Rusty, the Asparagus Hound

Rusty is a golden Cocker Spaniel. He is a typical Cocker. He has no conscience, a selective loss of training and memory and, until he went stone deaf from ear infections, highly selective hearing.

But none of his physical or mental ailments — absolutely none of them — have affected his ability to find the wild asparagus growing in the long weeds on the fringes of our yard.

I believe the damned dog can smirk, too. I’ve seen that self-satisfied “Ha ha, I beat you to them” look on his white mug as he returns from an asparagus search.

Of course, there’s no law which says the asparagus is mine instead of the dog’s, and it’s obvious that the thought of asparagus acts as an elixir for him. Most of the time he works his age the way you’d expect — he’s an old dog. Ninety-nine percent of the time he just barely has enough strength to get off the sidewalk and onto the lawn to pee, after which he heads right back into the garage to his dish.

But, every couple of weeks, the Asparagus God apparently whispers “You’re a pup again; go for it” in his ear. Up comes his head. Spring returns to his step and wanderlust to his heart. He’s across 30 yards of mown lawn and out of sight in the long grass before you get the screen door closed. I don’t know how he does it, because he’s too old to run.

Forget about looking for him. Maybe he shrinks when he reaches the long grass. Whatever … he isn’t seen again until … here he comes … paddling across the lawn, tip of his pink tongue hanging from his mouth, his face wearing a look of bliss.

He smirks as he trots past me into the garage.

What I’m gonna do one of these days is fix him up like ancient Japanese fishermen fixed up cormorants they used to catch fish. I’m gonna get a hinged wooden loop, just big enough to fit comfortably over his neck but tight enough to keep him from swallowing any asparagus. Then I’ll fasten a long string to that collar and turn him loose, like a fishing cormorant.

He’ll probably play dumb, wandering all over, pretending he doesn’t know what asparagus is and wouldn’t know even if he tripped over it.

But I’ll fix him. I’ll check the spots he avoids, and as soon as I spot an asparagus stalk I’ll tie his rope and make him watch me pick it.

Then it will be my turn to smirk.

This is one of several entertaining stories featured in The Wild Pantry, a wild game cookbook consisting of more than 200 recipes, dozens of handling and cooking tips, and lighthearted stories about great and not-so-great meals and food-related anecdotes.
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Golden Tweezer Award

My buddy Mike and I were on a five-day September bow hunt for pronghorns in western South Dakota. We had high hopes, for it was getting near the peak of the rut. The pronghorn’s, not ours.

We found an unusual situation early on the third day. Following a narrow trail at the bottom of a draw, we came upon an eroded hole about five feet in diameter and a good four feet deep.

At the hole, which had to have been eroded during a spring flood, time unknown, we saw a buried log nearly 10 inches in diameter, buried about three feet deep. That former tree must have been there a long time, to be buried that deep.

But the animal trapped under the log by its horns — a pronghorn buck with really nice horns — had been there unknown days. Our approach made it frantic. It tried to stand up to flee, but one horn was under the log and it was trapped, even though nothing else held it in place. It became more frantic as we stood there, looking at it in amazement.

“It must have been following a hot doe, didn’t watch where it was walking and fell in,” we decided. “Typical of a guy chasing a girl,” we thought.

We freed the buck, then dragged it to a nearby pond. If it could stand up, it could get water.

My buddy Mike decided to take a few photos of the buck, including close-ups of its horns. He broke out his camera, backed up a few steps to get a better photo background … tripped and fell backward into the middle of a large patch of little round cactus.

My mind’s eye still can see him windmilling to get airborne. He knew where he was going to fall.

He landed. He yelled in pain. He said some bad words.

I helped him up. His pants were pinned to his rear and the backs of his legs.

Back at our host’s house, he stripped and spread-eagled on a bean bag chair while I searched for a flashlight to light the thin cactus stickers which matched his body hair in color and texture.

In mid “operation”, my main concern was trying to decide where to place my left hand (I’m right-handed) so he wouldn’t wallop me.

I pulled spines for 15 minutes and decided the remaining spines would need to work out themselves. Mike agreed, but he didn’t smile.

A couple of months later, he presented me with the plaque you see here. The cactus spines took a few more months to work themselves out. For months, whenever I saw him, my question would be the same: “How’s your a….?”

golden tweezer award

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Quaker Clock

An old clock sits on a mantleThe inscription reads —

“Presented to J & G (last name) on the Golden Anniversary of their wedding with the loving congratulations and warm esteem of your friends and fellow members of Plymouth Meeting.”

