Friday, February 17, 2006

Out to Find a Tracking Stick.

It's almost noon here in northwest Wisconsin and it is Five degrees below zero. It doesn't look like it is going to get much above zero today. The sky is clear blue and there is a strong wind blowing out of the northwest. Despite the frigid temperatures, I did make it out to my sit spot to say my Thanksgiving Address and do some wandering in my study area. I had intended to visit my sit spot no matter what, but what really fired me up to get out there this morning was this great story by Josh Fecteau about his encounter with a Fischer near his study area. Josh's story just goes to show that you just never know what gift will present itself while your out poking around in the woods.

This morning, I was in search of a sapling to make a tracking stick. So, I strapped on my snowshoes, grabbed my hatchet, bundled up and headed for a clump of elm trees that were blown over just to the northeast of my study area. I'd say it took me about a half-n-hour to get over to the clump, when it normally only takes five to ten minutes at normal walk. One of the reasons why it took a little longer than intended was that I found an impression in the snow. The impression, to me, looked like a bird with its wings out stretched had landed there then flew away. And lying in the middle of the impression was a gray colored breast feather and some scat. There were no other tracks around this impression. Nearby there was two dead trees with the tops blown out of them. Perhaps the creature that made this impression and left the feather was perched in one of them? Maybe it was after a creature underneath the snow? A vole? Shrew? Mouse? You can see why it took me a little longer to get over to the elm trees.

I never did find the sapling to make my tracking stick. And I still haven't figured out what made the "flying saucer" impression in the snow. But I hope to someday to solve mystery.

#

I just finished Case Files of the Tracker, by Tom Brown Jr. I've read a lot of Tom's work and really like it. His work is one of the reasons why I'm taking the Kamana Program. I was actually first introduced to the tracker by my Chemistry teacher as a junior in high school. Wow! That was fifteen years ago! How I wish I would have headed out to the Tracker School when I was in my late teens or early twenties. Oh well, hind sight is 20/20.

Anyway, I highly recommend picking up Case Files. There is a lot to learn in that book.

#

I posted this quote over at IshCon. I really like it.

"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." Ed Abbey



4 comments:

Joshua said...

I really like that quote by Ed Abbey, that's for reminding me of it. And thanks for the tracking stick resource--I've got to find me one of those too.

That's so cool that you spotted the bird sign. Do you think it was an owl? Hawk? Speaking of hawks, I saw one at my sit spot today. I was just looking around when it landed in a tree on the eastern edge of my study area. I was able to get a quick look at him with my binoculars before he flew off. Beautiful bird!

--Joshua
http://jfecteau.blogspot.com

Curt said...

Josh,

Thank you for stopping by.

You wrote: "I really like that quote by Ed Abbey, that's for reminding me of it. And thanks for the tracking stick resource--I've got to find me one of those too."

Your welcome. I found that quote by Abbey on the net at Walter Muma's Wildwood Survival website. http://www.wildwoodsurvival.com/index.html

You wrote: "That's so cool that you spotted the bird sign. Do you think it was an owl? Hawk?"

Good question. I'm glad you asked it. Up to this point I thought it was an Eastern Screech Owl. But now you've got me wondering about hawks. I'm going to have to get my bird field guide out.

You wrote: " Speaking of hawks, I saw one at my sit spot today. I was just looking around when it landed in a tree on the eastern edge of my study area. I was able to get a quick look at him with my binoculars before he flew off. Beautiful bird!"

That's really cool! This makes me feel good to here about this. What kind of hawk do you think it was? What time of day was it? Didn't you see a hawk when your were tracking with Dan Gardoqui?

Of course don't feel obligated to answer these questions, but if you want to you can. I wanted to practice some coyote questioning. I'm seriously considering volunteering to teach tracking and naturalist skills to children in an after school program.

Take care,

Curt

Sara said...

That is a great quote! Also, I enjoy the imagery I get when I read your descriptions of Northern Wisconsin. Especially about the snow. It rarely snows where I am. My husband was born in Wisconsin, and he goes on about how beautiful it is. I've only been there a couple of times.

Curt said...

Sara,

You wrote: "Also, I enjoy the imagery I get when I read your descriptions of Northern Wisconsin."

Thank you.

Curt