For my son and grandsons

This blog is for future generations to look at and try to understand a way of life that has disappeared in one generation. A life of simplicty and a life of adventure that only
can come from living with nature.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Silence in the woods is priceless

My dog Belle and I went to pull and check traps this evening with the weather turning bad. It was one the evenings in the winter that I love, with the woods were silent graveyard dead , no sound at all, no birds chirping, no water running in creeks, no wind so silent that your ears hurt. We walked around the point at out on the end I could see the far ridges about a mile away and with the snow I could see it as clear as the woods I was standing in, no movement anywhere.We turned and started back up the backside of the ridge and as we neared the saddle between to ridges I brushed the snow off a down log and sat down, Belle sat next to me and we just sat listening, she had her ears perked up and was listening for any sound but like mine none came. We sat there about fifteen minutes my mustache and beard with frozen beads of water in it , and Belle whiskers and drops of frozen moisture on the ends. I reached down and rubbed her side and said we better go girl we still have some traps to pull. She took the lead as always . As we topped the ridge there we caught the the smell of wood smoke coming from the cabin, we gathered the remaing traps and headed for home and our spots next to the wood stove. I think Belle and I will watch Jeremiah Johnson while we defrost our beards and warm are feet or maybe just listen to the wood crackle in the stove.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Trapping the ulitmate sport

