Yesterday evening it was blisteringly hot. But I really wanted to get some hunting in. I waited till about 2 hours before dark to cut down on the heat. Since this left me little time I had to move at jogging speed to the top of the mountain in about 20 minutes. Boy do I feel it today. Isn’t that view worth it though?
I didn’t have much luck though. It was just too hot, The squirrel either fed early before daylight or after dark to avoid the heat. They don’t like it anymore than people. I did see one off in the distance but couldn’t get to him. This was between us.
When I was younger I would have risked climbing over that. Not now though. Not only do you risk broken legs or ankles, but the local timber rattles. Just not worth it anymore. Instead I ate all the pawpaw fruits off of all those pawpaw trees you see in the picture. I can’t help myself.
Speaking of snakes and broken ankles.
This is something you will commonly see in the mountains around here. The ridges or fingers will have sections like this on top. Climbing these are as risky as climbing loose rocks every where else in the world. The risk of snakes in the hottest days of August and September is pretty high around these. The upside is, when the dead leaves are on the ground and you are trying to be quiet, being able to step on rocks and not leaves is a godsend.
Another useful hint is using deer paths that run in the direction you are stalking towards.
This year the deer population has exploded. You can tell this trail looks like something in a public park. They run them like a highway with just as much traffic and they are all over the place. I have never seen so much deer activity in my life in the area. It’s making the idea of deer hunting this year tempting.
About moving in the woods while hunting. A few tips for those of you who might be Big City Intellectuals who have no experience or maybe some one thinking about starting. Whatever gun you use. Don’t walk around at low ready like you are patrolling the Mekong Delta or Helmund Province. Carry the gun at its center of balance. With a shotgun , this is around the receiver. Carry it muzzle forward. This is something the NVA and VC can teach you. When moving fast and quiet through trees and brush, the gun makes a very small profile this way.
The VC would carry guns muzzle forward usually over the shoulder. You can slip between brush faster and easier. Carry it at the side slightly tucked up like you see football players run with a football. This will help you protect it if you fall. In the early morning hours especially, angle the barrel up to almost eye level for the muzzle. This will knock spider webs out of the way instead of getting them in the face. When moving down hill, hold the gun on the side closest to the hillside for balance.
When you get to where the squirrels are, its usually one of these this time of year. It is their favorite thing here. And the nuts usually ripen before any of their other foods. Later closer to November they LOVE beech nuts. They aren’t ready yet though.
I didn’t get anything yesterday. All I did was burn calories, sweat and drink water. I did take a moment to goof around though.
I have had this KABAR for 20 years now. The handle is the leather stacked washers but it has gone nearly black from years of dirt, sweat, blood and grime. I have more expensive knives and maybe even better quality but I love these. Howard isn’t crazy about the KABAR even though he was a Marine. I guess they didn’t do a very good job indoctrinating him and its likely the reason why he isn’t a Marine anymore. Too smart for USMC but oddly stubborn about one thing they got right. Interesting factoid. The year I bought that knife I also bought one each for 5 people for Christmas. Now all but one of those people are dead. I bought two for myself. I always try to have at least one back up for anything I love, This one has been so good the other one is still in its original box in storage never having been used.
I like them because they are a great general purpose outdoor knife. Maybe not best at any one thing but more than good enough. I have skinned deer, squirrel and rabbit, Hacked down brush and made fire wood. Used for eating and digging and scraping poison ivy off me. I guess I have used them for everything but scratching my ass. Easy to sharpen and tough. I just like them.
With it is one of the best working shotguns ever made, My Model 31 which I have mentioned many times. Maybe I will have to make a dedicated article on the Model 31 soon.
I didn’t bring any meat home for the pot but I did over eat pawpaws and produce enough sweat to refill the ocean.