Wisdom From The Woods - Aug 14, 2014

Aug 20, 2014

The Missouri Department of Conservation raised the daily limit of squirrels to 10 over a year ago. There may be plenty in some areas but they are scarce in others.

I took my first serious trip to the woods last Saturday and I did see three of the bushy tailed animals. I shot two of them and didn’t get to retrieve either of them. The first one was in a small hickory and at the crack of the gun, it started to fall and lodged in a small fork of the limb just below. I checked every angle to figure some way to get it out but it was stuck to where there was no way that I could dislodge it with another blast from the 20 gauge.

Disgusted, I headed back toward the house and finally saw one leaving a black gum. There were blackberries under the tree and in the past there have been about a dozen squirrels feeding on this particular tree. This was the only one that I saw and as it fled away from me, it crossed a dead oak tree and stopped. A blast from the shotgun brought it down. I marked where it fell and went around to that side of the tree and searched. The weeds and berry vines were thick and I looked for several minutes but couldn’t find it. Zero for two, I wasn’t batting so good, on to the house to stow my shotgun until the leaves start to fall; then I’ll think about going out again.

The walk was profitable as watching a doe feed for about 10 minutes gave me a thrill. She never knew there was anyone around and I wanted to keep it that way. She was feeding in a grassy area just across the fence from where I usually spend my time deer hunting.

While watching the doe feed, I passed up a shot on a squirrel that was on its way to a hickory tree to get its breakfast. You don’t have to bag the game every trip to have a good time.

Except for a few rainy days, the weather has cooperated with anglers giving them plenty of fair warm (not hot) days to wet a line. After hearing various reports coming from the resorts and the few anglers that would talk about their successes or failures, my conclusion is that the fishing is about as good or bad as it has been all my life.

As I said last week, the Bluetick coonhounds are my favorite hound breed. The first dog I got was a Bluetick, purchased from my barber, the late Bill Skaggs.

My first Nite Champion was Tall Timber Blue Major. He made Nite Champion at three years of age. There weren’t very many clubs in our area and a lot of travel was required to attend hunts. Most of my good scores came from hunts sponsored by the now extinct Mississippi Valley Coon Hunting Association with their hunts at Cape Girardeau and some clubs in Illinois as well as those that existed in Southeast Missouri.

My first win was in a non-registered hunt at Doniphan, MO. They held a water race on Current River one Saturday. I entered Major in the race not aware that he was not a swimming dog. Lots of people thought he was going to drown but he dog-paddled acres to where the coon tree was located. Several people commented that they wouldn’t have a coon dog that couldn’t swim and my reply to them was I’ll be back next week and see how he does in the woods. You could score 200 points for each coon, 100 for a strike and same for a tree. He finished the night with 375 with no other dog close to that point total. By the end of the summer he was a first line and a first tree dog.

There are no UKC events in northern Arkansas the rest of the month, but there are hunts and shows about every weekend in Southeast Missouri. On August 15, the Ripley County Club will have a show and hunt. Showtime is 7 p.m. and hunt entries close at 8:30.

The Southeast Missouri Coonhunters at Kinder will have a water race, a show, and hunt August 16. The show is set for 5 p.m., the race for 7 p.m., and hunt entries close at 8:30.

A notice for Missouri deer hunters: You can purchase your deer tag at any time and pick up your regulation booklets. Make sure to look over the changes in regulations as there are some new restrictions on the number of doe permits allowed as well as other changes.