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    • Clay Hayes
      Member
      Post count: 418

      I’d like to start a running thread where we can share all the little observations, revelations, and realizations that we have while in the field. Perhaps, by sharing little bits and pieces of mother nature’s mysteries we can help each other to be more observant and look a little closer. To make a post, you don’t have to make some startling discovery. Little things will suffice; after all, it’s the little things that make a walk in the woods so enjoyable.

      So when you’re out there, keep an eye out for interesting little things. The way a certain wood behaves in a fire, the marks a vole makes when cutting a grass shoot, the way a flicker forages for ants or the way those ants collect and stockpile seed from surrounding plants. Anything’s fair as long as it relates to nature.

      ch

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Hey Clay — I’m thinking that your title gives the wrong impression … I expected to see you post about the joys of jogging in the forest, seriously. Maybe a more apropos title will get more folks to take a look. Good idea by the way, but it’s so damn hot here right now that sleeping in the shade sounds better than running in the woods! 🙂 dave

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      I agree with David but I would like to contribute, so far this year I have noticed many things but one that happened recently sticks out in my mind. I have noticed that fawns can not see very well but groundhogs can see very well. I have noticed that the fawns can not see what you are untill you are like 10 yards away that is when they are small.

    • Don Thomas
      Member
      Post count: 334

      Great idea. I’m sure I’ll think of many more, but right now I’m remembering some ruddy ducks in prime spring plumage. The drakes’ blue bills are a color I don’t think I have seen anywhere else in nature. Don

    • Daniel
      Post count: 247

      Thank you Clay for allowing us to post on your tread, I would like to call my short story ” The awakening “.

      As many of you, I take lots of time to prepare my hunting gear the night before, sometimes forgetting how late it is and then glazing at the bedroom ceiling waiting for the alarm clock to ring and finally allowing myself to fall asleep.

      Finally !!!! the alarm clock rings and its time to get ready to get to my hunting spot. I absolutely love to hunt moose and we are fortunate enough to have them relatively close by to our community. As I step out of the house, I can feel the cool air hit my face and as I take a deep breath of fresh morning air, I feel great. Its still dark, the drive is short and as I get ready to park the truck, I start feeling the blood rushing through my veins.

      Walking to my stand takes about 15 minutes and as I am shining my small flash light on my trail, I am also very nervous because there are also lots of bears in the area. Everything is quiet and peacefull, no bears encounters, I am a happy camper.

      There is my tree, I take in a deep breath and take a few seconds to tie my bow and quiver to the rope that I have tied to my treestand and up I go, feeling the same cold morning air on my face.

      Finally, I am set up and I like to take the time to mentally prepare for my shot, I lightly clear my throat and give out the first series of cow calls. Silence…..nothing is answering.

      As the sun begins to rise, I can see and feel the forest come to life, the sun rays are glowing through the spruce trees, I can make out the dozen spider webs, all hung low in willow branches, the fog slowly lifting from the bog in front of me and finally the first song bird lets out its melody….suddenly, coming from the north end of the bog, ” WHOA !!, WHOA !!, WHOA”, heart starts pumping…

      How blessed am I to witness this and to be sitting in a tree stand with a bow and arrow, a physical and emotional awakening.

      Thanking you for allowing me the opportunity to share this with all of you.

    • SteveMcD
      Member
      Post count: 870

      I had an observation one morning in early bow season. I was watching a squirrel eat away an acorn sitting on top of a field stone fence. In an instant a red tail hawk swooped down and picked the little guy up. Eating, surviving, living in the moment in one minute and gone the next. What I found so profound was less than 5 minutes later, another squirrel was eating in the very same spot. Life goes on. As one dies, another lives.

      I will keep this thread in mind for the coming season. Thanks!

    • crittergitter
      Post count: 42

      a few weeks ago i saw a verry young rabbit and just kept walking towards it,of course i got about 25 yards from him and he jumped in the bushes.i have seen many times that same little rabbit and he remembers me for i can now walk up to the side of him set down 2 feet away from him and watch him eat for 47 minutes.in fact he really liked the watermellon rind i brung him yesterday,he proceded to eat it as soon as i put it down,he was cautious but after about 7 minutes he closed the 2 feet distance and started eating at my feet.but the amasing thing is it only knows me,my mom cannot get near him,my girl tried all day today but every time she approached me and the rabbit he would jump in.

