Thursday, November 29, 2012

Photo show opening in Longview, Friday, December 7.

At the TCC Photo Gallery in Longview, Texas, 207 N. Center Street, 5-8pm.  The Eternal Gift.  Rare opportunity to see 20+ Langhams in on spot.

I'm almost done framing, just making the final couple of selections.  Really fun to see them in frames.  Everyone and anyone welcome!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

First trip to Clarksville, 2012

  A quick overnight run to join Jon Rhynard up at Clarksville for some doetag shooting.  I drove up in the early morning hours, leaving in the dark and watching the sun come up on the road.  Beautiful Texas fall morning.  I had both big cams with me and should have stopped and shot a big oak that had just the faintest hint of sunlight in the very top branches.  It's one of those images exposed only in my head that will haunt me now.

  In the stand by 7:45.  No later than 7:50 some two does and two yearling fawns crossed the end of the field.  I was ready to shoot but just not in the mood after the drive up.

  A few minutes later they circled and came back into the field just below the tower.

  They were very close- headshot distance with the .284 Rigby Ruger #1, (7X57) but I still hesitated.  Finally ran the gun out and found the biggest doe.  We were there to shoot, not sit, and if I was going to shoot a doe I wanted to do it early, not later in the afternoon.  One of my handloaded 130gr slugs went in the back of her head on the slightly left side so I could get the right jawbone for the State.

 She went down on the spot and only kicked once.  Hopefully I snatched her out of life without a ripple of concern.  Her adult friend hated to leave her and hung around for 20 minutes.  I had another tag but just sat.

  Went and got the jeep and loaded her up in the tray.  Strapped her on with an old piece of rock climbing webbing and one carabiner that has dragged deer out of various bottoms for 30 years.  We are all getting worn: me, the rifle, the bag, the gear.

Free range, traditionally harvested with recycled materials, home-processed venison.  Died with a mouthful of Alan's feedlot cover.  It's a grisly business.

  Her jaw on the right and Jon's couple-year's-older doe on the left.  Look at the wear that exposes the dentine and how ground down the bottom tooth on the left jawbone appears.

   Three WWII vet knives I used to butcher and skin.  The blade on the left was a PAL-36 ground down to make a dagger.  Middle is a rehandle job with some aircraft windshield plexiglass.  Right knife is made from scratch, and the scratch probably came out of wrecked aircraft.  Zeros!

 Hunted that evening at another stand and watched nine doe/yearlings.  One little pre-legal six point buck walked in from the other side of the field and got the group very alert.  Just couldn't bring myself to shoot.  Here are four of them at a scrape across the field.

  While up there I had several fine conversations with Jon, consulted with the neighbors a couple times, hung up a print in the kitchen that I had brought, set up my 5X7 and shot 4 sheets of film on a big black cedar shadow crossing some sassafras trees, drove over to Scatter Creek to look over that plot of land.  We stayed busy for just an overnight stay.

Barn gates, Boxelder, Texas, 2012.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Nice buck by one of the Cams.

Probably not a shooter for me but a pretty nice deer.  Out in the middle of the day looking for a doe.

Nice buck.

Looks like a big eight point.  Nice mature buck.  

Lots of these little guys around as always.
Does checking out cam.

Little buck cruising by cam.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

South Dike at Shiprock.

  Silent film...or nearly so, of the last morning at Shiprock in August.  Nice hazy pre-dawn after sleeping on a big split boulder on the talus slope.  One of the wonderful places of the world.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Big Pine down

I wish I had a "before" photo but I never took one.  Very disconcerting to see one of my favorite trees of the creek bottom dead and crashed to earth.  Looks like it blew over in the rain storms a couple weeks back, or longer.  Hasn't been down long.  Root ball torn out on the uphill side.   Beautiful sculptural tree back in the brush.  I thought it would surely outlast me.  Never packed my view camera back there to photograph it though it was on the list.  Very tough country.  Biggest Pine in the area.  I hadn't been over to see it in a couple of years. Now it's gone.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Daily Deercam: Jumpy does


Big rabbit.

Little buck.

Wandering does.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Galapagos Rat-Killing.

They tend to it.

Remember:  It's turtles, all the way down.

Daily Deercam: Buck crossing.

A little buck crossing the creek just after dark.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Squirrel shoot.

  Squirrels trying to move into the attic.  Big population in the immediate area of really fit, fat, fox squirrels.  I have a single shot Benjamin with a peep sight and one of those Distinguished Rifleman hatpins.  If a couple drop dead of unknown causes at the corner of the cornice they do tend to back off.  RIP, tree rodents. Two big males.

   Lucy approves this post.

