Thursday, November 18, 2010

The second of the great fall seasons is now upon us. Michigan's 2010 Firearm Deer season kicked off without a bang. It was more of a snore than a bang- at least for Nimrod.

You may recall last year how we all learned to never ever ever never break a tradition. This year was going to be different. The traditions chair is where I wanted to be. Its where I needed to be. Its where I was going to be.

The previous day I laid out all my gear. Ensuring the transition from Laborer Nimrod, into Nimrod then to Predator Nimrod went as smooth as it never could be. I grabbed the gear and loaded it into the back of the Sled and set off for the family land. Monkey had to attend class at his institute of higher education so the rest of the crew was going to stay at the Nimrod Ranch unless some foolish deer decided to pay me a visit.

The drive went without anything. Really nothing. The Sled doesn't have a radio. I usually listen to an MP3 player with either podcasts from Michigan Outdoor radio shows or an eclectic mix of music. This morning it was nestled in a cup by the home computer. The hum from the tires and rattle of the engine kept me entertained on the ride. Not exciting but who wants to get all excited before the second of the great fall seasons?

The roads were wet from overnight rain. Luckily I had thought ahead and brought a towel to dry the seat of the tradition chair. I would not have to have a short sit with a wet seat. As I drove by baseops I noticed not a creature was stirring, not even Grey Beard. Knitter was already off to drive her yellow dinosaur; shuttling the kids to the institute of higher education. Grey Beard was sawing logs. I thought about honking as I went by but when I tried the horn on the Sled didn't work.

As I pulled into the field at the family land, I was undecided how sloppy the mud was going to be. Since the sled has racing slicks I decided to just go for it and hope for the best. As I gave her gas and hit the dirt, I quickly found out the mud wasn't sloppy and darn near rolled her from the speed.

I parked her in the same spot I have parked for many, many hunts. I shut off the engine, and sat in the quiet for a few minutes. While one would think I was letting the exhaust fumes blow away in the wind, I was really taking a quick nap.

Once I awoke, I decided it was time to get out into the Traditions chair. I stepped out and gather my gear. I took off my boots and stepped into the muddy dirt. Since Nimrod is always thinking, I realized the floor mat from the drivers cockpit of the sled would keep my feet dry and clean. I retrieved the mat and stood on it with my dirty wet stocking feet. As I put on my hunting gear, piece by piece I transformed from Nimrod into Predator Nimrod. Life was good.

A sneaked to the Traditions Chair and found the seat bone dry. How a seat, sitting in the woods with no cover, could be bone dry after a night or rain is beyond me. Not wanting to feel too foolish, I sat on the dry towel anyway. All the while wonder how the seat was dry.

This opening morning was like ones in the past. There was not spectacular sunrise, there was nothing coming alive as the sun rose. It went from night to day. No fanfare, no parades or fireworks. Just the light overcoming the darkness. Morning just became.

Not only was there no fanfare with the coming of the morning. There was no fanfare or fireworks during the time I sat in the Traditions Chair. I heard one faint gun shot at dusk. Nothing more. Only excitement was someone sneaking to his own stand on a neighboring property. It appeared he was coming onto the family land but it was just my sleepy Nimrod eyes playing tricks on me.

Since it was opening morning I had planned to sit for several hours. Ya never know when these sneaky brown ones will decide to come out. Shortly after night became day I woke from a nap and decided it would be best to head toward the Nimrod Ranch. It was quite a drive and I was barely awake. I sneaked back to the Sled and loaded my gear.

The rest of the Second Great Season opener was nothing. Sleep and family stuff. Oh I saw a dear on my way to the ranch. Lil buck out in a picked cornfield eating. Sure enough... this was not a normal Second Great Season opener.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Murph still haunts me.

Ahhh... yes. Finally Ole Nimrod is back in the saddle again. The gimped up wrist is back to 80% and its time to rock and roll. I have two weeks of bow season to catch up on. Unfortunately my time off seems to have left Murph bored out of his minuscule gourd. He is back to his annoying antics... worst I have seen in a few years.

Getting a late start on the season has really set me back. I am fighting to catch up to where the deer are and what they are doing. My brain is still in early season mode even as the weather and deer are firmly into mid-season movements. Didn't think it was going to be as big of a challenge as it is.

As season got closer to Halloween, I got closer to the deer. It was really neat and odd at the same time. First time in a long time, dare I say ever, I was actual doing the right thing, and nearly in the right places to intercept the deer. Considering I rarely find myself at the same place as the deer I am happily astonished. I have not closed the deal, and have since been forced to work to pay the bills, but nonetheless its almost like I know what I am doing this year.

About a week ago, I decided on sneaking out on an evening hunt on some public land not far from the house. I sweet-talked Yoop and she gave me a hall pass for a few hours. I loaded up my gear and set off to the honey hole down the road.

Things had been going so smoothly, I had nary a thought about old Murph. The thoughts I did have were fleeting... mostly thinking not to think about him. As I neared the honey hole, I checked a few nearby parking spaces to see who else was out taking their chances. I smiled when I noticed no one else around. The deer were all mine to not get close to.

While I was gimped up, I had been doing a lot of scouting using aerial and topo maps. Each time I would look at the there were two spots that stuck our like sore thumbs where deer should be, but likely weren't. I was going to check out one of them on this hunt to get a feel of how the deer were using it.

I pulled into my parking space and started the transition from Ole Nimrod to Predator Nimrod. As I opened the sleds rear hatch, I noticed something odd. My bow and quiver were not to be found. As faithful readers of the Diaries, you know how thorough Ole Nimrod is. I never look over the tiniest detail, unless I am in a hurry or there is outside influence.

I hurried back to the Nimrod Ranch. On the way I called Yoop and asked her to look for the missing bow and quiver. Its not too hard to lose, a classic green Fred Bear Kodiak Magnum and quiver with 3 cedar shafts crowned with red stain and fletched with 2 red and 1 white 5 inch feathers. Not something you will drop in the woods and loose.

After checking, Yoop told me they were sitting where I had left them. I quickly let her know there isn't a chance in the world I left them there. I remember very cloudily that I carried them out of the house and put them in the back of the sled. I wonder if they grew legs and arms and sneaked out of the Sled into the house. Or did something else happened?

I didn't have time to figure it out. There were some deer that needed to be hunted and a Nimrod that needed to hunt some deer. I tossed the bow and arrows into the Sled and scouted off to the woods.

As I reached the parking lot entrance, I noticed something I didn't see before. Probably cause it wasn't there. In the middle of the road, about 50 yards past the parking lot was a nice mature doe standing in the middle of the road. I was a bit miffed, as she was walking right toward where I was planning on hunting.

After seeing the sled, she decided to change her plans. She glanced toward me, showed me her middle hoof and then waived her tail good bye.

I geared up and sneaked off into the woods. 20 minutes late and upset about scaring the game way before even stepping foot into the trees. Alas, no worries.. there is more than one deer in them there woods.

I reached the secret spot after tip toeing through the over grown pine tree hedge lines for 15 minutes. Not thinking about how I would have been ready for the doe if someone hadn't taken my bow and quiver out of the Sled; I readied my faithful stool for my sit and I sat. It was then I noticed one of the three legs of my stool were broken. I checked but there was not anything red neck engineering could do to incorrectly repair the offending leg. I snuggled into a small tree and waited. Aside from frustration and incessant harassing, and broken stool nothing more came from that sit.

