Showing posts with label Wildlife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wildlife. Show all posts

06 December 2011

The Waiting Game - Opening Day

The Dutch Girl went deer hunting recently. For the first time in her life. Being a blogger, she brought along a journal and took notes while waiting for her buck. Don't tell her father-in-law. He would not approve.

Despite the fact that the woods look a lot different in the dark than they do during the day, I was able to locate my stand without a hitch. The light on my blaze orange hat hit the reflecting markers we had left the day before perfectly. Getting lost in the dark was one of my two big concerns. The other was wounding a deer instead of killing it. I didn't have to worry about either as it turned out.

My resolve to go hardcore without turning on the heater lasted about an hour and a half. With my toes nice and toasty, I must say hunting wasn't half bad. Of course, my stand was the cabana among the deer stands. A view to all sides, a shelf to rest my gun on, ample space for a heater, and a portable potty. All that was missing was the beverage cart. And a buck.

Just before sun up on opening day, a shot was fired close by. I thought it was perhaps my brother-in-law who was hunting about 300 yards away. He thought it was me. Ryan and his dad were hunting fifteen minutes northeast of us. Ryan, who generously gave up his spot to me, had the added excitement of sitting on top of a hibernating bear. Sometime in the previous two weeks, a bear dug out a den and went to sleep about twenty feet from his stand.

There was an animal raising a ruckus somewhere in the trees in front of me. It turned out to a blue jay. I am fairly certain he was telling on me. Aside from that blue jay, the only wildlife I saw for hours was a squirrel and a few chickadees. And then, out of nowhere and without a sound, a deer. Less than fifty feet away. My heart skipped a beat. Alas, it was a doe. We looked at each other for a minute or two, before she continued on her way. It was the highlight of my day.

10 November 2011

Number Two

On my very first visit to my parents-in-law, I held and shot a gun for the first time in my life. Where I come from guns are illegal and public hunting is limited and considered elitist, to be honest.

I shocked quite a few people back home when I included in my newsletter this picture of a five month pregnant me, wearing camouflage and sporting a magnum. Surprisingly I was a very good shot. I even out-shot my husband.

Opening day of hunting season is coming up soon and this year I “chopped the knot” to use a Dutch expression and decided to join my husband, his dad, and his brother in the woods. Not to keep them company, no, I will have a stand of my own and a loaded gun by my side. Naturally I needed to practice shooting. Being a good shot five years ago with a handgun doesn’t mean I am a good shot today with a rifle. For all I know, it was the hormones controlling my aim.

I needn’t have worried. I am still a good shot. Apparently it comes naturally to me. But this time Ryan out-shot me by half an inch. And we found out that being out-shot all those years ago by a pregnant woman with no experience stung a little. He is very pleased to have righted this wrong and now lovingly refers to me as “Number Two”. But I know deep down inside he is very proud of me.

Of course, only time will tell if I can actually shoot a deer.

27 June 2011

Chip Or Dale?

Look who we found hanging out in the garage, chewing on insulation, and helping himself to the All You Can Eat Bird Seed Buffet.

09 September 2010

Truck Loses Bear

When Lola and I were driving home yesterday afternoon, we ran into a strange incident in downtown Crandon. A pick-up truck was parked in the middle of an intersection and two men dressed in camouflage were hoisting something big and dark onto the bed of the truck.

Upon closer inspection I noticed it was a dead black bear, gutted, and strapped to two large sticks that must have been used to haul it out of the woods. The bear most likely fell from the back of the truck when it pulled away at the intersection.

For some reason I have a harder time with the idea of bear hunting than deer hunting. Probably because they look so cuddly. I was simultaneously appalled and amused at the sight of the two guys and their bear. It is not something you see every day, not even up here, and definitely not if you're from Amsterdam.

Have you seen anything unusual lately?

06 June 2010

New Life

A face only a mother can love
This nest is right outside our front door, safely tucked away in the branches of a pine tree. I never would have known it was there, had I not seen the mother flying around with something large and heavy in her beak. She dropped it on the driveway, picked it up and dropped it again on the grass. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a dead baby bird.

I noticed momma bird was staying very close to one particular tree. When I followed her to that tree I saw there was a nest in it, and as I inched closer to it, another baby bird peaked over the brim and opened its little beak. I backed away not wanting to frighten momma bird and picked up Lola, pointing out the nest to her.

When I returned fifteen minutes later to take a picture of the mother in her nest, she kindly showed me her other new child and the one on the way. The eggs must have hatched today. Happy Birthday, baby birds!

Nighttime Visitor

Ursus Americanus
Every since I saw the butt of a black bear, several weeks ago, I have been on the lookout for more. On my way home from work I pay special attention to clearings and side roads, occasionally taking the back roads, hoping to spot a bear. No such luck. Deer, eagles, foxes, porcupines, turkeys, and turtles aplenty, but no bear.

My husband and daughter have seen a bear. Last week, on their way back from a short visit to the boat landing to go swimming, they ran into one. He was standing halfway up a driveway when they passed him on their bicycle. As soon as the bear spotted Ryan and Lola, he took off running into the woods. They were understandably very excited about the sighting. I was too, and a little jealous.

The next night Judy and I were watching television when I heard something brush against the window (my parents-in-law have floor to ceiling windows overlooking the back deck and the lake). I don't think Judy heard the bump. I hoped it was a bear, but immediately dismissed the thought as wishful thinking. Deciding it was probably my imagination, I continued to watch the finale of Dancing with the Stars.

Minutes later we heard a crash outside. We jumped up from our seats, turned on the deck lights, and there it was, the American black bear. Right there on the deck, four feet away from us, lapping up the sugar water that was spilling out of the hummingbird feeder he had pulled from the wall. Judy opened the door and in her sternest teacher voice told the bear to leave, which he did, slowly. He walked down the steps and sat down next to a tree, watching us for about ten minutes before he wandered off into the darkness.

He came back the next night, judging by the mess on the deck, but we had taken in all the bird feeders, including the hummingbird feeders, and there was nothing for him to eat. No-one saw or heard him this time. Except maybe Sandman who was still out and about when I went to bed. He was so spooked the following morning, he would not set a paw outside for hours.

15 March 2010

Danger Talk

Like every parent, I dread the day I have to tell my daughter the world is not as nice a place as she thinks it is. That there are people out there that hurt other people. On purpose. I don't think the time has come yet, though, she is not yet three. Let her be blissfully unaware for a little while longer. And in the meantime we'll keep a close eye on her.

However, today I did have a little talk with her. Early this morning, I spotted a black bear, leisurely strolling along the shoreline of Lake Lucerne. Or Mud Bay, as we have come to call it. I was absolutely thrilled by the sighting. I ran over to the bedroom to wake Ryan up in true City Girl Sees Wildlife fashion. Ryan being a veteran bear-spotter, wasn't nearly as excited as I was.

Lola and I had been feeding the eagles leftover meat yesterday, thinking the bears were still hibernating, though not for much longer. The unseasonably warm weather woke them up early it seems. This morning the meat was gone. I doubt the bears ate it, judging by the prints in the snow where the meat used to be. I am certain the eagles didn't, though. Oh well. As long as some critter enjoyed it.

While we were on our way to daycare, I told Lola I had to talk to her about the bears. That even though they look really cute and cuddly, they are in fact very dangerous. Bears are not like baby deer. And highly unlikely as it may be, if she should see a bear, there was no walking over and saying "Hi". Lola repeated everything I said and then told me she didn't like bears anymore. Since she loves all animals, with the exception of elephants and crocodiles, that was not what I was going for. But for now, I'll take it.

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