Sunday, December 16, 2007

Great Services Today

It seems you often hear people explain how good a service is if there is no preaching. Usually it is accompanied by the presence of God that sweeps over people and people end up expressing themselves with testimony and singing. I long for that to happen and unfortunately ours came by the way of a snowstorm. I guess the Lord knew everyone needed a break from my sermons. The toughest part was making the call to not have it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Open House

Since we remodeled the house we combined our Christmas for our church folk with an open house so everyone could see what we did. We had a lovely evening. Julie made real hot chocolate from fresh milk from her Dad's farm. I had to add extra powder to make it extra chocolaty.(Is that a word?) She sliced up tortilla snack wraps and had little smokies in a special sauce. Snack wrap and cheese balls. I should have taken more pictures. Mom and Dad stopped by but didn't stay long because of the winter storm hitting Meadville. I will post the couple pics I got.

Trimming Trees and Chinese

After working at the rental house in the morning Andy Crouch and I headed to the Erie church parsonage to trim some tree branches for Rev. Mayhle and pick up supplies at Lowes. I tried my best to get him to take us to dinner for all our work we had done, but we ended up going out ourselves. I might have to broker a deal for lunch at my favorite restaurant the next time.

After we cut down all the limbs that he wanted we headed to a Chinese Buffet that is one of the best in the area. I guess the price of $5.50 makes it even better. General Tso's Chicken and fried rice happen to be my favorite food. There are other things that make it a pretty tasty place to eat.

Of course my favorite Chinese restaurant is Chef Peng in Niles Ohio. Chef Peng is located at 517 N Main Street in Niles, OH. Call(330) 544-8132 Jon is undoubtably the best cook for that type of cuisine that I know.

My Chickens and My Neighbors

I was about a 1/2 mile away from our home passing out Christmas treats to our neighbors when I was told by one of them that my chicken was flying up and roosting in their tree at night and pecking around their house and barn by day.

"My chicken?" I did not realize that I had a chicken.

"Oh Yes! Actually 2 of my chickens." they said.

Okay so why are they my chickens? My mind began to grind and rattle. Oh yes I had forgot about "my chickens". Late last summer a friend of mine asked me if I wanted some chickens and sometime late September he had them all boxed up for me to pick up. I had the chickens a total of 5 minutes that day. I drove straight to Hatcher's Game Preserve and dumped them in one of his pens. That was so long ago and so many things have happened since that I totally forgot about them.

About 2 weeks ago he mentioned my 3 chickens. What 3 chickens? I had dropped off 5. He only had 3. I told him I had dropped off 5, but 2 must have wandered off. I forgot about all of this until my brain started to finally engage. So the lost was found....even if I did not even know it. It is great to have such good neighbors. I guess I will have to go today and round them up and get them back in a pen.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bullwhip Guy

If you can understand this parody and listen carefully to the very end - what a powerful message it has for those who want to be a Christian under their own terms. After all it is more comfortable that way and certainly more convenient.

The Steaks Have Arrived

Papa Wallace showed up tonight with the living steaks - Delmonico and Porterhouse. We are going to call them Dell and Porter for short. The barn was ready with fresh hay and they enjoyed bucking around and feeling their freedom after being in the calf barn since their birth around the first of October.

Kenton eagerly checking out the new steak arrivals.

Posing with the new arrivals.

The one on the left is a Holstein and one on the right is a Jerstein (Holstein/Jersey mix.)

Korean War Hero Finally Graduates

Keeping Rowdy High School Kids Quiet

I had the wonderful privelege of subbing today for learning support. I taught English and Math, tutored a student in Ecology, as part of my inclusions I helped students set up chart and make posters using Word, and then I headed to Algebra I. I had to be there at 2:00. As I opened the door I heard the teacher hollering at the kids to be quiet and listen. She was trying to get them to understand what she was teaching and to pay attention. I quietly asked her if there was any students that needed any assistance.

She said "well if you would help the whole class be quiet I would love it."

"Ok" I said and gave the whole class a proposition: I would arm wrestle the toughest of them and if the one they had chosen won they would have the rest of the period to carry on and talk, if I won they all had to be quiet and listen.

