Thoughts from the Forest
A WALK IN THE SNOW
Tuesday morning greeted us with two inches of snow and a record low temperature. I couldn’t wait to get in the woods. Deer, rabbits, mice and most other creatures had not moved. Tracks in the snow revealed there is one creature that seldom hunkers down.
With standing corn on both sides of a narrow lane, the only tracks were those of a pair of coyotes. More of this predator’s tracks dominated the landscape around the wood’s edge.
On the east side, the corn had been picked with the exception of stalks standing under overhanging tree branches. Those shaded skinny stalks had small ears of corn still attached. I pulled back the husk so wildlife could access the tasty grain.
One small deer had meandered through the picked corn long before the coyotes. Some snow had fallen after these tracks were made while the coyote tracks were fresh and defined.
What I had hoped to see was more of the big buck tracks left in the soft ground two weeks ago. It is definitely worth one more look. The snow-covered ground will help me make a decision on where to hunt the gun opener this coming Saturday.
By the time you read this, I will have also checked for tracks in a couple of other places. And, there might even be an argument for staying home. There were three does behind my barn Saturday evening. I also saw a snake who was still looking for a place to spend the winter
While walking my fencerow, I heard the familiar caw, caw of a pileated woodpecker. I turned towards the sound to see a pair of these large birds flying in a dipsey-doodle pattern from one dead tree to the next.
I have not seen this species of woodpecker in the 23-years I have lived here. When the ash borer killed most of the ash trees this created a new habitat for woodpeckers.
When Walter Lantz and his wife bought a cabin back in the woods, they were seeking peace and quiet. This was not to be because at dawn each morning a pileated woodpecker was tapping the eves of their wooden home. Lantz was inspired to invent the newspaper comic character “Woody the Woodpecker.”
While temperatures will return to the 50s next week this spell of record lows has me wondering if I might break my personal best record of early ice fishing. That was December 7. The latest was March 5.
STATE PARK HUNTS
I hope to take another look at Whitewater State Park while the snow covers the ground in preparation for that hunt next Monday and Tuesday. Parks participating in deer reduction hunts will be closed to the public.
Hunters are asked to field dress their deer off the trails and to cover the entrails with leaves.
WALLEYES IN THE NIGHT
Earlier this week one of my customers at Cabela’s showed me a most unusual photo. It was a nighttime snap of a shallow/rocky stretch of White River. The bright reflection of eyes was in the picture-walleyes
He and his buddy caught several on a 1/16th oz. jig tipped with a minnow. Two nights later another customer showed me a photo of three 24-inch walleye he had just caught from White River. He also had reflective eye pictures and used the same bait.
Apparently, these fish move up from a deep hole to feed at night. It is believed the walleyes migrate downstream from Eagle Creek Reservoir.
I promised not to reveal this honey hole but it is just south of Indy.
More from Rick Bramwell