Wisdom of the Woods

Nov 02, 2014

For those who read this column and enjoy the outdoor colors in the fall of the year, it would be wise to take a trip this weekend as the colors will begin to fade pretty soon. For reasons that only Mother Nature knows, the colors did not begin to appear as early as they normally do and therefore the early October color watching didn’t happen.

The late spring, the warm conditions during part of the winter seems to have messed up everything outdoors.  I have recently seen doe deer with young ones that still have their spots.  During the normal weather, the young buck deer have nubbins on their heads that you can see if you get close enough.  Usually they will weigh in between 75 and 100 lbs. during hunting season but this year most hunters will let those deer pass and grow up a little: let them go and grow.

The acorns have begun falling even though we haven’t had a frost or freeze.  I haven’t seen any white oak acorns under the trees in our yard.  The post oak and black oak seem to be in good supply.

Recently someone asked my wife, “Have you guys done all those things your husband writes about?” and my wife quickly replied, “Yes, and a lot more he hasn’t written about yet.”

An example of the experiences we have had was the inaugural hunt titled “Coon Hunters Reunion” which was held at Hillsboro, Ohio.  We wanted to go but it was near the end of the school year and with three kids in Mark Twain Elementary School, it wasn’t a good time.

My wife was well known at the school as she helped out on a lot of occasions and decided to contact the teachers to see how it would work out if the kids missed a week of school as that was a big hunt and would take a week away from their final month.  All of the teachers agreed that the kids would probably learn more from a trip like that than they would learn if they were in school as the last few days there wasn’t much they would miss.  They would be back in time for any tests that would be given.

We made the trip and met lots of people that we have kept in contact with and the kids made friends with a lot of other kids that missed that week of school to attend with their families.

To let you know how expensive that trip happened to be, we didn’t spend a lot of money because we didn’t have it but the motel on a lake outside of town cost us $50 for four days.  The gas bill for the entire trip was $22.  We took along a lot of drinks and snacks and the cabin on the lake had cooking privileges.  With the food we bought to prepare and the entry fee for the hunts, it was about $125 for the entire trip.

I know it would cost a lot more at today’s prices.  The $22 for gas would barely get us out of the state and we’d still have about 300 miles to go.

My travels to hunts have taken me, and sometimes us, to Virginia to the east, Kansas to the west, Texas to the south, and Minnesota and Wisconsin to the north and almost all states in between.  I believe the best of the hunting territory was in Iowa.  The worst was at Cookeville, TN.  When I arrived there one of the hunters who would guide me told me that it usually took about 45 minutes from strike to tree to put one up.  We struck three tracks and it took 45 minutes for each one.

Hunting and fishing was an inherited thing to me.  Dad hunted and fished when he was a kid and told me a little about his activities.  He bragged to me one time that “I’ve taught you everything I know and you still don’t know anything.” He sure was wrong as I learned plenty.

My kids inherited it from both sides of the family.  My wife was her dad’s fishing buddy and she held rabbits and squirrels while he skinned them.

The picture is of my wife Elaine’s dad, Lewis Stephen York, born January 17, 1909 at King Bee, MO, the now extinct town in Ripley County.  He is the father of Ruth Elaine York Woods (Mrs. Paul Woods).  The picture was taken in the back yard of the family home in Doniphan.  He was around 7 or 8 and has a stringer of bass he caught in Current River.  He was from a family of 10 children and spent most of his spare time on Current River.  Elaine, as mentioned before, was his fishing partner.

He worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad at Doniphan around 19 years and then was transferred to Poplar Bluff and finished his career with MO Pac at age 68, retiring from the railroad at St. Louis.

There are very few UKC shows and coon hunts for the remainder of the year as most clubs choose not to have a hunt during open furbearer season.

The Razorback Club at Knobel, Arkansas has a show and hunt November 1. The Club at Walnut Ridge has a show and hunt November 29.  In Missouri the only hunt that was listed in the magazine is November 8 at Summersville.

With the opening of duck season in the Middle Zone November 1, there could be some noise on Wappapello Lake for the anglers to listen to but there haven’t been many reports of ducks there.