Fall is an absolutely beautiful time of year. It's a shame that it leads us into winter and that it never really seems to last as long as we would like. It's amazing how things can be green one day, full of color for two days and then we spend 3 weeks raking up the colors that looked so much nicer on the trees than it does covering our lawns! Still, there is something about that crisp, clean, and refreshing morning air that I can't get enough of. I wonder if others feel the same way?
Fall also means it's off to the hardwoods to find some deer. I am very fortunate to have access to a private piece of property that people do not hunt. It's a good sized piece of land and the deer seem to be more tolerant of people than they do in hunted areas. It is a treasure to me and being able to walk and watch nature in action is an amazing experience.
Not everything happens in the woods though, sometimes all you have to do is step out into your own backyard! This tagged Monarch was in my very own yard. First time I've seen a tagged one!
While out and about, I also found this "thing" that I could only get a picture with from my phone. I actually took the picture to a naturalist and she had to look it up. It's a moth and it's name is Large Maple Spanworm! Who knew?!
It had the naturalist stumped for a while. She sent me a text once she was able to ID it.
The phone came in useful for this little guy also. He nearly ran over the top of my boot to get back into his hole with a mouthful of acorns. I just stopped, waited, and sure enough he gave me a quick pose!
Sometimes those soccer road games take you to places you may otherwise not have seen, as is the case with this "lunch break" that my wife and I took on the way home from a match in Illinois.
I know some of the guys just want to see the deer, so without further ado...
October starts with a little stare down-
Well maybe two stare downs -
And then something happens and things start getting serious.
Now over the past few years I have seen bucks going at it in both a playful and a semi-serious manner. On October 6th I witnessed a battle like I have never seen before. It was in a thick part of the woods that I was unable to photograph in. Two bucks going nuts, branches breaking and dirt flying! I tried to move in closer, hoping to get a picture, when they suddenly broke off and the loser went running - right at me! It all happened so fast that I didn't even get a chance to raise my camera. Thank goodness he realized I was standing there at the last second and turned away. Definitely a heart-pounding moment. The loser of the fight was this fella, nicknamed Dumbo. I have voted Dumbo most likely to wander off the property and get harvested by a hunter. I see him every time I go out.
In the background (in focus) of the second stare-down picture is a beautiful 8 point that I have seen exactly one time. When I saw him, the first thing I thought was "where's his saddle"?
For obvious reasons, I hope to see more of this guy!
I'm a little worried about the next guy. He has an injured right leg/shoulder. No visible signs of a wound so I'm thinking it's either broke or it's muscular. He can move when he has too, but looks labored when he is just walking. He acts different than most of the other bucks and keeps a good distance from them.
"The Godfather" was went through my mind when I looked at this picture. Little guy, asking permission of the Godfather, kissing the bridge of his nose. In reality, it doesn't make any sense to me why a large buck would even tolerate the little guy this time of year, but there it was.
October 13th, that same 11 point came out and performed pre-rut textbook style. A doe had come by and urinated not too far from where I was sitting. Less than 15 minutes later, this guy walks out, right up to the spot she urinated at. He got a good whiff too -
He then followed her same path until he came to a scrape. I started doing my thing (taking photos) and he started doing his.
Of course Dumbo and the little guy got jealous and stepped in front.
And speaking of photo-bombing...
But back to the 11pt, he freshened the scrape (I missed the shot) and then did the Tarsal Gland thing, leaving his scent.
It was just like reading all those magazines many moons ago! Couldn't believe it. When he finished he was back on her trail and wandered off.
Naturally the woods are not filled with only bucks and when they have time and are not being chased, the doe in the woods like to show off.
And sometimes they just make you shake your head and wonder...
Normally I would stop here, but this time around I have something for the hunters in the group. If you don't much like hunting, this would be a good place for you to stop and wait on what I hope will be a very colorful post in the near future.
Let me tell you all about my friend and coworker, John Murphy. We have worked at the same place for over 20 years. We have duck and goose hunted together numerous times and while our shooting may not have always been on target, we have been successful in sharing a good number of laughs! Truth be told, John has actually harvested more whitetail with MY muzzleloader than I have!! John and his wife Kim live up in the Lapeer area and when John was not at home, he was probably driving to or from our place of employment in Mt. Clemens. For years John was a volunteer fireman near his home and continues as an Emergency Response Team member at work. He's just an all around good man, husband, father and friend. How he finds time to hunt is beyond me.
His good deeds paid off this year when he won the Pure Michigan Hunt! So, not only does each winner of the Pure Michigan Hunt get over $4000 in gear, they also receive elk, bear, spring and fall turkey, and antlerless deer licenses! Plus first choice at one of Michigan's managed waterfowl hunt areas. With his permission, I'd like to share a few pictures of his success to date.
First up, on opening day of bear season, John made good with his bow as he tagged a monster Black Bear - 422lbs!!!! I can't even imagine this! John said they had heard the bear in the distance and were watching for it when suddenly the cameraman in the tree pointed down. It was standing at the base of the tree they were in!! That will get your heart racing. It just had to be an incredible feeling.
October 1st was another good day for John as he cashed in on a beautiful 6x6 Michigan Elk! He had hunted a few days with his bow but the elk were keeping their distance. With only so many days to hunt, he decided to switch up to the rifle - time was getting short. Naturally this Bull came within bow range! That's hunting!
When John returned to work after his Elk hunt, I asked if he was going back up to the Northern Lower for ducks. His reply, "Man, I'm tired, I just want to stay home and relax".
October 12th found John at Fish Point for the southern Michigan duck opener. I haven't had a chance to speak with John since this hunt, but he was gracious enough to send me a picture of the 3 man limit they got along with 3 bonus geese!
I'd have to say that the guys had some fine shooting that morning, but I'm looking forward to hearing about the ones they missed!
John and his family are going to have a lot of great meals from these hunts. I'm sure his freezers are full and he still has that doe permit in his pocket.....but he doesn't have my muzzleloader!
Thank you, John, for letting me share this! This is just awesome!
Until next time, be like John, get outdoors! Whether you hunt, walk, take pictures or something else, get out there while you can - before long you'll be shoveling snow!! :-)