Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 64

Lock, Stock & Barrel The Shooters’ Corner By Jim Romanelli By Don Lewis Lucky Timing FTER THE NEXT SNOW find a set of fresh red fox tracks and follow them. Last winter, my younger son, Daniel, and I did just this. Naturally, he had to tolerate another “When I was a kid . . . ” story. Back then, like hounds on trail, our idea of winter fun was to follow a set of fox tracks to see where they would take us. We chased the notion that the fox could lead us to someplace important. Whether we realized it at the time, they always did. Jumping a red fox from its day bed and watching it run from us through woods, with bushy white-tipped tail a-flyin’, streaking across a dazzling field of white was the ultimate prize. A mature red fox in mid-winter fur is never so red as when observed against sunlit snow. And neither is the color of blood. If you follow a red fox long enough, and far enough, sooner or later you’ll discover how it survives our northern climate. Like us, a fox must eat to live. Perhaps you’ll find a tiny speck of red where reynard caught a meadow vole beneath the snow. A fox’s hearing and smell are developed far beyond our own. With our paltry senses, if we were foxes, we most certainly would starve. If you look closely, you’ll see where the fox hunkered in the snow, four paws only slightly apart, leaped into the air and came down, missile-like, with muzzle and forepaws nearly together. If it misses its mark the first time, you may see these signs repeatedly until the prey escapes, or a tuft of dark gray fur or spot of red spell nourishment. A fox’s single file, slightly offset tracks might take you to an overgrown fencerow or greenbrier thicket. This is where Daniel and I were lead. And, probably like the fox, we were in for a surprise. This thicket is a good two acres in size. During rifle season, deer lie low and tight here until booted out, almost like rabbits. Pushing through this entanglement is certain to draw blood, at least on the exposed skin of the hunter. No blood suggests you were lucky or cheated by merely skirting the edges. Rather than bullying headlong into the jaggy mess, we deliberately backed in. With its aerodynamic shape and protective fur, I’m certain the fox gave no thought to entry. That’s what instinct does. Or hunger. Whoever said, “The most efficient route between two points is always the path of least resistance,” must have hunted greenbrier thickets. Cottontail tracks and brown pellets were everywhere. Not until we had reached the far side of the thicket did we notice a change in the fox’s tracks. They went from synchronous and distinct to blurred and nearly unreadable. Speed did this. The fox had jumped a rabbit that foolishly bolted from thick cover into open woods. Their lengthened strides meshed indistinctly and ended in less than 200 yards. Like cattail fluff blown by autumn winds, brown, gray and white fur was strewn everywhere. Without snow, the full story would not have been told. At the point of contact, clearly etched in the snow were the wing marks of another hunter, likely a great-horned owl. It was lucky timing By Gregg Rinkus for the owl. 64 GAME NEWS A

Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009

Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009
Contents
2007-08 Annual Report
Untagged Traps
Field Notes
Conservation News
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Fun Game
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 2007-08 Annual Report
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 12
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 18
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 21
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Untagged Traps
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2009 - Cover4
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