Wednesday, December 30, 2009


   When I returned to hunting in the early 90's I still lived in NYC's Lower East Side. I would grab my gun, wrapped in an old blanket, leaning on the wall near the door, walk down four flights of stairs, passing crackheads and drug dealers (also dressed in camo) and head for my old 70's Chevy. Pointing the big boat north, after working all night at the door of some bar, I bleary eyed hit the woods, either at Bird's or Wolf Lake. Whereas, before this I was less than serious about my hunting- now I was obsessed. It was this time in the woods that drew me out of the city. By 1995 I had purchased my house and church in Glen Wild. Now I could just step out my door. I was in heaven.
   For years I commuted to work back in the city as a restoration carpenter. In those days you couldn't make the money up here that you could in town. Plus the work in town was all high end and inside in the winter. But as time ticked by the commute took its toll. I even tried having an apartment in Brooklyn, but I was miserable during the week. I wasn't wired to be a weekender. Plus my pipes would freeze and skunks set up shop under the house. It probably took ten years, but finally I pulled out of the city entirely. I got a job turning a wreck of a bungalow into a show piece house and realized I could make a dollar up here in the sticks.
   Since then I've reclaimed two other houses and am about to start my fourth. No, my house and church are not done, but they are close. I hunt at least 3 months out of the year for deer and turkey, and make no money. I make art, write songs, own a pick up truck and still heat by wood. My little family of Shewho and Teehoo are set up out at WSSP and seem very happy. Yes, they are still city girls and there is a learning curve. They didn't have room for the Xmas ham in the tiny fridge, so Shewho put it on the back porch. Knowing this was too much temptation to the various critters about, I showed Shewho the proper way to secure the ham. "Here Honey, it goes in the kindling box." I rebuked gently. She moved it with a smile. She has too many teeth to be a real hillbilly, but she's working on it. To all my readers, have a happy and healthy New Year!  

Sunday, December 27, 2009



Thursday, December 24, 2009


     Bow season began on October 15th and muzzle loader ended on Dec. 22nd. That's it for deer season 2009. My season started exciting and frustrating. After grunting in a big 8 I shot over him and then under him. I let a lot of does walk and never had another crack at a buck with the bow. Once the shooting started the deer seemed to disappear. Day after day i hit the woods and drug my ass home empty handed. I began to question my ability as a hunter. I missed an easy shot at a doe with the .243. The infamous exploding bullet. Then the weather switched. It snowed and got cold. My luck seemed to change with the weather. I shot a 6 with the .243 and then a four and a doe with the muzzle loader. In the end I had a great season. And we all know it's how it ends, not how it started that we remember.
   Savage was a great help in writing this blog. Slick asked me the other night if his luck with big bucks was just that- luck. Some yes, but mostly he's just an experienced, very good deer hunter. He knows his shit. And he can take out a deer's eye at 400 yards. And no, he's not just my imaginary friend. He really does exist. 
    After the holidays I have to get back to work. Good friends Chuck and the Contessa bought an old farm house just down the road from WSSP. WSSP II will carry me through until turkey season. Hopefully I'll have some supermodels to share with you and do a little coyote hunting in the deep freeze. Now it's last minute shopping, butchering and hanging my stocking with care. Happy Holidays and Peace and Love to all.     

