One thing that outdoorsmen will always do, is be late getting home. No matter how long they claim they will be gone, or how long they intend to be gone, they will always be later than stated. Its not our fault really, time just changes when you’re outside, especially if you’re like me and get distracted easily.
I remember a few years ago I watched a film called “The Missing“. Its a great film and it has a quote in it that I’ve always felt struck a chord with me:
- Samuel: [long pause] There’s a Apache story about a man that woke up one morning and saw a hawk on the wind. Walked outside and never returned. After he died, he met his wife in the spirit world. She asked him why he never came home, he said “Well, the hawk kept flying.”
- Samuel: There’s always the next something, Maggie. And that will take a man away.
Now back to where I was going with this.. Oh right, getting distracted, I guess that happens even in my writing. Anyway, I set up my bear bait just before the season opened, when it was still nice and cold outside. Not surprisingly, nothing showed up on the trail cameras over the next few weeks.
A while later, the first weekend of the season actually, I decided to go have a sit in my little handmade blind. I figured nothing would show up, there were still no pictures on the trail cameras and nothing missing from the bait barrel. I figured it would be nice to just sit and relax for an hour or so and maybe see if I could spot anything that needed adjusting, maybe some branches trimmed to give me a shooting lane, things like that. A few minutes in, I realized that my blind was in short supply of something to sit on and crouching just wasn’t pleasant. Not worrying about blowing my cover, I stood up and started to walk around the area looking for a good log I could commandeer and use as a seat. Most of the ones I found were too rotten to support my body mass. Suddenly, in front of me on the trail, there was a great big, terrifying…. pile of moose poo. Then it hit me! A thought, not the moose poo, it was stationary. Where there’s moose poo, there’s moose, where there’s moose, there’s antler sheds. So I abandoned my log hunt for a shed hunt. I didn’t find much, I never seem to do well while searching for sheds it seems.
After some walking around I came to a clearing at the edge of a pond and glanced up across it and saw two beavers sun bathing on top of their lodge. I can’t help but feel the expression “busy as a beaver” might be misleading, or are these beavers the exception? Either way, I decided to try and get some pictures of these lazy beavers. I walked up to the waters edge and snapped a few pictures with my phone, but they just looked so far away. So, I came up with a plan, I walked back to the quad and drove it around to the far side of the pond where I could get a closer look at the beavers. I walked slowly and silently toward them, I froze like a statue every time one of them turned to look at me. Finally I was about five yards from the water and about ten yards from the lodge and they spotted me. They dove into the icy water, I crouched there silently for what felt like minutes, finally they resurfaced through the thin layer of ice. The cracking ice made that amazing sound, a mix of lazer beams and rubbing polystyrene together. They both looked right at me, I refused to move a muscle. Slowly they both swam back to their home, climbed on top of it, and started licking and shaking the water from their fur.
I slipped ever closer, this time without notice. The toes of my hunting boots were in the water, this was as close as I could get without swimming and I didn’t feel like wrecking my hair. I had my rifle with me, like I always do in the bush, I carefully maneuvered it onto a patch of grass where it would stay dry. I then dug my phone out of my pocket and snapped some more pictures. Eventually I was noticed and the beavers dove back into the water, this time seemed to have a little more panic. I decided that was enough stress for two animals trying to enjoy the sun, I grabbed my rifle and snuck back to the quad, all the while trying not to arouse anymore suspicion.
As I headed home I looked at my watch, I had been gone for almost three hours. That’s triple what I had intended, but well… the hawk kept flying… and I didn’t even get a decent picture… Still a better use of time than watching TV, if you ask me.
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I was recently at my Aunt and Uncle’s house for Easter. Among the many stories told was one that I had somewhat forgotten about. So I figured I may as well share it so you can laugh too.
My mother is an avid gardener, and to my knowledge has been for longer than I’ve been alive. One thing every gardener seems to be in agreement on is that earth worms are good to have in a garden. Earthworms also seem to prefer gardens to live in. My guess is that its because the soil is richer, softer and watered regularly. The down side to being an earthworm in a garden, is that fishermen (of all ages) know exactly where to find you. And they wont get in trouble for digging there, within reason.
My dad is an avid fisherman, and to my knowledge, has been for longer than I’ve been alive. One thing that most fishermen seem to be in agreement on, is that earth worms make good bait. They seem to work well and they are readily available. You can buy them. Or if you have a limited allowance and are saving up for more fishing lures, you can dig them up in your mothers garden. That is exactly what I used to do.
I remember one time in particular…
It was the day before we were to go out fishing. I grabbed an old wax paper cup. I remember it was white with a teal stripe on it… like they all seemed to have back then.
It was actually these cups that started my mother reminding me of this story. My aunt bought some for the Easter dinner and I commented how with wax paper cups, like they use in movie theaters and gas stations, will thin out and weaken when alcohol is put in them . If you have teenage kids, you can tell that there’s liquor in the cup because it will look like a napkin that has grease wiped on it. If you are a teenage kid, sorry buddy.
Anyway, back to the story.
I took this little disposable cup, and my plastic shovel, and I dug. I dug all through the garden and a little around the flower bed. Much to everyone’s surprise, I managed to avoid destroying too much of the garden, a very punishable offence in my home. By the time I was done that cup was about as full of worms as it could get. I put just a little bit of wet dirt in with the worms and set the cup in the cup holder of the boat so I would have it handy the next day.
The next day appeared and we went to the lake. We got the boat in the water, and everything all set. It was now time to start fishing. I am comfortable assuming that my entire family was happy to relieve me of some of my bait. I dont actually recall sharing but that’s just how I am with my sharing nature. Eventually for one reason or another (probably because I was catching too many fish from that spot and everyone was getting jealous), I decided to move to a different spot on the boat, and take my miniature bait bucket with me. I grabbed the cup out of the holder and just as it centered over my lap the soggy paper bottom gave out. There I was with a lap full of crawling worms and mud. Naturally I wasn’t too phased and mostly interested in finding something new to put them in. My mother yelped and almost abandoned ship. My dad was also none too happy about the muddy mess in his boat, and probably considered throwing me and my bait overboard. Being devoid of another replacement container, I vaguely recall most of my hard earned bait going over the side… What can I say? I guess some people just don’t take fishing as seriously as I do.
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