I looked at Mrs. Noble to see what her reaction would be to my proposal and she very emphatically said "Its a deal!"

The class started hollering for a big barreled chested farm kid that was a senior football player and weight lifter that was sitting at the back of the room with a sneer and a cocky grin on his face. I thought at first I made a bad proposition for the teacher and myself. He made his way to the desk and stared me down hard.

What if I lose?

After we positioned on two desks and did both right and left arms, the class turned deathly quiet. I quietly walked out with a nice thank you from Ms. Noble.

This room is located beside mine and I could hear the rumble of them all day...I now am sitting at my desk....the only voice I hear is that of Ms. Nobles. I can't help but chuckle. Whoever said fat old men are wimps. LOL

A Bear and an Athiest

An atheist was walking through the woods. 'What majestic trees'! 'What powerful rivers'! 'What beautiful animals'! He said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him.

He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, the bear was even closer. He tripped, fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant the Atheist cried out, 'Oh my God!' Time Stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. 'You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident.' 'Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer'? The atheist looked directly into the light, 'It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian'? 'Very Well,' said the voice. The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head & spoke:

'Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord, Amen.'

Hat tip to Jon Plank.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mr. Smiley Goes Everywhere

Since we had a wheel bearing to change and a saxophone to pick up for the Christmas Program I was not able to visit John Graves for a couple of days, I headed off last evening to St. Vincent Hospital in Erie. John is 86 and is one of our older congregants. He took a tumble in his basement carrying a big bag of birdseed. I think he does quite well keeping up his farm but this time the birdseed has slowed him down. After a plate and screws in his leg to repair a shattered bone, he has been spending a couple of extra days rehabbing. I took Kenton and Vincent along with a promise of meeting Papa Gurnee at McD's in Erie. Papa was speaker at the Erie County East Gideons' and was going to be headed back home along that way.

We headed into the hospital and had to remember who had pushed the elevator button the last time we had used one and who was going to push the number on the inside. Rock, paper, scissors will come into play as soon as I can get them used to using it to figure out who is going to get to do what. As we made our way there the nurses googled at the cute boys and shortly after getting in John's room they were in spoiling them with ice cream from their little kitchenette. After our visit the boys were given Mr. Smiley Face balloons which they said they wanted tied to their wrist. I told them to just hold on to the string, but no it had to be tied - OK.

Before meeting dad we stopped into Lowes to pick out a security light for the parsonage since ours had died. The most important part of any store is the restroom and of course as soon as we got in the store that is where they had to go.

......and so this is where these pics com into play. You have to understand on the way there I felt as though there was a person looking at me and I turned in the van to see who was looking at me and there was Mr. Smiley giving me that sappy grin. It sort of gave me the creeps...the boys in the back seat and my instinct was telling me that someone close by staring at me. Weird feeling. I was glad it was just a Mylar balloon.......

Once in the restroom while I am just standing there minding my own business I have another feeling that someone else is watching me and yep you guessed it two Mr. Smileys were watching me or should I say looking away so the two boys could do what they had to do.

We had a great evening. I should have got a pic of Dad and I visiting while the boys inhaled fries and McD cookies. We didn't care that it was 10:00 at night we were having fun and doing some male bonding. Thanks Dad for the hot fudge sundae.

Good Neighbors

We truly are blessed with good neighbors. They do about anything for us and we try to return the favor. Last night I decided that the noise of the howling of my left front wheel was getting overbearing (pun intended). I guess since I had changed the right wheel bearing it was time to change the left side. Andy Crouch who rents the house across the road from the church found out what I was going to do and stopped over to help me out. It took me awhile the first time through on the right side with dropping the ball joint out of the spindle and pulling the spindle/strut away to get at the bolts in behind. I decided to try a new method which worked much quicker and easier. I used a huge gear puller and pushed the axle till it compressed the springs in the inner and outer CV (constant velocity) joints. This gave me enough room to get a ratchet on the bolts. They sure were not easy.