A few days later, after making a grocery run for the Nimrod Ranch, plans were made for a hunt on the family land. Yoop and Munda were going to wait for Monkey to get off the bus after his day at the institute of higher education and Nimrod was going to run to base ops to get a jump on the hunt. I made a quick stop at base ops, hit the head and then got cruised over to the family land.

After the preceding fiasco, I think I double checked my gear before leaving the ranch. When I got to the woods, and started the transition to Predator Nimrod I had another sinking feeling. You know the feeling, like something is missing and it will ruin your whole day. I finsihed suiting up and grabbed my bow.

You ever have on of those days where you have everything planned out and halfway through realize you forgot something? Me either. But as I grabbed for my bow I realized it was not in the Sled. Fool me once shame on me. Fool me twice and label me a fool for life.

I made the transition back to Ole Nimrod and set back off to base ops. More thana little upset, I was about to throwing in the towel for the nights hunt. I checked my wallet, thinking a stop at the local daddy pop store was in the cards. Finding Yoop had once again raided the money section, the shiny new small game license caught my eye.

The nimrod mind shifted gears. Someone once told me when life gives you lemons, squirt them in the eye of your enemy- so I made it back to base ops, grabbed Grey Beards old 22 rifle and set back off. Mud and I have noticed an a large population of tree rats, and if you recall I have a debt to settle with at least one.

I sneaked loudly into the woods and found a tree. Cleared the leaves from around it and sat down. I loaded up the 22 and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. After a bit it became clear. Murph had taken all of the tree rats out for a little bow shooting at the Ranch.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Uh oh... not in bow season

Short and sweet this time around. Doc and Yoop have decided the nagging, sharp constant pains in my wrist are forcing me into a hiatus from bow hunting. The gist of it is my wrist is either broken or not working right.

I am still not very happy but when Yoop makes threats that I can't say on here... I know she means business.

So for now, I am gimped up, depressed and stuck wearing a brace... and not shooting or hunting.

Not often I say this but life isn't the greatest right now. But it could be worse. Hope to get out a few times with my camera... oh wait, my zoom lens took a dump to. Life is grand.

Camera hunting with Red

Welcome to the madhouse. Since the last entry, Yoop, Murph and Doc have been in cahoots and succeeding in putting Ole Nimrods bow season on hiatus. Seems they think some minor hand pain that gets progressively worse is a good reason not to shoot a bow. They also don't believe the old adage “If pain is good, extreme pain is extremely good.” Makes me wonder what kind of wimps Americans are turning into.

I was doing my best to not go to see Doc, cause I knew what Doc would say. Yoop made an appointment with Doc and made specific threats to me. I pondered the threat versus going to see Doc. In the end, I felt it was best to give into Yoops demands. I went and surprise, surprise no shooting the bow for a few weeks. Wonderful way to start the bow season.

The following weekend, the Mud crew came out for some early bow season hunt. With Ole Nimrod gimped up... forced on the injured list... taking a hiatus from hunting, however you want to put it I am not able to enjoy fall fully. Since Mud had specifically taken time off to correspond to my weekend off, I felt obligated to participate some how. More on that shortly.

Prior to me being broke, Mud and I had discussed moving our stands to correspond to our current miscalculation of the deer movement for this season. Since Mud is much more of a monkey than I am, he is usually the one to do climbing work. I used my good hand and Mud used his monkey skills.

My stand is in a new bad spot and Muds stand is in a new nearly good spot not far from where I bladed one a few years back. After playing stand switcharoo the ol' wrist was feeling just dandy.

I showed Red how to use the old fashion, non motorized weed whacker and set her off to clear a path to my new bad stand. Checking periodically she was doing great. Winging the cutter back and forth. From a distance she seemed to be enjoying the work.

I did what I could to help Mud finish securing my new bad stand. Once done, we went and checked on Red. I asked her how she was doing. She stopped, leaned on the cutter and stated “this is pretty hard work.” I agreed with her and explained to her I didn't want to bring a power whacker cause of the noise and smell . I left out the part about me forgetting the gas power whacker at the Nimrod Ranch.

Once we were finished we returned to baseops and hung out... me bored out of my mind. Something was on TV, I peeked at my email on the computer.

Finally the clock got close enough that we started to get ready. The game plan for the evening was Mud perching in my new bad stand and Red and I taking Muds pop-in-up blind near Muds nearly good spot stand with my camera with no zoom lens. Great plan.

I loaded everything on my back, I think Red tossed in a garden tub somewhere. Still trying to figure out why when I add one kid to my hunt I quadruple the amount of stuff I bring. Anyone mathemagicians out there please let me know how that works.

We walked with Mud to the corner of the field, we waited a little bit so he could get in the new bad stand. Our thought was if we bumped any deer on our way in they may go to him. Either we didn't or they didn't. Not sure which is the correct answer.

As Red and I stepped off into the thick cover, I began to talk about why I was doing what I was doing. Trying not to touch trees to control scent; not stepping on small sticks and twigs. As we walked I caught myself grabbing trees and stumbling onto numerous sticks. I quickly told mentioned to her, do as I say, not as I do.

Then I asked "How many deer do I shoot?"

She sheepishly replied, "not many." The correct answer even though she appeared uncertain if she should state it. I reassured her that it was correct but since I had been hunting for longer than her, I knew more. She seemed to agree but I had my doubts.

We slowly and not so quietly made our way to the backside of the Family Land. This area is a small ridge that overlooks the east end of the land. There are numerous game trails that cross back and forth.

The evening went well. I whispered Reds ear off about this and that. She spotted 3 different color phases of squirrels. I almost stepped on a tree frog. Not a bad time for two nuts sitting in a camo tent.

As the night crept on, I kept instilling my vast knowledge onto Red. She was soaking it all in one ear and then right out the other. At least she acted like she was listening. As I was talking about looking for parts of the deer, not the whole thing, she said "I think there's one right there."

I replied that it could be, try to move very little and just watch it. If its a deer it will move after a few minutes. About 30 seconds later she said "its still there."

I replied "Ok, has it moved?"


"Just keep watching."

About 15 minutes later I notice Red still staring the direction of the possible deer. I asked her if it had moved at all and she said "No, I have been watching it since I saw it. Hasn't moved a bit."

Holding in a chuckle, I said "Well just keep scanning the rest of the woods and check on it every few minutes, I bet its not a deer."

As daylight turned into dark, we both spotted a few movements we thought could have been deer. I quietly told Red what I had seen and she said she has seen it also. The movement was in the thickest nastiest cover the Family land has to offer. Ideal bedding area if I do say so myself. I mean if I was a deer I would want to sleep in there.

As the day ended, we both were seeing movement that sure looked like deer. We could never get a clear look at what it was and just as the sun set the movement stopped.

A short time later, I was just about to pack up when Mud called my phone. I turned to Red and asked "Do you think he got one?"

I answered the phone asking if he had seen anything. He said he hadn't and was ready to go. I told him we were packing up and would meet him out at the corner of the field.

I packed and packed and packed and packed and packed. I didn't keep track but I am certain I carried out more than I carried in. Red and I made it out of the wood lot without any incident.