I love to trap and my first season was very memorable. I believe I had more fun the summer before, getting all the gear together. A then came all the preparation the derusting the dyeing of the traps. I also had to take a class for first time trappers; I was the only middle aged man in a group of kids. I have been bear hunting, taken a huge whitetail buck, and caught a 25 pound flathead catfish. But the thrill of what could be in the trap, and the scouting for the target animal sign. The matching of whits makes trapping the ultimate outdoor activity.
I trapped 2 winters before my son Kenny Ray Jr. was born and had a lot of fun. I never caught a lot of animals but still enjoyed it tremendously. I trapped a stream called the Little Beavercreek, in the city of Beavercreek a suburb of Dayton Ohio. It ran past the body shop that I worked at the time, so it was easy to run before and after work. One of the days that stands out still after 20 years was a day in January. It was a bitter cold day it had been about zero for a week. And at 5:30pm the full moon was already hanging in the clear blue sky as the orange and pink glow to the west was all that was left of the sun. I drove down to the end of the parking lot, slid into my waders. I had been going in and out of the stream now for about three weeks and climbed down into the stream at an old railway tressel .Which was in sight of a couple of house’s. Little known to me was, I was being watched the whole time during my trapping adventure. I entered the stream and looked at one of my sets just below the trestle .Jack pot I had a nice muskrat right at the edge of a slide at the junction of the stream and a drainage ditch. I picked up my prize and continued down the stream checking my traps. My mind began to wander as I took in all of nature’s glory. The more I walked and looked around at the banks of the stream. The more the tension of the day slid away as if being carried away with the current of Little Beavercreek. As if on queue a flock of Canadian geese flew over head in perfect formation, singing to me as they flew into the fading sun. I stopped to watch and wander at this perfect moment in a mans life. A time where he has no worries, no deadlines to meet, just this perfect moment in time. Just him and the stream and his thoughts. When the silence was suddenly broken, “hey you down there in the water”. I turned to see a woman standing on the bridge in her house coat. She said I have been watching you for a couple of weeks. What are you doing down in there? I told her I was running some traps. She then asked me if I could tell her what was this animal she kept seeing around the creek, it looks like a rat with a tail. I reached into my coat and said like this she said yes. It’s a muskrat, I told her .She said ok thanks and left. Strange I thought as she was running back towards her house. I never thought anyone ever knew I was there let alone being watched everyday. It taught me that you have to a responsible sportsman all the time especially when you are in an urban area. I continued on down the stream checking my other sets and resetting some of the ones that were in a more open area that could be seen from the road. As I did not want to catch a coon and it be seen in the trap before I checked them in the morning before work began. My last trap which was a live trap set next to a trail leading from a small stand of timber to the waters edge. Had a nice big coon and at closer glance had three legs. Was baited with some peanut butter and jelly. I prefer this bait as House cats seem to have little interest in it. I carry that first coon with me still to day during the winter season. It is my winter hat, and it always takes be back to a day of perfection. And where ever I wear it at the bank or into a restaurant A complete stranger will ask me about my hat. The children always want to touch it and ask me if is real. And folks of my generation and older will tell me how they had one like it when they were a kid. My wife is afraid that I will have a confrontation with an animal activist as well as some people that stop me ask if I am afraid one of them will. I always say look at me do you think they will confront me. I am six foot and weigh 290 lbs with a full beard; I think I will be safe. That year I only caught a few muskrats nothing spectacular, but the one thing I did get was a 3 legged raccoon and a memory of a perfect day.
My second season trapping was moving along nothing very eventful. Then one afternoon I got a phone call. The man asked if he could speak to Ken. I said you are. How can I help you? He said his name was Lynn and that he got my name from a friend. I understand you trap. I told him yes, I do a little trapping... Well I need a trapper as I am the grounds keeper, here at Walnut Grove country club. The raccoons are destroying our putting greens. They come in at night and cut the sod to get at the grubs underneath. He then asks if I could come over, so we could discuss what needed done. I went to see him and he showed me the damage that the coons were doing to the golf greens. It looked like someone took a knife and split them open and rolled them back. I told him I could help. He said the only thing was I had to come in late in the evening and pull the traps every morning so that the members did not see what I was doing, I said ok. So I went to work, I would get there about dusk and go to work, but there was always a member or two just finishing. They would always stop and ask what I was doing and I would always stop and answer their questions. Their reply was always basically the same, get them. Now the particular day I remember most is the morning my wife Tari decided she was going to go with me. She got up at 5 am and climbed into my old pick up with me and we set out for the country club. It still tickles me to think of us in that old truck, me in my coon skin hat and a gun in the back seat. Can you say Beverly hillbilly’s .The first trap we came to was next to the fence and the woods that the coons were coming out of and under. The headlamps showed the eyes of the first catch of the day. A big ole coon in a foot hold trap. I stopped the truck and got out with .22 rifle and disposed of the coon. As I put the gun back in the cab and coon in the bed. She said if you get another I want to shoot it, I said are you sure. She said yes. I drove around checking each trap and pulling them as I went. As I approached the 16th green which seemed to be a favorite spot as it had the most damage. I heard the chain rattle from the foothold that I set right on the green. I stopped the truck on the golf cart lane looked at Tari and said come on let’s go... I got out and grabbed the rifle and told her again to come on. I could tell she was changing her mind by the look on her face. No, I will just wait here. Ok honey I said and I went on to my quarry. There he was in the foothold trying to pull away. I thought tonight I will set up the second hole with the same set up. I had rolled back the sod and dug my trap in and placed just a drop of a coon lure right at the edge of the sod. I caught 20 coons that winter most of them at the country club. I enjoyed just walking around and setting up in the beautiful piece of property. As well as talking to the members that stopped me to talk about trapping.
I never went back to the country club as the ground keeper moved onto another job. I only trapped another season after that one on the Little Beavercreek. After my son was born there just never seemed to be enough time. But this year he is thirteen and I have had a problem with a mink getting at my chickens. I went looking for my traps and I think it will be fun teaching my son. But I think we will target coon as I have been seeing a lot of track in the creek near the chicken lot. The little boy needs a coon skin cap and I can think of no better way to spend more time with him. Although he might be a little soft hearted like his mother. That’s ok as I love them both.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beagle , bear, wild boar or Jester hill panther

Well I was caught twice today without my rifle, Once this morning. If you read my other blog you know I had a chicken killed by a coyote last week and since then I have been patrolling the lane every morning with my rifle , kind of like a prison guard. Mainly to have my scent in the area to scare off any varmints. This morning however I left my rifle next to the door, and as I started down the lane I jumped a grey fox, laying there in ambush for my hens. The grass next to the lane was only about five inches high and yet he was just laying there. I cut the grass this afternoon.
                                      The second time was this evening at about seven thirty I walked out to the pond to check on  Kenny Ray. When I got there I decided to turn Fisher one of my Beagle hounds loose for some exercise.  Doc my other beagle run loose all the time, well they ran around the pond and up and down the lane and I decided to take them out and see if we could get up a rabbit and have us a race. The dogs ran into the brush and I was standing on top of the ridge checking on a persimmon tree to see if it had any fruit. Just then I heard the dogs bark about two hundred yards from me in the edge of the woods where Kenny Ray thought he seen a bear last week. They were barking at something but not moving out with the track{scent} and they do not cold trail. They were barking like a coon hound on tree, that's when I heard the brush start breaking and a low growl and like a dog cry for just as second and yet the dogs stayed in the same spot. Now I had no gun , no shirt and my boots were not even tied. I began to holler back at Kenny Ray to go get my gun. He jumped om his four wheeler and went back to the house to grab my rifle. Another four or five minutes passed and the digs still barking but now were moving to my right and now about a hundred yards from me. Kenny Ray returned with my rifle and we started into the woods toward the dogs and as we approached Kenny Ray spotted one of the dogs just as they started back to my left toward where the commotion began. So we turned toward the point to try and cut them off.  This time the dogs and the prey went low on the point and the underbrush so bad you can not see the bench from our position. As we listened to the dogs run they slowly went around the ridge into a old clear cut and once again they seemed to have stopped but there barking intensified, again like they had it treed and by now it was getting dark, in fact I looked at my watch , ten minutes to nine.  the barking lasted about ten minutes then all was quiet. I was getting eat up with mosquitoes and had Kenny Ray go get my tee shirt, he was gone about ten minutes and returned with my shirt and asked me dad have you heard anything I said no son. He the asked me what I thought they might be running. I said well son it is not a rabbit or deer as they do not run like that, I said they were running like the dogs I hunted over in Tennessee wild boar hunting, and while I have hunted bear but not with dogs, son I am not sure what it is. He then asked me dad do you think the dogs are hurt? Are you going to go in after them. Son I do not know and I began to call the dogs in. At nine thirty still no sound and no dogs coming to my calls. I said son let's us go get my truck and drive out through and listen for them.  We returned with the truck and I stopped where we last heard them and I began to call once again, we waited a few minutes and I drove down about twenty yards and there was Fisher coming in to my calls finally but no Doc. Fisher had his tongue hanging down to the ground  and was wore out Kenny Ray picked him
up and I said son check him over and see if he is hurt, Kenny Ray replied no dad no blood just wore out, I began to call for Doc But he never came in or barked. Kenny Ray asked dad what are you going to do, son nothing I can do for now we will wait till morning and see if Doc comes in.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mountain man stir fry

What a dinner we had last night thanks to my two boys, my son Kenny Ray and my other son/nephew
Matthew. They spent most of the night Friday night frog gigging, setting turtle jugs and Saturday fishing, they woke Tari and I up early Saturday morning about one a.m. coming in the house soaking wet, and they just had to show dad how well they did without him. But the old man caught the biggest catfish for supper. We had frog legs, turtle and catfish and tater's from the garden all cooked over an open fire, my extra large skillet was not big enough for all the food. We were joined by sister in law Rhonda brother in law Tony and his three sons niece Monica and her two children and wife Tari all around the fire. The big hit of the night was the frog legs everyone kept asking if there was anymore the fried potatoes was a close second. After supper was over we discussed our next stir fry in September it will include same items plus squirrel and duck.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Turkzilla , beagles and turtles

This spring I managed two fill both of my turkey tags with two very nice gobblers. The first one was 25 lbs 11 inch beard and one inch spurs, the second was a monster 27lbs, eleven and a half inch beard and one and a quate rinch spurs. The fellows at the check in station said it was the biggest turkey that they had ever checked in. Ther magazine fish and game finder took the photo hanging in the store and told the fellows that it would be in the July isssue possibly the cover. I did not make the cover but turkzilla and I are on page 10. The first turkey I sneaked on , I closed the distance of about fifty yards without him seeing me, his attention was on a hen. He fell grave yard dead at the boom of the shotgun. I stepped of the distance at seventy one steps , a great shot . The second was in full strut also and with two hens and I managed to close the distance once again about twenty yards and the giant fell again grave yard dead never even twitching  a nice forty step shot.
              Overall in six hunts two turkey's on the ground and heard 8 different gobblers in those six days , and was still hearing turkeys gobble around the farm up the third week of June. We had one even come to my calls as Tari and my mom and I were sitting on the porch drinking coffee. Tari even slipping up on them in the early mornings on her walks. My brother in law also took a nice twenty two pound gobbler.
                           I purchased two beagle young beagle hounds back in the spring and try to take them out ever other evening if I am not to tired from the days work. One shows promise Fisher has a lot of hunt in him not much hope for Doc though. Kenny Ray has been running turtle jugs since season came in and so far has only managed one, along with some frog gigging . I have not got go with him yet, but I will be carving out some time to go with him soon.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