They were Quakers. Quakers called their groups “meetings”, not congregations. Plymouth Meeting was the group at Plymouth Rock. That’s a bit of history! The date on the engraved plate? May 15, 1885!

This means I now have a clock presented to a couple that was married in 1835. Amazing!

I bought the clock in southeastern Wisconsin. It weighs about 30 pounds. How, when and why it got from Plymouth Rock to SE Wisconsin are unknown, but somebody (or somebodies) must have moved west.

The clock was offered at an estate auction of a man who owned a jewelry store and clock repair business. The clock was, at some point, brought to him for repair, then never picked up.

Amazing, again, that it was never picked up! The clock was not repaired and does not run. Amazing, too, that it was not repaired. Maybe the jeweler died before he could get to it. But why didn’t the family retrieve it then?

We didn’t try to find the family. The search might have been fruitless. There was no identifying tag with the clock.

Should we have searched? We debated it, then decided “let bygones be bygones” and let it rest.

We’re comfortable with that.

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Squirrels … Amusing & Maddening

Suspicious grey squirrel

We have a bunch (call them The Wild Bunch) of gray squirrels on our lawn, leaving only tracks in the snow at the moment, and a couple of little red squirrels.  Don’t see much of the red squirrels (also known as pine squirrels or chickarees), probably because we don’t have many pine trees.

But we see the gray squirrels often.  They are up and about and feeding (in our bird feeders and suet wire cages) early.  About 7 am at the moment.  We can’t decide whether they are fun to watch or maddening.  Probably both, especially on bird feeders.  When two try to approach, there’s a swift, short squirrel fight.  Winner stays on the feeder.  Loser scrams, usually up a nearby tree.

They all dine well and often.  Not a skinny squirrel in the bunch.

They have nest holes in a big maple not far from a big window on the south side of our house.  We get “at leisure” photos there every once in a while, like the one shown above.

Grey squirrel Grey squirrel

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Add a CHRISTMAS Thrill With This Book

IN THE LAND OF THE BEAR

Danger and adventure hunting brown

bear in Russia’s forbidding Siberia

 

We ship the day your order is received!

 

 

IN THE LAND OF THE BEAR is an inside look at the excitement, mystery, danger, and adventure of hunting huge, aggressive brown bears (moose, sheep, and red stag, too), and traveling in Russia from 1991 through 2011, a time of political turmoil when the Soviet Union was evolving into Russia.

            In addition to hair-raising stories of lethal brown bear attacks on people and livestock, bears digging up coffins in cemeteries bears invading camps, and brown and grizzly bear hunting in general, the book contains a historical perspective of what was happening politically at that time in Russia, detailing how the Siberian people lived, worked, survived … and how they viewed ordinary Americans (favorably).

by Denny Geurink…22 years a brown bear & moose guide/outfitter in a strange land among a foreign culture

23 CHAPTERS OF ADVENTURE

FEATURING…

  • Bear Attacks –“Girl Calls to Say Goodbye as Bear Kills & Eats Her” & others
  • The People
  • The Food (Fish Bread, That’s Not Pasta, Moose Meat Surprise, Nothing Goes to Waste)
  • The Culture
  • Surrounded by Bears
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (hunters)

PLUS…

  • Hanging Out with the KGB
  • Tales from Grizzly Camp
  • Excitement in Camp
  • Bear Charges Snowmobile
  • More Bear-Attack Adventures

AND 12 MORE FASCINATING CHAPTERS…  

Paperback, 6” x 9”, 286 pages

TO ORDER, go to www.targetcommbooks.com

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3 On a Buck

In 1950 (I think it was) my brothers and I wanted to go to Dad’s deer camp, so the Saturday after Thanksgiving Mom loaded all three of us into the car and away we went. Mom said the road was icy in spots. As brothers often do, we fought a bit on the way. Mom was afraid our activity would rock the car off the road.
Mom said years later that the ride was not a fun ride for her. We were old enough then to understand and beg a bit for forgiveness.

At camp, the weather obviously was cold, and had been cold for a while.

I don’t know whether Mom or Dad had the bright idea of cutting down a frozen buck, leaning it head-first against a tree, and then having all three of us pile on, which we did willingly. Nice antlers on the buck. I assume Dad shot the buck. He shot a lot of them in the 1940s and 1950s.

Mom ‘just happened’ to have a camera handy and recorded us for posterity, whether or not posterity thought it was a good idea. I imagine she giggled while taking the photo. She was good at taking photos of a slightly goofy nature. (No, I will not show you a photo of me sitting in a square tub in our backyard in the middle of summer. But it exists.)

