Easing down the old logging road with his trusty ol’ .22 in his hand, he thought, “another couple of years and this old log road will dissapear”.
It is squirrel season and “Patch” is making ever widening circles out ahead of him, casting about for a squirrel trail.
Even though there had not been a vehicle down the old road for years, it was obvious that it was still well traveled. The road traveled down a ridge towards a small stream. Wild life was using it even though man was not.
Nearly grown over with saplings of various species, it was difficult to walk, without stooping occasionaly, to pass through a more grown over area.
Coming out of one such area, he had found a recent Buck Scrape under an overhanging tree branch. Further along he found several Buck Rubs. This particular Buck seemed to prefer the small dogwood trees that grew in the edge of this old road. He thought, “seems as if the rut may be a little early coming on this year”.
About that time, Patch struck a trail that really “grabbed” her by the nose. She had turned sharply with her nose very close to the ground, following a sent trail for a short distance. Going just a few feet off of the road, Patch suddenly stopped and looked over her shoulder, waiting for him to walk up.
Patch had been scolded for “working” fresh deer sent before. Remembering the lesson, she had picked her nose up off of the ground and looked at him as if to say, ” nope, I ain’t a’ working that track” !
When he walked up to where she had stopped to wait for him, he could see a freshly “serviced” Buck scrape. Patting her gently on the head he told her, “good girl”, “ok, get ahead”.
As he stepped back out into the old road, he could see that Turkeys had been scratching for grubs and so forth in the tire ruts where leaves could accumilate.
A loose Turkey feather lay there on the ground. As he reached for it, he hears Patch giving that squeal that he had been waiting for.
She had found that Squirrel track she had been searching for.
Nearly as soon as Patch dissapeared into the streamside hardwoods, he could hear her giving her “treed” bark.
About the time he got to where he could see which tree Patch was on, it struck him just how beautiful this place was.
Early morning sun light was shining through slightly yellowing Hickory tree leaves, lighting the whole area up with a kind of a “glow”. The nearby stream gave off a gentle gurgling sound that added to the beauty of the place.
Pausing to take in the beauty for just a second before going to Patch’s tree, he was reminded of a line from the Wizard of Oz.. Dorothy had said, “there’s no place like home”.