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December 13, 2013

Winter is great, but always be prepared for the worst

Winter is one of my favorite times of the year.

It’s not just that I love to ski, but it’s a great time to be out in the woods. There’s very little snow on the ground right now, so hiking can be a lot of fun.

As a deer hunter, I feel that now is the time to scout for next year’s deer. Sure there are a few hardy hunters that still have tags to fill, but I like to just wander the woods and see where the deer are traveling.

The other day, I followed a nice buck that I played with all season. I jumped him several times in the same general area and easily could have shot him once. But I was just meat hunting and hoped my grandson would get a chance to take him. After all, how many times have you sat at the dinner table when someone asked, “Will you pass the antlers please?” Heck, you can’t even chew them, and they don’t make good soup.

Other than scouting, just taking a nice hike can be invigorating. There’s so much to see in the woods. I watched a gray fox the other day hunting through the brush and around an old log. Besides that, I have followed bobcat tracks all over my hill. I saw a large cat last year, but there were just tracks this year. Turkeys are plentiful, too; they’re scratching for beechnuts under every tree.

The other day, someone asked me to suggest a spot for a nice hike. The trails at Gilbert Lake are wonderful. You can just walk around the lake or take the trail from the upper parking lot. It will take you to Lake of the Twin Fawns or even Ice Pond. It’s a leisurely walk through the woods on a gentle Jeep path.

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