Oct 15, 2013

Hunting with Dad

Myself (left) and my father (right).
This past weekend I drove to my hometown of Sherrill, New York and got to hunt with my father. On Saturday morning we went out for partridge in Deerfield, just north of Utica. This is a spot that my father hunted as a boy, and where he took my brothers and I when we were growing up. In the past, Deerfield was always good for a bird or two and the occasional rabbit. Its landscape is comprised of old apple orchards, fields and patches of pine and hardwoods. Small cricks meander through the valleys between the fields. I flushed out one partridge but couldn’t put my eyes on him in time to get a shot off. I also kicked out a woodcock and a couple of deer; one of which was a buck. We came across a Garter snake who was stretched out on the bank of a small creek, sunning himself. We thought for a minute that he was hurt or dead until my father reached down to touch him. Shortly thereafter, we became very certain that the snake was indeed alive and did not care to be touched! I was really surprised that we didn’t see more birds here; the old apple orchards we hunt are completely loaded with apples. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful breezy day with temperatures in the 70’s. I rolled my shirt sleeves and took off my hat several times to cool down. Leaves fell constantly and the wind produced a steady “woosh” through the trees. We sat at the top of a hill, overlooking a meadow and shared an apple, while we talked about guns, previous hunts, how my father’s uncles were upset that he had scheduled his wedding on the opening day of deer season back in 1964 and other random things. It was great.   (Click here for a gallery of photos from this hunt!)

Mr. Porcupine.
The next day; Sunday, in the afternoon, I went up north, past Utica to Forestport, New York. I wanted to do some hunting in the Adirondacks while I was home. Something I hadn’t done since high school. My father stayed behind, this time, to spend some time with my oldest sister, Kate, who was visiting. Although I was alone, I was so glad that I still went up north. Hunting is one of my favorite things to do, but hunting in the Adirondacks is completely amazing and brings the trill of the hunt to a higher plane. There is nothing like it. Fifty feet in to the woods I came across a porcupine who scurried up a tree and waited for me to pass by. I have only seen a porcupine once before. They’re darker than I remembered; almost all black except for the ends of their quills. He stood out like a sore thumb, against the yellow leaves of the birch tree, he so fearfully clung to. Numerous little red squirrels scurried about as I made my way through the forest; constantly startling me into shooting position (Those little squirrels must have a death wish). About a mile later, I came across the Black River and a fantastic little fishing hole. It was a warm day, probably around 80 degrees, and I was tempted to jump in for a swim, but thought I’d better just keep moving; there was lots to see. A while later, I found myself looking down into a deer meadow, with wavy tall grass flowing with the breeze. After scanning it for deer, and the surrounding ridges for foxes, I walked down into the meadow and made my way slowly across its center. In doing so, I saw something white, and moved towards it to investigate. Kneeling down, I realized I had found a deer skull with a tiny rack. This is the second one of these I’ve found in the last two years. I tossed it in my game sack and decided to head back to the truck; the sun was starting to set. It was another great day in the woods, with beautiful sights, sounds and smells. I met my older brother Jim at the Wigwam for a couple of beers before heading back home. The Wigwam is an old tavern; a land mark really, known for the tail end of a piper cub stuck in its roof. The inside of its log structure is decorated with saw blades, propellers, skis and topographic maps of the surrounding mountains. It was the perfect watering hole after a few hours out hunting in the Adirondacks. Classic!  (Click here for a gallery of images from this hunt!)


Seinberg said...

Very cool man. Glad you had a chance to go up to hunt with your dad.

Mike said...

Thanks Seinberg!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Isn't it cool how even if you don't bag some game a day afield is still immensely satisfying? Great photos Mike!

Mike said...

Thanks RCT and yes I think it's awesome just to get out in the woods whether you leave with game or not!

Angelo said...

Great video. I'm from the city and never heard of a partridge. You might thing I'm nuts but I never wondered about what a partridge was when I heard the Christmas song "8 days of Christmas" or 10 or whatever it is there is a part that goes (and a partridge in a pear tree). I never thought to ask myself "what the hell is a partridge until I read your blog "hunting with dad". Now I know what a partridge is. Thanks.