Home Forums Campfire Forum Day 1: Rub-a-dope and crazed yellow jackets on beaver fur

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    • Charles EkCharles Ek
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      Post count: 563

      Nope, this is not a Hunter Thompson account of a presidential election, but rather what I’ll remember from today’s opener of the NH archery season for deer and turkeys.

      The rubbing: Commenced right at the opening bell, about 250 yards above my vehicle. The dope (that would be your correspondent) spent the next 4.5 hours following the noisy boy through foliage far too thick to ever see him as he rubbed, ate acorns, rubbed, tried to figure out what might be following him, ate acorns, etc., etc. Actually had an arrow nocked twice but to no avail.

      The crazed yellow jackets on beaver fur: After giving up the exercise (in futility) described above, I headed down a forest road toward an ambush spot I had scouted some weeks ago. On the way, I put down my bow, my Asbell quiver and my backpack for a rehydration break. I sat down on a handy log and was instantly swarmed by dozens of very unhappy yellow jackets. I managed to flee with only a couple of stings. When I went back to my gear, the yellow jackets were furiously attacking the two beaver fur silencers on my bowstring, with occasional sorties on the backpack as well. Hmmm.

      I could wait until dark, when it would be cooler and with luck they’d be quieter, but that was seven hours away and all of my lights were in the pack. Perhaps I should walk the mile back to my vehicle, bring it around and gas the little SOB’s with some CO out of the tailpipe. Luckily, a handy seven foot dead branch provided just enough separation to retrieve first the pack, then the quiver, then the bow. And the SOB’s refused to leave the fur — several made the trip out into the strong breeze that I hoped would discourage them. I resorted to shoving/squashing them with the end of the branch.

      It had to be something intrinsic to the odor of the beaver fur. They were on it far more than my backpack, which plainly had more of my scent than the silencers that I had not handled directly in weeks. Very strange.

      One day down, 92 days left this year for deer and turkeys, and counting.

      NOTE: I’ve edited this post to correct the identification of the insects involved. After researching the question, I’ve decided these were likely yellow jackets, not hornets, based on the fact they responded when I sat down on the log.

    • Hubertus
      Post count: 99

      Nice Story!
      I think that bees have an adaptive advantage over wasps & hornets in that they have to think before they sting. They only get one shot. Years ago I stepped in a wasps’ nest while hiking. Aproximately 10 minutes after ridding my poor tender flesh of these brave home-defenders (let’s be honest, they had good reason to attack), I saw one still trying to sting me through my wool sock.

    • wildschwein
      Post count: 581

      Man you were lucky to escape with a sting or two. I stepped in one when I was a kid and wasn’t so lucky. It still gives me chills.
      Since we are talking hornets I figured I would ask you this. Do Bears dig up hornets nests to eat larvae? Reason for this question is that in the last week I have run into two dug up hornets nests. Tore right up. Can’t think of any critter besides a Bear that would want to do such a thing.

    • William WarrenWilliam Warren
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      Post count: 1384

      The foxes dig yellow jackets for the larvae in my neck of the woods. Never seen anything mess with hornets though. Reminds me to get some fresh benedryl for my first aid kit!

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
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      Post count: 563

      Duncan wrote: Reminds me to get some fresh benedryl for my first aid kit!

      Yeah, I was feeling pretty foolish for not having it with me in my own kit. Particularly since I had my first run-in with this species a few weeks ago in my yard and had a noticeable reaction unlike any I’ve ever experienced.

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
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      Post count: 563

      Please note that I have corrected the title of this thread, to reflect my re-identification of the insects involved as yellow jackets and not hornets. The replies from others referred to my original references to hornets.

    • MontanaFord
      Post count: 450

      Actually, from a biological stand-point, yellow jackets and bald faced hornets are actually basically the same thing, just different colors. I spent quite a bit of time looking them up after finding a baldy hive in my yard. They are both paper wasps. When I have a little more time, I will dig up the information again and post the site.

      Michael.

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