    • Clay Hayes
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 418

      I kinda like the name. It’s a little paradoxical. You expect one thing and get another! Besides, who isn’t curious about a running woodsman?:D

      Anyways, I was out scouting last week for a new spot to do some elk hunting. I was sitting by the trail when a flicker flew down and landed only about 15 ft. from me. He began to peck and probe the ground which made me think he was searching for ants. I watched him for a few minuts then went over to investigate.

      In the area where he’d been foraging, there were ant larvae and adults scattered about. The flickers bill left little holes in the soil like you’d taken a ballpoint pen and puched it into the ground all over the place.

      The bird must have known the ants were in that particular spot because he didn’t beat around the bush. He landed right at the spot and started foraging.

      ch

    • MontanaFord
      Post count: 450

      Clay,

      That sounds like me when I go to the chinese buffet. Go in, grab a plate and start with my favorite dishes.

      On another note…I’ve noticed when I’m riding my bike (I go for early morning rides from time to time, generally covering between 15 and 20 miles round trip), the whitetail does that I see, some of them choose to leave the area as I pass, while others stand stock still and watch me go by. The interesting thing I’ve noticed is that the bigger, more mature does are the ones that stand still and observe my passing without so much as a flinch. The younger does, and younger bucks when I see them, get nervous a lot sooner and leave a lot faster. Or at least, that has been the norm of my observations. The older does don’t even seem to mind if I talk to them as I pass, as long as I do so in a calm, steady voice.

      Michael

    • Hubertus
      Post count: 99

      Cool idea Clay! I’ll chime in.
      I’m fortunate to spend a lot of time with my family at a small lake in North-Western Ontario. For me, one of the highlights comes on fair evenings when the lake surface turns to glass and all 5 of us (my wife, 3 kids: 7, 3.5, & 2, & myself) go out in our canoe.
      The wildlife sightings have been truly amazing! This summer we’ve seen the resident loons, malard ducks (a recent addition), our clan of beavers (one of which let us get within 10 yards repeatedly), whitetail deer(including a good-sized buck that paused for us to get a good look), and one that I’ve not seen before, a female merganser with 9 chicks!
      The moral of the story (if it needs one) is that I never expected to get this close to the wildlife with my children in tow, and being able to share these outings with them is a true blessing.

    • Clay Hayes
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 418

      This past weekend I came across 2 beds like the one in the photo. I assumr they were elk beds but I’m not sure. I was in very steap terrain and the only flat spots to take a break were these to dirt shelves that I found dug out of the side of the hill. The cover was heavy Doug Fir timber with ninebark understory. Any ideas?

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      I haven’t been out yet this season, but I remember well the realization that stuck me last season…

      I rushed to get to the parking lot. (State ground) It took me about a half a mile of walking to even start slowing down. Finally I got more into a sneak mode and time disappeared… I’d sit for a while, close my eyes and listen, and maybe even catch a few winks. Wake up and slowly look around… Sneak a bit more, and sit. Watching, smelling, listening. Then it hit me. All the rest of my life is like a surreal dream and only when out in nature and hunting am I truly alive in the moment and really living…

      todd

    • William Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      After spending the morning in a ground blind, I decided to drop down off the ridge and check a trail that ran the length of the ridge for sign before heading out for lunch. As I stood there with the wind in my face I saw a deer’s ear flick and noticed a deer walking slowly along the trail toward me. As it closed the distance I saw that it was a button head so I relaxed and decided to amuse myself by seeing how close he would come. Well it was not the closeness that opened my eyes, but the other creatures accompanying the deer. There were 2 – 3 gnat catchers flitting about him and as he closed the distance to about 10 yards I could clearly see gnats flying around the deer. As my eye followed a gnat, a gnat catcher caught the gnat and landed in an arrowood next to me where I watched him eat the gnat and fly off. Another gnat catcher perched on a limb of arrowood at eye level with the little buck and he began to look somewhat annoyed . He laid back his ears and tried to butt the bird who quickly dodged his effort. This almost made me laugh but I held it together until at arms length he browsed cedar and then looked up into my face. His entire countenance changed instantly, hair raised up all over and he bolted away so hard that he fell. Had I been a young brave I might have lept upon him and caught him alive. I stood there shaking my head knowing that none of my friends would believe this story. At least there were no rabbits hopping long with him. Since then I have noticed the gnats and birds feeding with other deer.

