Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apples Part II & A Walk in the Woods

View overlooking part of the property before
we ended the woods on the deer trail.
As you read earlier this month about the tradition of our trip to Romney to get deer apples. I now introduce you to Apples Part II. The trip was a smooth ride and good conversations, this time it was only Jay and I that went up, so most of the conversation revolved around my grandfather's property we hunt on and our plans of what we want to do to it in the next few years. I did remember to bring my camera with me, when I left my house that was. I kind of, sorta, maybe forgot it in my Jeep once I got to Jay's. Sorry, no pictures again, but there's always next year, haha. As far as the load of apples we got was a nice, firm load, so hopefully they'll last at least till Rifle Season in November, we'll have to see. You do know, the old saying "one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch" is true, so hopefully I got all of the bad apple out of my bags.

A POV from where the Trail Cam is set.
Some buck rubs we found.
Once we got back, it was still early enough in the day that Jay wanted a new hunting location he got access to this year as well as check his trail cam he had set up in the area. So of course, I obliged and we loaded back into his truck and headed out after the apples were bagged. Yes, I did remember to grab my camera for this part of the trip. This tract of land is only a matter of minutes from his house; it's actually a hunting club on a Christmas tree farm that his father, brother, and he are a part of. The spot we went to is tucked back in one of the corners of the property. A well used deer trail cutting off the field edge lead back to his trail camera, a little further than that was a slight opening. Standing in that opening I could see a handful of nice rubs where the deer had been trying to shed their velvet and sharpen up their antlers for the next month or so of sparing. Once we got to the location of his trail camera we pulled the card and switched it out, nothing like the excitement of seeing what is on the card from the previous week or so. Luckily, as we browsed through the pictures there were some nice bucks coming on a regular pattern. Hopefully this will allow for Jay, or at the very least someone in his family to get a shot at one of theses bucks coming in. In all the excitement of looking at the pictures I didn't even bother looking to see where he had hung his stand or put up a blind. I stepped back and started looking for the stand/blind, it took me a minute, but I found it, no help to a tree that was blocking my view of it momentarily. He did a great job of bushing it in and keeping it close to the location, but not scaring the deer off with a new structure in the area. After wandering around the woods for a little while longer snapping pictures and looking at more rubs, we decided it was time to call it a day a head back home. These are the days that breeze by way to fast and make you feel like you didn't do much of anything, but we still accomplished a lot today; including much needed scouting on a new blind location for Jay.

Can you find the blind?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Right in the Boiler Room

Well it is only 26 more days until the opening day of Bow Season here in West Virginia. I'm not excited or anything, I know some of you may be already be hunting in your state and if you are good luck and be careful. Always remember though, practice, practice practice, even in season. There's no reason to get rusty sitting there waiting on your trophy. For those of you who are still waiting for the season to open, this is the time that you need to be shooting as much as possible and honing your skills. So after this mini-rant, I'll leave you with the last group I shot today.

Three arrow grouping at 23 yards.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Annual Romney Apple Trip

Well it was about that time of year, no not time to start shooting my bow (that should be done year around, if at all possible), it was time to head to Romney, WV. You may ask why I'm excited about this, well this has become a tradition, not one of mine but one I got invited to join. One of my best friends, Jay, and his family and friends always make a pilgrimage to the apple orchard of Romney for deer apples around the middle of September.

