No Duck Hunting today

All my usual spots are frozen over.  This typically happens to me in late November.  Later today, I will put away all the decoys, blinds, duck calls, dog vests, dog blinds, etc.  I do this so we will get a thaw around the second week of December, forcing me to bring the gear out again. 

Walking in the woods was tough yesterday.  There is about ten inches of heavy wet snow on the ground, and it  is melting.  It is very slippery where areas have been plowed.

Porter and I headed out mid day to look for Grouse.  We walked down an old road, actually an old railroad right-of-way, for about two miles, ending at a locked gate.  We did put up one bird.  We slogged through the snow, following a tire track from a truck.  When we got about 200 yards from our turnaround point at the gate, the road suddenly became plowed.  In the middle of nowhere.  For no reason.  It continued plowed on the other side of the locked gate.  Very strange.

We saw signs of grouse, turkey, rabbit and deer.  We also saw moose tracks.  A moose track looks like a deer track, except about four times larger.  It would fill an 8 x 11″ piece of paper.  No mistaking it for anything but a moose track.  The moose had come out on the road, followed it for about 100 feet, dug it up through the snow, and then went back into the woods.

It is very quiet here at the lake. Not many Thanksgiving visitors.  The hunting camps are active, given the new snow cover this week.

Rest in Peace, Shadow

I knew something was different, yesterday.  I was running the dogs, after our trip up from visiting with Family for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Usually we are greeted by our neighbor’s three dogs, Shadow, Toba and Molly. This day, Shadow was not there.  We learned last night that Shadow had died suddenly, of cancer.

Shadow was a great dog– looked like a mix of a Flat Coat Retriever and a Collie.  As a pup, Shadow had been abused and had a terrible life, until being adopted by the Ministers.

At first, Shadow would not come near me.  It took about a year before he would approach me, and take a treat from my hand.  On the Point, Shadow had a great life.  He ran  free, 95% of the time.  I never saw him on a leash.  He could be found inside several of the camps on the Point– visiting.  He greeted everyone who walked or drove onto the Point– our unofficial canine Mayor.

When I would go out and throw dummies for my dogs, Shadow would come over and watch.  I would throw one for him, and he would get it, and then take it back home, instead of returning it to me.  When we were away from camp, Shadow would bring toys over and leave them at our camp– trying to entice our dogs out to play, when they were not there.

It was a shock to learn he was gone.  Just two weeks ago, he helped me chop wood and cook pizza.

Winter Storm Warning!

This is it! The National Weather Service is predicting 12 to 18 inches of snow at the lake!  We could get an inch an hour, starting after midnight Saturday, continuing through Monday morning.

I love the snow, but the first big storm usually marks the premature end of my duck hunting season.  It is hard to get back into  the ponds where I set my blinds, and, in some cases, the ponds have iced over.

In checking my journal, the first big storm last year was also the weekend before Thanskgiving– I took out the snowmobiles on shakedown runs.

Back in 2002 or 2003, we had so much snow this week that Don Hamm had to clear the road onto the Point with a large Payloader.

We are ready for Winter.  Let’s hope it is another good one.

A Beautiful Fall Day

At the moment, the moon is rising  up over the trees here on the Point.  The wind is howling infrom the West.  I just buttoned up the outdoor wood-fired pizza oven, after making 3 pizzas, sourdough bread, and apple crisp. We have a fire going in the fireplace, and all four dogs are sleeping in front of it, getting warm.

It was a cold day in the duck blind.  Porter and I were trying a new spot.  I had to break through skim ice to put out the decoys.  It was cold.  Our season may come to an end, soon, as the ponds freeze over.  Porter made a great long retrieve today.  He was shivering through his neoprene vest when he came out of the water.

While getting set up, I heard the loggers start work at 5:30 AM up on Loon Lake Mountain.  It was pitch black out. I cannot imagine working in the woods in the dark like that.  We were set up just off an old railroad Right of Way, looking across the pond at another old Railroad ROW/Powerline, and up at the firetower on Loon Lake Mountain.   We saw many more big game hunters in their trucks heading out into the woods this weekend.

Back out early tomorrow….

Quiet weekend at the lake

I finally put away the last canoe and kayak we had down on the water.  Buttoned things up for Winter. 

Most leaves are down, and visibility in the woods is much improved.  Interesting though; not many big game hunters in the woods around here. Not much activity around the lake, in general.ll

I went duck hunting this morning, with Porter.  I left him in the blind and went down to the water to set out some decoys. All of a sudden there was a huge splash in front of me.  Scared me out of my waders.  No clue what it was, until as I waded out, he slapped his tail.  I had disturbed a sleeping beaver.  And he was not happy.  He kept swimming back and forth, slapping his tail, and looking at me.  His eyes were all I saw, reflected by the light from my headlamp.  I thought for sure he was going to attack.  That was the highlight of this morning’s hunt.  Tomorrow, I think we will try a beaver dam/flooded timber area.