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Posts Tagged ‘muck’


I was standing on the ridge near the main gate of the cattle’s enclosure. My rifle was resting on some freshly cut wood stumps, freeing up my hands for the binoculars allowing me to get a closer look at the hillside and field below.   

There was a refreshing breeze coming in from the west and the silver-leaved poplars were dancing in the wind making a melodious rustling sound. The cumulus humilis clouds were also moving quickly through the sky, then the wind would suddenly pick up and a few darker clouds would come in and there would be a little drizzle but within a few minutes it was all cleared up and the sun would come out. 

The farmer had mentioned that there was a big woodchuck that came up along the fence not far from where he cut his wood a few days earlier. So my plan was to walk along the old wooden farm fence towards the north and investigate some potential holes. I looked down the ridge at a walking trail that resembled a trench line in the shape of a snake. Its vegetation had been beaten down and dry light brown sand had covered all the hay. The rest of the field was overgrown with green thorny plants and knee-high hay and scattered piles of manure both fresh and dry. There were also three large rocks scattered along the edge of the tree line to the south and so I decided this is where I would begin my search. 

As I started my descent down the ridge, my eye caught some movement and sure enough there was the big woodchuck coming out one of the holes on the southern ridge and it made its way down to the trail heading east. It would sprint, then stop and look around nervously and then it would set off on a sprint again. Since I was higher up and my silhouette was quite visible I got down very quickly on my stomach and took aim with my binoculars and focused in on the animal. 

I was instantly hit with a foul smell and my hands, chest and knees were soaked. I had just laid down in some fresh cow muck. Well at least I would fit in better to my surroundings and the hunt well it went on. Still using my binoculars I followed the woodchuck along the trail until it disappeared behind a large bush. 

It had vanished right before my eyes, so I got up and very carefully walked down about one hundred yards to the exact spot and there were no holes to be found. So, I followed the trail along some more also heading east and it brought me back to one of the barns only a few feet from the car, so I stopped for lunch. 

Before it disappeared at least I had located the woodchuck, so I needed to give it some time to get back to its comfort level and continue to look for food. An important thing I learned is the following: If you scare the woodchuck, leave the immediate area and place yourself a good one hundred or more yards away and wait, if the sun is out the woodchuck will come out, maybe not in the same hole but it will come. So, I finished up my lunch and decided to check out some other fields to the north. 

By the time I finished up with the northern fields, I found myself on the far western side opposite to the ridge where I had been standing in the morning. So, I unloaded my rifle made my way over the wired fence and moved in close to the tree line and stayed in the low ground. This is so that I would not accidentally scare any woodchucks that were bathing in the sun. 

It was a great idea to stay close to the tree line except that I found myself under a tree that must have had about four crows and potentially a nest because they let me know real quick that I was not welcome and they also alerted all the animals around them of my presence. So, I pressed forward and moved along further up the edge now heading east. I tried my best not to make too much noise and the cow muck, combined with the mud made it very easy to move through the forest edge without making a sound. 

I picked up my binoculars and took a quick look at one of the three main boulders and sure enough there was a big woodchuck sun bathing on its surface. The only problem is that it had a perfect one hundred and eighty degree view of the field to his front and I was smack in the middle of it. 

So I kept moving forward through the muck and mud in order to close the gap between me and the woodchuck on the other side of the field. My feet did not make a sound; every step was calculated, purposely avoiding sticks and leaves, slowly moving down along the bottom part of an embankment. The woodchuck was still perched up on the large boulder and looking right at me. I quickly studied the field in front of me and noticed that there was some low ground, so I got down on my hands and knees climbed the embankment and started my approach towards the boulder. 

As I got closer, I noticed that it was not just one large boulder but a combination of four extremely large stones in the shape of a star. I would move a few steps and stop, then carefully look up over the crest with my binoculars, and then once again move a few steps. Now with only thirty-five yards between us, the birds starting chirping in the trees to the south, they could see me coming across the field and in their alert calls all wildlife scattered including the woodchuck. 

So, I got up walked over to the stones found the hole and had a look, the woodchuck was gone. So, I moved south about twenty yards and placed myself right on the forest’s southern edge facing the hole and the field. I sat on a large rock and stayed there for thirty minutes but the woodchuck never came. 

The large rock was not the most comfortable object to sit on, so I decided to move east still staying just inside the forest edge to investigate the two other large rocks that I had noticed earlier in the morning. Once in a while I would turn and look at the star-shaped boulders, sure enough on the third or fourth time I looked over, there was the woodchuck. Not on the boulder but heading south from inside the forest. “What a bugger!” It had been watching me the whole time as I stared at its hole. 

I saw it scoot along the forest floor right over to the large rock. By the time it had reached the large rock; I had turned around and started to make my way back going west. I was only fifty yards away but I had to get closer for a clean shot without scaring it. The woodchuck was now back at the boulder and started to feed. It would lift its head every few seconds and look around then start feeding again. 

We were taking turns moving, every time it put its head down; I took a few steps and then froze like a tree. I got within shooting range at about twenty yards facing west; I then slowly raised my Cooey and took it off safe. The woodchuck was positioned just slightly to my right with its left flank exposed, allowing me to line up my iron sights with its shoulder-blade.  Crack! The first shot rang out and the woodchuck did not move. 

I started to sprint north-west towards the woodchuck, all the while I cocked my rifle, lined up the iron sights. Crack! The second shot rang out; this time the woodchuck ran down the side of the large boulder and bolted towards its hole. 

Once I broke the forest edge and leapt over a smaller log and was now facing the east and had a view right down the hole. My second shot had struck it in its side and it was struggling to move deeper into it’s borrow. Crack! A third shot rang out and everything went quiet. 

I recovered my harvest and covered the hole with large stones. It wasn’t long after I left the area and started getting ready to go home that the herd of cattle moved in on the exact spot and began grazing.

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