What a beautiful day yesterday was. Temperatures were in the low 60s and a steady wind blew the leaves all about. I got out of bed late, but still made it to the Frederick Watershed by 9:30 to hunt squirrels and scout new deer hunting area. The watershed is my favorite place to hunt because it's just so beautiful. The terrain is rugged and features a lot of exposed rock with dense patches of mountain laurel strewn throughout it. Yesterday morning, the sights I saw were absolutely stunning. The forest was a whirling sea of yellow, orange and red leaves. It was a beautifully noisy day in the woods, with the crunching of leaves underfoot and the sound of the leaves clipping branches on their way down to the forest floor. I sat at the base of a tree to watch for movement over a valley below. Twenty-five minutes later, I realized I had fallen asleep. This isn't the first time this has happened; it's funny, but it's just so easy to do when you're comfortable in the woods and beauty is all around you.
I love finding stuff out in the woods. Whether it be an old dumping ground full of old bottles and cans, an automobile, or even a unique or interesting tree. This time I found a hunting blind/fort. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) prohibits leaving personal tree stands or blinds up, overnight on public land. As a way around this, hunters build blinds out of natural materials. I've come across several blinds while hunting the Watershed, and I take advantage of them (See this post for example). Though this one was over the top. However, based on what I found inside, I think that this may be more of a "fort" built by local kids, rather than a hunting blind. Or maybe a hunting blind, overrun by local kids. You decide.
Whoever built this blind, used the existing rock cave to maximize the inside space. They even built a fireplace and chimney into it! There were random items stashed in the cracks and crevices of the rocks. Among them I found an arrow and a recurve bow; it's string made of bailing twine. I also found frying pans, a broken pair of binoculars, a handmade pipe (haha) and a bottle of rum.
On this hunt, I carried my Rock Island Armory, Mig 22. Although extremely accurate, I really need to mount a different scope on this rifle. The length of pull (distance from the middle of the trigger to the end of the buttstock) on this rifle is so short that I cannot mount my current scope, far enough forward. I am constantly having to back my eye away from the scope. I'll have to do some shopping around to find a scope that can be mounted farther away from my eye. It's important to note that the Mig 22 (pictured above) is a .22. It is not an AR-15. Although the similar in form, it is still just a semi-automatic, .22 rifle. (Like the Ruger 10/22 for example) Some people see this rifle and I know that they think i'm some sort of nut-job hunting squirrels with an "assault weapon". Please, do your homework folks. THIS IS NOT AN AR-15.
As usual, my hunting trips turn into photo opportunities. I took a couple of photos of a compass that Debbie bought for me last year. We found this in an antique store in Gettysburg. It was labeled as a World War I, US Army Aviator's compass, though I have a hard time believing this. I don't think the US had much of an Army Air Corps during WWI. I may be wrong. But, to say that this compass was issued exclusively to pilots; I highly doubt. I will have to do more research. Regardless, this is an excellent compass, and coincidentally, is the same type my father carries in the woods.