Monday, October 13, 2008

Hunting and Weather Report: saturday through Monday

It’s been extremely quiet here at the Bolt Hole—and warm. I expected the three-day weekend to bring lots of hunting pressure for the first few days of the northern zone muzzleloader season and it has done anything but.

Saturday dawned nice and chilly with the temperature hovering just around 30 degrees. Friday Mark and I did see quite a few cars and trucks at the camps further down the road and with that promise activity I sat all day in one spot hoping that there would be hunters out walking in the woods. The Plan was for them to stir up the deer (who have become nocturnal in the pre-rut weeks) into moving about and seeking what I thought would be a safe haven near where I was sitting. It didn’t happen. There were no hunters in the four powerless camps up the hill to my east and those that were present in the camps to the south and west stayed well south and west of where I was, although a few strolled behind Mark’s cabin just after 7 AM on Saturday. I didn’t even hear much in the way of shooting during the day. There were a few rifle reports well off to the southwest from where I was and Mark intercepted some radio chatter from groups a mile or so to our south but that was about it.

Sunday and Monday’s temperatures were also unusually warm. The mornings started out with the low only around 40 degrees which was around 10 degrees above the normal low. Again, I sat in just one spot on Sunday morning and there was even less activity with no shots or even radio transmissions. I could hear chainsaws and other activity at some camps but driving down the road showed some of the Saturday crowd had already departed. When noon rolled around and the temperatures had climbed to the upper 60s, I decided to call it a day and went back to the cabin to watch some football. Monday Mark circled the private property behind his place and I sat with the hope that he might kick something up. Once again, it was a futile effort and by noon we decided to call it a day as the temperatures soared into the 70s.

Tomorrow doesn’t look much better. The southern Adirondacks will again see high temps around the 70 degree mark but then we’ll see a front come through and the rest of the week will be more seasonal with highs in the low 60’s on Wednesday and then the 50s through next weekend with the lows getting back down into the 30s. Hopefully, that will translate in more deer movement. Certainly, it will make my movement a little more likely.

The red maples have passed their prime fall colors and many are dropping leaves with every breeze. The taller beeches have followed suit, but the understory trees are still predominantly green. The number of those understory trees clearly indicate that deer do not find the beeches a preferred food source. In many areas these still green saplings severely limit your vision lines. If you can see beyond 50 yards, it’s a rarity.

Leaves that have fallen are very dry because of the lack of rain and the warm temperatures. Walking after 10 in the morning is like walking on dry cornflakes—very noisy. While this might help hear a deer walking through the woods if you are sitting, it does not make still hunting (when the hunter does the slow walk through the woods stopping frequently to scan the woods about him) as stealthy as it should be. If we get any showers Tuesday night (unlikely according to the weatherman on TV) or on Thursday night (more likely), they would soften the sound in the woods considerably. A gentle, soaking rain would be most welcome but the forecast for the next week or so holds no promise of such an event.

Back at the cabin, I spent some time servicing my chainsaw. When we had some blown down trees during the September storm, it refused to start. After pulling the air filter and cleaning it of sawdust, it started right up. Like most machines, it seems to have a mind of its own. When it wants to work, it works. When I want it to work, it might not.

If the weather remains too warm to do any serious hunting, I may just put it to use on some of the small pines growing right behind the house. The pines are really crapping ones that I would have to classify as scrub pines. The only critters that find them appealing are the red squirrels that love the many cones each tree produces. The pines are mixed in with the small apple trees were trying to expose to the sun. They (the pines) may protect the apples from icy winds but they also shade the apples forcing them into a spindly growth that produces few if any apples. We’ve already removed much of the undergrowth that was producing a very wet environment at the roots of the apple trees.

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