Thanks allot Andy!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Something To Think About

"I confess that I could walk into any bar in the North Shore and I won’t get drunk—alcohol isn’t a temptation for me, but I need to avoid the all-you-can-eat buffets!" - Anonymous. I even think there may be a scripture that goes along with that.

Two Men Named Joseph - Men of Character

Joseph and Joseph - two men of character. As I was getting ready for the Christmas season and praying about my sermons I was thinking about a man you and I don't know much about at all. Joseph was Jesus earthly father, although he was not biologically. I have often wondered about him and his character. As I was thinking about developing a sermon for my series on Character of Christians, I had thought about using him to start off the series during the Christmas Advent season and conclude in January with the rest of the series. This also brought to my mind another Joseph - the one down in Egypt. Now there was a man of character. All of the stories in the Bible about those two gos to say one thing - Character is Born and not Worn. It is something that is deep within that can not be easily pulled away like Joseph's coat was. Character is not something we put on so that others can see we are a good person or appear to be a good Christian. Although one may have a great reputation, he may have bad character, and one that has received a blemish on his reputation can still maintain his character despite what circumstances or people think. We need heroes, people who stand for what is right even when no one is looking (or may I add when they think no one is looking).

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Two More Bucks Down

With only a short time too hunt and not enough hunters, logistics and cell phones came into play. As the daylight broke soft snow was falling into the woods. I was parked for the first half hour under a cozy pine tree that kept me free from turning into a snowman. As the snow flakes stopped falling I eased up to the "sweet spot". I named it thus because it is the sweetest place to deer hunt. I had not been at my spot very long when about 150 yards I caught movement. It turned out to be a button buck who bedded down about 120 yards from where I was. I made all kinds of noises to get its reaction. I grunted and bleated and even coughed - it never budged. When gunshots rang out near by it laid there looking around waiting to catch some shut eye. Since I had already filled my doe tag I called my FIL on the phone and asked him to put a little drive on for Dad. I told him where the deer was bedded and had him come in to the woods a certain way. The little buck jumped up and bounded down over the hill to me and ran with in 20 yards, but was moving so fast I could not have gotten a shot if I wanted to. First part accomplished. Now if the deer would continue on down past the "King's Castle" where Dad was sitting. In about 30 seconds I heard the 308 bark and then silence. Then farther away another shot then another. I assumed that he had missed and someone else had shot at it. I found out later while field dressing the deer for the two proud hunters that a half rack had kept moseying around Dad's stand all morning and had disappeared into the pines just shortly before the little button buck had popped out. As it made its way into the opening dad caught right square behind the shoulders and the other buck came running right into the same spot. He said if it had been legal he would have had both his tags filled in 30 seconds. The half rack continued down into the brush and right under my other stand that Jason Wallace was in. The .308's were doing bad things to deer in that hollow this morning. Jason dropped the 3 point with a shot to the neck but quickly made his way to it and gave it another to keep it from suffering. I was very happy when I finally made my way down to the little clearing in the woods and saw two deer laying there ready to be hauled away. I was happy for several reason's. Number One was Jason got a buck which made number 6 off the farm this year. Number Two was that the couple hours Dad was able to hunt proved successful and he could drive back home early in the day. The Third reason was that Kenton, Dad, and I had all filled our tags in the same year. I still have my buck tag to fill, but I may be able to get another doe in flintlock season with it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

This One is for My Wife

At the dinner table today after a pleasant discussion Kenton told us that the big 12 point on Larry Millers farm is a half rack now. Evidently in fighting it got the one side broke off. I said that I hoped no one would shoot it but let it go till next year so it would have both side on. The look on my wife's face was a look of puzzle and intrigue.

"It will grow back out that much by next year?" she said.

I explained that every year the antlers fall off about January or February and start to grow back on in May.

"Yeah Right!" She says "You are just pulling my leg!"

"They fall off like a leaf does from the branch of a tree" I replied.

She began to laugh and grin and tell me that I could not fool her. She of course was watching for any sign that I was making it up. So I gave her that look like I was just kidding and she said "I knew you were just teasing!"

Well I wasn't.....

So I will conclude with this short summary of: The Growth of a Whitetail Deer's Antlers

This is a time line showing the growth rate and fall off of antlers.

