Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow Tracking

I know that many folks just don't want to venture out in the snow but I have to tell you I thoroughly love it now and way back then in the Osage.  Larry and I as I have told you in the past loved to hunt up and down Beaver Creek.  Just for clarity that means back and forth or up and down whichever suits you.  But during times of a snow covering the hunting was a lot of fun.  Why?  The tracks in the snow told you where to find a rabbit hidden under a clump of grass or a covey of quail hiding or where a coon had been or a coyote or an occasional deer.  Some animals seemed just like humans and did not want to venture out but most had to just to get food and water.

Quail would hold tight to the ground until you were right on top of them and then they would burst into flight and spread all over the place and most of the time it would startle you at first.  But with those tracks showing in the snow it was much easier to be prepared for that burst of flight.  I don't think I can explain it but when you saw a covey of quail take off there was a particular sound of their wings hitting their side in thumping kind of noise and then they would get to a high speed and stop flapping their wings and glide dogging left and right for long distances until they found where they wanted to land.  Once they land they typically would take off running to another clump of grass to hide out.  At that point we would stop looking for coveys of quail and would seek out finding those singles hidden all around us.

Knowing about where they landed was no guarantee you would ever find them even when there was snow.  Quail know how to hide and they are masters of deception plus they can run extremely fast.  Since we never had a bird dog and basically I was the bird dog for Larry we could hunt for hours and not get our limit on birds.  Larry was a great shot even with Dad's old bolt action 20 gauge shot gun.

I loved the fresh air and the crisp coldness of it.  It was a joy to walk along listening for the snapping of a dry twig by a squirrel or rabbit and then tracking them for long distances to most of the time being what we called skunked.  Skunked meaning we lost their tracks and could not find them.  but sometimes we got lucky and found our kill and what would be our lunch or dinner and many times we would clean our game and put them in the freezer for a meal on a later day.

During the snowy weather hunting was just a lot more fun.  My senses were more alert to the slightest movement of just a bit of snow falling from a tree because a squirrel moved and knocked it off or a movement of a tuft of grass moving as a rabbit situated itself for a rest and some warmth.  Of course we were competing with the occasional coyote looking for the same rabbit but luckily coyotes are pretty easily spooked by a human being.  I never saw a coyote go after a person.  However one time I did have a raccoon come after me.  It scared the dickens out of me.  I have no idea where that statement comes from but I have heard it all my life.  I suppose it comes from one of the Charles Dickens stories.  Did I ever tell you about the time I got to hold and read a little out of a Charles Dickens first addition book signed by Charles Dickens and with a letter from Charles Dickens to the original owner of the book?  I guess you are jealous.  Anyway, back to the story.  On that raccoon coming after me I emptied my gun on it to only slow it enough to where I reloaded and emptied it again.  That had to be one of the toughest raccoons ever.  I should clear up another point.  We never called them raccoons.  We called them coons and when you went coon hunting you typically had coon dogs which are beagles.  My grandpa Jess Lane was a big time coon hunter although I never got to go hunting with him as he lived down by Oologah close to Claremore, home of Will Rogers.  For some reason I never asked the Lane family left Grainola and moved to Oolagah when I was about knee high to a plow.  That does not make sense either but that is just one of those sayings I use but never understood.

Diversion.  Just the other day I heard a new saying from a new friend.  He was describing someone by saying they were like a monkey on a football.  It seemed pretty funny to me.

Well I sit here today looking at the snow out my window watching a squirrel eating at my bird feeder which is next to my trailer, next to my old manure spreader, next to the cottage in my backyard where I spend a lot of time.  I really do not appreciate that squirrel but am amazed at how smart and capable they are.  I have that bird feeder hanging about 5 feet in the air from a steel rod that is slick and about 1/4 inch in diameter.  A squirrel should not be able to climb it but they do.

Oh well, it is time to go.
What do you learn in the Osage:

  • Snow is what you make of it
  • don't eat yellow snow (call if you don't get it)
  • God made it all for us to enjoy and take care of, so do your best
Thanks for your time,
gary@thepioneerman.com

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