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Wolf Tracks

Arlene Hart worked tirelessly with butterflies of all species.

Dave Wolf, For The Sentinel

Thankfully the election is over, meaning those continual ads on TV, and unwanted phone calls have ended.

Regardless of who had won, the president paves the way for the future, and it affects us all; every man, woman and child. The outdoor community will more than likely change, but without a crystal ball, I’m not sure how or when.

I guess as we grow older we stop and think more often than we did in our younger days. My goal this week was to tag a buck, and I’m not certain if I will. But, I do have the freedom to roam here and there in pursuit; that in itself is a blessing we often take for granted.

It’s not difficult for me to mull over current events without conflict and arguments. I simply take the bow or shotgun, and head into the outdoors. This past week, I took my bow for a walk, and sat up against a convenient log. It was a minor scouting adventure since I had not hunted this small ravine before.

I did not see a single deer track, rub or scrape, any signs that a deer had been here in the previous days. I simply sat there propping my bow against a log, swigging some water and enjoying the rays of sunshine filtering through the colorful leafs.

There was no tension in my shoulders, and I never strained my eyes. I watched a gray squirrel gathering the few acorns strewn on the ground. He went about his business, and I went about mine. When shooting hours ended, I picked myself up and headed back to my Jeep. I wasn’t disappointed because I hadn’t expected to see a deer. In many ways, my bow was simply a reason for being there.

The day before I had gone pheasant hunting. Removing myself from the crowds, I walked the edges and kicked a few stalks of unharvested corn. I stopped at times to sit and look around me, again not expecting to see anything. Maybe I have learned to take nature as offered, just maybe harvesting another pheasant doesn’t matter.

I still hope to take a nice buck, and if I do, I will tell you all about it. No bragging, simply facts. The choices this time of year are many: squirrel, pheasant, cottontails and grouse. Don’t forget that bear season opened Nov. 19, and the archery season for bruins opened on the 14th.

Remember that the end of shooting hours has now changed with the loss of Daylight Savings Time. My wife loves the new hours, and I deplore them. But, there is nothing we can do about it. Just realize that hunting isn’t always about harvesting, it’s about the pursuit.

Yes, I want to take a deer, at least see enough to keep my interest. The issue of too many deer, or not enough, has been debated for years on end. I fall on the side of not enough on public lands.

While insurance agencies report that road-killed deer are up, we have to keep in mind that no trespassing posters litter the landscape. Karen and I see more deer around posted land than any other place.

While words often fail to convey a person’s inner-most thoughts, fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The leaves have peaked and the deer are moving, there is a crisp, fresh smell of the earth as dying leaves compost the land. Pheasants cackle from afar, and a black bear slips quietly through the mountain laurel.

Before you know it, winter will be upon us, so breathe deeply, and take it all in while it lasts.

I would like to dedicate this article to the memory of our dear friend, Arlene Hart, who labored tirelessly to preserve butterflies. Although Monarchs were her favorite, she spent countless hours researching, and photographing all species. Then she shared her discoveries with all who wanted to learn more about them. Despite her own personal frailties, she worked tirelessly to raise and tag them, gaining great joy as she watched them depart, and hopefully return the next year.

She encouraged others to plant milkweed, and take care of their own environment. She did not preach, she simply filled each fb post with a stunning photo, and an uplifting message. She and others like her will be missed; however, her legacy will be the love of nature she instilled in everyone who knew her.

Truth be told, she is the reason I sat in the deer woods where I didn’t expect to see a deer. They claim big boys don’t cry, but I did. Never before have I watched anything on my iPhone, or even looked at messages while outdoors, but on this night, I watched as her family live-streamed her memorial service. I smiled through the tears, in remembrance of a woman that so greatly touched our lives.

Dave Wolf may be reached by email at


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