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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sitting in a treestand deep in the backwoods of middle Tennessee. That’s how I watched the sunrise that early fall morning.  Out upon that hardwood ridge I was at peace with myself and the world around me. This was the payoff for all the hours spent sweating  over the summer.  The countless trips scouting.

Prior to the dawn the woods begin to wake.  Birds sing their song.  Much like an alarm clock. Soon the first critters stir. That critter is more times than not the squirrel.  That small fury, agile mammal.  Though they be small they are very boisterous.

We can learn much from the little bushy-tailed squirrel.  They posses both the ability to be stealthy and as loud as a big game animal. From jumping from tree limb to tree limb, to scurrying across the forest floor.

The squirrel doesn’t let their small stature keep it from telling off creatures much larger. Let one come down a tree and confront you. They don’t hold back on barking speaking their mind.  They spend their day making their way around their neighborhood.

Constantly working to gather and store food. Preparing for when the food becomes scarce.  You can hear them cutting as they eat. The chatter that I can only imagine what they are saying.

Watch a squirrel as it travels through the woods. Notice what they do.  The path they choose isn’t a direct one.  What makes them take a climb up a tree to cross over into another tree?  Then come down a mere fifteen feet away. Why?  Part of me wants to believe it’s for safety. Scoping out their surroundings. Seeing what other creatures are around them.

There is another part of me that has to believe something else. That part of me thinks that the squirrels are climbing those trees so that they can enjoy the view. The majestic creation of the hand of God. The glimmer of sunbeams passing through the pathways of the wind. That first hint of the fall foliage showing itself to the world.

These are the lessons that bushy-tailed squirrel has taught me. Prepare for the lean times. Preserve your own safety.  Don’t always take the most direct path. Take the road less traveled. Enjoy the view.  Stand up for yourself.

It is amazing what we can learn from what’s all around us. Take the time and notice.  You’ll be amazed at what you see.

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The time is nigh upon us.  In less that a week Tennessee’s Bow season will begin.  This is the first time I’ve ever bow hunted. To say I’m excited is an understatement.  I’ve spent hours and hours preparing for Saturday.  Finding a place to hunt has been an ongoing two year journey.  Some may say it’s been longer than that. I lost my hunting land back in 2003.

 

Today was the last trip to check the trail cameras before season. Fall is here. The air has a different feel to it. The woods are alive.  I’ve loved every moment spent away.  The memories brought back. The memories made.

 

I took the long way home. Driving on my beloved Tennessee backroads with the window down. Listening to the AM radio. Hearing my Braves clinch the NL East title. Enjoying an old fashioned variety show on WSM. Taking the winding roads that allow me to see the rolling farmland of Middle Tennessee. Thinking of roads traveled with my Old Man.

 

The excitement is here. Jitters are upon me. You’d think that after all these years it would be old to me. It’s not. For that I’m eternally grateful. How fun would it be if it didn’t excite me. With a little luck and the Good Lord’s blessings I’ll have meat for the freezer come this time next week.

 

Ronman

Many a year has passed since I followed my hounds through the woods. Although not a hound, Jordan is a hunting dog. That pretty little Treeing Mountain Feist is breathing new life into me.  Nothing like walking through the woods accompanied by your dog. Jordan's First SquirrelI took advantage of a nice cool morning to enjoy nature. I went complete old school and carried my old 20 gauge single shot. I’ve had that gun since I was 9 years of age. Many a squirrel has given up the ghost to the boom of that old gun. It seemed fitting that it should bring down the first squirrel that Jordan treed.

It wasn’t pretty, mind you. I saw the squirrel before she did. She was smelling it though. She tracked it perfectly. Retracing every step the squirrel had made to the tree. That did my old heart much good. As soon as she started treeing I brought him down.

This may not seem like much to you. What you don’t know is that this was only the third time Jordan has been in the woods.  I did see another squirrel on our short little trip. It was tough to let it walk. Had Jordan been able to locate it, that would have been a different story.

She’s using her nose good. Now she will get the hang of looking in the trees for movement and listening in time. It’s up to me to keep putting her in the timber.

Dust on the bumper. Mud in the fender wells. Gravel county roads that lead to old dirt logging roads. Hardwood ridges filled with Hickories and Oaks.  The peace and quiet is rarely interrupted. The sounds of nature. Songbirds and leaves soothe my soul.

Searching for deer sign I look within. I draw from those who took the time to get me lost in the woods. Little did I know all those many years past, getting lost would allow me to find myself. I can never repay in full the debt I owe these wonderful men.

The hope I have is that they are looking down upon me as I explore my beloved Tennessee backwoods.  I envision a smile on their faces. I pay homage in the weapons I use. I pay homage in the equipment that gets me “out there”. I pay homage in the ethical way I spend time in the outdoors.

To all those who took the time, I salute you.

 

Ronman