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Archive for July, 2014


A young man, who was born during the winter months, once told me that his favorite time of year was the winter. I remember smiling and acknowledged that it was indeed a beautiful time of year but like many hunters, in my mind I didn’t just picture the months in the calendar for that particular time of year but I also identified the hunting seasons.

Everyone loves the summer months that’s for sure, especially after the long winter we had this year, but I ask myself is it possible that people who are born in a particular season, do they have this natural connection to that period of time?

Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the hot weather in July and August but I just adore the fall, with its cool air and incredible odors, and I will let you in on a secret, I was born in the fall. For me without a doubt September and October are one of the most incredible months of the year and not just for its colors and weather, these two months are the soul of waterfowl hunting.

I have spent a good two weeks getting my kayak rigged up with camouflage and other kit using Velcro readying for the upcoming waterfowl season and even though I am truly enjoying the sun about as much as a groundhog who is sunbathing. I feel like a bull in a rodeo cage waiting to be released, I just know that it is going to be an incredible duck and goose season this year, I can smell it in the air.

On that note have a great rest of the summer!

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My woodchuck woodburn

My woodchuck wood-burn

The groundhog numbers this summer at the farm have almost been non-existent with only two harvests recorded so far.

Last year I harvested close to eleven groundhogs and I know that this has had an impact on the overall population in the area; also if we take into consideration disease during hibernation when the parasites attach themselves to the groundhog before they go into their dens for the winter months or if the animal hasn’t stored enough fat it starves.

On my property alone, I removed five and now the only young single groundhog from this spring, is very cautious and only comes out to eat in short periods of time and also later in the evening which is not usual behavior.

If he was part of last years family, then there is a possibility that similarly to crows their awareness of danger is passed down through the genes and learned in the field no pun intended.

So, when I got to the farm and started to still-hunt, my skills would have to aid me in my search of the groundhogs.

They were no longer in the open at their ordinary times taking in sun rays. Neither were they found near their dens but instead they were using the tree line and rock formations just meters inside the forest to use as cover.

I started my way into the western field but had to wait until the cattle crossed over to the south before I could push further west. I then worked my way southeast and parallel to edge of the woods.

It was extremely hot and my sweat was dripping off my forehead like a tap, drinking was so important but also taking breaks. The bugs were also harassing me and my hat came in very handy, not only against the sun.

I finally reached the far side of the field and found the rock formation stone cold with no groundhog in site. I scanned the edge of the woods and this is when my eyes caught some movement up near the base of a tree.

It was lightning quick, I froze in my spot and waited for more movement, if groundhogs are alerted, they will whistle then run and hide either in deep brush to find and escape hole or dart directly for the den but they will come back out if they think that the danger is no longer present. Normally, in small steps and they might even thump their paws and let out sharp whistles, almost like there are provoking the potential danger in order to get a reaction as well as alerting others.

So, I waited patiently and sure enough he came out from hiding but this time he was in the high ground on my left or south. He was moving in an out of the grass and disappearing momentarily in the dark green vegetation, even though he was visible, he was not in a safe shooting position because of the large rocks behind him and a barn on the right.

I chose to wait and this is when the groundhog jumped up on a log and ran along it in short bursts, stopping to check for danger, his nostrils were moving very quickly. I did not move an inch, I waited for him to move further along the log to the east and then I swung around at the same time then got into perfect alignment with his vitals with a well-chosen back stop of solid dirt.

He was indeed the log runner, I took my rifle off safe, fired and released a single shot, it was my third harvest and one varmint less for the farmer.

 

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