Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Finally, the past couple of days, the weather has warmed up on the mountain enough to see bare ground. I don't much like working any day, but with a whiff of spring in the mid-winter air, I decided to only work a half day yesterday. I had already drug half a doe carcass, I'd had hanging in my porch since deer season, into the back fields. I grabbed the gun and went calling for coyotes. Shouldering the deer hide, to use as a ground cloth in the melting snow, I hit the woods.
Hunting coyotes is as difficult, or more so, than trapping them. In fact I'd consider them the most difficult animal to hunt, in the eastern woods. So as I lay behind a log, on the soft deer hide, my mind wandered. Song lyrics bounced in and out of my semi-consciousness. What was Shewho doing today? My fresh tattoos itched. My ass was cold (even on the hide). Then I snapped back to the task at hand, scanned the field, laid the gun on the soft hide and peered through the scope. I hit the remote on the call and the sound of gathering howls and a fawn being ripped to spreads echoed down the ridge. Nothing.
It was warm and a slight wind out of the south, rustled the few remaining leaves on the beech saplings. I didn't have much hope of seeing anything and simultaneously knew that it was just those times, when you were distracted and not paying attention, that the critters showed themselves. I've never shot a coyote while hunting them. I've killed coyotes while hunting something else or from the shack, but I've always missed them while in pursuit. It requires extreme attention to score.
So the afternoon passed and darkness followed, as I trudged out of the woods empty handed. The wind was warm and misleading. Bad freezes still lay ahead. Soon the coyotes would mate and my howls and hellish screeching would hopefully have a different effect on anything within earshot. With bare ground I can reset traps and give the line another chance. Work? I took the day off to practice new songs and record this afternoon. The wind's kicking up and shifting back from the NW. Cold's coming back. I can always work tomorrow.


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