    • Jesse Minish
      Post count: 115

      The other day I got in the middle of about six whitetail. Some buck and some doe. I have heard bucks grunt before but only later in the year and have never heard a doe grunt before. I was trying to sneak in for a shot on the biggest buck and while doing so I got to watch and hear all of the deer grunt back and forth for about an hour. I was from ten to thirty yards away from all the deer. It was very neat and interesting to see the buck and doe grunt from a close proximity.

    • SteveMcD
      Member
      Post count: 870

      Hunting season hasn’t started here yet! Arrrrgh!!! BUT… one observation I had in my deer stand one day. I thought was kinda puzzling…….

      HOW IS IT I CAN’T TYPE OR READ THE COMPUTER WITHOUT MY READING GLASSES ON. BUT WHEN I AM IN MY STAND OR BLIND I CAN SEE A FIELD MOUSE WEAVING THROUGH THE CREVICES OF A FIELD STONE FENCE 30 YARDS AWAY! :shock::lol:

    • mudfish99
      Post count: 13

      You ever noticed how a robin, or say a carolina wren, cock their heads, as if to listen, right before they grab an insect. I’ve always wondered if they hear the little suckers or cock their heads to get a better bead on them.

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      mudfish99 wrote: You ever noticed how a robin, or say a carolina wren, cock their heads, as if to listen, right before they grab an insect. I’ve always wondered if they hear the little suckers or cock their heads to get a better bead on them.

      Dall’s sheep seem to do that too, twist their head to the side just before clashing with the other ram. todd

    • PagosaBow
      Post count: 61

      Well I can add this…. I have uhmm noticed that if you borrow an old truck to hunt in and have to sleep in the cab until it stops poring so hard dont forget to shut the door if you decide to stay in the truck..raccoons tend to like to crawl in with you and scare the crap out of you.

    • Clay Hayes
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 418

      While waiting on a dumb elk just the other day, I noticed a Nuthatch looking for just the right crevis to stash a pine seed. He stuffed it several places, then would pick it out and move on. Apperently the little niches in the tree bark weren’t just to his liking. After about the 4th or 5th place, he must have found what he was looking for. He stuffed the seed in the nook, taped it in real good, then found a piece of moss to stuff in behind it. I found it curious how long he spent hiding one little seed.

    • Rogue
      Post count: 84

      Clay if you find one of those dumb elk would you send me some DNA to transplant here? Wouldn’t hurt if they were deaf and blind also.:P

      I noticed on a recent pronghorn hunt as I watched a coyote at 12 yards drinking from a waterhole, that they are always vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Made me feel pretty inferior as a predator. And a Golden Eagle at 4 feet is a giant among predatory birds, awe inspiring would be an understatement.

      Rogue

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      Today was opening day of deer season in Indiana and I did a still-hunt. Wow, I’ve been re-reading G. Fred Asbell’s book Stalking and Still-Hunting and it got me fired up to slow down.

      It was fantastic! I was covering ground real slow like you were putting the stalk on a critter. I’d move a little then squat a while. During one of these pauses I see a hawk, (couldn’t tell what kind maybe a marsh hawk) well, what looks like hopping UP from the ground to pounce on a chipmunk. We hissed then jumped up about two feet to a small tree that was curved back down to the ground. He was just sitting there about 20 feet from me listening and watching for any small critters. He never knew I was there. Eventually a squirrel that had already passed within about three feet of me and gone up a tree came down. The hawk did watch him but didn’t go after him. I remembered my binoculars and while trying to get them dug out of my shirt pocket, the hawk flew off. It was awesome! Hawks have always been special to me. As if you can’t tell by my webiste and logo. 😀

      It was a crisp cool morning in the 30’s with a farily hard frost. The sun came out though and as morning gave way to the sun, it warmed up and the sun penetrating the trees was absolutely beautiful. Can’t wait till the leaves turn color… I’ll have to take pictures then…

      Blessings to all! todd

    • PagosaBow
      Post count: 61

      Great post Todd. I have read that book also. very helpful. I was watching a blue grouse last Saturday when a nice cow elk came walking by. never got a good shot opportunity but had a great time. its amazing what you can see when you “still” hunt.

