Looking Out My Front Door

I live in a very cool place.  Not braggin’ or anything, just stating facts.  I have come to really love it here, and why not?  I am in the midst of the Creator’s glory.  Truly. Mountains, streams, wildflowers, and trees. One of the perks of living in a very cool place is that sometimes I look out my front door and see cool stuff.  And sometimes, I see not very cool stuff, like bear trash. Among the cool stuff are two big bucks that came to say hi the other day. If I knew anything at all, I’d be able to tell you what kind of point system these dudes were on.  But whatever. DSC_2141 Sidenote:  I may or may not have a thing for yellow vehicles. So do the deer. DSC_2146Not gonna lie, I was a little bit leery of being this close, with my little EK by my side and all.  Those are really some big antlers and I’m not real sure if they would charge, but of course the vision of being gored by deer entered my mind. A reel of every episode of “When Animals Attack” shortly followed. Our cat was very curious too.  You can see her photo bomb in the lower right corner of the second picture. Speaking of very cool things:  I have a black cat and it’s October!!!  October means Halloween!  Does anyone else think that’s awesome besides me? No? DSC_2169 Well I think it’s very cool.  The leaves here are in an array of colors and taking a picture of a black cat in fall leaves is currently on my bucket list.  Y’all remember this cat?  Isn’t she a beauty?  I have come to adore her.  It is definitely a ‘she’.  And her name is Rocky Muffin.  But sometimes EK says, “I changed her into a boy” so then we call ‘him’ Bagheera. As I don’t have a ton of cat experiences, I really have nothing to compare this cat to…..except a dog, and let me tell you, she is just like a dog to the point of jumping in the car to go for rides and following us on our walks. Yesterday, I tried to get some cool pics of ol’ Baggy, but didn’t really succeed.  It just so happens, unlike a dog, she doesn’t know how to sit or stay. It’s still a lot green here, mostly because we have some cool season grass, which unlike normal grass, stays green until Spring, then it dies.  So there’s more summer than autumn in my pictures.  But whatever. DSC_2175 I’m not giving up yet, so be on the lookout for more pics of this cat.  Maybe shoved in a jack o’ lantern? DSC_2158Maybe being gored by a buck? The possibilities are endless.

In Memory of My Dad #31

This article was written by my dad on April 8, 1995 entitled Springing Eternal the Hunters Spirit Mingles in the Greenery.  Perhaps some of you hunters can see yourself in the description, and most of your hunter friends too.

The days are lengthening; green colors are showing beneath the yellowish brown cover of fall grasses, buds are showing on the fruit trees and another long winter is about to end.

Early Spring burst out in the hills to the east of Tahlequah and the whites of the dogwoods and the pinks of the redbuds bring out another phenomenon:  The return of the deer and turkey to their accustomed haunts.

The fundamental instincts of these creatures brought about each year simply seem to make the animals disappear from the face of the earth.  Even for the last two months, it’s as if they had been swallowed up by the earth.  And it’s not until about the first of March that they come out again from the deep canyons and heavy brush and become visible to their human neighbors.

Many people will not believe what I am about to say.  I remember a few years ago, when I interviewed the last (at that time) of the Whooping Cranes, there were doubting Thomases who denied that I had ever, in the middle of Dismal Swamp, Texas entertained a family of cranes and held a prolonged conversation with the head of the family while feeding them canned shrimp and anchovies.

There has been a many-antlered deer out on Webster flat for many years now.  Neighbors have seen him flitting across the darkening landscape, and he has been the quarry of many an ardent hunter these past hunting seasons.  As a matter of fact he and I have an understanding.  He lives in a growth of cedars not far from Art Webster’s house near a hillside watering tank.  Often we meet out by a large block of salt and he licks while I talk.

Now if you don’t believe this you had better stop reading now—especially if you are a deer hunter–because my old friend may be discussing you with a frankness which will not do your ego any good.

The afternoon was mild as I sat propped against a sweetgum tree, and old Lucky Buck worked out on the block of salt.  Finally he turned to me and said:  “Mr. Bob, people are sure enough funny, especially hunting people.”  I don’t know why it is, but all sorts of animals call me “Mister Bob”; deer, fox, ‘coons and all sorts of flying creatures. 

“I suppose,” he went on, “that we deer here in Cherokee County have had about a good a chance as any to study the hunting human.  And believe me, they are a strange lot.  Now being that you want the facts, I’ll give them to you.  And you write them down.

One of the oldest types of hunter is the Housekeeping Hunter.

This fellow arrives on his hunting lease in the early morning hours with a truck load of equipment and one or more hunting partners.  He is the boss of his own camp and a great stickler for detail.  While his companions look longingly out over the hills, he is picking the ideal campsite.  This may take three hours.  Then the others in his party are handed shovels and boy scout axes which brings about the job of erecting the tent.  Cots are then set up and the kitchen is installed with all the painstaking care of Admiral Byrd setting up camp in “Little America” in the Arctic.

On about the second day there is a supervised hunt for a couple of hours with no results, and the third day is reserved for breaking camp, reloading and policing up the area.”

So our interview came to an end, and in the interest of brevity I have condensed the other observations of Lucky Buck.

THE EXECUTIVE TYPE:
According to Lucky Buck, this man hunts from a tree stand.  The game is supposed to come to him.  Often he has a hole bored into a live oak limb, into which he slips a swivel chair, so that he can feel at ease and face up or downwind at will.  he spends a good deal of time drinking coffee that his toadies fetched for him, while sighting his rifle in on imaginary rhinos or cape buffalo, against the time he is voted in as president of Alaska or the king of Africa.

THE MEAT GETTER:
Works under the old belief that there are two kinds of venison, that with antlers and that without.  This man is of special interest to game wardens.  This mean is an elusive character, found mostly at night equipped with a powerful flashlight, poaching on private property and later found in the county judge’s office.  Often has wife or children along as a decoy.  Cries like a baby when caught.

THE STATUS HUNTER:
Often is accompanied by his wife.  Easily recognized by outdoor and hunting plumage, station wagon, and a certain amount of hopping from one hunting camp to another.  Is not considered a serious threat to the deer population, but does make an occasional input on armadillo, field mice and owls.  Only disaster that can happen to this boy is getting shot by his wife.

THE DRINKING HUNTER:
A boon to conservation (deer conservation that is).  Full of laughter and practical jokes, conversation and ‘who hit John’.  Usually can be found at convenience and package stores around town, thus enlivening the hunting season.  Likes to frame hunting companions by pretending he’s the game warden over the telephone.  Keeps odd hours.   Returns home from hunting trips laden with plenty of meat:  cured hams, smoked bacon, sausage and a tame turkey that he tries to pawn off as a freshly killed wild turkey.

MISCELLANEOUS HUNTER:
Shows up on frosty mornings with a .270 rifle and plenty of .30-06 ammo.  relaxing in his snuggly sleeping bag, he awaits dawn and D-Day, then suddenly remembers what it was he forgot to bring–his hunting license.

THE DISCOUNT STORE HUNTER:
Can be seen wearing the bright hunter orange vest, cap and gloves, searching for an inch of uninhabited land to hunt on.  Not finding this, can usually be found around a companion’s truck checking out the spike deer that his friend has been feeding for six months.  Drinks tons of coffee and talks about how it used to be.  Can be readily identified by the trinkling gadgets that can be heard two miles away.