Stumpin’

I put together this video of some stump shooting in the Maine woods, this is shot in the woods behind my house. Let me know if you like it.

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Fires, bows and Mother’s day

In our house, Laurel, my wife is the proverbial glue that holds it all together. We have two boys, nine and eleven and to manage them, our house, kids sports, the third “boy”, and her job, is a lot.

A few days ago this became top of mind when I stepped into the already running shower to find a soccer ball ahead of me for company, While I was in there absentmindedly kicking the ball a bit and thinking about life I thought I should make sure that it was a good Mother’s Day.

She had already told me that she didn’t want to do any dishes and she wanted me to burn the two year old brush pile we have out back and be home in her gardens.

She’d also mentioned months ago that she wanted to give archery a more sustained go and wanted a bow to begin with. I had secretly already picked up a bow for her, originally planned for her birthday and tucked away out of sight in the closet but why not on the day of the momma.

The bow is a 20 pound left hand takedown recurve and so I put it together last night put a big red ribbon on it and tucked it away for the next morning. Started doing dishes that night to get a jump on it, had coffee ready in the morning and waited for the kids to get up so we could all give her the bow.

Only a supermom could draw her bow amidst piles of laundry and hug a nine year old at the same time!

The kids had homemade cards, a nice present for mom, all was going well. I went off to our local fire station to get a fire permit to burn the brush pile, got home and lit it up, Laurel grabbed the bow, I grabbed the video camera and here is what I have.

The morning slowly turned to a beautiful sunny day, I tended the fire, Laurel went to talk to our neighbors and came back with rhubarb, worked in the gardens, kiddos played, Dakota and I tossed the ball around, I did more dishes, swept the house, later cooked dinner, made meals for the week and was truly an unrecognizable version of myself.

Rhubarb – if I’m lucky this will become pie even if the new me has to make it

Later,  Laurel and I shot some arrows together, I restrained, like every smart husband should from critiquing her form although I did notice that she seemed to be having a hard time closing one eye. She then mentioned it.

She is left handed, has shot left handed bows before but was having trouble with her eyes, hmmm…

In archery you usually pick a left or right handed bow depending on your eye dominance, if you are left eye dominant you should shoot a left hand bow even if you are right handed. I wondered if this might be the case. Laurel is somewhat ambidextrous so I administered a simple eye dominance test and sure enough she is right eye dominant she should really shoot a right hand bow. I went in the house and got my 20 lb right hand takedown recurve and she gave it a go.

From left to right

She reports the eye part is good, getting used to a right handed bow is a bit weird, we’ll see what she decides and whatever it is I’m good with it. If she wants to go righty my younger son can step up to her lefty bow, all will work fine.

I know I see dishes and run and often don’t do all the things a good husband should but I was really good today, got a bow for my wife and I can burn the heck out of a big pile of brush.

So with that I will leave you as I am off to watch the young and very handsome Sherlock Holmes on masterpiece theater with my wife.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Turkey talk..

Today was a good day.

There is an Ice Cube song called “It was a good day” and although the lyrics vary widely from this blogpost the feeling is the same. That everything went right.

I was up at 4:30 this morning, had coffee, caught up with my computer stuff and then went for a hunt.  I’ve never hunted for a thing until this week so it is all new. I have been practicing like a madman though.

It is turkey season and so on my commute to work and back I talk turkey. There are many turkey talking devices out there and like many I jumped right into a mouth call as it frees your hands. I’ve put hours and hours into this call and all I can say is you either have to be gifted or southern because these calls take a lot, a lot of time to get. I happily switched gears to a slate call and found myself yelping and driving in no time. It’s a good thing I commute early in the morning as I’m usually steering with one knee while clucking along to a turkey CD.

I did learn how to do clucks and purrs with this mouthcall, but had a hard time with yelping, getting the hang of these takes plenty of practice.

I’ve also put a lot of practice time with my compound bow, making 40 yards my standard practice distance, which makes shooting smaller distances somehow feel easier.

My commute to the hunting grounds was just a walk out of my door and into the darkness about 150 yards where I had a ground blind setup in the woods, one of the benefits of living in Maine. I had nothing fancy as I have not accumulated much gear; I had an old LL Bean canvas tote bag with calls, a bottle of water, gloves and not much else. I don’t have special clothes but I was careful to wear black as the inside of the blind is black and it makes one hard to see.

I set a hen decoy 8 yards from the blind and tucked myself in. It was a foggy Maine morning and as the sun came up the outlines of the woods softened by the fog. The next half hour or so were exceptional. I saw deer running through the fog, the crows were cawing, the world was waking up and I was really relishing being in nature. Just beautiful out, so special, I would guess that many hunters do this just to experience that.

I started calling using all my CD, YouTube knowledge. I began with just yelping (common turkey talk) every 20 minutes and after an hour I got a gobble back. I responded but didn’t call a lot which was my friend Steve’s advice and just let him find me. He stopped coming in at about 30 yards and I switched to cutting (excited hen language) with a small amount of yelping and although it was slow that brought him in.

Inside a blind, just my backyard not my top secret turkey spot.

I only had one large window in the blind open and had a small clearing dead ahead of me. This tom was coming in behind me and these guys are wicked stealthy when they want to be, I couldn’t see him but could hear his movements. I caught a glimpse of him as he came in to my window view through the wood underbrush towards the clearing, eventually coming in dead ahead of me at 18 yards ( I had measured the area) he was looking right at me, fluctuating between puffing up and looking skitterish. I didn’t realize it at the time but this was probably as good as it gets. My YouTube education would have had him in come closer yet and head for the decoy, but I should have caught on that he was a bit nervous and taken a chance and drawn the bow, so instead of staying he walked right out of my field of view. We then had a 4 hour conversation in turkey. At different distances and although I managed to bring him in again he was behind me where I didn’t have a shot. At 11:30 I gave it up, legal time ends at noon in Maine. I was exhausted not so much from talking turkey but from the adrenalin rush when he’d come in close and my heart was pounding and senses heightened, then back down and up and down again. I missed an opportunity but had a great hunt while gaining some experience and a great memory.

Fiddleheads

I came home still in time to make it to Dakota’s baseball game and then ice cream on the way home to celebrate the win, the sun was out after a drizzly week, making everyone happy to be outside in t-shirts for a change. Laurel found fiddleheads in some secret spot in the woods to sauté with dinner, a springtime treat, I sent some arrows into the target, read a book and later we watched Kung Fu Panda II with the kids, nothing dazzling just a good day.