|Father-In-Law John McQuade, An avid hunter and fisherman|
He was an avid hunter and fisherman, but was not someone who enjoyed killing for the sake of killing, although he was a deadly marksman and unsurpassed woodsman who had the capability and opportunity to kill large numbers of animals, yet he chose not to do so. He spent every day afield in rifle buck season, yet only killed one buck in the time that I knew him, although he had the opportunity to kill several each year. He did this simply because he enjoyed being afield, and hunting for a buck was his excuse for doing so. He said he was looking for a trophy buck, but he set his standards so impossibly high that he only killed one in the time that I knew him, which was the last year that we hunted at the camp where he was caretaker. He shot a five-point on the first day, which was completely out of character for him, but the camp was sold sometime after season and that chapter in life came to a close. I think he knew this was coming and wanted to kill one final buck there, so for once he did not hold out for the unattainable trophy. The bottom line was that he did more deer hunting than most people, but killed very few and enjoyed his hunting more than anyone I knew. His favorite sport was hunting mature Eastern Wild Turkey Gobblers and no one I knew was better at bagging one than he, yet he always stopped hunting when he took the one gobbler that the law allowed. He grew up when all turkey hunting was done in the fall and hated spring gobbler hunting with a passion and called it, "hunting turkeys in the summertime". He thought that hunting turkeys during the mating season was too easy.
The point of telling this is that I soon realized that he was seeing a lot more wildlife than I was, and my attitude slowly began to shift as I pondered on the situation, realized part of the reason why this was, and eventually found myself approaching some things in a different manner.
I was a dedicated woodchuck or "groundhog" hunter from the time I began hunting, until the time I stopped somewhere in the mid-1990s. Like hunting deer, I thought I would hunt groundhogs as long as I was physically able. There was nothing I liked better than getting on a stand overlooking meadows with large woodchuck populations and spending an evening shooting groundhogs. One shot at the first groundhog that appeared, and in areas with good clover or alfalfa hay, which is prime woodchuck habitat, it was common to shoot several animals during the course of an evening or morning. In most cases, other chucks would emerge to feed within fifteen minutes or so and one would have another chance. We were taught from an early age that shooting this animals was a good thing as they made holes in the fields that caused injury to livestock, damaged farm equipment, and cut into the farmer's profits, by consuming forage that he could otherwise use for feed. (For more on this subject read Coy Hill's post "Groundhogs And Mid-Winter Thoughts" at Country Captures)
|Woodchuck Hunting Habitat|
|Eastern Woodchuck In A Marksman's Favorite Position|
|Turkey Feeding In A Summer Meadow|
|Whitetail Doe And Fawn At Meadow's Edge|
Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill