Here we are folks. Fall. Cool weather. Hunting season. Going to the camp. Just kind of a “laid back” attitude.
Yeah, I know, we still have to feed cows, work on equipment and do day-to-day chores. But the days are getting shorter by the minute. At least we can be in by 6 p.m. (on old time) and see our local news. (We will go off daylight savings time shortly. I was born on old time and don't switch to the “government” time.)
I finally got to go squirrel hunting last weekend. Boy, in the bottomland hardwood forest in Madison Parish, La., Saturday, one would surely have to believe in a Higher Power. There wasn't a leaf wiggling, and it was cool enough that I really wasn't snake hunting.
Around 8 a.m., I saw my first squirrel. I figured it was a grey (cat) squirrel by the way it was tip-toeing up and down the limbs. Taking a large tree to conceal my stalk, I got to the huge old oak but could not see the squirrel.
The waiting game commenced. For probably 15 minutes I looked up. I looked up in every tree around me. A flicker caught my eye to my hard right. There, not 30 yards away, was a doe feeding. At least my stealth mode was working. Still no squirrel.
Watching the deer, another something else caught my eye again to my right, behind me. There, ambling in a direction between me and the deer was a small black bear cub. “Leapin' lizards,” I thought. “Where's Mama Bear?” The little bear wasn't making a sound, not looking for its mama. Had she already walked past me? Was there another cub somewhere? Would the deer snort and scare the bear(s) in such a fashion that they would run toward me?
Well, there was nothing to do but stand pat and see what would happen. I thought about the three loads of steel shot in the old Model 12 and dehydration. But as nature provides, the little bear made it past me and the deer before the deer saw or smelled the bear. The deer snorted, exited stage left and the little bear took off in the direction it was pointed.
I managed to get three squirrels — a grey, a red, and a black. I think me and “Chunk” — Margaret Ann's mother-in-law's oldest great-grandson — will try our taxidermy skills this hunting season at the camp.
While I'm on taxidermy, would you know how to skin (cape) a deer for a head mount? Butchered up, cut up, not enough hide is probably a taxidermist worst nightmare. Here are basic skinning, cutting instructions for at least a better chance of a good mount. When you are skinning a deer to mount, follow these guidelines to have a full shoulder mount:
Hang the deer by the back legs.
Cut a circle around the body, 6 to 8 inches behind the front legs.
Cut the hide from the inside out.
Cut a circle around the front legs, about 2 inches above the knees.
Split the hide on the back of the front legs, where the brown and white hair meets. When you get to the top of the front legs, cut over to the circle cut around body.
Skin body hide down to the neck. Cut neck meat off, but do not cut the deer hide. Leave cape on the head and horns.
Put the deer cape in a doubled trash bag. Completely cover ears. You can tie the bag between horns, so that ears are covered, but horns will remain out of the bag.
Put in a freezer as quickly as possible.
For all other mounts, leave the animal or fish whole and put it in a freezer quickly. Be sure to double the trash bags to prevent freezer burn.