Deer Antler growth usually begins during the month of March or April, by August or early September, antlers are fully-grown. In most cases the typical deer antlers begins growth out of the head in a backward motion, then quickly changes direction and sweeps forward.

Deer antlers are among the fastest growing tissues known to man. Growing as much as a ½ inch per day during peak development. The development process can vary greatly depending upon the genes and nutrition of each deer. Growing antlers are covered with a living tissue called velvet. During development, the deer’s antlers are very delicate and extremely sensitive to the touch. This is also the time when most antler damage or breakage occurs.

Velvet is shed or rubbed off by the buck as he rubs saplings with his antlers. Older bucks will shed their velvet before younger bucks. A buck’s first set of antlers begins to grow when it’s about 10 months old. Spikes are more common in yearling deer than older ones because antler growth starts at a time when the young buck’s body is still growing rapidly. Antler development is tied in closely with the animal’s nutritional status. Older bucks might also carry spikes if they come from an area with poor food conditions.

In Pennsylvania, antlers are usually shed in February. Antler shedding usually occurs earlier in northern states than southern ones. Spike bucks shed their antlers sooner than bucks with branched antlers.

Definition of antlers:
Whitetail antlers are an amazing example of nature’s wonderful and beautiful handiwork. They range from tiny sharp spikes to amazing typical and non-typical racks. Antlers develop into every size and shape. But antler size, growth and irregularities are often misunderstood by many deer hunters. A great deal of misinformation has been passed down for ages. One major mistake is commonly made by hunters who don’t know that antlers are not horns, and horns are not antlers.
Antlers are made of dead bone, and are yearly growths that begin growing from two pedicels on the buck’s head in late winter and early spring. Antlers reach full growth in late summer usually October. Antlers are normally branched (except for spikes), and maturity, good nutrition, lack of stress and good genes determine antler size and formation.

As a rule, only male deer grow antlers. But one female (doe) in several thousand whitetail does will grow antlers because of a hormone imbalance. Horns, rather than antlers, are living bone that is covered with hard layers of skin. They are typically unbranched and permanently established on the animal’s head. Wild sheep, for example, continue to grow horns throughout their lives. Horns also are found on bison, cows and goats in North America.

Good nutrition is required for button-buck fawns to grow large pedicels. Often, the larger the pedicel, the larger the antlers will be at a later age. Like I said earlier, antlers can grow at the rate of a ½ inch per day, but body growth takes precedence over antler growth. Any deficiency in dietary energy, protein, calcium, phosphorus or certain vitamins during spring and summer can have strong negative effects. There are only two possible solutions to poor nutrition. One is to reduce deer numbers to more closely match the capacity of the natural habitat. The other is to improve the habitat by cutting, burning, planting or fertilizing to restore the land’s capacity to support healthy deer.

If more hunters use doe tags this fall, and spare some of the larger bucks, the state’s deer population will be reduced to more manageable numbers while some bucks will grow bigger antlers as they continue to mature.

Genetics is an extremely important component of the deer management formula. However, genetics is just one of the factors of antler development. Age, nutrition, disease, and injury are often more important contributors to a buck’s antlers than genetics.

To understand the role that genetics plays in antler development it is first necessary to understand the contributions other factors make to a buck’s antlers. Most importantly, the animal has to have adequate nutrition. Without adequate nutrition a buck with the genetic background to become the world record whitetail buck might be less than average. An example of the importance of nutrition would be to take that buck and feed him mostly corn for one year.

It should be noted that corn is a very poor quality food for deer except during periods of high-energy drain during cold periods of the year. It is high in carbohydrates but low in protein (about 8 percent). On the this corn diet, the deer would maybe grow an 8 point rack with a 17 inch inside spread and have a Boone and Crockett score of about 115.

Now take the same deer for one year and feed him the normal 16% protein ration, the deer’s antlers would increase to maybe 21 points, a 27.5 inch inside spread and have a Boone and Crockett score of 210.

Age can also effect a buck’s antlers. Whitetailed deer do not achieve maturity until they are 5 to 8 years of age. Studies have demonstrated the average buck achieves only about 10 percent of his potential antler development by age 1.5 years (when he completes his first set of antlers as an 18-month-old buck).

