Tuesday, February 25, 2014
As for the big bear.......I have no doubt he will be a problem again this spring. He was around til snowfall and sneaking in and out of the yard regularly, looking for anything he could find. He was pretty well behaved for a big guy, I will give him that. Hopefully, that holds true again this year.
So, now you know how I started off this week! :)
Monday, February 17, 2014
That brings me to another subject. Common sense! Does anybody have it or use it anymore? Last night, the part time neighbors across the road came up. They arrived, for the first time for this year, about 9:30 last night. They don't have their road plowed. It is a good long way up that hill/mountain to their spot. A couple of guys have tried it over the years.....but poor road and up hill and corners....doesn't make for nice part time plowing. So, after lights and flashers had been going on down there for some time....I decided maybe I should go down and see what was going on. It was almost time for Toby's last trip outside for the evening anyway. Here, the two guys are getting ready to unload snowmobiles and go in to the cabin. I told them about the plow having to go by since they talked about leaving everything there.....on the road. Well....after I went back up here, they pulled forward in front of our driveway....so they could get over the banks and into theirs......with their snowmobiles. Well.....that left little room for me to get out of my driveway this morning....had I wanted to. It's winter. There are big snowbanks and it's slick. It takes more room to get out onto the road this time of year. You gotta wonder......what were they thinkin'.......
Oh well.....beats the other neighbor that tried that last year......with not quite this much snow....about the same time of night....with his 4 wheel drive jeep wagoneer. He got in....a ways......further than I would have guessed they could make it. Got stuck! Sent the kid over here to call for a wrecker. Next morning, a wrecker came out. Had to go back and get a plow truck. He made a couple of trips from town to try and get this turkey out of the snowbank. They did walk all the way up there, in the dark. How he ever thought he was going to drive that vehicle all the way up there in all that snow, I will never know. Again......what were they thinkin'........
So......that is just a couple more reasons for the snow to slow down. Wildlife is always my issue tho. I will always handle it.....even if I am sick of handling it. But......what can the critters do? We're a heck of a long way til spring yet.
Meanwhile....here......it is still snowing.......
Saturday, February 15, 2014
The winter has given me more time to think about things that annoy me too. One of the more recent items that was written up in the Cook County New Herald was the fact that groups like the Izaak Walton League are still fighting to keep a snowmobile trail from going in to the Fowls. Really.....that little "Tilbury Trail" never hurt a thing. Ok, so technically, it ended up being a bit over the new line for the BWCA wilderness .....big deal. It was a small, insignificant trail. A few locals used it. The great and mighty conservationists would have us spend how much money and clear how much space for how many miles to prove a point. Some conservationists! They should have left well enough alone and let them use that little trail that is there from logging days. It isn't hurting a thing. As for the noise......or whatever else they perceive to be a problem.....well......I don't see many of them going in there anyway. So....who, exactly, is going to hear the odd snowmobile going in to the Fowls?
It's all about their power....not conservation. Heck.....we'll all be dead before they ever resolve it at the rate they are going.
Or...maybe I am just getting cynical in my old age. But, I doubt that is the problem. I grew up around here and have spent most of my life moseying around in the woods and observing things. So many things have changed over the past....especially......last 10-15 years. Things like ticks! The ticks have just exploded up here. As a kid....I saw probably about 3 ticks. Now, they are all over ....and, more than one kind. They are carrying way too many diseases. I had even asked one of the biologists if they were checking moose for Lyme's Disease. Some of them sure carry a lot of ticks. I would still bet ticks are a big share of the issue.
When I was a kid....we didn't have grey squirrels here....or grey foxes.....or raccoons! Now, we have a good number of all of them. Things are changing. Not all of the changes are for the better. But, does that mean we quit using our common sense?!
Back to the "long winter"...... I took some photos of ice pilings yesterday on my way home from town. However, the few little bays where I live have had ice long enough for me to walk on now. Toby and I did that today. It was snowing pretty hard so I didn't adventure more than a few feet from shore. But, we did have a nice walk on the ice of Lake Superior today. That's the first in quite a few years now.
Well.....we will see how the winter progresses. We got at least another 4" of snow today on top of at least 6" on Thursday. The fawns are in up to their shoulders now, off trail. I saw one standing in the snow off the road I live on yesterday. All that stuck out was its head and neck. That is too much snow. I hope we have an early spring this year....and no crusty snow getting to that spring!
Monday, February 10, 2014
Granted......there is always going to be discussion on whether or not to feed deer. I guess that would depend, largely, on where you live. I happen to live in a place where I have the shelter, running fresh water year around, browse and open area. They have places to rest or to play. They also are nicely supplemented with alfalfa and corn. What's not to like as long as you have a healthy herd. By watching deer hunting statistics, I see that our area consistently has heavier weight deer than just about any other area of the state. Some areas have bigger antlers.....but, we consistently win in weight categories. The deer can have some pretty serious issues to contend with up here so they have to be healthy and strong. There also are a number of people that feed deer in the winter in this area. I think maybe that could tell you something about if it does some good.
Then, of course....there is the mind set that .....well, if they die, or starve...so be it. Maybe they shouldn't be here. Well, they have been around ever since I was a kid. Some of the people that have moved into this area haven't. I, personally, don't like seeing starving animals. So, if they are started on good food to supplement their diet early in the winter...they won't get so run down. Plus, they won't eat every tree and shrub around your house either.