Jon sits on the buck’s shoulders. He was 5. Lee is in the middle. He was 3. Bespectacled me anchors the back end. I was 7. Yes, I outpaced both of them in growth rate, by quite a bunch, for years.

Do I love this photo? Indeed I do. So does Lee. Jon is deceased. He died in a one-car crash when he was 23. I’ll tell you a lot about him in future posts. Things happened to him. A lot, and frequently. But he was a great brother and one hell of a shot at deer, coyotes and birds that flew through the air.

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Letter From Bear Book Fan

Dear Bill, Glen and anyone else who contributed to the “bear hunting obsession” book…

 

Here is my story, and I’m sticking to it.  I am a 57-year-old hunter from Milwaukee.  I mostly hunt deer, by bow, crossbow, rifle and muzzleloader.

However, I have hunted birds in Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska.  I have hunted whitetails and muleys in Nebraska.

In Wisconsin, I hunt on 60 acres in eastern Jackson County, which is part of a cranberry farm.  When I first got access to this area, I wanted to put out a camera to see the deer in that area.  So I put out Craines Kettle Corn (brother’s company) and buck jam.

The bears were happy to pose while eating this kettle corn.  I have a picture hanging in our family room of a large sow with a yearling eating this kettle corn years ago — one of the best pictures I have.

But I wanted them to go away, as I was just a deer hunter.

As I got older, I added killing a black bear to my bucket list.  Figuring I would get one in Ontario, where I have fished 30 years.

Then this June I saw a couple of big bears on my trail cameras.  I know that these bears were big.  I know everyone thinks big, but I was assured by bear hunters around me, whom I know, that these bears were big.  They told me I should be hunting them and said I have a great spot to do so.  I thought … BUCKET LIST.  It is moving home.  I have the chance to do this now.

I read everything the DNR put on the internet about bears, but I don’t do the internet well and I don’t read books.  LOL!

I asked my bear hunting crowd thousands of questions, and they helped me, but they are a secretive bunch.

Well, I saw this book you wrote and ordered it through the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association.  If you ask my dear mother, she’ll say I never read any of those books I was supposed to in my 12 years of schooling.

Your book…I COULD NOT PUT DOWN!  I read it immediately.  Twice.  Ok…I did not read all the recipes, but I learned a lot.  In part of the book, Bill, you said you have the knowledge but might not be able to convey it.  I get that, and Glenn did an awesome job with that.

I think the most important thing I learned was preparation, and what I will do after the kill.  This I have asked of my friends, and they have agreed to help me some day.  I also tell myself I probably will make mistakes, but I think I will make fewer because of you both.  Yes, I will be prepared.

On July 1, I got my first bear point in Wisconsin.  May not seem like a lot to some folks, but you two lit a fire in this old boy’s mind, body and soul.

Also, being a school engineer with the covid crisis and things happening in our great country, I needed something to take me away.  Thank you for that — your book did that.

So, with all that being said, your Obsession has been passed on to me, and I hope to pass it on as well.

I am now a bear hunter!  I haven’t even spent time baiting or chasing them yet.  I cannot wait to feel the whole stand shaking with my first encounter.

 

John W. Crain, Milwaukee, WI

 

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A Couple of Memorable Meals!

For openers…Fish Bread and That’s Not Pasta

Fish Bread

This photo is the property of kitchenjoy.com and they own any rights and controls of this image.

This is just an example of the fish bread mentioned. This photo is the property of kitchenjoy.com

One of the strangest culinary items I encountered in Russia was served by a camp cook. We were staying in a small village about 400 miles east of Moscow. Our cook was a kind, grandmotherly lady named Anna. She told us that during our stay she wanted to introduce us to some of the local foods she grew up on during the old Soviet Union days. She wanted us to try things we may not have had a chance to eat back home.

            One day, however, she really pushed the envelope.  Dmitri and I were sitting at the dining room table having a cup of coffee when Anna walked in with a loaf of fresh bread she had just pulled from the oven.  The warm loaf looked and smelled inviting, with its golden brown hue and soft texture.  Anna said something to Dmitri as she set the loaf on the table and handed Dmitri a knife. Dmitri got a strange expression and turned to me.

            “Anna says this is fish bread, whatever that is.”  He gave the bread the evil eye.

            “I’ve never heard of fish bread. I don’t know what it is. Maybe she ground up some fish and added it to the flour when she cooked it. A loaf of bread that tastes like fish doesn’t sound good to me,” he added.

