Monday, April 23, 2007

post script to the last post

Well, turkey season has opened, in my case to mixed results. The first (of two) days spent in the mountains was lost for hunting due to weather. The wind began gusting well before dawn, which renders calling for turkeys futile. We shortened our walk in the woods once the snow began to fall, retreating to the wall tent and the wood stove to watch the horizontal hail, snow, and sleet fall. The second morning dawned quiet and lovely. Unfortunately, gobblers were not sounding off from multiple ridges as they have in some previous years. We had one bird respond to the call from a good ways out. We worked up a bit, but couldn't get another gobble. The likely reason soon became apparent. Another hunter was working along the side of the ridge. I think he was using a slate call, or perhaps a box call that was insufficiently chalked. In any event, he was very bad and the gobbler was having no part of it. We, too, circled around and headed up the next ridge. Unfortunately, the gobblers were silent.

Some observations from the day: elk seem to be doing quite well in the area. Each year for the past seven or so we've seen progressively more elk sign. Mule deer, however, continue to languish. Speaking of creatures who aren't doing all that well, we happened across a particularly large and handsome horned toad, which is always a nice sighting and a bit of a surprise given the snowy day just before. In addition, the recent Southwestern drought has produced a surge in bark beetles afflicting the stressed trees. In turn, you hear and see many more woodpeckers about. This year, a Red-naped Sapsucker and a male Williamson's Sapsucker (new to me and particularly handsome) held still long enough to be identified. Strangely enough, they wouldn't be looking for the bark beetles, I don't suppose. In any event, the woods were full of hammering.

So, then, no turkeys, but a nice bit of time in the spring woods. It could have been much, much worse.

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