Friday, December 03, 2010

Aerie Report, December 03, 2010

Okay, yesterday, Thursday, I got up early to go out into the woods. As I prepared a cup of coffee, I peeked out the kitchen window to see if the bird feeders were still in place. They were. I sat, ate breakfast with Terry, whom the cats had gone and awakened, and made my way out the other side of the house and on up the trail.

As I got to the upper driveway (I've got two because it's two separate, subdivided parcels) I spotted a bear track in the inch of snow we had received Wednesday afternoon. I didn't think anything of it since black bears are 1) loud creatures and I heard nothing; 2) shy creatures who would sooner run than fight; 3) I had my Remington .270 in my hands.

I got to my seat just as official shooting hours began (around 6:45 AM), brushed off as much snow as I could and sat down on my plastic covered heat-in-a-seat cushion and started to wait. It was just 23 degrees and there was a slight breeze blowing in my face from the west, but I was dressed warmly and was comfortable. My butt was warmed by the magical action of the plastic seat and all was well with the world.

I listened to the trickle of water from the heavy rains on Tuesday and Tuesday night as it ran down the hillside in little rills. I listened to the chickadees and crows and blue jays. I listened to the rustle of the beech leaves on the trees. And all the time I scanned the hillside for some brown movement that wasn't leaves.

I started to slide on the snow/ice covered particle board seat. I started to feel sleepy and actually would have dozed off a couple of times but for the threat of sliding right off my seat. Around 10 AM, having seen nothing of Odocoileus virginianus and having already snacked on apples and Snickers bites, I decided to walk around a little. A half hour later I returned to my seat having covered several likely paths and spotting no deer tracks. I ate my sandwich. And then, when the clouds plotted to obscure the sun, I decided to call it a day and returned to the Aerie.

Back at the cabin, I discovered that the bird feeders were down, the tray feeder on its side and the shepherds crooks bent down nearly 45 degrees from vertical. I found the two plastic and metal stick feeders--and all their parts--and set the tray feeder back upright. Those bear tracks I had seen were from the bruin that had wrecked the feeders. It must have done so while Terry and I were eating breakfast at the table just a few yards away. Brazen bruin!


This morning I opted to sleep in. I was tired, I hadn't seen a deer track. It wasn't bear season any longer. It was 19 degrees overnight and we had some light snow flurries throughout the morning. I can make up more excuses if you'd like.

I lit a fire in the fireplace to warm the house up and conserve some of the propane we had delivered Tuesday morning. (At $2.20 a gallon and having just over 250 gallons delivered.... Well that's why I was cutting wood last spring.) I set up the humidifier to take care of the 36% relative humidity inside the house. Not good for the wood or the nasal passages.

I composed the annual Christmas Letter to be included with our cards Terry was addressing in the other room. I surfed the web. I watched the clouds clear and the sun warm the porch side of the cabin to all of 31 degrees.

Just before dark this evening, I got up to look out the side door to where the bird feeders used to hang. And there were two deer. A doe and a yearling--also a female-- were licking up the sunflower seeds the bear had spilled the other day. Terry and I stood watching them and talking in our normal tones as they deer occasionally would look in the window and cock their ears in our direction. They KNEW I didn't have a doe tag. They KNEW! Five minutes went by and finally, I opened the sliding door to step onto the porch. The WALKED away and stopped on the other side of the power line right of way. They stood and looked at me--just 30 yards away. Then they started to walk into the woods and lop around. That's when I saw the third deer. Thankfully it too was a doe or I would have truly freaked--my loaded rifle was on the other side of the house.

So, yesterday a bear while eating breakfast. Today three does at dinner time. What's in store for tomorrow? Lions? This is Pennsylvania and although the mountain lion is no longer present in our woods (wink, wink) that's still a possibility. Or maybe something a little tamer. Say a pack of coyotes. Haven't heard any of those for a while.


I'll be going back out tomorrow morning at 0630 in the hopes that the weekend will bring a few more hunters out. It's been lonely the last two days. The camp down the hill is empty of the eight or so guys who were up from Lancaster area. And there have been very few shots fired within hearing range. Certainly nothing close enough that I would stop and stand looking in that direction for any deer that might have been missed/spooked as I would do in New Jersey.


JDP said...

Hope you can get that buck you are looking for Joated.


Gun Trash said...

.270 Remington, that's a good round even though I've not shot one. I think it's been around a while which tells you something. Plus, it's just a tad under 7mm Mauser which is one of my favorites to shoot. If it's anything close to that venerable round then there's not a lot of recoil but shoots flat and is powerful enough for about anything you'd encounter in North America.