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<u>A Day On 232</u>


The cool morning air greets me as I step from the comfy warmth of the truck. I carefully pick a dry path across the small stream that gives this area its name, Buck Run. I wonder silently why it was named this so many years ago? I kneel and take notice of fresh coon tracks and make a mental note to lay some steel here later in the year. Not far from the creek I see a fresh scrape pawed into the dark soil. A few steps further and there is another , this time with fresh tracks in the center. Again the image is stored into memory to check this spot early next week. Turkeys are today’s quarry, and with any luck the flock will be roosted just up the hollow.

A few towering hemlocks still stand in what’s left of someone’s long forgotten front yard. A pile of rusted metal strewn over a hillside mark their dump. I again catch myself wondering why so many old homesteads are marked with these two items? The big pines almost always give away the location of an old house and the garbage piles of the past usually are not far. The first volley of shots from the fields above snap me back to reality and I hurry my pace. The pheasant hunters will surely send the turkeys to the cover of the beech thicket. I pause at the edge of an overgrown bottom and do my best to listen for the wakeup calls of the big birds. Nothing but silence follows. The steep bank has my thighs burning as I make my way above the beeches.

Movement from the bottom catches my eye and I soon spot an old mamma doe and her two wide eyed youngsters cautiously weaving their way though the Goldenrod. Safely across the opening, they head for the safety of the thicket above. A few more shots are heard and several more deer head my way. This would be the perfect stand for the first Monday after Thanksgiving! Most of the hunters come in from the top to avoid the steep side of the hill, and in their movements , push the deer right across the small opening in the bottom. The shooting would be quick but the action nonstop.

I settle in against a large red oak and prepare to talk turkey. I have seen the flock here on numerous occasions although today is my first time hunting them here. Just as the sun begins to peek through the trees I hear a few soft yelps from down below. Soon after another joins in. Perfect! The plan has worked like a dream. I carefully pull the facemask down and scan the hillside below me. BOOM!!! And then again BOOM!!! I see turkeys taking flight all around me. One youngster lands on a branch of an oak behind me and I contemplate a shot. Though legal, I let her go and look for the hunters below. Two guys obviously had the same objective as me and now stand proudly over two plump fall birds. I congratulate them and head for the top of the ridge.

Lungs screaming at me for all those lazy days of summer, I finally reach the top. Settled in against another big oak, I watch and wait. Twenty minutes pass and I let out the first soft yelp. Nothing! A couple of my best kee-kees and again silence. Two shots from out the ridge lead me to believe that I’m too late. I wait another ½ hour and prepare to make the descent back to the creek bottom.

A jet black raven soars up above, his identity proven by his nasal calls. I watch and wonder what this ridge top is like through his eyes? I imagine being able to see through his eyes from above. As I near the yellow splashes of the fallen beech leaves I see several grey squirrels scurrying about. I pop out the 3” and replace them with some 2 ¾” 6 shot and prepare for some shootin. My mouth waters at the thought of BBQ squirrel sandwich’s! I wait until 3 are in range and quickly I’m able to take two of them. An hour later and three more join them by my side. Satisfied with the mornings take I head for home to skin the squirrels and ready for the evening hunt.

On my way home I take the long way around and I’m surprised at how many people are out. With all the seasons in full swing, a wide variety of sportsman can be found. I see two bow hunters walkin the road probably on their way to lunch. The next parking lot is full of trucks and several guys are cooking out on a charcoal grill. Young and old, everyone dressed in the color of fall, Fluorescent orange! Dogs are tied to trees enjoying a few scraps thrown their way. This is the picture of the spirit and tradition I wish all could see. Take away the new trucks and this scene has played out for how many years?

With squirrels in the crock pot ,and my belly full, I head out for the afternoons hunt. Mathews in hand and the Summit on my back I head to another oddly named area, Dog Run. The road itself is almost impassable, but the 4x4 chugs its way up. To my surprise no one else has the same thoughts and I have the place to myself. Half way up I ease the truck off the road and prepare for another lung busting climb. A few hundred yards up the trail I find the first of several scrapes and make the decision to find a good tree. Safely strapped in I survey the forest below. A deep vein cuts into the hillside behind me and beyond that a grove of towering white oaks. I scan the treetops for acorns but am unable to see any. In front I can see 3 scrapes within forty yards and feel good about this spot.

At 2:20 the crunching leaves announce this afternoons first customer. A small button buck nervously sniffs at the first scrape. His scruffy look and nervous demeanor remind me of a teenager on the first day of school. He soon moves off toward the oaks and out of sight. Several minutes later a pair of young does come into sight from above me. They browse their way down not paying any attention to the scrapes. Down towards the truck they head, following the same trail I entered on. At 3:40 I spot seven turkeys scratching their way across the oak flat. within minutes they are 40 yards away and I’m looking for a shot. However with fourteen keen eyes watching for any danger I know it will not be an easy feat. As they pass by me on the right I attempt to draw and I’m quickly seen. A few alarm putts and I know my chance is gone. They head back in the direction they came from and I can only smile. Where were they this morning when the 1300 would have loved to reach out and touch them?

As the evening sun settles behind the distant hillside the magic hour has begun. Movement again draws my attention and I strain to see through the scrubby thicket above me. I make out a lone doe cautiously moving toward my perch. She checks her back trail several times and I know that something else is on her trail. She pauses to check the wind and for this night its in my favor. She moves ahead slowly and I hear him. The soft grunt makes me forget about the doe and focus on the trail above. A flick of his tail gives away his location and I slowly turn my sights in his direction. Again a soft grunt is heard and out he steps. To my surprise he is a massive SPIKE!!!! I’m telling you 10” spikes on either side!! Again I chuckle to myself and sit down to watch the courtship. The old doe rejects his every move but he continues his pursuit. Back and forth they go, every now and then he stops just to make sure the big guy is nowhere around. As day fades to night they move off, although he sounds of their chase linger on for some time. On the way back to the truck I can’t help but give thanks to the man above for letting me enjoy yet another day in his woods. The sights and the sounds will live on forever in my journals and although no turkey or deer fell today, there is nothing else I’d rather have done!




BONZ
11-1-2008
 

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Bonz great post. I was hunting the same area Saturday.Saw a couple Dads with 2 youngsters (Not of hunting age) both dressed in orange going out with their Dads and the dog for an afternoon hunt.That was the highlight of the day for me young kids taking an intrest in the outdoors.
 

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That is an awesome story.

Bonz, keep relaying your days afield man. This is great stuff and really makes me sit and enjoy the beauty even more than I already do out there.

Keep up the good work man! And good luck to you the reat of this archery season and fall bird season!
 

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Good job Bonz, When do you get to the part about the dashing good lookin hero in green? Chapter 2??? lol
 
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