Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 37 - Guns of the Hunt

Guns of the Hunt - sounds like it could be the title of a Capstick or Ruark book, or maybe even something by Theodore Roosevelt - a title that is more than just about guns, and more than just about the hunt. Truth be told though, for the purposes of this blog, while there may be some talk of guns there is no great hunting story - at least not yet. You see the hunt has not yet begun, at least not this season's deer hunt. I was lucky enough to get away over the weekend to do some scouting for deer sign and found plenty of it. As could be expected of me, I brought along a few guns just in case. In case of what? You know in case I stumbled across a turkey that was lost or a squirrel with a death wish. I actually almost came across a flock of turkeys. As I was scouting out hunting area and hiking at the same time with my trusty Remington 870. I heard a raucous commotion in the woods not far ahead. There were leaves rustling madly, branches cracking and what sounded like antlers banging into one another. I was sure, I mean absolutely certain, that I was about to sneak up on two buck locked in combat. What happened was not quite what I had expected. I got close to the commotion, even saw some branches moving in the undergrowth. Then nothing so I sat down with a good sized tree to my back and waited. Then I heard some turkeys cackling or whatever they call it. Not gobbling, this was more like hen chatter. After about 10 minutes I chattered back as best I could. Next thing you know, I was talking turkey to a turkey and yes it was answering me. This went on for about 20 to 30 minutes, then dead silence. After another minute or two I could hear what sounded like several birds walking away from me very stealthily. I guess I screwed up and either they saw me or I cackled too many times. I figure they were not more than 40 to 50 yards away and even thought I caught a brief glimpse of one as they approached me - then as I said - they took off in another direction. Oh well, the hunt is most assuredly not just about the kill. I had a great time and cannot remember having that much anticipation in a long time. Well maybe almost as much as when I thought it was two bucks engaged in combat! As a matter of fact, I am none too sure there had not been two bucks dueling it out; the sound of antlers rattling together was unmistakable and I cannot imagine a turkey making a noise like that. Now the bucks may have been right near a flock of turkeys - for all I know they were spectators as I had hoped to be. Really folks, this is no tall tale -this is how I perceived it while in the woods. Of course, there is a chance all that noise was being made by another hunter but he would have to have been mighty foolish to have been trying to rattle deer and talk turkey and take the chance of getting both a deer hunter and a turkey hunter thinking he was what they were seeking. Actually, there was turkey and deer sign all around, so I figure it may have been both types of animal making all the noise and they were close to one another by coincidence or because of a mutual food source.

Now, back to those guns, after all I said there was no hunting story here - didn't I! I brought three guns on my weekend trip: the Remington 870 mentioned above - mainly for turkey, a Ruger 10/22 All Weather (my son's) - mainly for squirrel, a Sig in .40 S&W caliber - mainly as a self defense carry sidearm. The Sig came with me everywhere, the 870 was with me in the woods just about every minute I was out there, and the Ruger - well it stayed in the car except for a short hike during which I hoped to bad a squirrel or two. I did not seen even one. That is okay though because I did see lots of something for which I was looking and that would be plenty of deer sign.

Thanks to this second, or is it my third scouting trip prior to this season's opening, I have a pretty good place selected from which to do some whitetail deer hunting. Being it is on state land there is always the chance someone else will have his big fat butt seated right on the spot that I selected for my big fat butt and for Brendan's much slimmer butt but those are the chances one must face when hunting on public land. I marked off the spot and two stands with orange tape and am hopeful no one else will tear it down or be attracted to my spot by it. I do not care if others hunt nearby, I just figure that they should respect me and the work I did in finding the spot just as I would respect them likewise and therefore am hopeful they will steer clear of it. A good thing about this particular spot is that it is not more than a few hundred yards from the road right where I will be parked. I like not having to drag a deer too far, and this spot is great for that. It is also full of deer sign. There were tracks all over the place, several rubs and a few scrapes. Some of the scrapes are only feet from where there were others last year. Chances are the same buck made them then and this year. Of course, there is a good chance there are doe tracks in the mix of those tracks I saw. As we have an anterless deer permit, I would be more than happy to bag a doe. I am pretty sure Brendan would take either a buck or a doe but being this would be his first deer you can bet I'll pass up any shot I could take on a buck that he can also get his sights on.

We will be leaving on Thursday afternoon. That way we get to hunt the last day of turkey season on Friday. Deer season opens Saturday. With two of us going, I suppose the chances are that more guns will be with us than I had with me this past weekend. Figure my Sig .40, the Remington 870 for deer and maybe turkey and maybe squirrel too, my Marlin 336 in .35 Remington for deer, Brendan's Ruger 10/22 or my Marlin 25MN in .22 WMR (for squirrels), and maybe one of my Mosin Nagants for deer if I am feeling frisky. I may also throw a .22 pistol into the mix for fun. Of course, the chances of us using them all are remote on a three or 4 day hunt, but I like the motto - 'Be Prepared'. Then again, not all of them may fit in the trunk of the Corolla with all our other gear in there but I have been known to be a wiz at packing a trunk and getting more stuff I'd never need into one - just in case. Thursday will tell but it is a safe bet that the 870, the 336 and at least one rifle in .22LR or WMR is also making the trip. Of course, so too will a sidearm. Hopefully whatever we bring for the hunt will not fail at the critical moment (yes that means I am also hopeful there will be that moment of opportunity for a shot at a nice deer) and at least one of us will bag Christmas dinner. You all know me well enough to realize that if only one of us has a shot, I am hopeful it will be Brendan.

