This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it. ~Marilynne Robinson
As I’ve mentioned it a time or two, we are a family of hunters and recently was our prime season. Deer season! Yes, there is more to hunting besides deer, but deer season seems to be the most exciting and gets those not-so-diehard hunters out and about. It’s really a lot fun! Not the idea of killing but the idea of family time, getting back to nature and helping to supply the household with good, healthy, natural deer meat for the freezer. Plus keeping the deer population down to help eliminate bad car accidents as a result of deer.
On Friday, November 15th, Kyle and I drove up to Cortland, New York to meet up with dad, who drove up earlier that morning. Why did we make the six hour trip? Deer hunting! Yes, we got our New York tags in addition to our Green County and Westmoreland County tags in Pennsylvania. What is really cool about New York, you are allowed to shoot buck and doe on the first day. As opposed to Pennsylvania, where you are only allowed to hunt buck on Monday till Saturday, then anything brown is down until the season is over. Well, actually that’s technically not the case. Depending where one is shooting, some rules state there needs to be two points on one side plus the brow point to be counted legal, and other cases three points on one side, not including the brow. But if you really want all the details, it’s in the Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping book. Dad’s bible throughout the season.
On a side note, I picked up Kyle from school on Friday and we headed out. About halfway into our trip Kyle mentioned he had to relieve his bladder. Well, so did I! We did the thing you do alongside a dark desolate highway, in the mountains, we pulled over and watered the ground. I let Kyle go first. He positioned himself between the passenger door and the back passenger door facing a patch of woods. Great idea! Once he was done, I had him switch sides with me, while I grabbed a swatch of paper towel and followed suit. As we proceeded to switch back to our right sides, I joked and said to Kyle, “Watch out, don’t stand where I went to the bathroom.” as he saw the discarded paper towel on the ground. No! I am not typically a litter bug, but this time, with a paper towel, which will disintegrate in a heavy rain, I could live with. As Kyle walked past my spot of nature, he asked “You wiped up the ground?” As if he was missing some sort of etiquette. I about died! It never dawned on me that he didn’t know, girls take an extra step in the bathroom. He thought I cleaned up the ground! I was laughing! By the time we got home I told mom. We both lost it and laughed at Kyle’s innocence and ignorance. LOVE that kid!!
We got up to Cortland late Friday night, about 10:00 pm or so and went straight to bed. Dad was already sawing logs when we walked in and Kyle pretty much joined him before we arrived. Love my side kick, but when he’s tired, he’s down!
Then, back up at 3:30 am. Only dad! Daylight wasn’t until 6:30 am or so and we were only about a half an hour away from our hunting destination. Granted, we did need to make our way back to the tree stands, but getting up that early was a bit silly. Dad was so excited, he was like a kid on Christmas morning. He truly looks forward to hunting in New York every year, and then to have me and Kyle join him, he was elated! It was like the old days when Ryan hunted with him.
We stayed and hunted up until Monday, around noon and had a blast every step of the way!
On Saturday, when dad was giving me direction where I was to be stationed, this was how he described it to me. Keep in mind, I was only ever in a different part of those woods once, never in the area I was to be hunting, and it was pitch black and it was 5:00 am and I had little sleep! Dad said:
Heather, we’ll all ride the quad back the path and then you’ll get off and walk to your tree stand. Follow the path to where it bends towards the left about a half a mile or so until it slopes down slightly. Keep going until you see a log down, about six inches in diameter along the side of the path. Walk a little further down, there should be a ribbon around a tree. On the same side is your tree stand. You’ll see the ground is all tore up where the turkeys were scratching. Go ahead and get in the tree stand, we’ll be down over the bank from you. If you think the tree stand is too high and you don’t feel comfortable, then find a place on the ground to sit. Make sure you get out of the brush.
OK, so let me get this straight, I am suppose to stay to the left, look for a log down in the woods among other trees down and find turkey tracks in the mud, in the pitch black under all the fallen dead leaves and find a black tree stand in the dark? Right! I just nodded and said “Alright dad.” thinking in my head, if I don’t find it in the dark, then I’ll find a nice stump and wait till it gets light to see where I’m suppose to be positioned.
Would you believe, I found the tree stand? Yes! In fact, it was as if Ryan came down from heaven and tapped me on the shoulder making me look toward the right. Seriously, that’s what it felt like, to make me all of a sudden turn my flashlight toward the tree containing the deer stand. No joke! I totally missed the ribbon, which later I saw very small and kind of obscured. The tree stand was higher than what I am used to, but it didn’t bother me. To be honest, it was nice of Larry, dad’s friend who allows us to hunt on the property, to get me set up.
The first day was crazy. Did we see deer? You bet! But what really cracked me up, there was about thirty turkeys behind me in the brush having a party. They were scratching up the ground and gobbling like crazy! At one point, I turned over my shoulder and I saw a conga line of four more turkeys joining in on the party. They were making such a ruckus. I kept thinking there were deer walking around me, but nope, it was the turkey party. I couldn’t see them through the thick brush, but there was no mistaken. I must have crashed the turkey party pad.
Now, let’s discuss the angry squirrel. First, I’d like to state that I don’t care for squirrels, at all! To me, they are large rodents and not appealing in the slightest. I have no qualms shooting them during small game season. Dad loves squirrel potpie, which is okay, not a favorite of mine like deer meat. Well, me and this squirrel got into it. Really! It kept trying to climb up my tree. I yelled at it saying “No! You are not coming up my tree. There is a whole forest of trees to choose from and you can’t join me.” Apparently, the wrong thing to say, because that squirrel ran up the tree opposite to me, turned to face downward and gave a loud almost scream. Then, it ran down the tree and across the path back towards my tree, where I slapped my hands on my lap and yelled No! This situation continued on the same course a few times before the squirrel buckled, gave up and left me a lone. Alone, with me and my turkey party. That is until the next day and we went through the same routine again. You should have heard it scream. It was like a lady with a high pitch screech! I’ve never heard anything like it. It kind took me back.
It’s always an adventure with the Piper clan. On Sunday morning, …
… to be Continued