As we meet up with Mud, he asked if we kicked up any deer on the way out. I said no, we were being as quiet as we could be but didn't see anything. Seems as he approached the corner of the field there was a large commotion in the thickest nastiest cover on the family. Turns out Red and I did see something in the thickest nastiest cover on the family land. Too bad whatever it was holed up before we could see it.

All and all it was a great night. Red did awesome, nary a whine or whimper. We had brought a book for her to read in the event a case of severe boredom set in but the book never came out of the bag. I think she was concentrating to much on the cluster of leaves she thought was a deer.

Until next time, keep your feathers dry and heads sharp.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A New Season of Bow Hunting Is Here

Its that time of the year again. The most glorious time of the year. When God was creating times of the year, he set Fall a side and made it his special work. There is nothing about Fall that is not great.

The first relief from the summer heat, the crops stop growing as the they get ready to be harvested. Bear hunting, elk hunting, fall turkey hunting, small game hunting, fall trout and salmon runs. I think I covered it all. Oh wait... I knew I missed something... DEER HUNTING. How could I forget the greatest of the great? At least the greatest of the great we can do on a regular basis in Michigan.

October brings cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, nippy frost covered mornings, and bow hunting. What more could a Nimrod ask for? Besides Mud taking Murph home like he was supposed to, a new sled, a woring tree stand, a large plot of land but I digress.

The hunt is on and I am working. Mostly anyway. I made it out for opening morn, even if briefly. Spent the part of daylight in the woods as night faded into day. Or is it day scared away night? Either way I was there.

You often read how the woods come alive as the sun rises and warms the air. Not this day. It was a clear cool night, and as the sun brightened everything below it, the woods remained quiet. So quiet the only living creatures I saw during my sit was a red tail hawk and a cottontail rabbit.

And no. The Hawk was not eating the rabbit, not that I saw anyway.

Overall it was a great sit. A little short but it was great to be back in the woods with a bow in hand. Was even better since Murph slept in and wasn't nearby to play any of his antics.

I will part with the idea that its on. Oh yea, for certain its on and there are many Nimrod memories waiting to be had in the near future.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Early Season Antics

Short intro... welcome back... lets get to it.

The last few years the DNR has opened a "Early Antlerless Season," commonly referred to as the Early Doe Season. Well, it is unless you shoot a button buck then, you're glad its "Antlerless" not "Doe." The season is 5 days in mid September, before the youth and disabled Veteran hunts.

This season, I am going to be able to go hunting 2 nights out of 5 days. Great percentage there eh? I won't complain, at least I get twice!

First sit came the first night of the season. After Monkey got off the big yellow machine, Yoop got him and Munda ready for the trip to base ops. I was stuck in a boss meeting and after beating our heads together, getting little accomplished I rushed home. Grabbed the Blunderbuss, jumped in the Shagin' Wagon and set off for base ops. Yoop had done a good job, Monkey and Munda were ready to rock when I got home.

We got to baseops, made a quick change and hopped in Gray Beards Green Goblin. Started her up and took of for the family land. Pulled into the muddy, picked cornfield, and thought better about just turning around in the mud. The Green Goblin is a beast, but a 2 wheel drive beast. Grey Beard would not take kindly to me burying it in to the axles in the field, even if his boots never got dirty. So I tender footed it into a safe, solid parking spot.

Started the Nimrod pre-hunt rituals that I had not done in way too long. I fell right into the groove. Took off my boots to put on knee high rubber boots. Then realized my rubber boots were still in the cab of the Green Goblin. I hobbled stocking foot to get them out and put them on. Feet were already wet and muddy though. Grabbed the blunderbuss out of its case then set off for the stand.

This ladder stand was placed late season last year by Mud and I. I remember thoroughly thinking through where I wanted it and why. I was eager to get in and see if my hard work would pay off. Tonight the wind was out of the north west, which is an odd directions, but worked perfectly with the stand. I sat down about 5pm and had only until 7:30pm to hunt. Had to get Monkey home to bed for his day at the institute of higher education.

It was a misty, gloomy, breezy night. The night was uneventful. I did get a visit from the monster squirrel that nearly attacked me last season ( see it here: He didn't realize I was in the tree as he wandered around gathering his nuts.

The next hunt, came the next night. The preparation was identical to the night before. As I scanned back and forth, forth and back, I realized that who ever had placed the ladder stand was a fool. Only had one clear shooting lane, and couldn't easily see the main crossing over the creek. I have a meeting with the fool to discuss his choice in stand placement.

After a few hours of back and forth and forth and back, my eyes were getting tired. Really tired. I decided not to waste a fine night in the woods. I tightened the safety strap and started checking my eye lids for holes. Not finding any, I fell into a trance where I got a cat nap and still maintained uninterrupted vigilance of any approaching deer.

As the sun set, I realized the deer were not playing along. As I watch God's great sunset I came out of the trance and started thinking about food. Yoop had some pizza waiting for me at baseops. Pizza and a cold daddy pop sounded pretty good.. but pizza would have to do.

While the taste of the cold cheese, chewy crust, overly sweet sauce danced in my head, I was nearly knocked out of my stand by a loud, menacing snort. The noise came from behind me and caught me so off guard, I was glad I had tightened by safety strap before the siesta. I slowly turned, expecting to see Murph with a dumb grin on his face, but instead I was greeted to a waving white tail.

Huh.. the deer did want to play... just not under the rules that I had set. I grabbed my blunderbuss, gathered my things and went home. I don't play well when others make the rules.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fathers Day

Welcome back to the diaries. Spring has quickly turned into summer, wet soggy summer around Nimrod's land. But ya know... some guy wrote a song about rain.. its a good thing.

Since the last adventure into the jungle I have shied away from the creek. Things at work and in life have been keeping the Nimrod clan busy as a one legged mule at a man kicking contest. We have managed a few wild excursions but time and laziness, mainly the later, have prevented me from updating the diaries. Feel free to play mule at the man kicking contest the next time you see me.

First we will discuss the Fathers Day fishing expedition we had. Mud and I conjured up a brilliant idea to take Red and Monkey out for a special trip. There wasn't anything exceptionally special about the trip it just coincided with Fathers Day.

Mud and crew loaded up the Mud machine, SS Mud and all, and headed to baseops. I was stuck working the night before. I had planned to squeeze in as much beauty sleep as I could. Yoop quickly pointed out that no matter how much I got it wouldn't help. With the limitation of having to be at a Cub Scout leader party early evening, I decided to forgo most my beauty sleep. When I got up, I can say with certainty, the lack of beauty sleep didn't hurt. Didn't help either but we won't go there.

We loaded up the Shaggin Wagon and made our way to baseops. Mud and Red were ready when we arrived. Monkey and I weren't. After a pit stop and some sun block for Monkey, we all loaded up in the Mud Machine and set off for the lake.

The SS Mud was following us nicely on the trailer. We got to the lake where the SS Mud made her maiden voyage for us. Mud back her into the channel. He kept going back and back. Soon I feared the Mud Machine would get stuck. I signaled him to stop and man handled her off the trailer into the water, wondering where the 10+ inches of rain we had gotten in the last few weeks had gone.

