I had Invited Rick up to spend the week end at my folks farm pat hunting and rabbits.
It was a bright beautiful Saturday morning when he arrived with the promise of Sunday being more of the same.
While he is enjoying a cup of coffee after the drive up from the Lansing area I make sandwiches. Mom had made fresh home made bread the day before figuring we would make sandwiches.
I finally finished up the sandwiches and filled the thermoses with coffee fresh brewed. Then we went out and drove about a mile to our wood lot where we would start our hunt.
Neither had a dog at this point we acted as our own dogs and not doing all that great of a job but passable.
First place we hit was a huge black berry patch just out side the woods in this case a birch grove. There were still a few black berries on the canes so the pats liked being there to clean up.
Heavy jeans are the ticket for tromping thru those briers with out ripping your legs off.
I had Rick work around to the far side of the patch then started my zig zag path thru there kicking up a couple groups getting a single from each group and Rick managed a couple as they flew past his stand.
Our next move was to walk a line thru the grove of birch trees about 150 yards thru. This area has grass nearly knew high to walk thru and several fallen birch trees perfect spot for rabbits.
This also one time when we still had cows was a favorite pasture spot for them.
We managed to kick a couple rabbits out one of which went into Ricks game bag. One lived a charmed life having came from under a log I kicked and promptly missed.
On the other side of the birch tree area is hard woods mostly Maple and a few Beech and a few Ash trees. We only went there to clean up any storm damaged trees as dad wanted them to expand naturally.
There are a few hemlock trees mixed in there where the pats like to go to dust them selves.
Pats as any one who lives in a area that has them and hunts them will tell you they can cause heart attacks to hunters with out dogs. They seem to be able to hide in the wide open then flush right under your nose nearly striking it as they flair up.
You really have to have self control so you do not go flock shooting. Took me years to learn that and pick a bird to swing on and shoot. I will not even pretend to know how many birds lived to see another day because I was flock shooting.
After the hard wood patch the property drops away down a hill with ferns nearly belly button high, scattered pine stumps still showing signs of the 1880(s) forest fire and thick popple trees from the clear cutting in the 1950’s.
I like hunting pats in this area after the leaves fall at the start of Oct.
Due to the thickness of the trees being able to swing is tough so being able to shoot where you hope for them to be rather than swing thru on them for a shot.
After you work thru that area there is a cedar swamp nearly all dead now after the beavers moved in about 10 years ago and flooded every thing. There is a trail my dad had cut thru there as payment for the right away for the logger to get behind our property.
Still another good area for rabbits and pats with the higher grass and trees fall by the beavers and left.
We were not burning fire wood any longer so we just never cleaned them up. We did not go back to burning fire wood again till the mid 1970’s.
By the time we finished working along the cedar swamp we came to the trail near the back line fence.
Walk that trail jumping a few more pats at sandy dusting areas then walked back up to the car for our sandwiches.
We cleaned the birds and rabbits then and put them on the cold packs in the cooler. After we finished lunch and took care of the game we walked back to the back line once again and decided to walk back even farther to the hill top over looking the huge beaver pond and a old logging camp clearing and decided would be a good place to set to give our legs a rest, maybe nap off and just talk about growing up and hunting.
Ricks family farm near Clare butted up to the tabbaco river where he would go trout fishing in the spring with an uncle and his mom. Said when spring came he would take me trout fishing on the river below us the beaver had damed up.
Finally after the rest we head to the clearing from the old 1800’s logging camp called camp13. It is even on the plat books till the 1980’s.
We make a line to the several wild apple trees around the camp as they have fallen and pats come there to fill up on a easy meal.
We get a few more there then head back to the folks wood lot. On the north side here and there there are small clearing made during the 1950 still used in the 1960’s as landing for pulp wood. Used to earn a nickel a log peeling bark off popple logs 8 feet long. Hard work for a young kid but spending money a plenty if you kept the draw knife sharp and worked.
Funny I still have that draw knife after all those years.
Even had the buck my dad made for me till the late 1990’s.
Small Game Hunting, Stories and Pictures
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