...was about all I accomplished yesterday in my first scouting trips of the year for the upcoming deer hunting season. I went to a couple of tracts of state land I have not been to before. or should say I looked for a couple of them but only found one. That one, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area is in Schuyler and Tompkins Counties. It is the largest WMA (wildlife management area) in NY at over 11 thousand acres. At that size it should be hard to miss but it took me some time to find - no signs of the road that was supposed to be the access road. As a matter of fact, had I not turned off on a dirt road called Connecticut Hill Road - I would never have found it as all the land I could see from the main road was posted.
I kicked about there for awhile, but not really long enough to find any good hunting spots. That was okay because I will go back a few more times before the start of the deer hunting season in November. In October, I'll probably bring along a rifle in .22LR and do some squirrel hunting - I saw enough of them yesterday to assure me they are in good number there. After that I went to Cascade Valley State Forest in Broome County. It is a place where I have hunted before and where I immediately began to find lots of deer sign in an area I plan to hunt again. What they say about hunting deer in a funnel or corridor is right on in this instance. There is a road to the left and a swamp to the right and they funnel into the woods from the other side of the road walking through a narrow corridor at this point. Hopefully they will be funneling through when Brendan and I hunt the area.
Deer sign is not all that I saw while out and about. I kicked up a few smaller critters like turkeys, grouse, other birds, a salamander or two and a few frogs (the frog in the pic is a Wood Frog). In addition there was a lot of color out in the woods. Being it is August one might not expect to find a lot of reds, yellows and oranges out there, at least not until October, but those colors were there blazing away and saying 'hey look at us'. That hey look at us could well have been a warning shout - you see the things wearing nature's warning colors were all mushrooms. As much as I love em sauteed for a steak, I am not about to pick and eat wild ones not even the white or brown ones that I spotted. Still though, they did look pretty and were deserving of me taking the time to stop to admire them and get some photos so I could share them with you. I am sure the woods' salamanders and toads enjoy their beauty. As for their names, I don't know them, I may check on that yet, but you don't need to know exactly what they are to enjoy how they look.
As a matter of fact, one of them sort of looked appetizing in as much as it looked like a pizza pie covered with cheese and sauce. You take a look and tell me what you think - but to me it even almost smelled like pizza. As I said though, I was not about to eat a wild mushroom, and if I remember anything about wild mushrooms that was probably a good idea. You see I seem to recall this particular one as being deadly.
At least one of the interesting things I spotted had no color, it was as white as the driven snow. I am not even sure if it was a mushroom but am pretty sure it was some type of fungus. Very interesting looking - whatever it was. Again though, I was not about to taste it - especially not this one since it just looked to gosh darned alien.
There was one thing I would have gladly eaten, that is had there been enough of them to make them more than a tease to my taste buds. No its not a lobster although it sure looks like one. I found this crayfish under a stone in a stream. I was hoping to find a lot more and later went to the Susquehanna River to do just that. When I got there imagine the delight of the crayfish, and my disappointment, when I discovered that the river was so swollen with waters from a rainy last couple of days that I dared not venture out to look for the little delectable crustaceans.
All the best,