The SS Mud is a fine vessel. Four bench style seats. Well, three Bench style seats and miniature seat at the bow. Mud was on the bench in the stern. Moving forward Red had the next bench and then Monkey. As you've prolly figured out, I was left crunched on to the miniature seat at the bow.

Mud used the electric motor to get us out of the channel and the gas motor fired right up, this time. We move to a sunken island to the north end of the lake. I helped Monkey ready his pole. While I retired his hook on, I told him to dig into the bucket for a worm.

Since I had worked evenings leading up to this adventures, Monkey and Yoop had collected worms out of the back yard at the Nimrod Ranch. Over a few days they had captured about half of an one gallon ice cream bucket. The worms were housed in thea gallon ice cream bucket, in the Nimrod family fridge until we took them along for the adventure of (to end) their life.

Mud and I found a spot we thought would be good and went to anchor. While the SS Mud is a fine vessel, I blame any accessories on Mud. Anyway we each took our anchor and plopped it in the water. As I was feed the rope down, I heard Mud say “the rope is too short.” Rather I thought I heard him say it. As I got the end of my anchor rope, I turned to him and said “its too deep for your rope.”

“Yea, mine too,” he replied.

“Think your gonna need more rope next time,” I proffered.

He replied with a look fit for a wife mad at her husband.

Just then Monkey squealed that he caught a fish. I coached him to reel it in and a short time later he landed the first fish of the day. A nice perch. A bit on the short side, say three inches long at most, but the boy was as proud as a hen who just laid an egg.

We toured the lake, moving from point to point in search of fish. We kept moving, not cause we wanted to; it was because we couldn't stay in one spot cause of the short anchor ropes. I didn't mind, I only reminded Mud once or ten times.

We approached an area where on the maiden voyage yielded us a nice catch of specs. Red caught nice nice 12 inch bass. That was her first bass ever. She had caught one before but insisted this was the first one ever. We messed back and forth, but the discussion ended with it being her first, but not her first all at the same time.

It was a good day on the lake. Which as always beat a good day at work, or at the mall or doing yard work, or one of many on a long list of things that are less enjoyable than fishing on Fathers day with the kiddos.

Stay tuned for more entries. Yoop played the mule and I really need to finish the summer entries before the fall hunting season kick off.. soon enough Nimrod will be back in the woods, Kabekona (or Kodiak Mag) in hand. Chasing the wily whitetail.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hand fishing the jungle.

Welcome back.. I hate how Spring comes, ya make grandiose plans and they get interrupted by life. Mainly family but Life in general. Life is to my plans like Murph is to the execution.. not good.

Midday, while Monkey was at his institute of higher education and Yoop and Munda were doing midday girlie things, Ol Nimrod set off for a quick adventure.

We had bunches and bunches of rain over night, to the tune of 3 to inches. Once Lake Nimrod in the front yard soaked in, my mind turned to a small creek nearby. Heavy rain, run off, brook trout... eating the increased amount of food.. oh yea!!

Rushing out the door, I grabbed my swampers and bug spray then set off to the creek. The sled is waiting for repairs; more accurately waiting on me to get around to replacing some parts. So it was the 2 wheel drive monstrosity Yoop has under her ownership. The old Yoopmobile decided to call it quits on us during a trip back from Yooperland. After a long and hard search we found the perfect replacement.

The new beast has everything but the kitchen sink and transfer case and fuel efficient engine and driver side rear door. It does have some very comfy seats, lots of room, neat over head interior running lights, a radio (major improvement for my sanity on that one) and a bed. Yep a bed. Would be the perfect hunting and fishing rig if it had a transfer case, but I will have to be content with a bed instead.

Anyway, I set off from the house in the Shaggin' Wagon. With in a few minutes I was at the parking area of the creek. I looked at the water and realized I should have brought my chest waders not swampers. I grabbed the fly rod, soaked myself in some skeeter dope and set off toward the creek.

The trail is not new, its actually rather old. I think its where the Indians used to park their cars when they came fishing before the white man invaded their land. Yet once I got about a foot into the trail I could barely make it out.. it was a jungle. Spring was certainly here and the warm wet weather had done its work. Everything was green and thick. Nearly impenetrable. I worked my way through the knee high weeds, using the fly rod as a machete.

I searched back and forth for a spot to cast from the shore but there were no places open enough to cast. I checked the depth with my pole and found it a little too deep for my swampers.

I tossed the line out and it quickly got caught is some deadfall. Tried it again and the line wrapped around a branch above me. I took one step into the water to clear the overhead limbs and was reminded about the depth of the water when the cool creek water filled my swampers. I decided a few hand thrown casts would count as a day fishing and gathered my gear then headed back to the Shaggin' Wagon. I reached the beast, took off my swampers and watered a nearby wild flower. Packed up my stuff and called it a day. Two hand tossed casts, that never reached the water, were more than enough to call it a good day fishing.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

All Cooped Up

What up cool cats? Hope y'all have been funkin' it on the real. Nimrod has been cooped up quite literally. Yet again I come back, and yet again you come back. You know around here we keep on truckin'.

A few days back Monkey and I were out working in the yard. “Working” by the way, is a covert term I often use to get out of the house and it rarely involves actual work. Yoop and Munda were in the house cause the weather was not great to have the little lady outside.

While working on the swing with Monkey, Yoop come out and said, you really need to build the chicken coop. She had been nagging me for, oh I don't know, about a month to build the coop, but I had just been putting it off.

I said “I know, whats the urgency this time?”

“Number Four was just in the sink.”

“Was the water on?”

“No. Just get it done.”

This conversation has happened before, but something about it this time made me think she really meant it. Maybe because it came with out the normal threat of having me sleep with the chickens all I knew was for my own safety I should really build the coop. It would also be nice to step out of the shower and not have 5 chickens staring at me like they had plans for me once I fell asleep.

Monkey and I finished our work for the night and after everyone went to sleep I put those Reefer drafting skills to work. After a short time I had a rough, very rough sketch of what I was planning on building. Good thing Yoop didn't wake up.. she thought I had drawn the plans a few weeks earlier. Instead I had watch some hunting shows on the DVR. Don't tell her, my personal safety may rest in your ability to keep your mouth shut. Pretty please!

OK enough groveling. The real reason I caved into Yoops demanding demands was I didn't want my Turkey season to be interrupted by messing around with poultry housing.

The next morning I retrieved the required building supplies and started making the poultry Mansion. My building skills are nearly as good as my hunting and fishing skills, so I knew this was going to turn into one of the all time best chicken coops created by mankind. Numbers One thru Five were not going to know what to do with themselves... it was going to be awesome!

The build started out normally. Measure once and cut twice is the adage I learned long ago when building. Even Monkey was in on the action. He would help me measure and then run like a deer who caught whiff of a Nimrod fart when the saw was in my hand. He also contributed by not letting me get too much in a groove, asking repeatedly to be pushed in his swing. Usually as I was getting ready to make a cut, for the second time.

Late afternoon the basic structure of the Mansion was taking shape. It had been hard but miserable work, especially since the weatherguy ordered record high temperatures for the area. I emailed the weatherguy to voice my displeasure over his choice in weather. He responded claiming that I had emailed him asking for the warm weather because chickens had been staring at me in the shower. While the peeping peepers were annoying I would not have hung my laundry out is such a way. Checking my sent messages I was not able to find any I sent him. My brain gears were turning.

