Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Yesterday I tried my best to get in the woods without making too much noise, but the frost had turned all the oak leaves into potato chips. It was impossible. I worked my way to my new blind spot before dawn (crunch, crunch, crunch) and......I swear I put it right there...... Once again thieves had struck. This year I have lost a ladder, a stand, a baptism sign and post and now a portable blind. This really sucks. The blind rip off is esp. troubling as i thought I had this chunk of woods holding a big buck all to myself. Oh yeah, I jumped him. He's a beaut! But now he's wise to me. It ain't gonna be easy.
I'm bummed. I've hunted hard all season and the freezer is still bare. My one shot went wrong and now we are entering the worse time to hunt deer. The rut is over. Hunters have stunk up the woods and tipped off every critter. There's plenty of mast and the weather has yet to turn, so the deer are hunkered down safe and sound. Nothing is moving. Mupp and I went to Cooperstown and saw a few but nothing to write home about. Ray Key shot a spike. No deer with horns is safe within a mile of this old school dairy farmer. The trip to Cooperstown has turned into a family visit with guns. Word on the street is Savage got a big 8 but I've yet to get the full report. Down on the farm they're taking does and up here on the mountain I've barely heard a shot. Today I'm doing chores, washing clothes and planning my next move. Pray for snow.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
You've seen the signs outside supermarkets and quickiemarts. Usually sponsored by Bud or Miller, they feature a nice buck and suggest you buy beer. I live in Sullivan County, NY. And Sullivan Co. has been welcoming hunters since forever. First it was the lowlanders from Walden and Montgomery. Unregulated seasons and subsistence hunting had depleted the deer herd in Orange Co. to the degree it was a big deal to even cut a track in the early part of the 20th century. So they took 17k west to Narrowsburg and Rock Hill. Then came the city hunters. The Catskills was easily accessible to the working man, as well as the mobbed up and well to do. Always the melting pot, this bunch hit the woods over apple bait piles, with hang overs and loaded guns. These were the hunters Sullivan Co. welcomed.
Last night I stood in my living room, stripped down to long johns and fuzzy slippers, talking to Mupp on the phone. He saw a bunch of does and had a nice 4 pointer at about 150 yards, but no shot.......when......I look out my window and I get hit in the eyes by headlights. It looks like a freight train is doing a U-turn on the church lawn. "Hold on.." I tell Mupp and head for the door. To my amazement a one ton pick up, pulling a double trailer filled with ATVs is ripping across my lawn, followed by another big shiny pick up. I run screaming (long johns, fuzzy slippers) phone in hand. "WHATTHEFUCKAREYOUASSHOLESDOING?" I holler, wishing I had the twelve gauge. I run up to the second truck, as the first one blows by me, ATV trailer bouncing. He stops, throws it in reverse and hollers something. Then they douse the headlights and speed away.
Sullivan Co. is under siege. Gas companies are breathing down our necks with fracking fluid breath and casinos look like, after 50 years of dreaded anticipation, are a coming reality. You know, this is my home and as of late the community is expanding. I ain't moving. More and more friends are moving close. The community IS expanding. So it's up to us to fight these evil forces.
Look what we have here:
Madison Farm- Butch's place across the street. We have camels, goats, ostriches, Carl the horse, and Dennis the donkey. GNJohn's has a half mile of river front, fields, a mountain. Open House tomorrow. Denniston Ford Foundation- Paul, Julie, Kara, Beth, Aden, Larry (all artists of note). They're doing deer hunting performance art in the woods in Dec.*Just a warning - we're pushing that woods on the last day. Majestic Farm- Sarah and Brett's incredible, notched in the forest paradise, complete with many critters and honey bees. Dreke and Andrew's systems nirvana. You can take the class. Slick and 'beeka's Outlierrecordingstudiocrochettedbikini farm. Shewho and Teddy's WSSP. Chuck, Tessa and Ace's WSSPII. And now Hollie Witchey is about to buy a place in Jeffersonville. Need I say more. Oh yeah- WELCOME HUNTERS AND STAY THE FUCK OFF MY LAWN!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
MARTYNKA AND SARAH
Labels: pHOTO:r. KERN
Sunday, November 21, 2010
But first the report: Old Bob got a doe, Vic shot a seven pointer, Young Bob missed two monsters with the bow and is in a deep funk. Young Mike was about to draw down on a giant 7 when his wifey GG called him on the phone. I do couples counseling. Just saying. Buddy Budde got a six and passed on a big bear. He rocks the pack so far. I wounded a buck and Waders shot a scraggly spike, even after we told him 6 or better in the back, or take a doe. But he whined something about his new apartment, expensive out of state tag and empty fridge, so I guess we'll let him slide. Milawyer and Savage haven't checked in yet.
