Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PA Hunting: Day 2

Day two was a short one. The forecast was for widely scattered showers in the early AM and then some heavier rains after noon.

I went out at the usual time and climbed into the tree stand at 6:30 AM while it was still dark. The leaves were damp and moving was semi-silent with only the occasional roll of a rock or snap of a twig. While I was tying my rifle and backpack to the haul string I thought I heard something move down the slope below me. It was still too dark to see anything, however.

Once in the tree stand and with the rifle and backpack hauled up, I sat down to await the arrival of light. As the light increased, so did the rain. It started at 6:45 and continued off and on for a couple of hours. By 8 AM I was pretty well damp (not soaked—it wasn’t raining that hard) and hadn’t seen or heard anything except a turkey fresh from its roost looking for its mates. No other birds, squirrels, deer or hunters were making any noise.

The rain was mildly uncomfortable and made me want to kill something. Mostly the weatherman who said we would have much if anything before noon.

I decided to get out of the tree stand when it seemed it was going to continue raining. Of course, it stopped as soon as I hit the ground. So I sat for an hour and then took a walk to the southeast corner of the property. No signs of deer or other hunters. There was one shot over half a mile to the west. After my little walk, I went back to sitting. And eating my lunch.

At quarter to 12, the rain started again. This time it seemed to be serious so I opted out and headed back to the Aerie. Terry had a bowl of turkey and rice soup ready when I walked in the door. While we were eating, the rain did indeed start falling in a serious manner. Glad I decided to come in.


I mentioned that there was a turkey calling this morning shortly after 7 AM as it was getting light (sunrise is listed as around 7:10). It was there yesterday, too. My guess is that it was roosting in the hemlock trees and then foraging in the area where we had logging done a few years ago.

We have had turkeys around the Aerie since before construction began. Even as we worked to raise the walls, we would have a turkey fly in over us and land in the area of our second driveway right behind the construction site. And turkeys DO fly, contrary to what you may have heard on WKRP, Cincinnati. They fly very well and in defiance of gravity and the physics of aerodynamics.

A turkey’s primary means of escape is running but if startled or pushed, they will take to the air. They also fly up to and out of their roosting trees and across deep ravines or road cuts. It can be a shock to be traveling down the road and have a turkey fly across the road just over your head!

From my observation, a turkey prefers to flap its wings just enough to get airborne and then go into a glide. Seeing a turkey glide is reminiscent of watching a C130-Hercules in flight. You look at the size of the thing and say, “THAT can’t possibly be flying!” But it is.


Sitting in the tree yesterday and again this morning I heard a frog calling. Thinking about it, there had to be several in the area since calls came from different locations.

Strange to hear a frog at the end of November. Stranger still since there’s no water nearby except for a small weep 2-300 yards away. When I got out of the tree to sit yesterday, I actually kicked up one of those little frogs. It turned out to be a wood frog. Only about an inch long and maybe a ¼ inch thick, this little frog was a pale tan that blended in with the fallen leaves. I’ve found similar frogs (along with leopard frogs) in the grass both here at the Aerie and up at the Bolt Hole.


In addition to the turkey(s) and wood frog(s) I had the company of a pileated woodpecker. It was hammering away on some nearby trees when I put the tree stand up and I could hear it still working on some dead tree and calling from various positions not far away from where I was set up. Still doesn’t come down to the bird feeder very often, though.

That's about it for now. Got to go renew the ice packs on my aching knees and get the hunting clothes out of the dryer.


Rev. Paul said...

Rain during deer season always seems like a cruel joke. The best viewpoint I ever had, though, was under a large cedar while wearing my fire dept turnout gear - it's quite waterproof. Oh well.

I'm sorry you didn't get anything today, either (except "frustrated" and "wet").

joated said...

Hey! At leas it was warm rain. Got up to 60 today. Might be significantly colder tomorrow morning. Might even have a dusting of snow (although I doubt that).