Between refills on daddy pops, measuring once and cutting twice and pushing Monkey on his swing I was sweating like a pig heading to the market. The sweat was in my eyes and all over my hands but Ole Nimrod keep on truckin'.

After the frame was built I started putting the Devils fence on the frame. I quickly figured out where this stuff got its name. Its sharp, poking and gets caught on any piece of clothing you get near it. Working the Devils fence around the frame I began to wonder if doing this myself was worth the scrapes and pokes I was getting all over my body. Then I remembered I couldn't trust such an important structure to anyone but myself.

Over all things went well, I only had to measure twice a few times. The only time I sustained any sort of injury was when I was nailing the staples holding the Devils fence to the frame. I was concentrating on getting the fence lined up perfectly and when I started to tap on the staple something bumped be from behind. This caused me to increase the velocity of the swing and tap the tip of my bow hand index finger with the hammer. The blood blister formed instantly and brought back the familiar feeling of pain. Ahhh... blood blisters are good for the soul.

Instantly, after a minute of adult content spewing from my mouth, I turned to see what had bumped me. No one was around. Monkey had gotten bored helping from the swingset and was inside with Yoop and Munda. Both Fido's were also in being lazy in the excruciating heat. One through Five were still cooped up in the can. Weird.

A few more hours of wrestling the Devils fence, I finally finished 90% of the Mansion. It was missing a roof, but I didn't have enough lumber to make one. It will require another trip to the hardware store. I strutted like a spring Gobbler into the house to get Yoop and Monkey. I walked them out, explaining the Mansion was missing its roof but that would be coming tomorrow after yet another trip to the hardware store.

Yoop and Monkey circled the Mansion, checking out all the angles. Monkey squealed his approval and then ran to the swingset. Yoop continued her assessment making a second loop around.

“Its better than the dog house you built while we were in Texas,” she quipped.

“Gee thanks,” I responded knowing the jab wasn't a compliment at all.

Side note on the Texas dog house, I built it the morning of September 11, 2001, after watching my fellow Americans being attacked in NYC. Instead of being square and solid, it turned out more of a rhombus shape and was not overly sturdy. I must add it held up for about three years before old Muttly broke it.

Getting a bit impatient by Yoops hawk like surveillance of the Mansion, I asked “So, what do you think?”

“Not bad, especially for you.”

“So its good once I get the roof boards tomorrow?”

“Sure, but how are we going to get One through Five inside at night?”

“These doors on the back, there are two so you only have to open one to get the eggs once the start laying,” I replied confidently.

“Oh ok. How are we going to feed and water them?” Yoop professed.

“Right... hmmm...” I rambled

How were we going to get in and out to feed and water them? Or put them up for the night away from natures scavengers? I know I would not have over looked such a vital piece of the Mansion during the drafting phase. Brain gears were working overtime now. Weird.

I went and checked out my drawing and found the faint, erased lines of what originally were going to be a side door. How did they get erased? I pulled my pencil from my ear and found no eraser on the end. It wasn't me but then again why would I set myself up for failure?

By this time Yoop, apparently content with smashing my pride in workmanship, had gone to push Monkey and Munda on the swingset. I assessed the problem and grabbed the Devils fence cutters and cut a hole in the fence.

I fashioned up a door frame out of mismatched boards that were all to short. I measured once and cut twice on some small boards for a door. Screwed it all together and hung it on some hinges. Considering it was Nimrod made it turned out surprisingly well. Even swings smoothly. Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a nut.

The next morning I got the roof boards and put the roof on. After nearly two full days of being cooped up building a coop I was finally done and could fly the coop.

The Mansion was a thing of beauty. I sat back, opened another daddy pop and thought Nimrod may just spend the first night in the Mansion himself...

Hooked on fishin'

Spring has sprung and it seems like summer is here. The first half of the Spring Turkey season is winding down and I am gearing up for the late season. I still have a week before my season starts so I needed to find a way to burn off some energy. Yoop suggested Monkey and I go fishing a little bit at the fishing hole. It sounded like a good idea and he seemed to think so also. Game on.

Monkey and I gathered our fishing stuff, stole the tub of chicken worms and set off to the fishing hole. Surprisingly the heep started right up... guess we weren't the only ones rearing to get out of the house. We made it to the fishing hole in a few minutes, Monkey hoped out of the Heep and ran to the lake. He was about to take a step into the water when I reminded him its not summer and we shouldn't just jump in.

After a few minutes of convincing him that letting him get in the water would get me in hot water with Yoop, he finally gave up and wanted to go fishing. He picked out a nice plump earthworm out of the chicken worm tub. Crazy Yoop has been collecting worms out of the leaf piles behind the house. In her mind the effort is two fold; it will make it easier to find worms to feed the chickens and cheaper than buying worms when Monkey and I go fishing. Gotta love that girl!

I worked Monkeys chosen worm onto his hook, and asked if he wanted to cast it out or if he wanted me too. This is a valid question as he is still working on his casting technique and this was the first time out for the season. He confidently state “I can do it” yanked the pole out of my hand and walked to the water.

When its safe to do so, I like letting people work on there own at learning and perfecting of a skill. So I stepped back and let Monkey do his thing trying to cast the worm out into the lake. At first I expected him to just cast it out half way across the lake using perfect form... he is part Yooper ya know.

As I readied my pole, I watched the young Nimrod out the corner of my eye and he ended up getting my full attention. He readied his rod, took a good stance, wound his body up and spun around in perfect discus form. The worm, hook and bobber ended up on the shore about 20 feet away from us. Not to be deterred he reeled in his line and readied for another attempt.

He again readied his pole, took a good stance, wound his body up and spun around in perfect discus form. This time went a wee bit different than the first. I was looking out into the lake expecting him to place it perfectly along the break where the fish were hanging out on this rather cool windy spring evening. While starring intently at the setting sun, I felt a tap on the back of my shirt. I swatted at it never taking my eyes off suns blinding effects on the lake.

After a few seconds of not seeing the worm, hook and bobber land in the lake, I turned to Monkey and wondered what had happen. His approach and spin seemed to be prefect the second time around. When my eye caught him I realized something was amiss. He had the looked of terror in his eyes.

“Did you hook yourself?” I asked,

“No daddy... I got you!!!”

Instantly, after a few seconds to think what happened, I realized the bump on my back was the chicken worm and hook smacking me after another mis-cast by Monkey.

“Dude.. don't move” I told him.

Turning with his rod while reeling in for another attempt he replies “What?”

“STOP!!!” I squealed, hoping he would comply instantly.

“Daddy, what do you want?” he asked, still turning and reeling.

“Monkey... just stop everything NOW, before you hook Dad instead of a fish.”


Thinking I finally got his attention I start to carefully move to take the hook out of my shirt. Not one to do thing behind anyone's back, including my own, I quickly realized I was not going to be able to remove the hook while working blindly behind my back.

As I started to take my shirt off, Monkey stated “Dad you can't do that... no one wants to see it.”

“What?” I responded.

“Daddy leave your shirt on, no one wants your shirt off.”

“Its OK, buddy, I have to take it off to get your hook our of my back, or else you won't be able to fish anymore,” I answered, in an attempt to explain the severity of the situation. It didn't seem to help but he put his rod down and walked off to find something to play with near the water.

