Monday, November 26, 2012
The fall woods in Superior country is far from quiet. Once a person is settled into their stand and the rhythms of the woods get back to normal there is nothing but sounds. Wind in the balsams, black spruce, and white pine is constant background but everything from mice and voles to the big mammals are making noise as well. A mouse or vole scurrying across the leaves can be heard perfectly from 15' up in the tree. Red squirrels are noisy, both in their movements and the scolding we hunters receive when they come face to face with us in 'their' tree. The sound of bark and wood hitting the ground usually means looking up and seeing porky, a bundle of quills, gnawing on some tree thirty feet off the ground. I wish I could speak crow because they have an amazing vocabulary. Check out the Gifts of the Crow, an wonderful book on crow behavior. The only crow language I know is the raucous, maniacally excited, "Hey, we found an owl, get over here and help harass it!!" scream/call. The barred owl on the other hand is as quiet as a woodland creature can get. Other than it's, 'who, who, who cooks for you' call, it is entirely silent and makes zero sound as it flies through the forest. The coyotes howl from time to time and I heard one lone wolf howl, but the sound we really listen for is the crunch, crunch, crunch of the deer coming through the woods. They are almost impossible to see in the fall woods if they aren't moving and sounds like crunching leaves and breaking sticks are what we key on. Until we get 15" of snow that is, with another three added Saturday for good measure.