Friday midday I was in Providence, Rhode Island. The temperature was 82. When I arrived at Loon Lake, it was 52. It was 41 when I walked the dogs this morning, and we have a frost advisory over night.
Last night it was dead calm and perfectly clear. Very few lights from the camps around the lake. The stars were spectacular.n althogh the leaves are changing, they are nowhere near peak yet, here at the lake.
Porter and I went out grouse hunting over near Loon Lake Mountain. I always go out the first weekend, although I rarely see or hear any birds. The leaves are still on the trees, so it is hard to see anything. Still, it was a great hunt. The day was clear, windy, sunny…..perfect. As we headed out of the woods towards home, we were stopped by a pair of EnCon officers. We had a nice chat. One of them used to work for Ken Kogut, from whom I got Porter. Small world. This is the second time I have encountered DEC law enforcement while hunting near the lake. They have definitely beefed up their presence since the Kushaqua tract and Sable Highlands were opened up to public access.
Although it was a bit chilly we hit the lake to test out a new kayak and stand up paddle board. I got soaked. As long as I was already wet, we swam the dogs. Won’t do this many more times without waders…
This time, I headed over to Watertown, with a couple of old NYSDEC friends. We hooked up with a guide I have been hunting with for the past nine seasons. Charlie is in his late forties, and is a retired CO. He know everyone, and has multiple leases for hunting access, with farmers all along the St. Lawrence River.
Charlie had everything set up. Laydown blinds in the middle of a recently cut corn field. About one hundred goose decoys. It was clear and about sixty degrees, with a light westerly wind.
Early season targets resident geese. Or as the farmers’ put it– nuisance geese, that eat their crops. The limit was actually 15 birds, each.
We took a total of 26 geese. I would say about fourteen different waves of geese came into the decoy spread, over two hours. We must have seen over three thousand geese.
I missed all the easy shots– birds flaring to land, right in front of me. I made the difficult shots– birds flying past, behind and away from me, with me sitting in the blind, twisting around to shoot behind me. I was the only left handed humter, so I took the blind all the way to the right. I did not have to worry about my gun barrel and the location the other hunters.
The first wave came in from the left. The hunter all the way to my left shot before I even raised my gun. As I raised my gun, the goose he shot fell right on top of me, flattening me in the lay down blind. Never had that happen before.
We did harvest all the goose breast and will put it to good use. Mostly sausage.
A good day in the field. And now Grouse season is open.
While I was out and about , I noticed a logging feller/buncher in the woods, on Mensink Road, across from the access point to the Niagara Mohawk power lines, on the old railroad Right of Way. It appears that a rectangular piece of land has been flagged for clearing– possibly as a log staging area.
There has been a very active logging operation underway for sometime, just down the railroad ROW. It is possible that this new activity is part of that operation. The ongoing logging is on Lyme Timber property (subject to the Kushaqua Tract recreational easement); I believe the newly flagged area is lands owned by Loon Gulf.
Paula left camp early today, to see some grandkid sport event. I have friends coming over tonight, so I found myself with a free day (no incentive to tackle the chore list….).
I decided to check out the ponds where I plan on duck hunting later, in October. As I was leaving camp, it occurred to me that it is early goose season, so I went back, grabbed a gun, and stuffed three shells in my pocket.
Porter and I saw plenty of ducks, but no geese, at the first four ponds we visited. As we approached the fifth on foot, I saw a goose just as it saw me. I had a shot as it flew away. It flew a ways down the pond and then landed on the water and swam. This made me think I had winged it. I didn’t dare send Porter, as I was sure the goose would lead him on a long chase, out of my ability to control him.
What to do? I do not leave injured birds. I ended up taking Porter home, and loaded a canoe on the truck. I put in and paddled down the pond. Luckily, I found the goose.
When I got home, Porter was all over me, because of the goose scent. He will have some for dinner.
Earlier this Summer, I wrote about a capsized canoe and a distressed paddler. The incident occured on July 8th in the Southern basin of Loon Lake. An inexperienced paddler overturned out in the lake. Derek Van Campen was on the water with his two sons, Ryley and Rocket. They were able to assist the paddler, and get him back to shore.
I posted Derek’s description of the rescue and later helped connect Brenda and Sam Gewurz, relatives of the distressed paddler, directly with the Van Campens.
What Brenda and Sam did next was truly awesome. They awarded medals to Ryley and Rocket. So, in my mind, there are five heroes here.
Beautiful up here. The lake itself is quiet. The wind, unusually, is out of the South. Paula and I went out in her kayak and my solo canoe. We saw two other paddlers and sailboat. Many of the boats have been pulled for the season. All the swimfloats around Horsehead Point and in Molasses Bay are on shore.
Still, there is a lot of activity around the lake, people working on their camps.
The water is actually warmer than last week, according to my dog Saske.
The leaves have started to change on the hills surrounding the lake.
I love this time of year.