30 years of vacation a husband and Hunter

I am writing tonight with little Belle curled up at my feet and a fine cigar. Thinking back over this past week of another great week of vacation. This is the thirtieth year of having this week off an the last time that I will be taking the whole week off , at best a couple of days only. I will be taking more time in October and staying on the farm. My week began with a wonderful dinner with my family over for Thanksgiving, with Mom , my sister's Lisa and Jennifer and their families and my Uncle Ken. Then on Friday Kenny Ray and I went on our second annual pheasant hunt, and once again the little boy put it on the old man. He made me so proud of him with his shot selection and his accuracy , the guides were impressed as well. As that same morning they had an accident with a eight year old boy who shot one of their best dogs that morning, and they are now considering no longer letting kids hunt there. It would be a shame this is the first time in over thirty years of hunting that I have seen such a accident. Kenny Ray and went to the farm after the hunt and on Saturday, Kenny Ray fixed baked pheasant with sauteed mushrooms onions and celery, with bake potatoes and a salad. Over the weekend we were joined by my father-in-law and brother-in-law and his two sons and my cousin, all of whom came down for the deer gun season.

                            On opening day Monday Kenny Ray and I hit the point together I seen a doe but did not get a shot. After about two hours we got up and began to back toward the cabin slowly trying to sneak up on some deer, when we came to briar thicket at a small white oak that Kenny Ray killed his first squirrel, he motioned to me to watch the lower end as he busted the thicket and just has he started thru something jumped and took off and what I seen took me by surprise a big coyote the first I have seen on the farm in twenty four years I have heard them howling at night but never seen one. On Tuesday morning I awoke with the ground covered in snow and chose not to hunt as I was going back to Dayton , to take my wife Tari out to supper for thirtieth wedding anniversary. I spent the morning out by the pond with my father-in-law Richard Boninsegna, we burnt trash and smoked a cigar while we watched Belle play in her first snow. I believe she enjoys the farm just as much as I do, she evens heads to the truck went let out to use the potty, looks up to me with ears perked up, like she is saying come on old man open the door and get driving.
                   On Wednesday Kenny Ray and I went duck hunting for the first time. I had posted on Greene county fish and game web site that we were looking for someone to take and show us the rope's, as I have never done any duck hunting. Fellow member Shane Davis called and said he would be happy to take us.
We arrived at C.J. Brown reservoir at four thirty am and took a boat ride and set up and just as if planned just after daylight two hooded merganser's came in and only one left, the little boy got his first duck a hen with one shot. A little while latter a drake flew in and the old man busted it. and then Shane got himself a drake. We only killed three ducks but we seen lots of birds and had a good time and are hooked, I can not thank Shane enough and neither can my taxidermist. I had planned on going back to the farm Thursday, to continue deer hunting, but I woke that morning with a cold and decided to stay in Dayton, as I don not like going to the doctor and letting them robe me. I am going to have to finish as Belle is chewing on my toe's and demanding my attention, her and I will go to the family room and turn on the western channel and see what is on.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dad we are home


We have been busy around the farm this October cutting firewood and mowing around the farm. Kenny Ray his friend Matt and Shane and I finally built are dock/ deck on the pond I have planned it for two years. It was also a lesson for the boys on simple construction and how to hit your thumb with a hammer. Shane and I overseen the framing and the turned it over to the boys to put the decking on.

Kenny Ray had to be the first test pilot / cannonball , he and Matt tested it repeatedly and they even were able to trash talk Shane into flight. I have since installed two solar lamps and Kenny Ray is now able to run his remote control boat at night. Kenny Ray has also started taking his meals there and he continues to say Dad , I love my dock only wished we would have built it sooner. I am lucky that Kenny Ray loves the farm as much as I , for the last two Sundays when I have said son it is time to get ready and go home, his reply has been Dad we are home and I am never leaving