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      Ronnie,

      Ain’t that the truth… I’m going to spend a lot more time watching than moving this year. It should result in shots from the ground… todd

    • Carbomask
      Post count: 39

      While practicing in the woods on my beat-up deer target I wore a path going to and from the target from various distances, the woods are thick so my trail has to serpentine
      around and over all the trees and lanes to my target..I can never really get the yardage known (without some algorythm).. but anyway, in these same woods I discovered hunting chipmunks is a stalk sport, they have very good eyes, and you need to be close and or spot on. They can bust you on your draw too. they have eyes on the back of thier head for sure. but when they go behind a tree and you then ready on them, its great practice for still hunting. I found there is usually a leader chipmunk who owns about (whatever.. o.1 acres?) anyway, they have zones or sectors or something where one alpha chipmunk seems to trumpet his chirps from, while in other areas theres others. I dont know, I just thought that was kinda neeto. (alpha chipmunks..that cracks me up). chipmunks are also sneaky and quiet, requiring a decent still hunt mode.

    • willhunthrd
      Member
      Post count: 6

      I’ve seen quite a few things that I could talk about. One in particular: a cold drizzly morning on stand in PA with nothing moving for hours. Out of the corner of my eye something draws my attention. Walking on a log is a bobcat close enough to count the spots with a naked eye. That was pretty cool itself, but the kicker is that it was carrying lunch between it’s teeth in the limp form of a squirrel. I watched until I couldn’t see it anymore. What a blessing!
      Eric

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      Revelations… Well, I’m older and fatter than ever. I was coming out of the woods last night after dark and needed to cross a creek. I got to a spot that had a pretty big tree over it and I could see that about 20 yards further there was a spot full of rocks that I could cross in my knee boots without getting my feet wet.

      “Oh, nah, I can cross the log, I’m good at that.” Says me to myself. I grabbed on the root to help pull me up and it breaks away. Rotten. That should have been all it took, but oh no, I can cross this log. It’s old, it’s wet, and it has no bark but it does have some moss. (Aren’t we supposed to get more wise with age?) I decide to cross it anyway…

      I shuffle shuffle and my feet keep wanting to slip. Wow, this wet log is slippery. (Duh!!)

      About half way across, or about five feet in, I decide that this wasn’t a very good idea. I’m inclined to turn back… My foot slips but I catch myself. Better keep going. Slowly, I squat and finally get to a kneeling position and have to c-r-a-w-l across that log.

      As soon as I got to the other side I had to look around to see if anyone saw my stupid butt. Yeah I know, it’s after dark. No one saw me.

      How many times have I said to myself the old hiking adage: Never step on something you can step over, and never step over something you can step around…

      The good part is, I didn’t fall in. AND and re-learned a lesson.

      todd

    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      [I hope Clay doesn’t mind me changing the title. I have run into this thread a few times lately and the observation below got me to thinking about resurrecting this oldie but goody from the dead.]

      Sunday morning, on my long walk back to my hunting spot, it was dead still. At 28 degrees, a hard frost covered everything not under a heavy canopy. My absolute favorite whitetail hunting weather! As I sat in my blind, the falling leaves from the maple and beech trees made it sound as though there was a constant light rain. I sat and listened to this from around 7:30AM – 9:45AM, and then nothing. They stopped falling. A light breeze with a bit of a gust every now and then had even picked up. Even during the gusts, the leaves were falling at a much, much slower rate…practically nothing. This still has me intrigued.

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2371

      I too have noticed this. I think it is due to temperature. Leaves tend to fall when the temps get below a certain point, and stop when it gets above.

      As an extreme example: pecan trees loose all their leaves as soon as the temperature drops a few degrees below zero, but the sun has to hit them. So as soon as the sun rises on the first really cold morning the leaves start to fall. The tree will be bare by 11:00am.

      When the leaves start to drop, I always feel like there is no other place to be, but in the woods. It is the best time!

    • grumpy
      Member
      Post count: 962

      OK, this was about15 years ago, and has nothing to do with TradBow, BUT…

      I was in Maine, in a canoe fishing for smallmouth. I knew there were loons in he lake, but had never seen one. All of a sudden there was one about 3 feet from the canoe. Damn near dropped my load I was so surprised. No big flutter of wings and splash like most ducks make. He was just THERE. Learned later that they swim under water after fish, and can suddenly appear anywhere on the lake.