Update:  One of the squirrels came to earth at the base of the big pecan tree.  Lucy checks that spot every time we go out.

Windy Saturday.

  It's a Saturday war-zone out there.  Duck guns thundering off to the West on Lake Palestine, 10 rapid fire shots off a hillside down the creek.  Five shots here, more over there.  I don't think anyone is hitting anything but always happy when folks shoot.  I probably hear 100 rounds of just rifle and pistol fire in within a half mile radius.  300 rounds of shotgun over on the lake.  Last night coming off the coyotes tuned it up just across the power line.  Sounded like 30 but probably only three or four.  They certainly can sing.

  Decoy/buck spray/ratting here but no takers.  About nine two big does and a yearling fawn come through.  The lead doe spots the decoy and circles around on the hillside trying various vantage points.  Good looking animals and absolutely quiet.  After they are gone I ride the tree in the wind, like a ship at anchor and eat apricots and nuts.  Finally come off about 10.  Wind still building.  Rain forecast tomorrow.

Two little bucks together back in the brush.

A nice buck, but not quite a trophy eating my corn.

Little bucks trying to figure it out.

Mature doe.  All alone.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Another morning in the tree...

  Beautiful still morning.  About five degrees warmer than yesterday.  Too warm.  I went in and rattled at about 7:00.  Nothing that I saw.  At 8:00 I climbed down and rattled again.  At 8:40 a beautiful doe, probably the one who came yesterday, came right to the base of my tree and sniffed my plastic horns.

  I'm quiet in the woods but an alert deer makes me sound like the circus rolling through.  Most of it is foot/ground contact.  Four deer feet equal the square inches of ONE of my heels...or less.  And they are careful with them.  They are built for the brush- long and sleek instead of upright.  Still, it is amazing how little noise they make.

  She circled away and disappeared into the brush.  I'm certain she is a doe in heat looking for Mr. Big.  After about 20 minutes I decided to move to another tree about 300 yards away and pick up the cards off two trailcams en route.  I came down my screw-in steps and stopped at the bottom to roll up a cord I had dropped.  Was standing there quiet and still and a nice, legal 8-point walked right up to me.

  He never alerted or even stamped a foot.  15 feet away, max.  I think he was so focused on following the doe that other considerations didn't count.  My rifle was hanging on my shoulder.  I was more tempted to go for my iphone and camera.  He was very handsome but far below the age and size of anything I might be interested in.  After a minute he followed the doe's trail out.  Never even flagged his tail or snorted.  I did have the very slight breeze in my favor.  It's about as close as I have ever been to a live buck in the woods.

  Gathered up my horns and headed for the other tree.  Coming across the powerline I saw a deer move away from the cornpile and cam.  I pulled that card, checked to see if the decoy was still up, put a Carnegie Hall-level horn-rattling performance out and climbed into my seat.  On the card reader I was that I was about three minutes behind a nice buckcrossing the creek.  On the OTHER card, from the corn pile, I saw a very nice deer- the one I had run off.  He looked shootable on the little screen.

  But nobody showed.

Kids built a stand.  They also have a feeder that is vomiting out corn.  Just up the creek.

Mr. Styrofoam.  He's gotten a reaction out of every deer that sees him.  I use him to multiply the coverage area,  Deer that see him snort, approach, et.

This mornings doe.  You can see my rattling horns interlaced just across a log from her.  The little buck I bumped into when I came down walked as close as she is or a little closer.


She's in this photo on the left side.

This little buck rattled up yesterday evening.  I'm about 40 yards to the left watching.  He came in on the decoy side and walked right up to it, sniffed noses.  I think this is the buck I had so close to me this morning at the other tree.

Still nursing, like most doe are.

The only animal uglier than my decoy in the bottom.

This MAY be the same doe I saw at the other stand.  All alone.  Her fawn, if its a buck, may be in his first rut.

VERY little buck.  Might be following mom.

Nice buck in the creek at my crossing.  I was about three minutes behind.  He came from upstream to the left and climbed the far bank up my trail headed to the next cam and corn pile.

At the corn pile.  He left when I came out of the woods on the far side of the powerline.  Nice 8-point.  I know him from previous years.  Not a great rack but it got heavier.  Probably a 3 1/2 year old.

Larabar.  Old on that had been to Camp Perry several times, Canyon de Chelly twice, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Shiprock.  Not bad.   

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brush cam running.

This cam has never had a blind on it.  Back in deep brush where they feel comfortable.

Doe and this years fawn born in May or June.  Still nursing probably.

Two does and two fawns from this year.

Bambi I.  2 1/2 year old.

Bambi II.  2 1/2 year old.