After I removed the monstrous hook I breathed a sigh of relief. A hair closer and that size 16 hook could have pierced my kidney. But Ole Nimrod is a machine.

We continued fishing until just before dark. Monkey got back in the groove from last year and was making some nice casts. Just before we left I told Monkey the fish must not be hungry tonight.

He replied “No dad, the fish must be sleeping already.”

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oncorhynchus mykiss- the Sequel

During the week following the previous incident I pondered the situation over and over. The three times it came to mind, I still was not able to find an alternative explanation. I hadn't seen or heard from Murph the entire day, so I cautiously ruled him out.

A few days later I made another excursion to the creek. Lessons had been learned from the previous trip and since the creek was empty when I arrived, I started casting like crazy at the dam. I was using the same set up as before, the fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs.

I found the fast and furious approach at the dam interesting. The water was flowing so fast at the base of the dam, by the time I had the bail on my reel closed, the hook and bait were already flying by me in the water. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to notice a fishing hitting the hook, let alone set the hook if it all occurred before I could close the bail. Nonetheless I kept the pace up, hoping I would learn by fire.

In the middle of the fast and furious session I made a cast somewhat across the current of the creek, just to try something different. As I released the line on the cast the pole felt like it was cast something much heavier than just a simple fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs. I wondered what had happened. I started to wonder if I had hooked into a small steelie and never noticed and had cast it back out into the water.

As I retrieved the line I watched the rod tip for an indication the monster steelie had taken the ruse of my fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs as something it wanted to eat. After reeling approximately half the line back in, I noticed the rod tip wasn't where the rod tip was supposed to be. In fact the upper half of my rod was completely missing in action. I wondered where it could have gone, without me noticing. Odd. Again something must be afoot.

Once I had reeled in nearly all the line, part of the question was answered. The top half of my rod was hanging out with my fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs. Why I am not sure, but it proved again something was afoot... but just what it was remained a mystery. They had spent most of the week hooked together in the back of the sled, so maybe the upper half of the rod missed the fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs. One thing for certain, I very rarely cast half my rod into the water. Only half dozen, or so, times a season.

After reassembling my rod and doing the fast and furious for a bit longer, I decided to move on to something a little bit slower paced. Time was slowly ticking off the clock of when I needed to pickup Monkey from the institute of higher education, and it was obvious no self respecting steelie was going to be found at the base of the dam, in the strongest current on the creek. I don't blame them, why fight to stay in place when you can lounge in a slow moving hole and chill out for a bit?

The weather on this day was very mild, warm and the sun was shining bright over head. Since steelies are known to have sharp eyes and spook at the slightest hint of danger, from in the water or above, I sneaked around the banks with the highly lacking skills I use to stalk deer.

I carefully approached the hole where the guy “caught” the steelie after I had thoroughly fished the area a week earlier. Looking toward the center of the creek I was surprised by a steelie that was chillin' in the shallow water right near the bank. Our eyes meet at nearly the same time, well actually my eyes met the fishes tail and it burned rubber to get out of dodge.

How had I failed to see the fish before it saw me? My not finely tuned stalking skills should have given me first sight of the fish, not vice versa. What the heck was going on?

I still tossed my fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a bag of eggs into the creek, thinking maybe his buddy was hungover after a long night at the bar or wasn't quite as astute as Mr. Steelie. It didn't work out. I fished for a while longer, never hooking into, or even seeing another steelie.

As I worked my way back out to the sled, I come across another guy fishing on the opposite side of the bank where I had spooked Mr. Steelie. He seemed to be concentrating on something in the water. I offered the obligatory wave and moved on. I checked the area around where Mr. Steelie had been hanging out and noticed a second set of footprints, aside from mine. The print looked familiar. I made a mental note of the print and went on my way.

After returning to Nimrod Ranch, I noticed boot prints in the dirt of the drive. I checked them against the mental picture I had taken at the creek. Sure enough they matched and no they weren't mine. Being the creek is only about a mile from Nimrod Ranch, I bet Murph got off his lazy behind and walked over there to try and cover his tracks. The finger prints from the upper half of my fishing rod are still being analyzed but I don't think there is any secret of what the results will be.

The spring run of Oncorhynchus mykiss is about to peak and you can bet Nimrod will keep at 'er. One of these years I may just luck into one and be able to share a picture.

Oncorhynchus mykiss

Ahhh... nothing like the smell of fish as Winter snows melt and Spring rains come. The mix offers an interesting sort of fishy lake or river smell. I love it and just goes to show spring is for fishing and turkey hunting, but that's a story for later.

With the melting snow and spring rain, the famous Oncorhynchus mykiss returns from Lake Michigan to their original hatching ground to spawn... ya know make little Oncorhynchus mykiss's.

Since a large majority of the fish are hatched at hatcheries, I often wonder how they get back to the rearing ponds when they aren't connected to any rivers or such that meet with Lake Michigan. Maybe the Oncorhynchus mykiss are smart enough to know what river the DNRE dumps them into out of the truck? Only the Oncorhynchus mykiss really know.

Either way Oncorhynchus mykiss are not only a lot of fun to catch or at least trying to catch them, but offer some of the best table fare you will find at the end of your line.

Huh? Whats a Oncorhynchus mykiss? Really? Don't you have google, too? That's where I found the scientific name for the steelhead.

After dropping Monkey off at his institute of higher education, I talked Yoop into letting me stop at the local bait and ammo shop. I ran in grab some eggs and ran out. Munda didn't even miss me. Of course she was out cold in a midday nap, but still didn't miss me.

We slid home in the sled and I dropped of Yoop and Munda to continue the midday nap and off I went to the local steelhead honey hole. Not exactly a honey hole, but a creek that runs off the main river in the area.. and a place the steelies are known to come up during Spring.

There were a group of guys right at the bottom of the damn. They were casting over and over and over again. My arms were getting tired watching them for 15 seconds. It looked like a lot of work and was already a bit crowded so I moved to a place further downstream. I would have this spot all to myself and would not require as much casting.

I loaded up my fancy dancy special steelhead single hook with a mesh knit bag of eggs and sent it on its way to the creek. I kept a watchful eye on it as it float with the current, bobbing in and out of view. I waited eagerly for the fish I knew were nearby to swim out and snatch the offering but to no avail. Odd. Seems like any fish in the creek would come swimming to a bait that resembled the eggs laid by the female of their species tied in a small mesh bag.

The bait floated its way into a nearby bush in the water and got hung up on one of the branches

Realizing this wasn't the way things were supposed to go I got suspicious instantly. Something was afoot. I wasn't sure exactly what it was but I knew something was.

I gave my pole a quick jerk and the mystery got more confusing. At the point in the jerk where all my strength was put on the line the hook didn't come free. The twig didn't snap. The hook didn't straighten. For what was at the time an unknown reason the line snapped at the eyelet of the hook. After I reeled in the line, I carefully examined the broken end to find the knot I carefully tied had come undone. Weird. In all my too many years of tying knots in fishing line this had only happened a few dozen times a year. So this occurrence was certainly a rarity and again I could tell something wasn't right.

I tied another hook on the line and placed a bag of eggs on the new hook and again tossed it into the current. This time I was careful to keep the hook away from the shore bushes, at least until I could figure out what had happened before.