It has also been able to demonstrate that there is little relationship between the first year antlers and the antler development a buck will have when he reaches the mature age classes of 5 years or older. This means a spike-antlered buck has a good chance of becoming a trophy-quality adult buck. By the time a buck has completed his second set of antlers he still only has achieved only 25-35 percent of his potential antler development.

At 3 years of age (few bucks live longer than this in Pennsylvania because of the amount of hunters that hunt in this state). A buck still only has achieved about 50 percent of his potential antler quality. It is not until 5 years of age that most bucks approach their full antler potential, and often, antlers don’t reach their maximum size until 7 or 8 years of age (for captive deer raised under ideal conditions).

Probably less than 1 out 5,000 bucks would survive to the 6-year-old age class with the hunters that hunt in Pennsylvania. It is no wonder we don’t see the quality of bucks that existed when my grandfather hunted the exact same woods, when hunting pressure was very low compared to today. Two other factors that effect a buck’s antler development are injury and disease.

Injury to a buck’s antler while they are still in the velvet will often result in antlers with odd points, double main beams, or other abnormal traits. Generally, antler injuries of this type do not result in antler abnormalities the second and following years unless they occur near the base of the growing antler or to the skull.

If the injury is near the base of the antler, the injury can result in abnormal development in subsequent years as well as the present year. Injury to other parts of the skeleton can also result in abnormal antler growth during subsequent years. It is well documented that skeletal injury to a hind leg will result in the opposite side antler being deformed in the next and in subsequent antler growth periods.

Disease can cause antler growth to be abnormal. Disease can also permanently restrict potential antler development. Given proper nutrition, age and no injuries or debilitating diseases, it is genetics that determine the final development of a buck’s antlers!

Two deer can be raised together to 7 years of age under excellent nutrition and conditions. One may become a Boone and Crockett deer while the other may only develop into a mediocre 6 or 8 point deer. In this case, the genetic makeup Mother Nature gave them would determine the antler development.

This is a cool video of pictures taken with a tree cam of the growth of a 2.5 year old buck.

Mike Huckabee on God and Country

Thanks to Jon Earls.

Interesting Cemetery Stone Epitaph

A 1 hour delay for our church this morning because of ice gave me time to catch up on a couple blogs that I have not checked in awhile. After reading Kim's blog I thought I would take this pic of a headstone that I can see from my office window. It is probably the most unique in our church cemetery. Evidently Mr. Taylor had a sense of humor.

The inscription reads: "I made a lot of good deals in my lifetime, but I sure went in the hole on this one."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The First Week of Hunting is Over

After the excitement of the first day of buck we headed back home. I took my doe to the Meat Processing place to have jerky, hot sticks and trail Bologna made. I quartered up Kenton's buck for Shandra and Steven. Kenton was even generous enough to give them the back straps and tenderloins although I was wanting to keep at least one strap. I am hoping Steven will invite me down for a steak dinner!!

Tuesday and Wednesday I worked at the church getting everything insulated and ready for cold weather. Wednesday afternoon I went out behind our house for an hour and had Kenton put on a drive in the thick patch behind our house. He put out a small doe which walked about 20 yards from me looking back and watching Kenton. It paused behind a tree and then quietly slipped into the thick part of the woods with its ears and nose in full alert.

Thursday I monitored a Student Teacher at Conneaut Lake High School. Mr. Armato was out sick and Mr. Fennel is working at his last half of student teaching. It was an easy day. I sat and observed took notes and actually got to post a couple comments on MyHoliness. That evening we headed to Erie to get some supplies for the work at the rental and to help out Andy Crouch who had a blow out on the way to work. We grabbed a spare and put it on his truck and had it ready for him to just get in and drive away.

