The better part of the my last week has been a bit of a feeling out session with the woods. There's a lot to learn, and it seems that there's a little something different each day. Picking up on this different aspects can make everything a bit easier, from simple navigating to hunting.
Visual cues are clearly important. Taking stock of fallen trees, game paths, or other unique brush will definitely help in navigation. Tracks, dung, and bark rubbed off trees can indicate who or what else may have been moving through as well. As you see those things over and over, you can pretty quickly begin to distinguish and learn what you're looking at.
Audible cues, however, definitely are important, as you can't always see through the brush and forest. Without paying close attention to what you hear around you, you often won't be prepared, especially as it relates to hunting.
That said, most of last week I got to the point where I was convinced that there weren't Elk or Deer around, but rather that there were actually 50 pound flying horned squirrels hopping from branch to branch and banging their horns against the trees.
Fortunately, as Jeff proved in the picture in the previous blog, that's not really the case, but I'm still fine tuning my ears each day to get a better understanding of my surroundings.
Last week was fun, though, especially to see the excitement of the pursuit, as well as the accomplishment of taking the animal down. Wednesday afternoon I walked Sid and Jeff up to the water that I'd stumbled on the afternoon prior. When Sid got there, he just stopped and stared. It was like an 11-year-old boy finding free porn on the internet for the first time.
He was literally giddy four hours later, and all day Thursday and Friday morning he was confident that something had to happen in that water hole, as it was the most beaten up water he'd seen by elk all summer.
Fortunately he was correct, and as a reward for helping find the water hole, I got to carry the right rear quarter, weighing roughly 75 pounds out of the woods about 1/2 mile, and then got to assist in carrying out a severed Elk head with antlers. Nope, never thought I'd write that about myself in a million years, either.