Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Times they are a changin'

Went out with the birds - and something was different. The birds weight was in an acceptable range and I went to a spot where I knew there would be plenty of squirrels.

I was out early but the day was quickly warming up. There had been a soaking rain the night before and everything was moist, muggy, and dripping. The forest had started greening up and every little bird was letting loose in song. After so many months of cold silence when I hunt, this was a surprising change.

I waded into the thick vine tangles with the birds close behind. It didn't take long before the birds were on a squirrel. It went straight up a huge pine. Up and down and around.

It was the longest single squirrel chase I can ever remember having, lasting close to an hour and only spanning three huge pines. Gonzo was up and down, but it seemed that Tess's heart wasn't in it. She would engage, but not with the abandon I'm used to from her. At one point she actually aborted the chase and flew off.

Eventually, the birds pinged on something in the distance and started a long slow descent, grabbing at something on the ground. It didn't look like there had been a chase and then the birds started squabbling on the ground. I hurried over and found them fighting over a decomposing skull. Not sure what it is, at first i thought 'possum, but it is missing the ridge across the top of the skull - and it has too much brain space. Definite canines, snout seems too long for cat. Maybe raccoon?

What do you think?

We wandered the forest for a while, chased a few squirrels, but the difference was palpable. I called it a day and decided it was time to put the birds up. Time will be cramped for the next week anyway. I'll fatten them up and then see if they are in a lovin' mood.

Final count for the season.
Rabbits - 1
Squirrels - 29

I met my goal - and have had a great time doing it. I'll be keeping you all posted about what happens next. Spring is in the air after all


Doug said...

After looking at the skulls on terrierman's website - I'm thinking gray fox. Whaddya think?

PBurns said...

Not sure. I have to see it from the top too. Coons have wider heads, and fox narrower skulls. You may be right, however!


Isaac said...

I'll go with the traditional "Chupacabra" which seems to fit any unknown skull...

It was fun to follow the successful season, hope the breeding goes well too!