After awhile of trying different parts of the current I decided to move a little further downstream. Maybe the Oncorhynchus mykiss hadn't made it all the way up to the dam yet. While I worked a spot about 75 yards downstream I saw another guy walk up to where I was previously at. I tried to tell him there weren't any fish there but he couldn't hear me.

As time wound down on my excursion, and the need to pick up Monkey on time out weighing the desire to catch a fine Oncorhynchus mykiss, I wrapped everything up. I reeled in my line and picked up my net. As I set off for the sled the guy who was fishing where there wasn't any fish began to yell.

At first I thought he had fallen into the creek or had snagged himself with his hook. I quick stepped to him and as I got closer he said he needed a net. Odd I thought for someone who had fallen into the creek or snagged himself with a hook. Then I realized he must have dropped something in the water.

As I reached the man in distress he said its right there, pointing to the water. I looked down expecting to see a cell phone or wallet at the bottom. Instead I saw a nice sized male Oncorhynchus mykiss. Instinctively I scooped the net into the water and got the fish. I carried it to where the man was standing and set it into the grass.

“He asked is that big enough?”

Since the only need to be 10 inches to keep, and this one was about 20 inches or more. I replied “Yes.”

“Ok, I have only been here 10 minutes and this is more than enough for me.”

I forced a smile and told him congrats, I have to go.

As I finished my walk to the sled I pondered how he caught a fish in a spot I knew there were none. My mind wandered but I knew one thing for sure. That fish could not have been there 10 minutes before hand or else he would have snatched up my offering way before that of this other guy.

I think Murph had put him up to hooking a Oncorhynchus mykiss to his bait before he put it in the water; its the only conceivable way he would have “caught” anything out of that hole

I met the luck fisherman in the parking area. I offered him more false congratulations for the second time, started the sled and left to get Monkey.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mid Winter Blahs

Ahhh. Hope y'all didn't think Ole Nimrod fell of the face of the earth. I am sure you have been thinking of me. I've had all the readers on my mind too.. wondering why in the heck they come back and read my ramblings. But hey I won't complain about a symbiotic relationship. You get to feel better about yourself and I get to ramble and think people care... its win-win!

Anywho, the past month has been a rough one around the Nimrod house. Munda was sick with a double ear infection (think that girl prolly would have had a quadruple one if she had 4 ears). Yoop and Monkey has had a few bouts with sickness too. Ole Nimrod fought off the dreaded coughing monster and saved my voice from destruction. Came on nearly the exact same time as last year but I went and the doc gave me everything she had and knocked it out of the park.

Besides whining about being sick not much else has been happening.

Grey Beard and I took Monkey on his first ice fishing trip. Kid did well. Better than his dad did at his age. We all caught a few fish but had a bunch of fun. Good thing Murph is scared of frozen water. He stayed at baseops while the men went out on the hard water. I think I need to start ice fishing more.. sure keeps Murph outta by business. Too bad the season is so short.

Besides that I have spent one afternoon in the woods or on the hard water. Gotta love life when your sick and busy. That afternoon was eventful though. I have been trying to get a picture of some turkeys in the snow but failed. Got some over exposed pictures of some tracks but the maker of the track remained elusive. A beautiful female Pileated woodpecker gave me a show, all with in camera range for a change. I have been trying to get some shots of one for well over a year... patience does pay off, on occasion.

While I was out, trudging through knee deep snow with a nice ice layer on top, watching the Pileated, trying to see turkeys, Yoop went to get Monkey from his institute of higher education. Traveling the same road she does everyday. This time however Murph decided to play a trick on her instead of me.

Not being one to agree with picking on girls, I found it some what funny. Yoop had her own joy in the situation given no damage was done to the sled and no one was injured. Murph was hiding on the side of the road, near where a rafter of thunder chickens were waiting to cross the road. As Yoop approached Murph must have goosed the bird and it took flight.

Yoop described what followed as happening in slow motion. She said she say the thunder chicken approaching the shoulder of the road. As it neared the pavement, something caused the beast to take flight in a perfect trajectory for the sleds grill.

As ya know Yoop is a country girl from way back. She has driven a few miles along country roads in her short time on Gods wonderful earth. Instead of swerving like some crazy city girl, she calmly depressed the brake pedal to change the bearing from the grill to a bearing where the beast would just skim the top of the windshield and slide along the roof. Now that's talent my friends. Not only did she prevent the sled from sustaining any damage, she did so in style. That's my girl!

I have not heard the end of how I labored through a mile walk in knee deep snow with a layer of ice and not seeing a turkey to how she turned missing roadkill into an event with much Olympic potential. Blah blah blah.. but she didn't get to see the pecker up close.

Winter is almost over around us. Sun is starting to show itself more and more. Snow is slowly but surely melting into puddles stuck on the frozen ground. With approaching spring Yoop and Monkey have started their annual pre-spring flower seed planting. But this year is different. In addition to planting the seeds I let the crazies (Yoop and Monkey if your not following me) talk me into making another spring like purchase.

Yoop is well aware of my inability to build anything that will stand long than a few weeks. I can draw things out, I understand how it will work once together but give me the wood, nails, screws, etc and I will turn a perfect drawing into an object Picasso would be proud of. So when the crazies approached me about buying the other sign of spring I thought it was a joke.

“You want me to build what for what??” I asked.

“It won't be that hard. Its just a box and some fencing around it” she replied.

Knowing better I said “Yeah I guess your right, sure we can.”

So we made a special journey into town and Monkey picked out a couple little feathered friends.

The crazies are looking forward to fresh supply of eggs. I am looking forward to building a coop for them like I am looking forward to prostate exams when I turn 40.

Monkey is not only looking forward to the eggs but he told me “Daddy when we get ready to cook them they won't be chirping anymore.”

“Buddy, your right.”

“They only thing the will be doing then is soaking up the BBQ sauce" he replied.

The apple sure doesn't fall fair from the tree.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Nose Knows

Around the Nimrod home range the weather has been unseasonably warm. A mid winter thaw had lasted for well over a week and most the snow had melted. Carpe diem!! Time to beat feet to the secret honey hole I had found during the late late late season. To late to hunt correctly really.

With the snow melting and a good portion of the ground bare it should reveal the sign from the late season. Not the sign I had found in the late late late season. Once Monkey was off at the place of higher education, kindergarten, I jumped in the sled and sneaked out to the honey hole for scouting and hoping to maybe find a shed antler or ten. Murph asked if he could come and I reluctantly agreed knowing I was going to be walking a lot and he tends to be lazy.

I should have known it was gonna be an adventure when we found 13 bags of trash and a guitar case dumped in the parking area of the honey hole. Why some people feel the need to dump their trash on our public lands is beyond me. I doubt someone of that minimal intellect reads the diaries but if ya do, give me a shout... Nimrod has a place to stuff all 13 of those bags, you useless slob.

I took a couple photos in case the officers need them later for prosecution and then stepped off for the secret honey hole. The walk back was short but fun. The weather had turned from the last few days and the wind and snow were making sure we knew it was still winter. I only carried the camera today. The day before I took the old Fred Bear Kodiak Magnum out for a walk and attempt at some squirrels. I found no squirrels but stumbled on some turkeys.

