A while later, a hen turkey and seven of this year’s poults came by, occasionally scratching in the leaves looking for beech nuts. The old mother was rather nervous but not because I was in the area.
Suddenly, I saw movement a ways away in the beech brush. Three coyotes moved silently through the woods in front of me. The old hen took her chicks and headed back the way she had come.
Geese flew over and more chipmunks joined the parade — and this all happened during the first half-hour I was up in the tree.
I soon saw more movement off to my right. I slowly turned my head as a doe and a pair of this year’s fawn worked through the woods on their way to the open field behind me. I watched them continue along and wondered if this was the same trio I saw in the apples a couple of weeks ago. They were out of range, but I wouldn’t have released an arrow on them anyway. I was looking for meat for the freezer, not a doe that was producing fawns every year.
After a while, the sun settled below the horizon and a stillness crept through the forest. Just about the time I decided to climb down to the ground, I heard that little crotch horn again. “Eean ... eean ... eean.” He was still on the prowl, and I wished him luck.
I didn’t shoot anything that afternoon, but I didn’t care. I consider it an hour well spent.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.