Then, there are other issues thrown into the equation. Hunting, for one. If people shoot hundreds or thousands of deer every year.....while, for many years, completely protecting the wolf......how can you think this is a good deal for the animals? The wolves also kill deer to make a living. If no one is keeping them in check, you have another thing taking down the deer herd. Of course, there is also all the road kill. So...I just have to say, if we have so many issues to reduce their numbers.....maybe helping the ones that are around isn't such a bad thing.
Another issue: logging. I have NOTHING against logging, let me be clear about that from the start. What many of you don't know is that logging brings deer onto the job sites in the winter. They have downed trees to browse on....given it is the right kind of trees. The site is packed down by equipment so they can get around easily. However, so can the wolves. It also brings them to the site to get the more readily accessible deer because they too can move around more easily. Go talk to a logger or two and find out how many have watched wolves watching them work on their site. Or, maybe they were working on a piece of equipment to look up and find a wolf standing there staring at them. Or, maybe they had to throw a binder at them and jump in the truck because it was standing right there. The wolves are a big part of the deer herd numbers equation. I am quite pleased they finally put a season back on wolves. Wolves having some respect for people again is a good thing. It most certainly keeps them safer, in the long run, if they stay out of people's yards.
What I don't like is people from the cities or the big monied conservation groups saying what we can or can't do about them. They aren't living with the animals and probably have never even had a close encounter with them. If they don't know anything about the issue, they shouldn't have a say. Then, sometimes people making the rules don't know what they are talking about either. There is so much cronyism going on in politics these days.....I don't guess I even better start on that one. The best person for the job isn't necessarily the one that gets it. Somebody gets a plum job because of who helped who in the last election or because they need a person of color or a woman or whatever other quota they need. We need the "best qualified" people for the jobs, in them. Period.
How many of you have ever been out in the woods and had close up and personal interactions with a timber wolf or a pack of them? What can you tell me about them from first hand experience?
I have had a good many, starting when I was 16 years old. I have had them throughout my entire life. Sometimes it was one or two wolves. Sometimes it was 12 or 13 in a pack. Then, a lot of other times it was 4-6, which is an average size pack around here. Heck, one year I was trying my hand at bow hunting bears. I had a bucket of honey out as an attraction for them. I was sitting in a stand and a pack of wolves came in and were circling. They came back a second time that evening too. It was a bit disconcerting to have that many large wolves around, near dark, knowing you had a ways to walk back to your truck.
Or....out deer hunting.....heading into the wind....hear a sound....look to your right and there is a wolf going same direction 25 yards away, another behind you and another to your left. Then, you wonder, how many more aren't you seeing.....
Or, out on an outcrop of rock surveying your kingdom...and 12 wolves go walking by right below you....
Or, the time you are sitting in your deer stand toward evening and you can hear the pack on the ridge getting closer and closer to you. It's a ways home in the dark and you can't see them then. Do you leave now or wait to see them go by.
Or, out walking the dog on a county road....in July, and meet 7 of them on the road. You grab your dog and get it on a leash, first of all....then what?
I could go on and on......this is only a small sampling of my wolf interactions. I haven't even gotten to some of the most up close and personal experiences....
So, just maybe I might know something about how wolves in the "wild" act around people. I have to say, after all these years......I have not lost a dog to them or been attacked. I have been very very close to many of them. I have had some very intense moments. But, I never had to shoot one of them in any of those circumstances or any of the others I haven't mentioned. But, I don't honestly 100% trust them not to do that.
So....it goes back to if we have seasons and predations on one animal, the others have to have something to keep them in check too. If the deer need some extra food in a hard winter, give it to them. The wolves will get their share, you can be sure of that. It isn't a "Bambi" world out there where all the critters get along just fine..... But, we live in a real world....one where humans interfere and the natural balance isn't kept. So, unless it is.....feed the critters if they need it.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
I hadn't been to this spot since early winter for a sunset shot. Therefore, I wasn't even sure exactly where the sun was going to set. There were enough clouds to make some color....but, as it turned out, too many. It didn't happen. Of course, if you stay home.........it will color up beautifully. So it goes. I hadn't been to this spot for over a week; so, I was unaware of all the really nice ice forms that had built up since the last time there. I was pleasantly surprised. If there appears to be any hope of a pretty sunset tonight, I will be back. I would sure like to catch that sunset in the split of this neat piece of ice. I also found a few really neat ice caves. One was so long......I'm not sure I could see anything but sky once I got in there. :)
Anyway, it has been a long cold winter already. We started in with the below zero temperatures pretty darned early this year. And....they haven't quit. It was 1999 the last time I saw -30 below 0 or more. We have had -32 this winter. At least, that was the coldest I saw it. We have had far more -20 below or more than necessary too. I can handle a lot of cold. But........we have also had a lot of cold wind this winter. That freezes you up pretty darned fast. I have heard more people complaining about the wind than I have the cold.
Hopefully, we will get on to spring in a timely manner this year and the deer.....and everything else, will go about its business in a reasonable fashion. That means, also, no rain ........any time soon. If we got rain with all this snow.........it wouldn't be good. That is the one thing we can be thankful for. We haven't had what has gotten to be the usual....a rain storm in December and January, to make icy messes out of everything.
Well.....here's to a bit of warmup soon! Not over 25 degrees tho. :)