This May, I was presented with an unusual opportunity. At least, unusual for me. My wife's sister was getting married, and my wife was headed home for the week and she was taking our son! It was going to be like being a bachelor again.
I packed days before my wife even left. The weather had been beautiful, in the 90's and low humidity and only a slight breeze. Friday morning started off this way, but by noon, clouds had started rolling in and the temperature was dropping. The temps dropped enough that the tank tops I was wearing and brought for the weekend were not going to be enough to keep me alive, much less, comfortable.
I swung by the house after work and picked up my Carhartt jacket. And headed for my little piece of heaven lakeside. I arrived at camp at 7:30 pm with enough time for me to throw some stuff out of the car and head out to call for some coyotes. When I headed out to the wildlife area, I became aware that they had controlled burned the area in which I normally hunt. I now had less than high expectations for seeing any coyotes.
I was correct. There were no coyotes to be found. My theory is that the lack of cover and lack of small rodents attributed to this. I am curious how long it will take for them to come back? Interestingly, while walking through the newly sprouted shoots of grass in the burn area, I came upon many turtle shells, though I unfortunately did not take pictures of these. This leads me to believe that burning, in fact, kills much of the small wildlife in the area. I am anxious to watch how the area rebounds as I continue to hunt this region. I hope that I will find large numbers of turkey and deer as I did last year.
With nothing but time and no cell phone to answer to, and no one to entertain, I retreated to my camp to enjoy a few beers and listen to the radio.
The next morning, I awoke to a gobble right outside my tent, a nice rio-grande tom with about a 10 inch beard. He retreated as I flailed my way out of the tent flap. The camp-coons, educated and destructive managed to figure out exactly how to open my cooler. They robbed me of my hot-dog buns but the Coke and beer was left untouched, luckily. The sun was just rising, so I grabbed my favorite rifle and headed out to a prairie dog town, which was quite a long walk, in fact. I took plenty of ammunition and water to last me the day.
I stationed myself on the only hill in the area and began unloading on the prairie dogs. A .243 does more damage to prairie dogs than I could post on this forum in pictures, but needless to say, it was sufficient. And with the 20-30 mph winds, I learned about adjusting for wind drift with the loads I’m shooting.
I shot nearly all day. After a couple good shots, I'd roll over and take a nap for a little while and watch the clouds. I'm really beginning to learn the importance of relaxation, which is hard to do when you have a 1 year old son. In 5 more years, I intend on catching up on this though.
The trip was great with the exception of the cool and windy weather. The best part was that I got to spend time with just me and my thoughts. I like to use this time to contemplate my life and spend some time talking frankly with God. It feels great to take a low-stress trip with impromptu planning and no time table to worry about.
Below are some pics I took of the dog town I shot, which is at Kanopolis Lake in central Kansas.