Tuesday, December 22, 2020


 *actual photo unavailable


  I honestly am more than happy to cancel Christmas. I loved NO THANKS giving. The debunking of the Thanksgiving myth was cathartic, as was the vodka penne and bottles of red wine that Shewho and I imbibed, as we gave thanks for each other. It felt good. I think Xmas for two is nice also. I don't mind not celebrating holidays. Every day is a fucking holiday in my life. 

Last Day of Deer Season: 

    The boys pulled in at 9am. Right on time. Last night I had seen three does and a six pointer. The buck had long brow tines, but a light rack- a two year old- not a shooter. Nobody was hunting this farm but me. I let the buck walk, hoping for at least another year for this beautiful animal. But the doe was another matter. Slowly I raised in the stand, trying to get on the mature doe. As soon as I moved she had me. There was a heavy branch about 10 feet in front of me across her vitals. I couldn't move. It was a stare down.

15 mins. later      

   Five mins. past legal shooting time the doe bolted taking the buck and fawn with her. Shaking like a leaf, I lowered the gun. That was yesterday. Today UB, Bird and Savage had arrived to put on drives. This is old school farmer hunting technique. It's just what it sounds like. Some of the hunters take up stand in strategic locations as other hunters "drive" the woods, hoping to put a deer in front of a stander. But before we could gear up and push the woods behind my house I was faced with an apparition. In the middle of the shoveled path in front of me, between two foot high snow banks, stood a cute, little, black and white rabbit. Huh? He turned, looked at me, got up on his haunches and twitched his nose. Then he hopped up on the snow and scurried away. I looked at Savage. "Did you see that?" He had.......thank God.

    I know some people in the neighborhood read HWS. So if you are missing a rabbit he's under my deck, staring blankly at a dish of cat food. I'm not much of a vegetarian. I don't have any lettuce or carrots. That's all I got. Where did this bunny come from? Was he (she?) a messenger from the past or harbinger of the future? You may think I'm reading a little too much into this rabbit. But, let me remind you that the last time a rabbit showed up at my door he was dead and needed a burial site. It was Easter. I let him be buried in the CLGM Cemetery. Aside from Jerry Williams ashes, the Easter Bunny is the only body buried in CLGM hallowed ground. The CLGM has always blurred Easter and Christmas iconography- the birth and the death. A Rabbit Named Rudolf is Coming to Town is only one of the many holiday fusion hymns we've written. The resurrection is to come. 

    I tried to put this rabbit out of my head and concentrated on putting a deer in front of one of my friends. I succeeded. On the first drive Bird shot and wounded a doe and Savage dropped his third deer in three days. Last night he shot a nice ten pointer. After a long and frustrating season, he had filled the freezer--and then some-- in the final days. UB had also shot a doe off his farm a few days ago. Bird was having a frustrating season. Bird and UB got on the blood trail as Savage and I drug out his deer. Thankfully the wounded doe was found bedded and dying. They decided not to risk jumping her. After a break for lunch we were able to recover Bird's dead doe. Finally, after hunting hard (some of us since Oct. 1) we all had deer-- and everybody made it out of the woods in one piece. There was much to be thankful for. 

   We can't put on drive after drive anymore or hump up the mountains in a foot of snow, but we still hold our own all season. We hunt hard. But today we took it easy. Leaving daylight to burn, we called it an early end to the season. But what about the rabbit? He hung around all day. Last I checked the Xmas Bunny was under the deck. This seems to be the beginning of a nice holiday tradition. Instead of presents under the tree, you get a bunny under your deck. For years some unknown individual used to drop off random thrift store holiday crap on my doorstep as what I called the Xmas Miracle. Then it stopped. There hasn't been a miracle in years. Maybe this year it's the bunny. Maybe it's the miracle. If it's the same thaumaturgist dropping off miracles, please, I draw the line at livestock. I think the Xmas Bunny has come to officially cancel Xmas. I just hope he doesn't freeze to death or Cheeky doesn't kill him in the middle of the night. He looks a little fragile. But I hear ya bunny. I repeat, every day's a holiday in my world. You want to cancel Xmas this year? No big deal. I'm down. All I want for Xmas is that I don't have to bury you in the frozen ground next to the Easter Bunny.  I can't wait to cancel Easter again.  


Sunday, December 20, 2020




 Three days left. What started on October first, with warm weather and yellow leaves still clinging to branches, is now winding down in cold December woods. The recent storm dumped 18 inches of snow and the temps tumbled to five degrees. All my talk of the "perfect"conditions of extreme doe hunting, in reality produced a shutdown. The woods were empty. Nothing, not a squirrel, chickadee or deer moved for three days. But that didn't stop any of my deer hunting crew from getting on stand.

The report: UB- nothing. No tracks or sightings in Orange County. GHPhoto- some tracks and bobbing tails of busted deer in Ulster County. No shots. Savage- he saw one doe behind him at 40 yards. By the time he got the gun up the deer had vanished. Bird- finally a shot at a doe went unexpectedly wrong. Brown hair, a bit of spray and a few drops of a blood trail that stopped after 20 yards. Either gut or brisket. He's disgusted. He had his gun zeroed in. As for me, my luck is holding.