            “Can’t say I want to eat fish bread, either,” I replied, “but we don’t want to offend Anna. Let’s give it a shot.”

            Dmitri took the big knife and cut the bread about a third of the way into the loaf. There, smack in the middle of the loaf, surrounded by baked dough, was an entire fish. Head, tail, fins, scales, and everything! The head poked out of the piece Dmitri had just cut, and the cooked fish stared up at us with glassy eyes.

            Dmitri gagged and pushed the bread away, cursing in Russian. I don’t know exactly what he said, but, believe me, he was cursing.

            I felt sorry for Anna as she scooped the loaf of bread off the table and rushed out of the room. I swear the fish stuck out its tongue at us as Anna darted to the kitchen.

            Later that afternoon, she returned with a fresh loaf of cheese bread. That was more like it! A loaf of fresh, warm bread with cheese baked in the middle of it is much more palatable.

That’s Not Pasta!

One of my most unusual encounters with Russian food occurred in a moose hunting camp.  A client had scored on a big bull moose, and the guides had brought some of the meat back to camp for dinner. I was eagerly looking forward to my first taste of moose meat.

            At dinner time Dmitri called us to the cook tent. We sat down around a large wooden table, flanked on each side by 2×8 planks of rough sawn wood that stretched from one stump to another and served as benches.  The cook placed in front of us a bowl of two- to three-inch by half-inch strips of thin, white pasta in a cheese sauce. It looked like fettuccine.

            I ate the bowl of pasta with gusto and waited eagerly for the moose steaks to follow. As I could see, the cook wasn’t quite ready with the steaks, I asked Dmitri if the cook could give me another bowl while we waited.

            “That’s a tasty pasta dish he whipped up,” I said, handing my bowl to the cook. “Tell him he did a great job.”

            “What pasta?” Dmitri asked.

            “The pasta we just ate.”

            “That’s not pasta.”

            “It’s not?” I said incredulously. “Then what is it?”

            “It’s the sinus cavity from the moose,” Dmitri said with a grin. “You want some more?”

            “The sinus cavity of a moose? Aaaaaghh! Never mind, I’ll pass.”

            “But you said it was tasty,” Dmitri said, still grinning.

            “Not any more!”

For details, and to order IN THE LAND OF THE BEAR, go to www.targetcommbooks.com

IN THE LAND OF THE BEAR

by Dennis Geurink

Paperback, 6″ x 9″, 280 pages

 

About Denny Geurink

    Denny’s book is all about the danger and adventure of hunting brown bears in Russia’s forbidding Siberia, in a strange land among a foreign culture.

    The book has 23 exciting, sometimes danger-filled, chapters, among them:  Journey to the Evil Empire, Hanging Out with the KGB, bear attacks, the people, the food, the culture, Surrounded by Bears, A Lesson on Fear, Tales from Grizzly Camp, Bear Excitement in Camp, Bear Charges Snowmobile, and more.

    He led hunting and fishing expeditions to Russia 1991-2018, during which time he became the No. 1 brown bear outfitter in the world.

    Denny was an elementary math, science, and English teacher 1969-1985 in Jenison, Michigan.  He wrote a weekly outdoor column that appeared in more than 10 different newspapers 1972-2012 and was Midwest Editor for FIELD & STREAM magazine 1985-1992.  He was the host of a weekly outdoor TV show 1993-2004.

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MORE “Patience” Tips For Turkey Hunters

Inclination is the joker in the patience game…your inclination to make something happen.

You could be doing as much walking as sitting, so good boots will add to your comfort. Here, again, technology has prevailed. I used to wear an old pair of uninsulated rubber boots as standard footwear since I spend a lot of time wading water in the swamps and hardwood bottoms.  They were great boots, but they fit so tight at the ankles you “pull up porch boards” trying to get them off.

Boots

Muck Boots, LaCrosse and several other companies still make uninsulated rubber boots that are great for hunting in the Southern swamp country, but new technology makes them much easier to get on and off.

If there are poisonous snakes in the area you plan to hunt, you can add to your peace of mind by wearing some protection.  Rocky and several other companies make snake-proof boots that are lightweight and comfortable. If you plan to hunt in Texas where snakes are plentiful, the 16-inch high boots will also provide some protection from prickly pears which are more numerous than snakes.

