The bringing of a new year gives one pause to not only look ahead, but to reflect. Last year, I promised to do more rabbit hunting and less deer hunting, I have not done that.
My private property deer hunting has been dismal, but the crowds and uncertainty of public land created an unjust bias that kept me from traveling there.
This season, I received permission to hunt 66 acres surrounded by Hoosier National Forrest. I saw a lot of deer on the private and the forest land. The deer could not tell the difference and neither could I.
My last day, I could imagine what Daniel Boone felt like when he walked some of these same hills. I wanted to see what was around the next bend or find where three ravines joined. I took off walking.
I saw well-worn trails, new scrapes and old rubs. Further and further, I walked away from where I began never losing track of the ridge top that would lead me back. My heavy clothing was becoming a burden. Time and distance were lost as I became a part of nature.
The snort of a deer and the sight of a buck jumping a deadfall brought me to focus. I looked back to see my persimmon ridge far in the distance. From this point on my trek would be uphill.
A straight line is the shortest distance between two points, but not the way to climb a hill. My ascent took me in a zig-zag. In no hurry, I took my time and often paused to catch my breath. The last 50 yards were the steepest.
A ham sandwich and bottle of water were waiting for me at the truck. Being tired felt good; I wondered how many more years God would allow me to do this and prayed it would be several. I turn 70 next month.
Again this Christmas, my daughter Jourdan bought me a New Year fitness challenge. I frown at the hard work ahead, but smile at the prospect of keeping me fit for another fall.
Visit the largest documented wintering bald eagle roost in Indiana with Upper Wabash Interpretive Services during its annual eagle watch events this January and February.
Sunrise Eagle Watch on Jan. 18 begins at Mississinewa Lake’s Miami State Recreation Area boat launch. Participants should arrive before 6:30 a.m., which is when everyone will caravan to the roost to watch the eagles greet the morning.
The Traditional Eagle Watch on Feb. 15 and 16 will meet at Salamonie Interpretive Center in Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area at 3 p.m. both days for a short “Eagles in Indiana” program. Participants will then caravan to the roosting site to watch eagles return for the night.
Handicap accessible parking at the roost site will be available. Those who need accessible parking should mention it during registration.
Register by calling (260) 468-2127. The program is free and open to the public.
Participants who have binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras should bring them.