Thoughts from the Forest
“Thoughts from the forest” might be a title for a book or poem. For sure, hikers and hunters alike know what a walk in the woods does for your wellbeing.
I’ve been chosen to deer hunt Whitewater State Park and with some guidance from Joe Hale, have learned it pretty well. Joe has hunted the park in the past but missed being drawn the last two years. I appreciate him marking my maps and receiving my calls from the park.
Last year, I walked a long way to get to the Hale hole along a horse trail. I tried accessing that spot from the opposite direction but found the trail just as long and the hills just as steep. However, a new spot he marked along with me matching my paper map with Google Earth may have helped with finding a major shortcut.
With Larry Lawson and Steve Jett joining me, I needed more than one stand site. We were all drawn for the same area be it a large one.
a call to Joe to make sure I had found the right place. this site was a point overlooking a swamp bottom. On the other side of this funnel was another point that led to a steep ridge running in the opposite direction.
My long walk back to last year’s spot was peaceful. The thought came to mind, “If two people, who could not get along, took this walk- they would surely be friends when they left the forest.”
I felt good, perhaps 20-years younger. The most deer sign was actually near the road but the big thick bottom is where they will run to once the truck doors slam and the flashlights come on.
The trail wound along a ridge before dropping down a ravine and up another hill. Finally, I reached my destination and replayed last year’s hunt in my mind.
As I looked at my two maps it became apparent that this ridge was the same one opposite the point I was on earlier. If I can skirt the swamp without getting knee-deep in muck my walk will be much shorter. Hopefully, I can return one more time to see if I can negotiate this landscape.
I did see four antlerless deer and one big buck track. I’m excited about this hunt.
Chris Ross was fishing Westwood Lake last month near the campground when he heard a noise behind him. He turned to see a whitetail buck. “The deer acted funny. He ran in circles and then jumped in the lake. The sick deer swam in circles before laying his head on a log,” recounts Ross.
He called the gate and they called DNR. Their instruction was to “Let nature take its course. Soon, the little six-pointer was dead. Another victim of EHD. DNR removed the buck the next morning.
I’m seeing fewer signs of deer at my hunting areas. This is concerning.