Friday turned out to be a good day. I decided to spend some time mentoring Kenton in the ways of the whitetail. I am teaching him what I know and yet learning more every time I go out myself. Wayne Drury met up with us at our place and we set up a little drive. We waited for Wayne to get set up and watched as he crossed the golden rod field and entered the woods, two doe bounded out and across the field to the other square. As we headed down my newly planted timothy field a doe came fling across the field and jumped the railroad tracks and made a direct line for Andy Graves falling in barn. Kenton and I got set up in a great spot in Mark and Krista Bly's woods and waited for Wayne to push one to us. We were looking for horns. As Wayne got within a hundred yards he took a shot at a button buck and put it down on a gas well road. Kenton has seen me gut out many deer but he watched and asked questions as Wayne did the honors.

I went home grabbed lunch and Kenton decided he was to cold, so I headed back into the woods alone. I set up across a crick in a pine opening with my back to a huge beech tree. The rest of the day was wonderful. Two black squirrels chased each other abd even scared some turkeys that came bobbing in close. I caught a glimpse of some movement about 100 yards through the brush. Too small for a deer and to red. Found out from Wayne it was a red fox. Some noise behind me right at dusk made me peer around the huge tree I was leaning against and watched 4 doe trot past just about 30 yards on the other side of the crick. That ended a wonderful day of enjoying cold air and nature. It is a wonderful time to relax, talk to the Lord and just let your thoughts spin.

The last day for this week of hunting was the most exciting. I knew there was a big buck hanging out behind our church. I circled several hundred yards up the gorge to the point where Kenton shot a grey squirrel this year and quietly slipped down the steep ravine into the crick bottom. The water had receded from earlier in the week and I was able to make my way down to the big bend directly behind our church. As I neared the huge railroad culvert the big buck jumped up and bounded up the hill through some thick brush. I am sure that many would have laid the hillside with lead, but I was waiting for a one shot and drop. It walked quickly and aligned itself with a house on the other side of the railroad tracks and looked over its shoulder at me as if to say "Ha you cannot shoot there are houses on the other side of me." I scoped him good and found a nice 8 point rack that was about 16-18" inside. It was not a real tall rack but very nice and even. After he had given my good view he quietly slipped into the old apple orchard and was gone for the day. Maybe if I am quicker on the draw the next time I will be able to get a shot before he reaches the tracks. My day was over at that point. I had spent 1 hour out and was satisfied with my find. I stopped over at the neighbors and checked out Jack Wilson's nice 125 class 8 point. He took me in his house and showed a huge buck he had shot many years before. I am guessing with my experience scoring racks that it was somewhere in the 150-160 range. Very Nice!

Once back home the boys and I spent time getting ready the calf pen for the next two calves which will be here in two weeks. The last bull was named T-bone and I am thinking about naming the next two Dell (short for Delmonico) and Porter (short for Porterhouse).

I had better quit writing. I have to help my wife get ready for our Church Christmas Banquet.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Escape by Garbage Can

If you see this man - call 911

We have a State Prison 1 mile from our house. This caused lots of excitement at our house Sunday night. Read Julie's blog for exciting events that night!!

Proud Dad Moment

The events preceding this day were very eventful- a prison break a mile from our house, large amount of police activity and the fact our house had been left unlocked while at church. I am sure if you read Julies blog she will post about it. It had every one rather paranoid and I will add...2 days later, still paranoid as he has not been caught. We arrived in Indiana County around 2:00 A.M Monday morning and got a few hours sleep before heading out into the deer woods.

This was a special day for me and proved to be as the day progressed. I was able to take Kenton deer hunting for the first time. It definitely was not the first time for him to hunt or be with me on a hunt. Kenton had been with me for many hunts including deer. This year was different, thanks to a new program by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, young hunters under the age of 12 could shoot a deer under the guidance of a mentor. They are only eligible for buck deer.

As light hit nothing but rain moved in front of us. From 6:30 till about 11:00 a good hard steady rain kept the deer woods quiet. I am not sure of any other year that I have not seen a deer by this time. With such a short night I used my fanny pack that held my rain poncho for a pillow and I laid down on the second floor of the "King's Castle". The Kings Castle is the name given to one of my tree stands that reaches a height of 30'. It has two stories and can hold up 15 guys if needed. There usually is only about 2 or 3 at a time.

This is a picture of the Kings Castle from last year.

Kenton watching the for deer.

Kenton catching up on some winks.

