I have a bit less than 2 miles of road frontage – over a mile of it wide and paved. The forest is thick on trees, and thin on distance – which translates to many spots where it is difficult for the casual shooter to know his or her backstop. I’ve seen careless, desperate hunters shooting at a spot where the trailer court, or eastern neighbors homes are the backstop – walking the road in the evening and seeing the spots where a light gleams through the trees shows some of the spots where a bullet can go through unimpeded.
More often, I encounter hunters who show the ethic, who show the appreciation of getting out. The other day, I spotted a 7 plate stopped along the road in a spot where the little bucks hang out – one of the spots that has a multitude of poor backstops for rifle fire. His rifle was still stashed away – he was filming the little guys in their dominance battles. Likewise, he was unappreciative of me blocking his view – but I appreciated a hunter who took only pictures in downtown Trego.
I spend more time watching the wildlife than hunting. The little bucks inhabit the same isolated bit of forest that the little grizzly did a couple years back. They know they’re safe there – but as hunting season comes to an end, does in oestrus draw them into the open, and along roads. Sometimes into the front yard. And I enjoy watching the hunters who pause along the road, and look across the pond at the little buck in the front yard. Hunters who enjoy seeing the game animals at least as much as the shot.
The turkeys had a rough season – the raven hatch was successful, and ravenous predators worked over the eggs and the hatchlings. This fall, the flocks on the place aren’t the normal 2 or 3 mature hens and 20 or more that hatched this Spring. Extreme raven predation has made the age mix more even. One hen, wiped out on her first nest, has succeeded in raising 4 small birds on her second. With the pond frozen, and the geese and ducks flown south, the turkeys become the birds of winter.
This afternoon, I saw the three-point. Yesterday, the fork-horn was in the yard. Hunting season has moved into enjoying the wildlife and enjoying the ethical hunters behavior.