Friday, October 30, 2009




First, Savage Lynch's "DEER REPORT"- Young Bob Rowe shot 175 lb. 8 pointer. I think he got it on his new property, that backs up to the family farm. A kid shot a coyote across the river. The coyote was chasing a big group of deer through the woods when the kid stopped it with a bleat call and arrowed him. Osti missed an 8 pointer down on GNJohn's place. He missed it twice. He shot over it, then under it. I've seen four does and I kicked them out getting to the stand. I haven't hunted hard.

   After my miss I have hunted hard. I saw the buck once more and that was it. Since then I've seen only spikes and does, along with four turkeys in three different spots, two coyotes,  three eagles, a porcupine, and one rabbit. This morning I was going to try to shoot a doe behind Elijah's trailer, if I got a good shot. I didn't want to foul the river stand by shooting a doe there. I jumped a half dozen deer going in and never saw another one all morning.
   In the late afternoon I went back in the river stand. Nothing was in either GNJohn's jungle of golden rod or Gilkey's mowed pasture. About 5pm I caught sight of something coming across Gilky's field from the ridge. It was a dark coyote. Then another one- a light red shouldered one. After hearing Savage's story I had begun carrying the bleat call. I let out a soft Baaaaaaaaaaaa. They paid no attention. The lighter one pounced on a mouse and the dark one peeled off, slinking it's way towards me in the stream bed. The light one laid so flat it disappeared and I lost sight of the dark one. Then I remembered I had a turkey call on me. I did a series of yelps, trying to roust the one in the field. He didn't move. I'd no sooner sat down and the dark one stepped into a grassy opening, not 15 yards in front of me. He looked straight at me. When I slowly tried to raise the bow, he bolted, joining the light one in the field. They both flattened themselves out like dust spots and laid in wait until dark.
   During the coyote show a single doe crossed GNJohn's field and was now within range. I had that little angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. The angel, with a voice not unlike Shewho's daughter said "You better not fucking shoot that doe. (the kid's got a mouth on her) That could be Daffodil. You said you weren't going to shoot a doe down here. REMEMBER?" On the other shoulder all I heard was stomach gurgling hunger pangs and lip smacking slobber. "Ooooooh, with a little ginger, and mushrooms......." Then I saw a horn. It was that tiny spike that had been in the orchard the night I missed the big one. Phew! He better grow those horns a little faster if he wants to make it through the season.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


   When I spend almost an entire day hunting, i spend a lot of time thinking. I think about all kinds of stuff. I think about the plumber blowing me off in the 11th hour and disappearing off the face of the earth. I think about Shewho's neighbors in White Sulfur Springs and their Latin Satan and my neighbors in Glen Wild and their fence.  I think about the dreams I had last night and my parents' radiation and chemo treatments. I think about how Shewho's boss reached out from the grave and dropped her from her will, leaving Shewho an understandable mess. I think about trust and who deserves it.
   My brother Bird describes a friend as "someone who'll bail you out of jail at 3am." (Bird will never go to jail, so most likely his theory will go untested.) I, on the other hand, may do time but sadly have no such test. I go with my gut. I have  quite a few friends. And luckily I can trust a bunch of them.  I have a good family and extended family. And when all's said and done I trust Shewho.  How could someone not trust her? Could my judgement be that clouded or askew? 

Of course I'm thinking all this while I'm sweating down the back ridge above Gilkey's in a drizzly rain. i have the 12 ga. and am looking for turkey sign. Then I looked down and see a small j shaped turd. Turkey shit.  I sit down and make a few calls. Within five minutes I hear a putt. Then a full five noted hen call. I'm on it. I put the shotgun across my knee and call softly. The bird responds but i can't tell where she is. Then it goes silent. I sit still for at least a half hour but never see a bird. Fall turkey hunting can be way harder than in the Spring. 

But, as i was saying. I'm blessed with trustworthy people, when it comes right down to it. I grew up with most of them. And now Shewho has them also. I'm sure if push comes to shove they will all have her back. Remember, if I go I only plan to be gone three days.          

Monday, October 26, 2009




Things are starting to heat up. Last night in the stand down by the river was perfect. A light wind was blowing from the west. I've lost track what day it is. Monday? Saturday's storms gave way to clear skies and just a slight chill. All but the oaks have dropped their leaves.
   I got in the stand about 3:30PM.  I spotted a doe feeding behind me and little else. Then, from the same spot I'd seen the big buck come from I saw a tail. I put up the glasses and saw it was a small deer. He wasn't moving fast but that tail stayed erect. I'd seen this behavior before and just like times past, within 5 minutes a coyote appeared. Both he and the deer crossed the field towards me. I squeaked like a mouse but the coyote paid no attention. He had his own mice to keep him busy. He pounced and rolled on his back like a dog. When he got close the feeding doe spotted him and raised her tail also. This is not only an alarm signal, it also lets predators know it's a healthy animal and not to be fucked with. The coyote was way more interested in the field mice.
    As the sun went behind the tree line I caught sight of another deer crossing the field. This was a big deer. It was the buck. He crossed the grass like he owned the place. When he got close to the fence line another buck appeared and they lightly jousted for a few seconds. I grunted and they broke up. My heart was racing. Could I get another crack at this deer? Light was fading fast. In the few minutes I had left the bucks show no interest. I didn't want to spook them, so in the twilight I slipped out of the tree and let them go about their business. At dawn I'd be back.  

