The initial plan for my most recent trip to the property was to bring my son along with me and allow him to spend the day with me out in the woods. Unfortunately the weather didn’t really cooperate and with the morning temps foretasted in the 30’s I wasn’t sure taking a 3yr old with me was a great idea. I decided to head off by myself and while it was disappointing to not have him along I was still excited to get out on the property and take care of a few tasks.
The primary goal was to frost seed some clover into our small Southline Plot. I knew there was a good chance there could still be some snow on the plot but looking at the 10 day forecast assured me that any remaining snow would be gone soon and the seed would get to the dirt quickly. While the conditions weren’t ideal, getting seed onto this plot was a must for this spring (thanks to the effects of the drought last year) and my upcoming schedule meant this was my best opportunity.
Along with frost seeding, I really wanted to do some shed hunting as well. Obviously one of the main goals of shed hunting is finding a shed but another exciting part of shed hunting is that this is one of only a few times all year that we will walk certain sections of our property. Getting into our sanctuary areas is always exciting and we always find good rubs and other deer sign that get the blood pumping a bit.
The drive up to the property was uneventful (which is always a good thing) but the deer viewing was awesome. It seemed like every field had deer in it and usually not just one or two deer either. The deer are really hitting the open fields now that the snow is disappearing and my total for deer seen during the round trip was easily into the hundreds.
When I got to our property I quickly changed and got my backpack loaded up and headed straight to our Plateau Plot. The deer had been hammering the turnips all winter long and I was really hoping to find a shed in the plot or on the runs leading to/from it. I spent a good amount of time walking the plot itself as well as the main runs around it but came up empty. I won’t go so far as to say I was “expecting” to find a shed but I was really hoping I would and I was a bit disappointed as I moved on from the area.
The Southline Plot was my next stop and after a quick walk through the plot and its immediate surroundings I got to work on the frost seeding. This plot is just a small kill plot so hand tossing the seed didn’t take very long at all. There was still some snow cover in the plot but the snow wasn’t very deep and with highs in the 40’s and 50’s I was pretty confident the seed would get to the soil pretty quickly.
This plot has been a good stand of clover for us since 2008 but with the drought last year as well as us reworking part of the plot it was a bit thinner than normal by the end of the year last year. Our traffic in this plot has also slowed so hopefully this year we can get this plot back in shape and get the deer back in it.
After my work was done in the plot I ventured down a lane that we put in as part of our habitat work last year. The lane runs out the northern edge of the plot and through an area that had become an almost impassable tangle of downed trees and new growth following the logging that was done back in 2007. The lane weaves its way north from the plot through the thick stuff and out to a more open area to the north. It was great to walk this lane and see the deer sign and know that the deer are taking advantage of our efforts. The sign found included recent tracks and droppings along with rubs from the fall which meant the deer had been using it pretty steadily since last year. That was very rewarding to see and made me excited to get going on phase two of that project this spring/summer (but I’ll save that for a future entry).
I worked my way back across to the far side of our property and after some more walking I decided to take a break for a bit. This section of the property is a relatively steep, wooded valley between two ag fields. Most of the year the creek bed in the valley is dry but in the spring the melting snow fills the creek and it runs pretty strong for a month or two each year.
As I sat there listening to the sound of the creek running over the rocks and down through the valley I couldn’t help but smile. It was a neat contrast, the woods around me still bare from a long winter but the creek alive and well and signifying the start of spring. I found myself thinking back to the 2012 season as well as looking forward to the 2013 season which is now upon us.
It dawned on me that the woods around me were much like the season we are about to embark upon. Both the woods and the 2013 season are currently bare, a nearly blank slate but loaded with potential just waiting to bloom as the spring progresses. We’re just getting started now but it won’t be long until the season, as well as the woods, are alive and well.
Take care, and thanks for reading.