Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sweet September.

Wow, I've really neglected this blog, but if there is anyone still out there I will be updating it more frequently.  Hunting season is coming up, and I've actually got a few recipe posts backlogged that I need to finish up and go live with.

My friend and hunting buddy John has located for us a new hunting ground, 40 acres that belong to his in-laws side of the family.  The old area we hunted last season (without success) isn't viable anymore since the owner's two Rhodesian Ridgebacks now roam freely within it, which is a shame since a huge field nearby happens to be planted in peanuts.  The habitat in the new area isn't ideal, almost all 15-20 year old planted pine with limited food sources and no water source, but there are some hardwoods on the perimeter, and the lot is surrounded by areas of farmland and more natural vegetation.  An asset is that it's hardly ever visited by humans except around the first of the year when it's swept for pine straw.  There is a mass of overgrown holly shrubs in the center of it where an old trailer site used to be, and there have definitely been deer bedding down there.  We found a few active deer trails leading into the area from the fields to the south.  I have a game cam out there now, I'll be curious to see what the pics are of.

Archery season starts here on the 17th of September, just two Saturdays from now.  On one of my posts I think I briefly discussed my reservations about bowhunting before, but with careful consideration I will likely participate this year.  I have two bows now, both older models I picked up in great condition on the cheap.  The both date from the '70's as near as I can tell.  I've been practicing with both using the 20 yard range I set up in the dry drainage ditch behind my suburban home (if we weren't in a drought, I guess I'd be wading).  The first is the Ben Pearson Mustang recurve bow with a 45# draw weight that I've mentioned previously.  It's of wood-fiberglass construction, like the classic Bear Archery designs.  I consider it my training bow, but its still really fun to shoot.  It put some pain in my shoulders the first couple weeks though, I probably should have started with a lower draw weight recurve at first but I made it through.

The newer-to-me one is a Darton Huntsman compound with 55# draw weight, mint condition.  The Huntsman is an early production model recurve, very dissimilar in appearance from the modern arrow-casting machines out there, but it sure is handsomer, if not a faster shot.  It is noticeably faster than the Mustang however.  The one-piece riser and limb section is composed of laminated wood and fiberglass, just like the recurves of the era.  My best group so far is about five inches at 20 yards, not horrible I guess, and I don't plan on ever shooting it at a living critter any farther than that.

The Darton Huntsman, before I had a peep sight installed, propped up next to my tomato cage quiver.

So, if or when the opportunity presents itself, would I actually attempt to send a broadhead into a deer, knowing what can happen if any of a hundred things causes the arrow to be off and it ends up a worst-case scenario?  I honestly don't know until the time comes.  As much preparation as archery requires, even at this level I already know it's all about how the situation feels, and I'd have to feel very right to try it.

But I'm looking forward to the chance to make that decision.

20 yard pin is still a bit high.

In other news, we took a trip to the Smokys last week, and had amazing weather (this was pre-Lee).  Here is a pic of a doe and her fawn browsing the vegetation at Mt. LeConte Lodge, at 6500+ feet the highest lodge in eastern North America.  Being in the heart of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, these two are separated by many miles and many years from the closest legal hunter, to them humans are a minor annoyance at worst, a source of (illegal) handouts at best.

Ellie May!  Come get your critter!