This morning I finally got a taste of the Rut Show. I was trying a new spot on Majestic, hunkered down beside a tree and it started at first light. I heard "crunch-crunch" and a doe wandered slowly to my left at 30 yards. Then another deer behind her.....another doe. They moved off and within a couple of minutes a third doe came from the other direction. Then all of the sudden there was a buck- a four with brow tines.....a hot doe and another spike. The woods came alive with snorting, chasing and running away. They never knew I was there. It all lasted maybe 15 minutes. Then the woods went still. By 10am I'd not seen another deer.
This afternoon I went back and staked down a little camo pop-up blind. It's my new toy- totally light, portable and fast. It's a full moon, so nothing moved until right before dark. Another pair of spikes worked their way in front of me, scratching for acorns. But I found a six inch diameter tree tore up and cut a four inch track in the mud. Although Buddy did say the llama keeps getting loose, so it could be his print. Either way the llama didn't scar that tree. I think I'm ready to try to hunt the big one.........or like Waders......I do need meat. Next legal deer may die.
Friday, November 19, 2010
BLOOD ON THE ARROW
I went back to spot where I shot that buck and tried to pick up the trail. All that wind the previous night had kicked up the leaves and there wasn't a trace of blood. I went down the ridge and tried to find a bed where i had spooked the buck out. Nothing. The turkeys were gobbling (unusual for the fall) and a big coyote stalked below me. I looked and listened for crows but the skies were quiet. I felt bad, but had no choice but to take Savage's advice and move on. All I could hope for was that the buck was not severely hurt and would recover from the wound.
Gun season opens tomorrow. I have one last afternoon to score with the bow. I saw a nice 8 pointer this morning on Majestic Farm, but he came in down wind and made me. He didn't spook bad, but cautiously moved back into the thick stuff. So, I waited an hour, climbed down and moved the stand farther down the ridge. Now i overlook a big white oak and the place is loaded with acorns. I know this place is going to produce late in the season, but for now all I can hope for is a hot doe is using the bedding area.
This afternoon I'll hunt Mupp's and only shoot a buck if I get the chance. My mom and nephew Waders are coming over today and I have plenty of doe tags for gun season in 3m. This is the first deer season I've hunted without the old man at least being on the other end of the phone. He always knew what to say to put things in perspective. My fuck ups and misadventures where always met with a laugh and positive advice. He had a way of letting me know that "never give up" was the only option. I sure do miss that. I stuck that bloody, bent arrow in my kitchen ceiling as a reminder. Next time wait. And if the shot isn't there, pass. The shooting starts at dawn.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Last night the rain blew sideways from the west. It was wet on the porch from both doors in the morning. I woke up at 5am as always but didn't get up. Actually i should have because when i did get up there deer everywhere. On RNButch's there were 6. A spike was out the kitchen window. I put on my gear and got in the woods.
By 10 am a big doe with a younger one had been within range but had spooked at the last minute. the wind was at my back and no matter how scent conscious you are they are still going to bust you. I came home, and planned the afternoon. RNButch has been installing all new fence line, so i hadn't hunted the back ridge. That was my plan.
I went in at 2pm and by the time I set down against a big tree, brush all around, back to the field, I'd seen 3 doe. Then a big dark doe went out right below me, mouth open, like she'd been run. She could be hot. Then, not 15 minutes later a 5 or possibly 7 (with brow tines) buck crossed 10 yards to my left, heading for that doe's bed. I drew the bow and the wind blew my arrow off the rest. I got the arrow re-seated and by this time the buck was farther down the ridge and partially hidden. I released the shot and hit him high and too far back. He took off, the arrow sticking obscenely out his side.
