Thursday, June 7, 2012

A New Lease On Life (Cycle)

I'm baaaaaack!  Been a while, how have yah been?

I let the blog lie fallow for a bit, but just like in a garden, sometimes things need to rest so they can produce again.  I had a great time cooking what meat I've so far acquired, but its basically gone now.  I'd also come a long way towards settling my mind about my reintroduction to hunting.  I wasn't as much in need for the introspection writing this blog provided. 

I also lowered my expectations for 2012, since my friend and hunting partner John took a new job and moved himself and his young family down in Tampa, where I see them far less.  I gave up on 40 Acre Pines  (John's wife's family's land).  We never did see a deer there in daylight.  I settled on putting my lot in with the public land lottery system, and made my best guesses as to which limited entry quota permits to apply for.  I had a cool but ultimately unproductive first experience hunting spring turkey in Goethe SF, one I should relate sometime soon.

However...the situation has changed.  A recent unexpected development has set me off with a gentle push down a new path in the world of hunting.   Just at close-of-business yesterday, I thought I'd daydream for a minute before I headed home.  I pull up the hunting lease website of a major timber company that has extensive holdings in the area.  In general all their tracts are large and designed for groups of several or more people who can pony up a few grand.  The smaller tracts I'd seen were often cut-over or mostly all young planted pine.  I'd have been better off sticking with 40 Acre Pines.

But not yesterday.  A 77 acre parcel at a very attractive price immediately popped up.  A quick examination of their maps and a search on Google earth impressed me.  Some houses and ag land to the west, but only other timber tracks to the east.  The parcel was about 45% planted pine, true, but there were much cooler features.  A several acre patch of hardwoods, with no houses adjacent, occupied the northwest corner.  More importantly, what appeared to be a cypress swamp crossed at a diagonal, almost bisecting the property.  What looked like a mix of hardwoods and mature pine occupied the area south of the swamp.  No ponds, but one was not far away to the northwest.  In other words, varied habitat, lots of edges and ecotones.  Very interesting.

The price, while attractive, was more than I'd want to shell out on my own.  I fired off a quick text to another coworker of mine who also enjoys hunting but lacks land.  In a lucky coincidence, he was just walking in the door after a day in the field.  It only took a few minutes for us to talk each other into splitting the cost.

So goes the origin of Life Cycle Hunting Club, membership 2.  I'm the president by default, since my name was on the account, not that it matters in the least.  My coworker, Donnie, is a laid back guy a few years older than me.  He's very experienced in the outdoors world.  He doesn't even use firearms any longer except for turkey, having given them up for his self-made primitive bows.  I'm not that much of a purest, yet, and I'll plan to hunt each of the deer seasons as before:  bow, black powder and general gun. 

As it stands, I haven't even put my feet on the ground at Life Cycle, but Donnie may be checking it out this afternoon.  Most likely I'll go up Saturday morning.  I can't imagine it will be bad, but it could be really nice.

Life Cycle Hunting Club, approximate boundaries.  Dimensions:  Roughly 400 yards N-S, 900 E-W