Thursday, November 15, 2007

Opening Day

Kevin and Sammy are off out back to spend the day in the woods. Out back is the back 40... we have 80 acres, all woods, and it's a long 80, which means it's a quarter-mile wide and a half-mile long. Our house sits near the road on the short edge, our West property line. All the hunting takes place 'out back' nearer the East property line.

Our property is surrounded on 3 sides by state-owned property, to the West, North and East. Kev will often go out on state land, in the more remote parts that have difficult access. But when he's hunting with Joyce or Sam, they stay on our property. Joycie will be out later this afternoon to hunt until dark, after her last class, about mid-afternoon.

Today, there are going to be a lot of hunters North of us on the state land... I've been hearing them drive back there for the past hour or so. It's about 6:30am right now, so they're all trying to get in and settled before dawn breaks.

Our road has a 'No Outlet" sign at it's beginning because the dirt road deteriorates into a two-tracker, but before that happens, there is a large turn-around area just off our Northwest property corner. Off the turn-around, our road continues North as that two-tracker, and there are also trails going to the East and West, put there about 20 years ago when the DNR had those parcels clear-cut. When that clear cutting started, I was initially pretty upset. We had just moved out here, and if you have ever seen clear cutting done, you know it's ugly. And there were huge vehicles in and out during that time, which nearly destroyed our road.

But then when it was all done, the road was repaired, the trails remained, and this huge area was available for all those hunters to park. Prior to that, they would park along side our road very close to our home. In fact, the first year, on opening day, they nearly blocked me in because they parked in front of our drive. Also, we have this gigantic white oak near the road, and they would pull into the woods there and park under it because there was no real ditch in front of it. That oak became a popular parking area, for hunters, including coon hunters, as well as drinkers, smokers and people making out.

As the crow flies, that oak is not that far from our house and also, our dogs' house. Back then we had two German Shepherds, and every time someone parked there, the dogs would bark constantly. We tried to discourage parking there with 'No Trespassing' signs and by piling up brush in front of that area. Finally, after the clear cutting opened up that road, we got some help from the Road Commission to put in a little ditch there. Problem solved.

I think it's going to be a nice day for hunting, weather-wise... and I hope to post a photo of smiling hunters later today...

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