Sunday, December 18, 2016

Some Gear Gone

Heavy reading 10-20 years ago.  I like books.  But they are physical and thus they hold space in the world.  Not enough shelves.  Donated to Rural America Writers Center library.  Somewhat symbolic parting although I did retain a handful of volumes on this subject matter.

A favorite coat.  Difficult to part with it.  Many winter trout and carp days.  But I now have a dedicated fishing jacket, a warm coat for work, and a nice wool longcoat for walking alleys and pubs downtown should that need arise every 1-9 months.  This coat served years at that triple-duty.  But last year I don't think it was used much.  Still highly serviceable and so wanted to give someone else a crack.  Stuffed following note in a hidden zipper pocket.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Observations via Trout Fishing 12/5/2016

Stopped and watched the water from which my son caught his first trout nymphing last fall.  Thought about how he insisted on staying for a few more drifts.  Flipped the nymphs to the top and picked up the rod at the right time.  Toothy colored-up fall brown.  Good memory.  I didn't fish it at this moment; saved it for the walk out.  

Equisetum is a "living fossil" as it is the only living genus of the entire class Equisetopsida, which for over one hundred million years was much more diverse and dominated the understory of late Paleozoic forests. Some Equisetopsida were large trees reaching to 30 meters tall. The genus Calamites of the family Calamitaceae, for example, is abundant in coal deposits from the Carboniferous period. The name Equisetum derives from the Latin equus ("horse") + seta ("bristle").  -Wikipedia
Brown trout.

Always fish here.  Casting streamer, quartering up and across.  

Appeared to me that he was running out of the WMA into the park; made it across the river on a heavy trail; set down on the far bank and died.

Always fish here too.  I tracked the numbers closely comparing black streamer and nymphs.

Money water.  The gray.

Venison never subjected to any cooking heat.  Packed in salt keg one week.  Smoked for maybe six hours. 

And this big bull of the woods.  Big-bodied.  Died just inside park boundary.  Antlers cut off at base with a saw.  Otherwise left intact.

Turns out the black streamer beat nymphing with ratio of 3:2 i.e.  twelve to eight total count.  Not a single fish greater than twelve inches.  Nearly all in the range of 9-12 inches.  Couple small fish including one that must have hatched 2015.

Cut off my fly and walked the floodplain into WMA.  Found this one.  Another big body.  Head and neck gone, clean saw cut evident near base of neck.  Can't say for sure what happened to these two deer but seems two general/main possibilities: (1) shot and tracked to deathbeds, trophies taken and bodies left, or (2) shot a great distance away, not found by hunters; later found and antlers/heads then taken.  Hate to think the worst, but it kind of felt like #1 because (a) this place has big walls - would be really tough to get a deer out of here; yet it crawls with hunters; unsure how they get them out; must quarter and pack out, (b) both deer in wide open, obvious lays, (c) if someone other than hunter cut off antlers/head, he/she would have likely had to find the deer, walk out and return with a saw.  Seems unlikely.  But certainly possible  Will never confirm anything; story won't be told.  Whatever the case, tough to see them laying as such.  Reported to CO, who appreciated the info and pictures.  Minnesota does have laws against wanton waste that apply to both hunting and fishing.  

Scrapes everywhere on the floodplain trails.

Big walls on all sides.

Some of the majesty.

Pink annelid caught my eye on way out: linear color in the drab.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Deer Hunting 2016

Have started out at this gullyhead each of the last four years.  In fact this same tree last year.  Well-placed in that hunter can see downslope quite a ways, and also to the trail along the top/shoulder of the bluff.  From this location I can see the Big River.

View from powerline maybe 150-200 yards from stand.  No better way to learn about a place than to work through a deer hunt.  Just thinking through everything we've observed, discussed, studied over the past ~6-8 years; I marvel at folks who have had opportunity to hunt the same land for decades.

Approx 8:30 day one weekend one, a buck approached along that upper trail; moving left to right as I had to pivot to my left to look uphill.  He was moving slowly and carefully, checking some points along the trail as it curved through a rub gallery of small poplar.  I think he was at 25-30 yards.  Had to stare for quite a while because he was relatively small-racked.  Needed to confirm the fourth point; i.e. the brow tine.  And thus another year that amounted to an exercise in decisiveness: I usually take about twenty minutes to think things through but can't do that here; need to observe, understand and then act.  In the course of a few seconds.  So I registered an image that I took to be a brow tine.  He then moved out of that lane into some scrubby viewscape.  I put the bead where it needed to be and shot.  He indicated that he was hit, but not immediately mortally so, and he surged forward on the trail, took a hard right and started down the ravine.  I gathered myself a bit, kept the gun up and followed him into the next lane; put a shot on him while he was running downhill.  He fell and did not get up.  He grunted forth one effort to lift his front quarters but he could not complete.  Died seconds to minutes later.

Dragged long distance downhill to a meadow.  Did not gut prior to dragging out so as to keep cavity free of dirt and debris.  Dragging any distance downhill, even through unending brambles and over (or sometimes under) logs crossing ravine seems manageable.  Perhaps due to fulfillment and associated happiness that comes of harvesting the meat.  Uphill would be another matter.  Would get it done, but man would it be a lot of work.  Strategic planning should include consideration of how one will take deer from deathbed to home.  One note on the deer: the working directive from the landowner is to take legal deer that we encounter; this is not a QDM operation.  The goal is food.

Good place in the world.

Found two of these ticks.  One was clearly a deer tick; one was darker - unsure of specie.  In one case I actually felt the tick bite me; reached back and grabbed it.  Literature says ticks need be attached for at least 24 hours to pass any infectious disease.  

The tally.  Taken slowly from deer while hanging in my garage.  Used the old bike wheel rig from years past.  Although in 2015 I bought a gambrel to better spread the legs; something like $5 after deer season done.  And further on this matter, I may just splurge and buy a true hanging system; this buck (somewhat large bodied) brought the whole works down while I was cutting.  Moderately dangerous as I had knife in hand and a bunch of metal and meat and bone came down in a flurry.  Nothing came of it but going forward maybe skip the risk.  Turned out the deer pulled one of those hooks straight.
We had no meat left; had just run out weeks before.  Now we have a lot of meat.  Added a doe too; so we good for a while.  Grateful for the landowners who continue to welcome me to their hunting party; it's a highlight each year.  Also thankful for a family that guides in understanding of deer habits and hunting methods.