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


   After I shot that 4 pointer down at Bird's new annex, I realized it was the best spot to hunt if I wanted to get a doe or maybe even see the big 8. The crop of acorns had the deer moving and feeding all day long. From the high stand I could see bodies moving through the woods, scratching big oak leaf patches in the snow. Crows swooped and hollered coming and going on the gut pile from the buck and at one point chased a big eagle over the ridge. Baby squirrels chased each other around trees and it was cold.....really cold.
    On Sunday night supermodel Marianna Louise and boyfriend Horst came up to Slick's for dinner. Shewho, Teehoo and I joined them. I cooked up some venison and ML made her delicious beet soup. Shewho had way too much fun, so she and Teehoo ended up sleeping up in my nest, while I got the cold futon in my "guest room".  Anything for the little one. 
   Monday morning I slept in. I didn't get down to Bird's until 10 am. I decided to still hunt into the stand. As soon as I peeked over the gully, at the base of the ladder, I saw the hillside was littered with deer. There was a group of big does, trailed by a spike coming my way. I hugged the tree, pulled the gun up, picked out the lead doe and squeezed the trigger. They scattered like quail. It took a while (as usual) to find the dead deer. At least this time i had good blood. I gutted her and got back in the stand and hunted until 2pm, when I drug the big doe out. I'm getting way too old for this.
     Yesterday, being the last day, I was in the stand before dawn. I resolved  only to shoot a big buck. By 10 am I was so cold I had to take a break. Being a little behind on my Xmas shopping I drove to Gander Mountain to shop for Teehoo. This is my first Xmas with her. What to get a 14 year old city girl? "Can I help you?" the salesman asked at the gun counter. "I'm looking for a pink .22" I said. He pointed to a rack with 2 sweet Ruger semiautos in light pink. Santa was happy. As I began the ATF paper work he asked for my driver's license. Before I could lift the pen he said he needed something with my actual address. All my ID had my PO box. Christ, I only got an address a few years ago. I live in the sticks. 
    Well, let me tell you, don't try to buy a gun without this physical address ID. As I pulled crap from my wallet, looking for anything with my street # on it, the salesmen gathered and my voice rose. "THIS IS BULLSHIT!" I stated flatly. Everything from hunting license to pistol permit had my PO box. "How would the ATF get a hold of you?" the surly manager reasoned. "How about putting my street address on the form?" I debated. I could be lying. They all knew I was up to something no good with my girly .22. Eventually, surrounded by Gander employees and well meaning customers, ready to jump on me if need be, I gave up. "You could go to the DMV and get a form." one guy suggested. That's just how I wanted to spend the last day of hunting season. Frustrated, pissed and trying to calm down, I went back in the woods. How the hell will I make it until turkey season?             

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Friday, December 18, 2009



Thursday, December 17, 2009


   I called Savage the other night to get the report. "How'd you make out?" he asked. I'd hunted Bird's new parcel. It was 30 acres that butted right up against his place. Some guy had been trespassing for over ten years, hunting and erecting ladder stands. When Bird told the owner, she gave him permission to kick the guy out and hunt it. The guy was obviously disappointed, but left the stands. We'd never seen such luxurious digs. The first afternoon I hunted the gully stand. I saw nine does and let them all walk. I was waiting for the 8 to show himself. I excitedly told Savage about our new spot and asked how he made out? My report pales in comparison. Here's the report.


  I had to take my truck into the dealership in the morning so didn't get in the woods. Bobby hunted that piece of woods behind G's house. He saw a group of does and a buck with a nice rack but he couldn't get a shot. Then he lost them. I got down to the farm about 12:30. We had lunch and plotted the afternoon. Bobby thought we should push that woods first. We set Youngbob by the barn, and Bobby went behind G's. I put on the waders and no sooner stepped in the woods and I heard a shot. The radio crackled. It was Youngbob. "I knocked down that buck, but he got up and is heading for the airport."
   We rushed to get in the truck and park it, to be legal. I saw the buck. He was hit high in the shoulder and moving fast. Bobby and Youngbob tried to get in front of him and I picked up the blood trail. He was heading for that big swamp behind McCaffery's. I heard another shot. Youngbob hit him again. But the deer kept going. We had to keep him going or we ran the risk of him bedding and not finding him. In the time it took for the Bobs to get in position again, the blood trail was thinning. Once he hit the cold deep water the bleeding lessened. At one point he crossed ten yards behind Bobby. He never saw or heard him in the soft snow. I kept moving blowing the crow call so they knew where I was.
    By this time we were all the way behind the old Maybrook railroad yard. I got him moving again and the blood trail picked up. Then I heard a shot. Over the radio came word. It was Youngbob. "He's down." He was a real nice ten pointer. We had a helluva drag out, but latched onto those horns made it all worth it.

Editor's note: I went back to Bird's yesterday and hunted all day in the fucking cold. I saw 14 does and 3 bucks. At 2:45 I shot a nice high 4 with unique curves in his antlers. Savage would've let him pass, but I'm not Savage. I'm pleased as punch.       