Friday, October 23, 2009



Thursday, October 22, 2009


  I don't mean the Halloween kind. WIRED magazine reports that the CIA is not only interested, but actually checks on your tweets, blogs and Facebook updates. Ever on the lookout for a larger readership, I can't be more excited. 
   Yesterday I went back to the stand where I missed that buck. There was a young porcupine up in the tree next to me, completely unfazed by my proximity. These critters have few natural enemies. The pine marten and fisher cat are the only predators that will take on one. I kept an eye on him, just so i didn't accidently brush against him getting out of the tree. I had exiled Pepe over to Wolf Lake earlier in the day, fixing a nice little nest for him under the family cabin. Lets hope he winter's up there. He looked so sad. This morning there's an opossum in the trap. He's going to WSSP. Shewho and her daughter TBear want pets. It's a start. 
   I saw two spike bucks and three does. The big boy never showed, but that doesn't mean he won't. I'm trying not to obsess. The season just started. Every day I put a couple of more arrows in the target and try my damnedest to work on my judging of distance. Who knows i may miss him again. It's part of the deal. Well, gotta go. Time to move Pogo.

NOTE TO CIA: Did you find the hidden message? 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


  I admit I poo-pooed GNJohn when he told me to take that skunk far-far away. I figured a couple of miles was plenty. I was wrong. That skunk Shewho saw walking up the road WAS Pepe. He had his snoot in the cat's dish by yesterday morning. He's sleeping peacefully in the trap as we speak. Today he's going for a loooooong ride. 
   It's been a tough couple of sleepless nights for me. Missing that buck hit home hard. Rarely do circumstances line up so perfectly. The combination of the buck fighting, making him responsive to my calls, the little spike distracting him, a clear, unobstructed shot, good light, etc., etc., all made this miss all the more bitter. I blame only my lack of shooting skill. AND it's not only with the bow I have trouble. I miss 'em just as easily with the gun. But once all the belly aching is done, let my old man put things in perspective.
  Today my father starts radiation treatment for all the cancer he has chewing up his body. He's already on chemo. Both he, and my mom go to the hospital like it's a 9 to 5 job. Week after week, month after month, this is how they spend their time. Both are sick, unable to do things they used to take for granted. So when hunting season starts I try to give him daily updates. My buck miss story had him splitting a gut.
   Neither of my parents are complainers. i wish they passed their stoicism down to me. If I get the stifles I turn into a complete whining asshole. If I miss a big deer I put more gravel in my shoes and cinch my barbed wire belt a little tighter. So, after my very detailed story about the fighting bucks, the grunting call, the warm glow of the setting old man interjected between giggles. "You know, I'd give my left nut for an afternoon like you just had- miss and all." He was right. I had missed clean. I had called in a big buck and taken a safe shot. OK, two shots.  It's difficult to realize how much we have to be thankful for. Little things like being able to climb in that tree stand can be enormous to someone who no longer can do that. Last night the old man said he woke up in the middle of the night with a smile on his face, knowing I was tossing and turning in my bed, replaying my miss. He wasn't mean about it....just honest. An inch inch lower...... I tossed and turned. He was right about it all. Most of all he made me realize how good I have it. Put a few more arrows into that target and get back in the tree, and quit yer belly aching. Amen.     

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



After two days in the cemetery stand, I decided it was time to switch. Late yesterday afternoon I hit GNJohn's stand. This is one of my favorite places to hunt. It sits on the far edge of an old orchard bordered by a swamp, an overgrown field , a mowed pasture and overlooks Gilkey's ridge and the river. It's a panoramic view straight out of a tourist brochure. Even if I didn't see a deer it was one of the best places on earth to watch the sun set. 
   As I climbed in the stand I could see two does out in Gilkey's pasture. They never raised their heads. Soon I heard movement in the brushy field. The golden rod was so high all I could see was the weed tops moving as the deer came closer. Finally i spotted brown. It was a little spike. He worked his way into the orchard and I settled into the warm afternoon. After about an hour I saw deer coming across the river way over by the bend, past the white pine. I put the binocs up and saw the backs of two bucks battling it out. They were too far to see size, but the fact that they were fighting was a good sign. It took about a half an hour for the deer to cross the field towards my stand. By the time they were close enough to see in the glasses, one buck had split off, but the remaining one looked like a nice 8. Hmmmm? Could I possibly get this deer in?   I'm pretty good at calling turkey in, but deer are a different story. I've never had much luck in this area. I grunted softly. Nothing. The deer kept munching the grass. Then I caught movement below me. It was the little spike staring right at me. The last thing I needed was this deer to blow and spook the rest. I called again, louder this time. Still no reaction. The light was fading. One last call- as loud as i could. The buck raised his head and took a step towards the sound. Then another and another. He was coming.
   I hadn't set out yardage markers, so quickly eyeballed the terrain and guestamated  where 15, 20, 30 yards......before I knew it the buck was below me, stretched out and doing the "grunt, snort and wheeze". I'd seen this on TV hunting shows, but never in the field. Wow! I drew back, settled the 15 yard pin and shot right over the deer's back. FUCK! The buck spun but didn't go far. I tried to quietly knock another arrow and it was jammed in the rattling plastic quiver. Below me the spike stepped out and looked at the big buck. I gave up on this arrow and was able to get another loose. He stood broadside, glaring at the spike. 30 yards. Perfect. I drew back again....