Snakes

When I was the president of an NWTF chapter in middle Tennessee I would book a guest to speak at our monthly meetings to keep interest and attendance up.  The featured speaker at one memorable meeting was a doctor who was also a turkey hunter.  I had asked him to do a presentation on emergency treatment for snake bites, shock and any other medical crisis that a hunter might encounter in the turkey woods.  The meeting was very well attended with everyone expecting some profound information on snake bite treatment from the good doctor.

When I introduced him, he stood up, faced the audience and said, “If you get a poisonous snake bite, the one most important item you can have on your person is” … he reached in his pocket, pulled out an item, held it up and said “a set of car keys.  If you get bitten,” he said, “walk to your car, get in and drive to the nearest hospital.  No tourniquets.  No cutting holes in your skin and sucking out the poison.  Hospitals have very effective treatments for snake bites these days so get yourself to one.”

To add to that I say look where you walk and, more importantly, look where you sit.

For turkey hunting boots, lightweight, comfortable and waterproof are my main concerns, and the boots should be at least eight inches high.

Clothing

Clothing can cause some discomfort if the materials are not matched to the weather conditions.  There are many good camo patterns available for turkey hunters today.  They are available in weights that will keep you comfortable in all weather conditions and temperatures and concealed from prying eyes, if you hold still.  High tech clothes designed especially for turkey hunters are also available from many clothing manufacturers including Russell Outdoors for Mossy Oak, Whitewater for Real Tree and Ol’ Tom and Mad Dog in either pattern.  Turkey vests with multiple pockets are also handy and available from many of the clothing manufacturers.

Vests

I keep two different vests packed and ready at all times.  One vest is packed for extended excursions with all of the possibles I think I might need to keep me comfortable and patient, and one is packed for brief sashays with a few calls, gloves and a face mask for quick hunts on small hit or miss pieces of property.  Lightweight rain gear that folds and fits in your turkey vest pocket can save you a lot of misery and let you ride out a spring shower without having to go to the truck.  Make sure your face mask is comfortable and effective.  Look in the mirror sometime before you start hunting to see what your face mask covers up.  I now use a half mask and pull it up over my nose.

Gloves

I have two pairs of camo gloves, one for warm weather and one for cold weather.  I cut all the fingers off both hands or each pair of gloves for comfort and the ability to handle little things like diaphragm calls.

Water & Snacks

You should have a flask or a bladder or a plastic bottle that will hold 20 or more ounces of water if you plan to be out for any time.  I also carry some Zip-loc bags filled with homemade venison jerky and trail mix in my turkey vest pockets to lend patience to my appetite.  Once you have all of your comfort gear laid out, all you have to do is check the weather before you leave the house, put on the right clothes , make sure you’re heading for an area that holds turkeys and you have more than two-thirds of the patience formula whipped.  You can go out there and sit all day if you’re so inclined.

Inclinations

Inclination is the joker in the patience game.  If this is your only day off or the last day of the season or your only chance to hunt this property, or if you’re hunting with an outfitter, your inclination is built in and you will stay until the last ray of hope fades in the West.  In other situations you may have plenty of it when you start out but when nothing is happening and the hours start dragging you start thinking about things you should be doing.  When you start thinking about other places that might be better and wondering why you didn’t go there in the first place your inclination is going fast.  You might even decide to quit hunting and mow the lawn.

Wait!

Patience played a major roll in just about every one of my successful turkey hunts.  Wait!  That’s the key word here.  Wait until he’s on the ground, wait until the hens leave, wait a while between callsonce you get him coming in and wait until he gets close enough to shoot.  Wait…Wait…Wait!  The hardest waiting is between the time you get him cranked up and when he gets in range.

You have patience on one shoulder telling you to “be cool, he’s coming, just relax, he’s taking his turkey time, don’t try to rush things.”  On the other shoulder you have impatience screaming in your ear to “be aggressive, make something happen, move closer, throw in some cutts and cackles, he’s going to lose interest, he’s going to get away!”

Impatience is hard to ignore, but patience puts the bird in the oven.  To paraprase Mark Twain, “All good things arrive unto them that wait — if they don’t die in the meantime.”

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Turkey Hunting — The Patience Factor and Insect Repellents

He putted, turned back down the hill and sailed out of my life.  That was the first time that season I ran off a gobbler by moving too soon.

Walk to a likely spot, set up, owl and crow call then knock out some lost-hen yelps on the box call.  Wait five minutes and do some more turkey calling.  Repeat the sequence:  call, look, listen, then call again.  Stay in one spot at least 30 minutes, and then move to the next likely spot.