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


  The hunt's not over until you cook up the meat and share it with friends and family. Which is just what I did on Saturday. But I'm getting ahead of myself. After I shot that buck I still had a day of Xhunting with Savage and Bobby on the farm and the airport. Savage is not only an excellent guide, but he also makes breakfast and a sandwiches for lunch. The last drive of the day was on a piece of property that Savage got special permission to hunt. They'd noticed the deer were coming out of this piece every night. Neither Savage nor I had buck tags so the idea was to put a buck in front of Bobby.
   It was windy and cold. I stood on a side hill and Bobby stood just across an old trestle. There was turkey scratching everywhere and I could hear them gobbling back in the woods. Savage came over the radio and said he saw a doe and a bigger deer down in front of him. Finally he made his move. 
   The buck came at a trot right behind me. He was a high tined six or eight. I didn't raise the gun. Then he stopped. I couldn't take it. I called Savage. "I got a buck right in front of me. Do you have Unki Harold's tag?" I whispered. "It better be a good one. 10-4" Then the buck bolted. A doe came full tilt behind him and I took a crack at her and missed. Savage may be used to letting big bucks walk, but this was an entirely new experience for me and I didn't like it one bit.    
On Saturday Bird, Bobby, Savage and I did our annual day of drives up here at my place.  No one had a doe tag, so nobody raised the gun all day. After dark the party started. Shewho made her famous eggnog and I cooked up a backstrap and full wild turkey breast. There were no complaints. On Sunday night I got a call from Savage. Bobby's brother Chuck was walking across that trestle, spotted that buck I passed on and shot him. Turned out to be a dandy eight. Now, I don't know Chuck, but I think we can all agree that buck should've been Bobby's. These guys are farmers and basically consider deer rats with hooves. So I'll try not to judge. I'll leave that to Bobby.   


Monday, December 14, 2009


Friday, December 11, 2009



Wednesday, December 9, 2009


    The past two days I was just where I said I'd be- in Savage's pocket. He bird dogged for myself, Charlie and Bobby Rowe, both on the farm and airport land. The "airport" is 6700 plus acres that is now NYS forest. The Rowe family has farmed this land for generations. In the 60's the MTA took it by eminent domain. The Rowes are a few of the last to farm it (even though now they rent land they once owned.) It's incredible whitetail habitat. Savage and Bobby have hunted it for years. I was along for the ride.
   The first day on the farm I saw 3 doe. I could've taken a shot at the lead doe, but passed. Even though Savage wears a dog bell, I still wasn't sure where he was on the drive. Bobby saw two red fox and one swam the Otterkill when he spooked it. By sunset we'd never fired our guns. I went to Savage and Junebug's for dinner. She made a nice ham. On the way home I crested Joyce's hill, above Kaisertown road and there stood a big buck- an 8 or 10. I locked the brakes, skidded and his horns gently scratched the back door of my Neon. I was getting close. Savage must've sprinkled his fairy dust on the car instead of me.
   The next day we hit the airport all day. That tinkling dog bell was through every swamp, thicket and dale. All he pushed to me was a big coyote. Lucky for the critter, Bobby had told me they don't shoot them, because they kill the woodchucks. The Rowes grow crop, not livestock. Coyotes get a pass. The coyote bolted across the snowy field. It was amazingly beautiful. We saw 29 wild swans on the reservoir. By the end of the day Savage had barely seen a fresh track. A front was coming in and again we were skunked.
   This morning I awoke to six more inches of snow, sleet, and rain. I knew of an old stand with a roof on it, behind Gene's. I could hole up there in relative comfort. By 8:30 nothing had come through. The wind was from the east, perfect for sneaking into the swamp where they bed. I got down. I could move silently with the wind in my face. I didn't go 200 yards before I saw a doe- and another- and 1,2,3,4....I counted 8. They were on their back legs, browsing on branches. I was ready to take a doe. Then I hesitated. Maybe there was a buck. I was standing in snow, my gloves off, hands freezing, scope icing up, in a steady sleet. Then I saw a horn against a tree.
   The does eventually moved off, but never winded me. The buck stayed in the thick branches. I had no shot. Plus, I was still freaking over the exploding bullet. I had to wait for a clear shot. Then he stepped out. I fired. He ran. I ran. I fell face first in the snow. I got up. He was still there. I fired again. He went down. Both shots were within a couple of inches of each other. He's a four on one side and a two on the other, with a good spread. He's no pretty boy, but a good solid Sullivan County buck. And, it turned out he had a broken back leg. He must've been hit by a car.  Man, did I work for this one. I still have a doe tag and muzzle loader is next week. I couldn't be happier.  