Sorry. I can't go on. My tears are flooding the keyboard. Lets just say That big buck spent the night healthy, happy and chasing does. Me? I didn't get much sleep. Disgust doesn't even come close to describing my state of mind. It's going to take some doing to get over this one. I'm such a tool. 

Monday, October 19, 2009


 With a mid-October snowstorm bearing down on the Catskills, opening day of bow season looked promising. Impending bad weather will usually get the deer moving, looking for feed and cover. It's a little too early to depend on the rut to stir 'em up, so freak weather was my best bet. But first I had to move my stand, plan a birthday party for Shewho, do a little work on a new collage I had started three months ago, and trap a skunk who had been eating all the cat's food. 
   Shewho drove up Friday morning, straight from the hospital, where she had been on death watch for her boss the famous artist NS. She'd been called in by the Drs. at 3 am. Told that the end was near, she reached NS's side as she was being wheeled into ICU. Hardly a pulse, no blood pressure, and NS sat up and asked cheerily "Where we going?" She's a tough old bird, who was not willing to go easy. There were more pieces to be done. 
   By the time Shewho arrived I had caught the skunk. I draped a sheet over the cage and gingerly set it in the back of the truck. "Pepe" was far. We drove a couple of miles down by the river and released Pepe into a little stream bed. He happily waddled off. In years past I would've shot the critter, but due to Shewho's daughter's influence I'm turning into a 14 year old girl.
   In attendance at the party was GNJohn, Slick and Bird and Ginny. I made a big pot of pasta and with plenty of beer and wine, a good time was had by all. Shewho blew out all 5? candles, then fell flat on the floor. So that's why they call it tipsy. I was up at 5:30 am. The promised Noreaster never materialized. I saw 9 doe in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. It was cold. At one point I blew in the grunt tube and 6 doe materialized out of thin air. The biggest one was close enough for a shot, but she had me pegged and i couldn't move. Eventually they all spooked and ran off. "Good encounter." as they say on the TV hunting shows.
    On Sunday morning Shewho got the call she was dreading. NS was gone. It's a call many of us are dreading these days. You get to be a certain age and all those old timers you have loved all your life start to leave this mortal coil. You can't avoid it. It sucks. 
   By late afternoon I had seen one doe and Shewho had spent the day finishing the floors at WSSP. Darkness descended and I wandered out of the woods.  These days art, hunting, critter trapping and blog are my priority. Work can wait. On her way home Shewho passed a skunk walking up the road a half mile from my house. Pepe? We'll see. Time to feed the cats.   

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


   It's fitting that I come back to this blog with a story about the neighbors. The last post, a little over a year ago, sets the stage. I have to admit WSSP- the blog was an utter failure. It became obvious that when you make your work your art it becomes just as boring as if it was just work along. That's why hunting becomes a much better vehicle to carry the narrative. That, along with the addition of pretty girls, I have to admit it's more entertaining... as a blog.  I can't deny it. You have to come to 192 Midway Rd White Sulphur Springs, NY in order to appreciate it. 
   So, I'm back and so are the girls. Hunting season for turkey started on the 1st of Oct. I've been out a couple of times and haven't seen a bird. WSSP is in the final stages so I can chill and hit the woods. This is my favorite time of year (outside of Spring). The leaves are past peak and it's been a banner year for the splendiforous foliage. All the rain made the mountains shine. Some wind has knocked the leaves off, but there's still plenty of green on the ridges. All I want to do is sit against a tree, with a 12 ga. on my knee and soak it up. 
   But.......the neighbors will not have it. On Monday I drove out to WSSP, planning to do a little hunting. And there, above the scowling Satan, was this- "Ni conglari Non Buscum" or something to that affect. Now, I've learned to expect almost anything from the neighbors. But Latin? I dial Shewho and she says Google sez- it translates as "Don't Fuck with Us!" Nice. I hit the Sheriff's office and a uniformed douche bag tells me it's free speech. "Don't let it bother you." he suggests like it's just that easy. "If he loaded a cannon and pointed at your house it would be harassment. Anything less is freedom of speech." "How about Nigger, or a swastika? Can he paint them?" I'm grasping. He looks at me like I probably brought it on myself.
  In the end I can do nothing. As I mentioned in the last posting. Status Quo.