As we approached the honey hole the snow really started to come down. We started following the deer trails here and there, to and fro, hither and yon. I meandered about the hole and I finally got a decent understanding of the deer did what they did... and why they didn't do what the didn't. I quickly realized I had been hunting the wrong section of the honey hole. Chances are I will forget by the time the late late and the late late late seasons come around next year. Murph decided his feet hurt and went back to the sled, and I told him “Bye, hope you get lost, again.”

I continued following the deer trails around the hole. I worked our way further back where the majority of the trails lead. I had not been that far back in the area of the honey hole but knew it held some potential. A place the deer may escape the hoards of hunters closer to the road. The sign left behind seems to agree with that but how do you hunt some of the thickest, nastiest, thorn infested, impenetrable thickets that have no trees big enough to climb? Time will tell.

The middle of the thickets were a gold mine of buck sign. If I did know better, which I don't, I would say there is an elk or moose hanging out in there too. I found one tree about six inches in diameter that have been tore up by antlers. Since everyone claims there are no big bucks on heavily hunted public land there is no way a whitetail attacked a six inch tree...

Knowing I had to pickup Monkey from school, and the yoopmobile is still not running right, so if I was late I would have to answer to Yoop and Monkey I kept a good idea of what directions were what as I wandering amongst the depths. The time came to head back out and I walked in what I knew was the way out.

After walking the same direction for a few minutes nothing looked the same as I remembered on the way in. I thought real hard and realized if I took the same way I took on the way in I would be backtracking through the thickest, nastiest, thorn infested, impenetrable thickets I had come through on my way in. The sky was hidden by a thick layer of clouds and the snow falling kept me from seeing anything to give me an idea of direction. I went back towards the creek and tried to see what direction it was flowing, and found it frozen over. I have studied the map of the area over and over so I figured I could figure out what bend I was near... but then realized I never paid attention to the hundreds of bends it makes in the half mile it runs in the area.

Thinking Murph was playing a trick on me I decided to go the opposite way I was going. I walked for another five minutes and started to think I was heading west instead of east. I found the end of the walking trail a few minutes later... which is at the furthest west end.

I turned around and started to hoof it back to the east, the way my nose knew was right. I made it back to the sled in time to see Murph there laughing his fool head off. I asked him what he had done and he gave me the “who me” look.

We made our way to Monkeys school, quickly but legally, mostly, just as the final bell was ringing. I meet Monkey and his teach at the door and told him do I have a story for you. On the way back to the Nimrod homestead, I started to tell him what had happen and he interrupted me...

“Dad whats for supper?”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mud, Murph and the Creek

Sorry for such a long delay in between diary entries I make no excuses, just I have not posted anything. I am going to try to catch up on the end of my 09 deer season, and attempt to keep the hunts in the order they happened. If ya have been reading any of the past diary entries, nothing goes anything like it is planned, even after the fact. So here is my next entry, it wasn't the next hunt of my year, but its the one on my mind.

Deer season is winding down. The weather is staying rather moderate considering some of the late season we have had in the recent past. Life is keeping me busy and largely out of the woods. Alas Mud comes over to baseops and you know something will be brewed up.

About five days before Mud arrived I was loading a few things up in the Nimrod sled when Murph jumped out from behind Grey Beards pick 'em up and pushed me into the sled. I twisted and bruised my knee and have been limping like a three leg dog since.

Mud came over looking to fill one of his tags and I hadn't been hunting in over a week so anyone should have known what was gonna happen.

We met up at baseops, dropped off Yoop, Monkey and Munda; picked up Mud and off we went. I had a new to me ladder stand strapped to the roof of the sled. With a bum knee I talked Mud into helping me erect the stand to catch the waning portion of the season.

I had scouted the swale a few times for the perfect stand location and have come up empty. On the fly I found a nice tree with in shooting distance of a few normally well used trails. Mud and I put it together and up the tree. Mud played squirrel and got her all strapped up and ready. Bingo.

I told Mud I would go park the sled and he could just make his way over to his stand. I gimped my way out of the woods and parked the sled back up by the road. I loaded up the front loader and gimped my way back to the stand. Not seeing any sign of recent deer activity, or activity in the last few weeks, my hopes were sky high. and having my knee throb the whole time I felt it was a good time to throw in the towel. Not wanting to ruin Muds hunt I stuck it out.

I nestled into my new penthouse view and tried to enjoy the night. I scanned the woods with the binos and found no fresh tracks. Not one to get down about anything I started to think about the snow fall we had received and made a mental note that we hadn't received any fresh snow in about 10 days nor had we any temperatures above the freezing mark. So based on my advanced education in meteorology and wildlife biology I determined there had been no deer around in the past 10 days or so.

While I enthusiasm for a fun filled night of hunting was at a fevered peak... my willingness to freeze the ol' can off while listening to my knee throb wasn't. About 50 minutes after climbing into the penthouse, I gave Mud a ring on the phone and told him I was going to head back to baseops. I explained to him why and told him I would be glad to come back for him in a few hours at dusk.

Surprisingly Mud said I will just go with you. I found it odd cause he had come over not to see the family, but to hunt deer. He said he didn't see one deer track on his way to his stand but figured he would give it a shot since we won't be shooting any from in front fo the TV at baseops, yet I didn't care, I just wanted to get a heating pad on the throbbing joint that holds most my weight every other step.

I slowly gimped my way out to the field. I took the curviest, hilliest, most unforgiving path tot he field line. Why take it easy when your gimped up? Pains is only temporary... the embarrassment of crying from the pain in public lasts forever.

While I waited for Mud to emerge from the woods, I stood around unfortunately taking him the winter evening. Some rustling in the thick brush next to me broke my self pity party. This thicket is where early last season both Mud and I had a nice 7 point walk by our stands (we were in two separate stands by the way). This thicket was between us and the deer cut right on through it.

I positioned myself as best as I could that if I deer came out, I should be able to take a safe shot. I knew where Mud's stand was, I knew where the road an houses were... as long as this deer gave me a shot that was not inline with the majority of obstacles around me I was going to be all set.

I knelt down on my gimp'd knee; waiting and listening. The critter had been running through the thick stuff and now was slowly moving to the edge. I think Mud had bumped the deer from its bed and it was working its way away from where he was moving.

As I sat very impatiently and the brown one never showed, the pity party started back in full swing. After another few minutes Mud emerged from where I had heard the brown one coming. I asked him if he had kicked up a deer and was trying to find it and he looked at me like I asked him if he was going to paint the Mud Machine Pink. I explained what I had heard and he said it was him.

Turns out while I was parking the sled, he and Murph were making their way to Muds stand. As mud crossed the creek, Murph pushed him. Mud crashed into the other bank, fall into knee deep water, filling his boots. He also landed his front loader on a perfectly placed rock, breaking off the tip of his front loaders loading rod. The water from the creek filled Muds boots and his feet were a wee bit chilled by the time I called him. Mud never helped explaining the noise I thought was a brown one. I think it was Mud chasing Murph for dumping him in the creek.

Once back at the sled we loaded out stuff and made way back to baseops. We arrived home earlier than everyone expected us too and turns out our normally cold dinner was still served cold. Baseops had eaten early and we didn't give them time to warm it up for it to cool down for us.