I wanted to take a few moments and share with you my journal that I wrote while in a tree stand last Saturday evening. I know not all of you hunt, and that’s ok. But to spend an evening in the woods is an experience I believe all should try, and there is no better place to watch from than a tree stand. There is some commentary in reference to night’s camp before at O’Leno and visiting Patti and Dale (my very good friends). Here is what I wrote:
Saturday Aug 29th 2009 – 5:35 pm – clear weather after week of heavy rain – quarter moon
Sitting in M.r Jack’s tree stand – quiet so fare, but promising. Owl hooting – sun still fairly high and setting just to the left and in front of me. No relief from the rays except an occasional breeze. Last night camped with Ellie at O’Leno SP. About 4:45 pm saw 2 does and 3 fawns as we headed out to walk and on return to the campsite we looked around in the forest behind us and found a young raccoon looking for a meal in an fallen log .(Raccoon at hog trap to left eating corn – 5:40 PM) We walked down to the river about 7:30 am and spotted 3 does and 3 fawns grazing buy the rebuilt fort and 1 other in a meadow towards the "end of the yellow blazed trail". We also saw a huge freshwater turtle (cooter) near the "sink" over 24 inches across!
We left the park to meet Patti and Dale t their new home to go sight in the rifles before tonight’s hunt. Ellie did great! (Chick-a-Dee just out of arms reach to my left on a branch – does not even see me – LOL 5:45 – beautiful little bird!) After we left the range we spent some time airing out the blinds we will be using in 2 weeks for the WITO hunt and then put in 30-45 minutes practicing with the bows. Patti is lethal with that thing! (Dove eating corn under feeder just spooked and flew off – raccoon still enjoying free meal – beautiful yellow caterpillar with red head walking rail of stand – took photo 5:50 pm) I am getting better but can’t hunt yet – not good enough!
We went inside and Patti showed us the trail cam pics – they were wonderful! Turkeys, deer, raccoons, huge hogs and even the Pie Bald deer we saw last year! She emailed the other hunters that are coming up in 2 weeks, I am sure they will be excited! (Doves are back, very angry squirrel to my right 5:55. Goldfinches and Chick- a-Dee flying around sure could use another breeze…). We had a wonderful dinner of wild hog with potatoes and onions and then headed out here to the stand, so here I sit. This stand has always had a lot of activity. I forgot to mention on leaving the Osceola Rifle Range we saw a huge water moccasin cross the road. We stopped to watch it cross. Guess all the rain has them stirred up. This one must have been 3 inches around.
The hunters here on this land plowed up the food plot between the stand I am in and the feeder just a few hours ago, deer season is just around the corner.
6:05 Lone crow to my left calling to one on my far right. Butterflies (beautiful stripped butterfly below) looking for dinner, pair of doves in tree above feeder, Hawk calling in distance, raccoon still in hog trap eating his fill.
6:20 Raccoon has had it’s fill and has wandered or should I say wobbled back into the woods.
6;50 A doe and fawn are feeding – fawn in the hog trap where raccoon was. Doe staying in forest line and behind trap. 3 snowy egrets just flew overhead, noisy crow in pine stand in front – getting annoying 😛 Dow and fawn been here about 5 min. Just heard hogs grunting straight ahead in brush.
7:05 Deer still here – cardinals coming in to feeder – sun lower than trees finally! Getting exciting! Wading Birds (various) flying over – breeze feels great!
7;10 Big ole rabbit hopping around fawn that is back feeding in pen, The 2 deer are hanging close and very relaxed in spite of crow… just spotted 2 more deer at far end of clearing staying at or in forest.
7:15 Deer all moved off 2 V’s of about 8-9 egret just flew over, finally getting cooler, crow gone YIPPEE!! All is quiet. Another 30+ egret flew over all heading North to South.
7:30 Lots of egrets flying over another 7 sets of various sizes, temperature feels much better. Cows that have been calling since I got here started calling very aggressively and then calmed down some. Cardinals are back. Squirrel visited hog trap for some corn. Mamma raccoon and 3 babies are coming to the feeder!
7:35 I got some cute photos and video of the raccoons. Babies in tree playing, mom close by. Must be waiting on feeder to go off – Raccoon family making way to hog trap – spooked rabbit into hiding
7:40 feeder just went off! Dinner is served. Here piggy piggy….
7:50 Sun is above far tree line on horizon. Lots of bird calls – many more sets of egrets flying over, one set had an Ibis in the mix. Raccoons headed further off into the forest the way the deer came in earlier. Squirrel has moved around in the trees above the hog trap. Evening insects have started their chorus. Dove at feeder, forest is quiet.
8:00 truck driving road behind me – noisy crew, hope they are not heading in here.
8:15 Bunny still hanging out where I photographed it – watching me the whole time. Getting to dark to write. Been a very pleasant evening!.
Hunting is not all about shooting – it is also about enjoying all that surrounds you and having a respect for nature and balance.