I waited and then picked up the trail. I found blood, but not much. My heart sank. I never should've taken the shot. I retreated back to my spot and waited another hour. Then I went back to the trail. The blood was bright red and spotty. I had hit deer high before and dropped them dead, but I feared luck was not with me on this one. I found the arrow 200 yards away and as i picked it up, the buck went out below me. He snorted and disappeared.
After dark i called Savage and gave him the run down. He was kind, but firm. It was a bad shot, pure and simple. Best case if I can find the bed and find gut I may find dead deer. Another best case would be that the deer was not severely hit and he will recoup and be fine. Worst case he is severely wounded and I can't find him, leaving him to die a painful death from the wound or coyotes. Tomorrow I'll try to find the bed and take it from there. And no i won't get much sleep tonight. They don't teach this in art school.
Monday, November 15, 2010
I started incorporating hunting into my art work back in 1994. I had hunted as a kid but had ceased the practice until I found myself drawn back through my work. I was living on the Lower East Side and searching the streets for cheap material with which to do my work. (I always hated art supply stores. $20 for a tiny brush? Fuck that!) At first it was thrift store paintings that I painted over. Then it was book covers that I made into little collages and paintings. Everything was either free or dirt cheap. It had surface and history and a lot of the process was the hunt. I had an idea. Why not get back in the woods and REALLY hunt again? Could this work as art?
The parallels between hunting and art are many. Lets break it down. First in order to be a good hunter or a good artist always remember the 3 Ps- Persistence, patience and perseverance. Then there's rejection and failure. Make these your friends. And finally there's just showing up. Many's the morning I do not want to get out of bed. Artists can sleep late but hunters have to get up before dawn. No deer will cross your bedroom floor. But like hunters, artists must hit the "woods" also. Of course doing your art work is paramount, but you must communicate it in some way. If you are lucky enough to work on the world stage and show in museums and galleries, good for you, but most artists don't. Just like most hunters don't have 500 acres of corn fields and oak woods at their disposal, you have to make do. If it's a dozen friends and facebook or a tiny woodlot between houses- so be it. Put that shit out there. Get in the tree.
That brings me to this morning's hunt. So far it has been a very frustrating and dismal season. The only good news I have to report is I haven't missed one.......yet. None of my spots have produced any action to speak of. So I've been moving stands and trying to figure it out. Yesterday I moved a ladder stand behind my house just off the edge of a swamp. This AM I got out of the house in the dark and worked my way to the stand. It was so dark I lost the path numerous times and when I finally got to the spot I couldn't find the stand. As I stood there turning in circles, a deer snorted behind me. Fuck! All the stumbling around in the dark and now my sweaty frustration had tipped off the deer. It snorted a dozen times as it crashed off, alerting every deer within 5 miles that a human was in the woods. Busted.
As the sun came up I eventually found the stand, but it was already too late. I had blown it. 2 hours in the stand and i saw only squirrels. I climbed down and made my way home. How's my art career going? About like my morning hunt. I stumble around in the dark trying to find a my spot. I try my best. I work. I ask other artists when they are running. A gallery? A museum? A collector? An opportunity to take a shot. And when the opportunity comes i want to be ready, judge the distance, draw back the string, set the pin on the vitals, breathe.........
Monday, November 8, 2010
THE LYNCH REPORT
All text by Savage Lynch. Reported from memory:
"Yeah, I came down last week. I picked up my case of sake and packed the tools in the truck. Mupp (Bird) and I are still working at the lake but I'm hunting behind the house. I've been seeing all this activity under that oak tree alongside my house. It's like candy to them. A couple of spikes. A four pointer and a pretty nice eight. I came home tonight to put in the last hour and Junebug said she had seen a nice eight pointer underneath the oak and...." Here I begin to ask Savage Junebug's ability to judge a buck. "120-130?" I ask like I know what the fuck I'm talking about. "Good G-3s?" Savage continues. "JB said she did not know and did not care. It looked big. Period. So I went back in the stand and some guy must've tried to drop off a dog at the animal shelter and it got loose. So all I heard the whole time in the stand was "BUCK! Buuuuuck. Come here BUUUUUUUUCK." until dark. No deer."
As for me I've been seeing more deer and I even came to full draw on a doe on Friday. But she stepped behind a tree and i never got a good shot. It snowed this afternoon and I saw a four pointer and jumped some does. Gun season opens a week from Saturday. The weather looks good. We got time.