As the rain subsided to a slow drizzle Kenton and I headed to the sweet spot. The Sweet Spot is the best place to kill a deer. I am not sure how many I have killed at that place, but it a natural dish and the deer run down in and around the rim of it. Every year it usually fetches at least one or more. Last year Rod Shumate killed his first buck a nice 10 point at the same spot where Kenton would kill his first buck also. As we approached the slingshot tree(a tree that looks like a big slingshot)we noticed about 6 doe bedded down in the pines on the side of the dish. They slowly one by one were getting up and shaking the water off their back like a dog does after it climbs out of water. We could see water spraying everywhere. A truly awesome sight. The ambled down to our left and trotted down into another patch of pines evidently warned by mother nature of the bad dudes with fire sticks that were closing in on them.

Out of my bag of tricks I produced some doe estrus and splashed some on a tree about 10 yards in front of us. I used my buck grunt and doe bleat in vain for 5 minutes until out of the corner of our view a medium sized buck appeared. So far so good. I scoped him quickly which was not an easy task on a day that water was the most abundant product and appeared every where even on the scope lens. My "dry" shirt was only keeping the majority of the water removed while small specks covered the lens. I could see the buck was a half rack. Prior to this moment Kenton had declared up and down that he was not shooting no dinker (he said he would leave that for Dan Durkee). He wanted a monster buck and emphatically stated so. As the buck meandered towards us I told him what it was and asked if he wanted it. He said loud enough for everyone in Rayne township to hear "YEAH YEAH YEAH"! His eyes were as large as the opening of his mouth which was hanging wide open. I whispered to pull back his hammer and aim for the deer where I had instructed him. The shot was to be made right behind the front shoulder. He hit the deer and I am not sure which shot would killed it, but he had to shoot it again just to make sure. He was so excited he hugged me and hugged me. That was easy Dad! First day of his hunting career with a gun and the first deer and how hard can that be? I have tried to convince him that it does not always work that way. Out of almost 60 deer and 18 buck I have only managed to get 3 on the first day and one of them was last year. I guess my average before last year was 1 out of every 10 years on the first day.

Here is the big bad hunter dude and his monster half rack. It actually was the heaviest rack for one that size I have seen.

After the excitement was over we left the buck lay and got back to our spot and I shot a doe right handed for the first time in about 12 years. Then could not get a shot on a big 8 and 5 other buck that came running past. Take out the rain in the scope factor and there would be a another trophy for the wall. The doe was exactly what Julie orders a yearling or 1 1/2 year old deer. The meat is more tender. I try hard not to shoot button bucks which are legal to shoot as doe. Out of about 40 doe only 2 have been button buck. When you scope them you can see the hair pushed up in between the ears. Some even stick up pretty high.

Papa Wallace stopped by to congratulate his grandson on his first deer kill.

Here is the guide with his successful customer. I wonder if the guide will get a tip for his work? I guess the hug and kiss of an excited son is the best tip I could ever get.

Here is Kenton trying to drag his buck. It only weighed about 3X's what he did. It did not budge.

His best friend and cousin Derek Wallace shot a big 10 point with a real cool rack. It was a main frame typical on the left side with 4 points and the left was a huge beam that went straight up and had two sets of prongs off of it. He was his first buck at age 13. Congratulations Derek!

Here is the crew that shot deer on Monday within 10 minutes of each other. I do not remember any other days when 4 deer were taken out of one drive. TJ with a big spike, my doe, Derek's 10 point and Kenton's half rack.

Steve Kunselman getting a picture of the mighty hunter.

With proud Mama Wallace.

With proud Mommy.

With his proud brother and sisters.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Go Mike Huckabee!!

A Red Letter Day

It is not too often you can see a bald eagle up and close. While heading to my parents for Thanksgiving I spotted a bald eagle perched in a big tree along the road. We stopped got out and walked right under it and took pictures. It was an awesome experience for the boys. Then the eagle flew off and we jumped back into the van and followed it. We found another eagle in a tree that it was circling and was able to get a picture as it flew right down low in front of us. It is very awesome to see those huge wingspans flying 20' over your head.