I will start by saying, in West Virginia it is legal to feed deer, this is different in every state and even different in different parts of states, so make sure to check your regulations throughly, but this is mainly a personal choice to feed or not to feed, given it is legal. Now after the Public Service Announcement, back to the story. This is normally an early morning adventure with a caravan of pick-ups with trailers in tow, heading out in search of apples, not that we don't know where we're going, but that just made it sound more majesty (haha). This may sounds like a yearly chore for some people, but this is our unofficial count down starter to bow season (this trip normally takes place within a month of bow season starting). The ride to get the apples consists of everything and anything you can imagine hearing around a campfire at deer camp. Roughly three-fourths of the way there is the only pit-stop, just enough time to refuel, unload all the coffee that was consumed on the ride, and then to fill up the coffee mugs, again. Only a little while later are we were all pulling into the orchard, lining the trucks up to get filled with crates of apples. While the trucks and trailer are getting loaded, half of the guys standing around looking and laugh at how much each others trucks are squatting due to the apples and the other half of us are inside the shop filling our order from home for eating and baking apples.Once everyone pays for their goodies and piles back into the trucks, the voyage back begins, albeit a much slow venture. Now is time to start eating the apples and discussing who's going to take the biggest deer, where everyone is going to be hunting opening morning, and what the rest of the day has in store.

As we close in on our destination back home, the caravan starts to break off one by one, then it's our turn. Now we're back at Jay's house, but with a load of apples that needs to be unloaded and bagged; that's where all the fun begins, not really, but it still an interesting time to say the least. After the apples are bagged and put away or loaded into my Jeep, it's time to head home and put out some apples in front of the trail camera. Just another way, another tradition to make the memories of hunting and the great outdoors special.


P.S. - Jay and I are actually talking about making a trip up there later this month to get another load of apples, hopefully if that happens I'll remember my camera to take some pictures for everyone to see.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When the World Stopped Turning..

I'll never forget where I was that morning or what has happened since.. Please pay your respect today for those that lost their lives that day and their loved ones that still deal with this tragedy to this day..


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses - It's More than a Flower

As I sat behind my parents house over the this past labor day weekend, cooking s'mores over the campfire, with my cousins and aunt, who were visiting from suburban Washington, D.C. and my parents, we began to reflect on what we had done that day. To myself, this was an semi-average day consisting of  walking around a rural, river valley town, going to check trail cameras, exploring the area around my tree stand, showing Austin and Avery (my two younger cousin who were visiting) the wonders of what a little green shoot of sassafras can taste like, a trip to the river to wade in and skip rocks, and a night cap of a campfire and s'mores. To us, lucky enough to grow up in this great mountain state, this doesn't sound like such a far fetched day. But to those two elementary aged children this was a new wild and wonderful world of amazement and adventure. As the recap continued, there was a sense of awe from my aunt, who visits western Maryland on skiing trips and is familiar with the area, over the past days events. The amazement she was showing took me back to some degree. Who would have thought that a simple day in what I considered an ordinary day could have such an impact on someone. 

After the s'mores were eaten, the fire had smoldered out, and the young ones were tucked into bed, it began to hit me that the life I lead in the mountains might not be that ordinary. But for those of you that live and breath the outdoors know what I'm referring to, but those series of events have helped me remember a saying, or more so a motto to live by that my grandfather taught me at a very young age. This is something that I've thought, back then, could be mastered in a childhood, but now as an adult have come to realize that this is something you will never fully grasp, even in a lifetime. That motto is to, "stop and smell the roses." Such a simple little line, something you may have even heard a few times throughout your life, but I beg you to heed this advice. Whether you are hunting, fishing, going for a hike, camping, or even just skipping stones across the river, "Stop and smell the rose" for a while. Life will be there, yet the experience that you will take in, just those few extra moments with the people around you or even by yourself will make memories that will last a lifetime. As for where I learned this; It would have been just another hike with my grandfather, but a quarter of the way into the hike we reached the first bench on our way up the mountain, overlooking a one of the West Virginia valleys that Route 50 runs though, and he told me just stop for a moment. I did, but with a dumbfounded look on my face for sure, I asked him "Why?", knowing that he wasn't tired or in need of a break. And right then, at the ripe ol' age of six, I learned one the most valuable life lessons to date, that I still try to achieve to this day, "...just stop and smell the roses for a while. This trip isn't about getting from start to finish, but about taking everything in along the way." That trip, right then, became a memory that will last a lifetime, just a matter of 30 seconds of explanation and few moments of "stopping and smelling" has left an impression me, my life, and my views for eternity.
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