Wednesday, December 23, 2015





Deer not moving? Coming out of the woods covered in ticks? Post office losing your mail? Assholes cutting you off in traffic? The knucklehead who hunts on your little piece of paradise not wearing orange, shooting illegal bucks, putting stands where he doesn't belong, and hunting with a two shot muzzleloader? Blame it on global warming.

   Deer season ended at 4:29 pm yesterday. Lets recap a long and frustrating season. It started out and ended up warm. But with plenty of apples and mast it didn't take long before I had a buck within range of my bow at GNJohn's orchard stand. On Oct. 13th, just before dark, I put an arrow in what I thought was a pretty nice six pointer. The shot was a bit high, but I hoped I had caught both lungs. The deer disappeared into the swamp. Then I saw what I hoped was the buck cut across the field and vanish. A call to Savage and Milawyer put us, and Bonnie the dog, on blood by 8pm. By 10 pm Bonnie found the dead deer in a briar patch. The six turned out to be an 8. The season got off to a great start.
    By the time gun season opened I had moved to my favorite spot on another farm. The rut was late and the bucks were still chasing opening day. I had fours in front of me, and even passed on a basket eight late in the day. I felt confident a big mature buck would show himself soon. Day after day I hunted hard. I saw more fours, spikes, does, coyotes, porcupines, and woodpeckers. I found big rubs and scrapes. The sign was there, but no shooters showed. The warm weather continued. It wasn't until 5 days into muzzleloader season that we finally had a dusting of snow. With plenty of mast, the deer had no reason to move. They bedded in the scratched up leaves that covered the acorns.
   By last Friday all bets were off. Savage, Mupp, and UB came up to put on drives. We pushed deer. Mupp shot and missed. UB let does pass, waiting for a buck, and Savage and I never got a shot. Yesterday we repeated the drives with the addition of photogGeorge. UB got one. I shot and missed an easy shot at a doe and UB missed the same deer. She was not meant to die that day. Savage passed on a buck and as daylight faded we piled into the pickup and headed back to the shack. With 6 mins. of shooting light left UB spotted a large group of deer, just off the road, in the woods we had just pushed. I sent the other hunters back to the cemetery, jumped from the truck and got ready to make one final push.

   As I stood on the side of the road, loaded gun in hand, waiting for the others to get in position, a school bus stopped, lights flashing, dropping off the neighborhood kids. Welcome to living in the sticks. I waited......and waited. Finally the bus passed me, I smiled and waved at the kids, stepping into the woods. The bus had kept them from bolting across the road. The deer busted up the hill. I waited for a crack and a cloud of smoke. But the deer hung right and escaped. Another season ended. We all came out of the woods safely. By all accounts the deer were scarce. Here's the tally. Savage shot a nice 9. UB got a "doe". I got the 8. And Mupp and PGeorge came up empty. As tough as it was I wouldn't trade my time in the woods for anything. Two end of the season drives with my closest friends was the icing on the cake. If by March the freezer is empty and chicken is for know what to blame. 4 months until turkey season.    

Monday, December 14, 2015

DAESH- the movie

Monday, December 7, 2015




   I know that in my last posting I stated that I was more than willing to give up all my firearms, save my muzzleloader, if it would make this world a safer place. But even the most glaringly obvious restriction, like not allowing those on a "no-fly" list to purchase guns is not in the cards. So it doesn't seem like any reasonable gun control is coming any time soon. In this paranoid gun-slinger climate our neighbor to the east- the Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum, made national news the other night by urging anyone with a carry permit in his county to do so. "The police can't be everywhere." Not to be left out of the mix the Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff publicly agreed that his county permit holders should follow Ulster's lead and do the same. Never one to shirk my civic duty I found my 9mm., scrounged around for a couple of bullets and slid the holster onto my belt. Cheeky looked on in bemused silence. I could tell he didn't think this was a good idea.
   Heeled for the holidays in Sullivan County, I am armed and ready to take on......who? I live in a county that prides itself in arming it's citizenry. Pigpen Rothman applied for a pistol permit a couple of years ago. He told the judge he shot his .38 twice, couldn't hit anything and learned way more in the Israeli Army than the NRA required course. The judge's ears pricked up. He called to his secretary. "Bring in those full carry papers!" After signing and stamping all the copies he shook PP's hand and thanked him "for his service." I guess the word Israeli slipped by him.

   Ben Carson may be deluded enough to think that if he was in Paris or San Bernadino, with his cape and laser shooting eyeballs, he could take on a bunch of heavily armed individuals in body armor and suicide vests, but the average Catskill hillbilly? What the fuck are these guys thinking? Politicians watch too much TV. They think, like in a hollywood movie, an armed individual could slip out their little pocket gun and save the day. It's pure fantasy. Nonetheless moms across two counties are slipping their Lady Smith and Wessons into their pajama bottoms and taking the kids to Walmart, ever vigilant, on the look out for anything suspicious. Can you imagine the bloodshed if that bulge under the shopping Pakistani woman's hijab is a legal .45?
    So the posse is forming. The Catskills are the tip of the spear. Daesh better not lop any heads off in this neck of the woods. Out of a sense of self protection from the rest of the gun toting public, the police and the wacked out politicians I will be strapped at all times until it's safe to put my pistol back on the shelf. It may be a while. God only knows who will protect us from the posse

Saturday, December 5, 2015




Every morning I get up just before 5 am, stoke the fire, make coffee, feed Cheeky and get in the truck. Once at the farm I suit up, put on my harness, load my gun in the dark and head for one of my stands. I climb the tree and sit there, scanning the empty woods, looking for movement, listening for the crack of a twig or the shuffle of leaves.
    Yesterday, around 7:30 AM I spotted something coming from the left. I didn't move. It was a buck. There was no need to raise the gun. It was a 6 pointer, barely legal, and not the shooter I was searching for. Within the next hour 3 does would appear right below my stand and then all went quiet. There I sat, slowly turning my head, hoping the big one (whose sign was everywhere) would make an appearance. At noon I gave up and went home for lunch. This is deer hunting.

   Since gun season started I've let two legal bucks walk (a basket 8 and this 6), passed on many does and haven't clicked off the safety. One shell is in the chamber of my 30.06 and 3 more in the magazine. If things go as planned I'll only need one shot. Long days in the woods are broken by food, drink, sleep and a steady stream of bad news. Politically I'm an anomaly. Leaning as far left as I can, I have a carry permit and about a half dozen long guns of different types (for different game and seasons). So you'd think I'd be against gun control. You'd be wrong.
   As "active shooter" incidents pile up across the world, the one thing they increasingly have in common is the use of rapid fire, high capacity long rifles of the AR or AK variety. These light little guns in .222 and .223 calibers are perfectly designed for killing great numbers in a short amount of time. And that's about all they are good for. No hunter in his right mind would carry one. Gun geeks like them because they can be customized easily and are fun to blast away at the range. The shooters in Paris and San Bernadino were armed with these. The only people who should carry them are active military. But this is fucking America. So anyone over 18 with a clean record can go to Gander Mountain and pick one up.
    It's time to treat guns like cars. There is such a thing as "street legal". The same should be applied to guns. "Woods legal" or "security legal" could be a way to start. Take on the gun lobby and the NRA's penchant for overblown hyperbole. Be specific about magazine capacity and designed usage. There's no built in obsolescence with guns. If it's a good gun it will last multiple lifetimes. Take a clue from the fight with big tobacco. Make any gun not designed for the legal taking of game, so expensive nobody can afford it. It won't stop them from getting in the wrong hands. But it just may help. I'm not ready to give up all my killing instruments except my muzzle loader and bow.......but I'm close.