    My resolve to take a doe as of Wed. afternoon was predictably met with no deer. Walking in knee deep snow, bundled against the brutal cold is a workout for anyone. Let me remind you we are all over 65. I'm feeling like I can still do it, so I hump it to hunt stands directly uphill, thinking ahead for a downhill drag of a big doe. It now takes twice the time to get set up, drenched in sweat and exhausted. X hunting is not for the wimpy.

   Yesterday I returned to the north slope of GNJohn's mountain. I hadn't hunted it since the first week of gun season. The path was straight up. By 1 pm I was beat, but in the stand. I was encouraged by all the tracks, beds and even large patches of leaves dug up by deer foraging for acorns. At four pm I spotted a brown back behind a tree. FINALLY! I had plenty of time. She was crossing in front of me at about 75 yards. Slowly I shouldered the gun and settled the crosshairs behind her shoulder.....clicked back the hammer.....and squeezed the trigger. The boom and cloud of white smoke revealed the doe standing in place, looking around. I'd completely missed. HOW?

   Second chances on deer with a bow or a muzzleloader are few and far between. Yet, I've had them before and actually made them pay off. Last year's bow buck was a second shot. After he turned from the first arrow, I drilled him with a second. But knocking an arrow is nothing compared to reloading a muzzleloader in the freezing cold. 

    As that doe looked around trying to pinpoint the source of the smoke and noise I fumbled for powder, a bullet, and a cap. Everything was wrapped in a crinkly plastic bag, wrapped with an elastic band. Gloves came off and dropped in the snow. I got the powder and slug in the barrel, slammed it down with the ramrod, opened the breech, removed the cap with my fumbling, frozen fingers and somehow got another one in place. As I scanned the woods for the doe, I spotted another deer cresting the hill. It was a smaller deer, but not a fawn. Then I looked out in front of me. At fifty yards stood the original doe staring right at me. I slowly raised the gun, settled the crosshairs on her chest....clicked back the hammer and squeezed. This time she jumped, ran towards me, and piled up in a cloud of snow. Success!

    I field dressed that doe, hooked up my orange drag and skidded her down the hill. I was able to back my Toyota up to the snow bank and fold her into the trunk. She was hanging in my porch by dark.  My sense of accomplishment at shooting that doe and getting her out the woods by myself is as great as scoring on any big buck. I've had a great season, as others struggle to even see deer. I feel very lucky and as the season winds down I count my blessings. The freezer is full and hopefully the crew will come up to my shack for the last two days to put on drives. Putting some deer in front of my lifelong friends would be a great way to end the season. Stay tuned. First (like Bird) I have to sight in my gun....AGAIN.              

Monday, December 14, 2020




     I apologize to all of you that have been checking HWS every morning only to see that mount boiling on the stove. After a very prolific November (in and out of the woods) I had to throttle back and take care of some business. My mind only seems to be able to juggle so many things. The distraction was my Hail Mary, last ditch effort at getting some grant funding for my fringe lifestyle. The last time I got a grant was 1989. Those were different times. Oddball artists and sketchy approaches to applications were actually rewarded. Those times are long gone. Since then my applications have been summarily rejected. Crayon pleas for HELP on soiled tissue paper no longer hold muster.

     Now that the grant application is done I can get back to what is really important: getting on a good buck and removing Trump from 16 Pennsylvania Ave. Oh yeah, then there's the Covid. Taken in order, today is the NYS opener for muzzleloader season. For the uninitiated a muzzleloader is a one shot, black powder rifle that loads down the muzzle. The key here is ONE SHOT. I've gotten two of my biggest bucks with the muzzy. This is due to the change to extreme weather and the second rut, both shifts in the woods that will put mature bucks on their feet. The stars are aligning. The rut is on, snow is coming and the temps are dropping fast. My permission to hunt a good farm down the road has also returned for the late season. Things are looking up.

  The next issue is Trump. The disgust I feel towards literally half of the country and the entire Republican Party has only increased through the fall. My early confidence that Democracy will prevail-- avoiding blood in the streets-- is being sorely tested. Trump's version of black shirts (the Proud Boys) tore down and burned Black Lives Matter flags flying over DC Black churches over the weekend to cheering WHITE crowds. My Black Lives Matter flag flying over The Lion of Judah Cage was also torn down and stolen. I put another one up higher on the wagon. Now they'll at least need a ladder. This morning a conservative commentator on the radio described the ongoing Republican denial of election results as "belling the cat." No individual mouse wants to put that bell on him, but it's to the benefit of all mice to hear the beast coming. Blood flowed through the DC streets this weekend as a member of the Proud Boys stabbed multiple individuals. Police stood by as the BLM flags were burned. Do you hear the ding-ding-ding?

    And finally there's Covid-19. Vaccines are coming. Woop-woop. This shows what unlimited cash flow can do when applied to public health. Maybe Big Pharma has our best interests at heart. Ha! That's funny. Don't hold your breathe for a shot in the arm. As in March, I hold to the theory that we all are on our own when it comes to this disease. I wear my mask, hardly see anyone and spend most of my days in a tree. During the daylight hours I'm informed. At night it's a mystery. As an early Xmas present Shewho gave me a trail cam. Now I would know what's going on when I'm asleep. I set up the camera in my kitchen as a test. The next morning I had an idea of just what Cheeky deals with every night. There will be no bell attached to the beast. We mice will just have to take our chances. Get a quick nibble in the food dish when you can. Just keep looking over your shoulder. Danger is around every corner.