Monday, December 7, 2009


   Yesterday I came out the woods (empty handed once again) and noticed a bloody shell casing on my door. Searching for my glasses, I checked the caliber. It was a 30.06. I know at least two people who shoot this caliber gun- Bird and Savage. I called Bird and got no answer. My next call was to Savage Lynch. "What's the report?" I asked.


   I had to go to the lake to close some stuff up and asked Dad if he wanted to go for a ride. We pulled in and as I was backing the truck in the drive I noticed a deer standing about 60 yards in the woods. It looked like a buck. I pulled up the binocs and it was a good 8 with high brow tines. I had brought along the .06. "Hand me the gun." Dad said. "Dad, you don't want to shoot that deer from inside the truck, do you?" There was no response. I guess that answered my question. 
   So I turned off the truck, chambered a shell, and grabbed a pile of coats. Dad slowly opened his door and got out. He laid the coats across the hood and steadied for a shot. The buck just stood there. He wasn't happy with the shot so he moved to the truck bed. That wasn't right either. "Can you pull the truck up a little?" he asked. I started the engine and inched up a little. Finally he was happy. When he shot, the buck hunched and ran. "I think I put a good shot on him." I wanted to let him lay, so I made dad wait while I did my chores and found a knife down at Mibro's. This drove him crazy. He found first blood. The buck had run about 40 yards. Turned out it was a four on one side and a big 10 inch spike on the other. Dad was tickled pink. We gutted him out with one of Mibro's steak knives.

   Editor's Note: If this had been anyone but Savage, that buck would've bolted. For some reason he has the ability to hypnotize the beasts. Congrats to Little Beaver. Tomorrow I'm hunting with Savage. I'll be in his hip pocket until I draw blood.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


 No, it's not my new band. Around noon I decided to hunt this farm behind WSSP. Or more like I walked it with the gun. It must've been in the 50's. So I wore blue jeans and light coat. I wasn't really geared up for hunting. I figured I'd pussyfoot through it, see nothing and go home. But up in it I found a perfect convergence spot of orchard, swamp, hardwoods and hayfield. Then I saw a cut off log leaning against a big old tree. I looked closer and noticed screw in steps, but no stand. Once up on the steps I figured a way up though the branches and found a perfectly comfortable perch, and a sawed off branch to hang the gun. 
  I wasn't there 30 minutes when a spike came through. It showed promise immediately. He was gimping and I thought of taking him, but he seemed to be moving ok, so I just watched him disappear into the thicket. At 1:30 I got cold. I had an old pair of carharts back in my car. I figured I could get warm clothes and still be back in the tree by 2:30. I went for it. On the way back I spooked 4 doe   across the road.
  Back in that tree I marveled at the spot. Who ever screwed those steps in knew what they were doing. I had a good branch to stand on and another to sit. I could see the woods, field and runs in and out of the orchard and swamp. Throughout the afternoon my head swiveled. Then about 4:15 I turned to my right and there stood a big doe 20 yards away staring at me. I was ready to take this doe, but couldn't move. Finally another doe came out behind her and didn't see me so the lead doe calmed down. It took about 10 minutes to get the gun up. And when I did they spooked and spun back into the thick shit. I bleated, stopped the back deer and fired.
   I aimed right behind the shoulder. I got down out of the tree expecting to see a dead deer. The title sez it all. White hair. No blood. And a tiny piece of skin. I admit I didn't sight in my gun this year, but I shot a deer with it last year. But shit, I'd have to be awfully off to shoot under this deer. I couldn't even see its belly. I looked and looked. No deer. No blood. Then it got dark. When I got home I called Savage.
   "Was it thick?" he asked. I told him it was. ".243? They can explode if they hit a twig." I knew this from experience once before, but the distance was much greater. This deer wasn't 40 yards away. Savage may be just trying to make me feel better. Here are the options: The gun is off- by a lot. The bullet hit a twig and fragmented, deflecting under the deer's belly. Or I am the worst shot on planet earth. I hope I did not hit that deer badly. I feel like shit. It's the one part of this whole art/life/hunting equation that I truly despise.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2009



Tuesday, December 1, 2009