    • David Bartlett
      Post count: 75

      Where I live, the forest consists of mostly Pine and mixed hardwoods, with a fair amount of Oak and Beech mixed in.

      I have observed that the Oak and Beach hold their leaves much longer than any other hardwood, sometimes right through the winter.

      I have often wondered if this is one of Natures signposts to the wild game, telling them to “root around here” for nuts and seeds.

    • Dan Sweeney
      Post count: 94

      One evening last week in one of my sassafrass blinds an owl flew out of the woods and lit about twenty feet above me. I stayed still and watched him/her for a while. Right before last light he/she did a swan dive…nay…an owl dive off the branch and grabbed some smallish critter about fifteen feet in front of me. I will never understand how a bird that size moving at that speed makes no sound audible to my (admittedly questionable) ears. If it weren’t illegal I would fletch my arrows with owl feathers. But I digress…

      Last Friday evening while in a ladder stand overlooking a small clearing on a patch of land that borders the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area I watched what I am pretty sure was the same bat make about twenty-five or thirty laps around the edge of the clearing snatching insects. It would flit by within ten or fifteen feet of me each lap. There was enough light I could see it make its way to the far end of the clearing and begin its turn before it went behind a maple tree. It always popped out the other side and made another lap, so I’m assuming it was the same bat. Either that or there is a whole colony in that tree and they are sending out coordinated sorties in the evening.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 578

      Steve Graf wrote: I too have noticed this. I think it is due to temperature. Leaves tend to fall when the temps get below a certain point, and stop when it gets above.

      As an extreme example: pecan trees loose all their leaves as soon as the temperature drops a few degrees below zero, but the sun has to hit them. So as soon as the sun rises on the first really cold morning the leaves start to fall. The tree will be bare by 11:00am.

      When the leaves start to drop, I always feel like there is no other place to be, but in the woods. It is the best time!

      Around here the pacific Madrone tree sheds its leaves in July! A new set is already growing so it is not bare in the summer. But then it sheds its old-red bark in winter, leaving the new green bark exposed, which has the ability to photosynthesize. I can’t think of any other North American tree which loses its leaves in summer…? Course, this is California- where you can have flowers and fruit on the same shrub AT the same time.

    • sinawalli
      Post count: 222

      Well I’m going to take your post literally, as I do run in the woods. As a bare foot runner, I constantly notice the temperature change in the ground from the different parts of the trail. I also notice the change in texture and smells. When the ground gets soft, I look track traps, just to see who is also in the neighborhood.

    • Ralph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2553

      One fine morning, the coyote I observed slipping in behind several does with fawns, it hoping for an easy meal.

      Over a rise and out of sight and all quiet on the prairie for a short time then suddenly a coyote hauling a$$ with a doe right on the same.

      No easy meal for that one that day.

      And speaking of owls, a bit later that same morning I watched an owl land in a tree, the only tree in the area, seemingly to hunker down for the day. It wasn’t long when a small murder of crows decided the same thing about the same tree.

      That was a hell of a racket, feathers flying and out flew the owl seeking a kinder tree somewhere else.

      It was a good morning even if I did muff a shot at a 3×3 muley buck a short time later.

    • David Fudala
      Post count: 224

      Yesterday afternoon I was hunting an old grown over clearcut. As it got closer to dark I was watching a trail coming out of a corner when a flock of birds came thru. Mostly juncos and nuthatches. They made a lot of noise in the newly fallen leaves but, as I became familiar with their sounds subtly, behind them, I could hear other noises. Footsteps. 3 deer, all does, were following the birds. It seemed as if to mask their footsteps? Whether this is true or not, I do not know. But I will be paying more attention to it in the future!

    • Stephen Graf
      Moderator
      Post count: 2371

      I don’t know if the deer are following the birds or not. I have seen this many times, and always look when a group of birds get flushed. I think it is just that the deer have bumped the birds on their way through. But it is a great heads up that something is coming either way!

      I’ve shot more than one deer after being alerted by the birdies… Good Observation!

    • Ralph
      Moderator
      Post count: 2553

      Speaking of birds, I was sneaking around in the fog this morning hoping to see a deer within shooting range (it would’ve been cause I could only see 20 yds.or so) and I stepped right in the middle of a covey of about a dozen bobwhites. Damn! That’s why I keep tp and some Huggies in my bag.

      My old ticker can still rapidly tick I guarantee ya. 😉

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