are thick, full, about to burst again, still west of us. It is not time. Not yet. They have purged once.
It started with an antelope hunt in New Mexico with a muzzleloader. It was a long shot that first morning. Even at 7:15, it was hot. At 213-yards with a strong crosswind, I had to hold high and to the left. Still, it was a good shot and my hunt on the Tres Sombreros ranch was over.
James Franklin has his work cut out for him.
He is not unlike every Vanderbilt football coach that has tried to unlock college football’s Rubik’s cube.
I watched Franklin stand erect as a statue while a driving rain peppered him during the fourth quarter of the 23-13 non-conference loss to Northwestern.
Franklin refused to wear any raingear. He took the punishment, his eyes staring straight ahead.
His team is now off to a dreaded 0-2 start and had chances to win both games.
The next time you spot a Bluebird, make sure of what you are getting to see. Of course our Eastern Bluebird has a blue back with a reddish breast, but what if the bird is blue all over ? Most likely you will be looking at an Indigo Bunting which is very similar in size and their territory may overlap. Just maybe, what if the "blue" bird has a thick beak like a Cardinal, and two brown wing bars to boot, you might be looking at a Blue Grosbeak. I am hoping that nobody would confuse these birds with a Bluejay as the Bluejay is a one of the first birds learned when starting to take up birdwatching.
By RAY POPE
I once mentioned, where have all the Hummers gone? I didn't know about it then, but they somehow found my feeders this past week. So far there are about 30 here in my neighborhood fighting for their own space, trying to take their turn to drink. Right now there are seven feeders out at my neighbors that form a semicircle with my house in the middle. With all this weird weather back in the spring, I believe that some of our bird's internal clocks got sidetracked.
Dotty Kim and her daughter Tammy that lives over in Trousdale County have plenty Hummingbirds at their feeders, especially since I had an extra feeder that I was not using that I gave her. With all the bird traffic at her place, it’s a wonder someone doesn't get run over or stabbed.They also have a large number of Indigo Buntings on their property.
I went over to my mother’s home Saturday hoping to find the bird that flew down to her Hummingbird feeder for a long drink of nectar. The way she described it, it could be some type of Oriole. Orioles are often found feeding from Hummer feeders or special feeders made for the species. If you just happen to have them, you can cut orange slices and nail them to a tree to attract them.
It is a crapshoot. Who knew if we will even have enough to shoot last Saturday? They humble you in that way, too. Uncertainty. They come out of the sun, pretending to be Japanese Zeros. They twirl, dart, and hit the afterburners when the wind is right.
We are expected to hit them?
The predominantly orange clad crowd in the Georgia Dome exhaled a chorus of relief after Tennessee toppled N.C. State, 35-21, in the season opener for both teams.
Vols Coach Derek Dooley’s seat cooled considerably while N.C. State’s Tom O’Brien’s seat was noticeably warmer than when he arrived in Atlanta.
Preseason expectations were high in Raleigh. Their fans were banking on a strong secondary and the play of senior quarterback Mike Glennon.
In Knoxville, expectations ran the gamut. Truth be told, no one knew how their heroes would play in the season opener, much less beyond that.
Dooley has taken a lot of heat, but reasonable fans were willing to watch this season play out before rendering judgment.
After the Vols had picked Glennon off four times and receivers ran by NFL cornerback prospect David Amerson, Vols fans were breathing easier.
What a week we had at the Wilson County Fair, with all my friends coming through to chat and have their pictures placed in The Wilson Post on the "Seen at the Fair” page. Usually the weather will play a part in the comings and goings at the fair, but this year we had a little rain to start the fair run, and the rest was cooler weather than usual which played a large part in the crowds.
Shirley Manaley stopped by and as soon as I saw her, I knew she was a bird lover. Shirley was decked out in a beautiful blue shirt loaded with pictures of some of my favorite birds. We had a nice talk and I found out that she lived in Nashville.
Taking a trip through Fiddler's Grove brought me to the old popcorn stand that used to sit on the Lebanon square next to the old courthouse. Set up next to the popcorn was an old friend, Marty Rush, who has a passion to work with injured animals. Marty was known for starting the Wildlife Rescue and Rehab Center in Mt. Juliet. She is another that has worked with me at the old annual Wildflower Pilgrimage that took place in the spring at the Cedars of Lebanon State Park. They will bring different animals to show others what they look like in person.