Safe and happy hunting,
Glenn B

The Other Side Of Ballseye...

...well maybe not really the other side, just a thing about me that I usually don't talk about. Today I played the happy homemaker the not so happy house-cleaner. About once a year now, for the past few years, I have given the carpets in our living room and basement a good cleaning with a rented carpet cleaning machine. The main reason this came about was because of our dogs and their inability to be housebroken 100% (or would that be the dog owner's fault, in which case I tip my hat to my wife - her dogs - not mine). I am not going to place any blame, I'll just say man a carpet sure can look like crap (and it is actually the wee that makes it look disgusting). Yet, without placing culpability for our messy carpets, especially the one in the living room, I have to wonder what on earth ever made my wife decide to go out and get another mutt while I was away for work in Arizona this spring/summer. Did she go for a medium sized mutt like our Mimi (who is perfectly housebroken) - no she did not! Did she go for another psycho Chihuahua like our little Pepe (after Pepe Le Pew - of course) or a more demure yet sometimes psycho pooch like our little Lucy, our other Chihuahua - no she did not.

What she went for was this, a medium sized puppy that was a fawn and brindle, cuddly, loving, licking (a lot), scrappy ball of fire that is now weighing in at about 53 pounds at 8 months of age. She is full of love, and full of energy, and also full of water - or so it would seem she was until she was housebroken. Wait a minute, allow me to correct myself. Yes, she was full of water, but never for all that long. As it turned out, or should I say as it poured out, it often did so all over the living room, dining room and kitchen. Should someone have thought about this before buying a canine fireplug? Sure she should have thought of it. Did she think of it? No she did not and if she did she did not care about the mess that would ensue. Now mind what you are thinking right about now. Of course we cleaned it each time she had an accident. We used rolls and rolls of paper towels, bottles and bottles of pet accident spray too. You know the stuff if you own a puppy; it is supposed to make the stains disappear like magic.. It all FM though; that would be fucked-up magic because it did not work very well. On the carpet in the basement I could do a cleaning job and make it look like almost nothing had happened. The carpet in the living room being much lighter was a totally different story and it stained with rings around where the puddle had been and that area stained too, just lighter than the rings. It was pretty disgusting.

Now that the wonder dog, who could do no wrong in my wife's eyes no matter how much she wee'd in the house, is finally housebroken the best of all except Mimi, we are left with only Lucy or Pepe doing there thing now and then. Thankfully that is a drop in the bucket compared to what Roxie could let loose. Roxie, that's the big one's name, did I forget to mention that earlier. Well being that they are all mostly housebroken, I decided to clean the carpet. Why my darling dear sweetheart never kept them locked in the crates she has for them, or left them locked in the kitchen (where the floor is linoleum) is of no consequence because the deeds were done and I was left with the mess. So earlier today I was off to see homer. Yep, a trip to Home Depot was called for. I picked up the carpet cleaner and headed home. I got the living room done in about an hour. That included vacuuming, moving only 2 pieces of furniture, (because I moved most of it last night) and cleaning it with the cleaner. Then down to the basement. I was about half way done down there when the machine started to make strange high pitched nosies and to start to smell as if electrical insulation was burning. Back to see Homer again - wouldn't you just have known it what with my luck! Got a brand new machine this time, and a free bottle of carpet cleaner. When I told the gentleman at the counter that I needed more cleaner because the last I had was wasted when the other machine broke down he threw me a free one. That was unexpected and nice. Then back home and I finished up the job after dinner tonight. Well I finished cleaning the carpet. I have about an hour of furniture moving to do yet, but I know enough to allow lots of time for the carpet in the basement to dry before I place furniture back on it lest I get a moldy aroma in a day or two. Luckily my basement is normally very dry even on pretty humid days in the summer. It will recuperate nicely from this bathing experience.

As for the carpets they look pretty good. Now the one in the living room looks like it needs replacing and that is because it does need it but it is clean and decent enough for us not to be ashamed of it if guests come over. As for a replacement, I want to wait until the spring, maybe in May when the weather is mild and we can leave the windows open for a couple to a few days to get rid of the new carpet smell. Then again, if my wife has her way, we will be getting a wood floor installed and throw an area rug over it. We already have solid oak flooring under our carpet but the boards were ruined by the previous tenant's 15 cats. Her being wacky and old meant she did not clean up well. Hmm sounds like a problem for someone I know who owns 4 dogs. I may still see if we can save that floor, or just put drop in wood tiles over it. I would prefer the oak but we did have it refinished and they could not get rid of 2 stained areas. I may just have it stained so dark that those other stains will just blend right in - like walnut or darker. It would save us a bundle. For now the carpet is presentable again, and my wife is having a party on Friday (gals only, when Brendan and I go deer hunting) so I was smart to have gotten it done today - otherwise I would have wound up out in the doghouse where the dogs should have been in the first place!

All the best,
Glenn B