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River Report - November 19, 2016

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report.
It’s been an exciting couple of weeks in the woods.  I’ve been neck deep in one last push for grouse and thick in a battle of wits with bucks from my bow stand.  I had a pile of close encounters with good bucks on the front end of the rut last week.  There were the two sets of two bucks fighting in the field just out of range.  And there was the trio of bucks hounding one frazzled looking doe.  All three came in, mouths open, tongues out, and grunting back at every call I made to them.

And then there was all the other good stuff.  The stuff, that folks who don’t hunt and fish rarely experience.  The stuff that makes them love the outdoors even though they don’t like the visceral nature of the harvest.  I get that feeling, by the way.  And so does every ethical hunter.  It can be tough to see on the face of a person elated with the thrill of their accomplishment, but no true hunter revels in death.  In fact, the thrill ends shortly after the find.  Then it’s all about work that respects the animal.

Anyway, the stuff that I’m talking about is being immersed silently in the wild, trying to be invisible and being witness to nature happening.  I suggest that for everyone interested in the wild world.  Regardless of how you capture an animal—be it photography or harvest—sink into the woods and become a hunter in your own right.

I’m talking about stuff like the owl that soared directly at my friend’s hunting blind only to pull up two feet away and land in the tree behind him hooting like the king of the forest.  I’m talking about the grouse that slipped under cover seconds before a hawk swooped deeply through the pines just inches from my hiding spot.  And I’m talking about every animal I see that doesn’t know I’m there.  I’m talking about being part of it.

I hope everyone in the woods is appreciating that stuff.  Especially, since the full moon and warm weather has made for tough hunting.  Opening Day numbers were down as much as 20% according one DNR source.  So there are lots of jokes in text strings about knowing a good Blue Jay recipe.  But hang in there hunters—seasonable weather is on the way.

Take care,