Thursday, December 3, 2009

A hunter's treat

Winter has finally reached us and unlike the snows in October I have the gut feeling this weather is here until spring. Oh well, I suppose the mild weather was just too good to last.
While I was deer hunting this fall something happened I am still chuckling about it. To get to an area where I like to watch a line of trees between two fields of corn I had to drive over a prairie road and past several sloughs. Our weather has been just cold enough to partially freeze the water but most of the sloughs were still open (which accounts for the geese and a few ducks that were hanging around). As I passed one slough I noticed a beaver on the ice and another swimming around. I stopped and while I watched the one beaver slid from the ice into the water. I thought it would dive and disappear but the second beaver climbed onto the ice and after a few seconds slid into the water. The two beaver swam around then one of them would climb onto the ice, which was fun to watch in itself, then after walking around on the ice slide into the water. The beaver were playing! In all of my years of watching beaver I’ve seen them work industrially at repairing their dams or their lodges but I have never seen them play. I cussed myself for not having a long enough telephoto lens because the photos would have been great. After watching the beaver for a full ten minutes I decided to get on to my deer hide. But, I’d had my treat for the day. How many of us have ever had the opportunity to watch beaver play on the ice? It’s just another example of something we, as hunters, get to enjoy—nature being nature. Others might claim they get to share in that truth but I’ve got news for them—hunters are more a part of nature as participants than any “observer” will ever be.
Great to be us—isn’t it? Glg


Phillip said...

Awesome! These are the kinds of things that keep me in the woods. I may hunt for years, literally, between deer kills... but every time I go I see something that reaffirms my motivations for hunting.

I suppose non-hunters who spend time in the field might see some of the same things we do, but there's a different appreciation when you're part of the predator/prey environment rather than just passing through as a spectator.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Since you lived here, beavers have moved into this stretch of Hardscrabble Creek. Lots of ponds now, and even neighbors who are not otherwise pro-beaver figure that those ponds raise the water table and, consequently, the water level in their wells.

Galen Geer said...

I've tried to explain to nonhunters some of the sights and they look at me in disbelief. But then when I've taken a nonhunter out and treated them to it they realize there is something special. One of my favorite memories is a deer hunt when I sat on the side of a mountain and got to watch the sunrise walk across the valley and wake the world from its autumn slumber. glg

Galen Geer said...

Chas, up here they figure they could do with a little lower water table. Getting some people to understand how nature cleans the water is a tough sell. glg