For me, it was a long autumn and early winter. I couldn’t wait for deer season to be over. I have plenty of venison from previous years and I am beyond yearning for trophy heads, so there was no reason for me to take up a deer rifle. My trips to the woods were limited because I didn’t want to disturb any of my deer hunter friends who were diligently trying to fill the freezer or that empty space on the den wall.
When the season in the northern zone was finished, I climbed aboard my electric-powered Beast-Buggy and spent an entire day in the woods. I filled my feeders with corn, installed new batteries and checked all the trail cameras. The very next morning, I had a myriad of neat photographs. Feed them, and they will come.
It’s now been almost two weeks, and my photo file is growing. Among the jewels is a close-up of a female red fox of the blonde persuasion. She was primed out and very fat -- because she was very pregnant. She’s a little early since the kits are not usually born until April or May. She will have a litter sometime in March. Three days later, on the same camera, I got a great photo of a male -- likely her mate. Unlike the bobcat, the male red fox will assist in caring for the female and the youngsters. I treasure these photos because red foxes are not in abundant supply due to decimation by coyotes.
Gray foxes are not so scarce, and my 2012 photo album now includes several, including one pair running together. And coyotes? Oh, yes -- several yodel dogs. I haven’t hunted these on my land for two years. From now until turkey season, I plan to thin these deer and turkey killers as much as possible. There are two black ones showing up on camera. About one in 20 Georgia coyotes are black. This is more common in Eastern coyotes than their Western brothers.
My friends who hunt deer on this land tell me that the deer have left our land. Not a single one was killed during the final two weeks of the season. Actually, they didn’t go anywhere. Due to hunting pressure, they went nocturnal and changed their schedules after patterning the early and late hunters. At this writing, I just finished editing my trail camera memory cards. Noticing the time on the camera clocks, I figured that just last night I got pictures of 13 different deer, including two nice bucks that would make any den wall look good.
The same two bobcats I have seen all year showed up on camera. The male seems like he has been taking steroids.
The time stamps also showed me that I photographed two different flocks of wild turkeys -- unfortunately mostly hens. The gobblers are running in bachelor groups, but they will trip the shutter before long.
When you are having this much fun, who needs a gun?
Emory Josey is a freelance writer who has a weekly column. Send questions for him to The Telegraph, P.O. Box 4167, Macon, Ga., 31208-4167, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org