That morning, after about 20 minutes, I got a case of happy feet and decided to move.  As I was getting to my feet, I came face to face with the biggest gobbler in three counties as he was coming over the rise in front o me.  He putted, turned back down the hill and sailed out of my life.  That was the first time that season I ran off a gobbler by moving too soon.

How soon is too soon?  I don’t know. I’ve had the same thing happen after 45 minutes to an hour and a half.  It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens often enough to make me scratch my head and wonder “how long it takes to take long enough”. Every time I run a turkey off by moving too soon or trying to rush things, I re-examine the attributes of being patient and staying put.

Patience.  That dull, plodding and immensely boring word has always been more of a concept than practice for me, but I don’t mind preaching it to you.  Of all the turkey hunting skills you will need to cultivate, on a scale of 1 to 10, patience will get a big 9, every time.

No one is born patient.  We have to learn to be patient. It is an acquired skill if you can call anything as fickle and fragile as patience a skill.  We have to nurture and cultivate patience.

It takes patience to learn to be patient.  I’ve worked on being patient all my life.  I finally got something like a handle on it by determining and then analyzing the factors that create a “patience” atmosphere for me.  Here is what I came up with: Patience equals Confidence plus Comfort multiplied by three, plus or minus Inclination. Once you know the factors that make up Patience, you can weigh the individual values of each factor for a given situation and determine how long your patience is going to hold out for a particular hunt.

Confidence is a crucial element in the patient formula.  If you are confident something good is going to happen but you just don’t know when then you can sit still for a long time. If you don’t think there any turkeys in an area you won’t have the patience to sit for long because you have no confidence in the area. If you don’t have any confidence in getting a turkey cranked up at noon, go eat lunch at noon. If you think turkeys are out there laughing at your calls, you won’t have enough confidence in your calling to stay put for long, so find at least one calling device that you have confidence in.

Comfort is the square foot of patience (to use another vague mathematical term). The greater your discomfort, the less time it will take for your patience to run out. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can placate your patience with comfort enhancement.

Examining comfort from the ground up, one of the most important pieces in your arsenal is your seat cushion. You can stay in the game as long as you can sit still. When you start to wiggle and squirm you will, for sure, get caught. If you are tough enough to endure pain for long periods of time and still maintain concentration then sit on a half inch of foam, but I’m betting it will eventually bite you. Right in the butt! You can sit perfectly still for three hours then shift your weight slightly to relieve an itch and that is when you will hear the alarm putt. I know you won’t sit completely still for any length of time when you are hunting because you will be calling and looking and turning your head, but the squirming and wiggling is what seems to get them. It could be the turkeys’ innate good luck, an incessant coincidence or divine intervention by the turkey gods, but turkeys always seem to be watching you when you hope they aren’t.

Most modern turkey vests come with cushions attached, but most of them are inadequate. The small webbed stools are comfortable, but I feel like I am less obvious if I am closer to the ground. The small inner tube stuffed in a camo pouch with a shoulder strap for easy carrying makes my long sits bearable. I sit on the inner tube and put the cushion that came attached to my vest in the game bag and use it for a back rest. I’m comfortable now; I can sit still for a long watch.

In the spring, insects and ticks are a discomfort that has to be dealt with to boost your patience quotient.

Ticks carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and some diseases that I can’t even spell.  Their bite can cause severe allergic reactions.  There are a couple of “repelllants” that will reduce the number of tick bites you will get in a season, but doubtful if they will eliminate all bites.

The most popular repellants contain DEET.  It doesn’t really repel ticks; it confuses them. Ticks locate their hosts by zeroing in on the CO2 that is eliminated from our bodies  through breath and skin pores. DEET-based repellants mask the CO2 so the tick can’t find you or doesn’t know what it has found when it does.

The repellant I use contains Permethrin and it has been a lifesaver for me. I have been treated three times for Lyme disease, and my skin is hypersensitive to tick bits. Since I started using permethrin-based repellants 20 years ago, I only get a bite where and when I forget to spray myself.  It is most effective when applied to clothing since it becomes ineffective soon after contact with skin. It does not repel ticks, it kills them. Same with chiggers.

Later in the spring, in certain areas of the country, mosquitoes can add to your discomfort. DEET-based repellants can effectively protect you from mosquito bites, but they are messy and irritating to eyes and sensitive skin. ThermaCELL to the rescue.  This ingenious little device uses a disposable butane cartridge to heat a pad saturated with Allethrin, a synthetic copy of a naturally occurring insecticide. The heated pad disperses the fumes and creates a 15-foot by 15-foot more or less bug free zone.

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