Now I admit to leaving the occasional shotgun hull in the blind, and the occasional wrapper as well. However, what was already there was somewhat surprising and what blows in is even more surprising. I had to stop mowing one section of road frontage, because I was sick of losing my mower blades to errant car parts. The one next door neighbor has been running an illegal junk yard for years. The others? Let's just say I don't have the neatest of neighbors and leave it at that. Some of them might be literate enough to find their way here.
I don't want this to sound like I have a 200 acre trash heap, but folks out in this part of the country did not seem to be all that impressed with the anti-litter campaigns of the 60's. I have an amazing collection of beer and soda cans scattered across the property, mostly from the generations of hunters that used this property as an unofficial WMA before I moved in. Occasionally I'll be moved to pick something up and cart it back, but most of it is of such an age that it is somewhat nostalgic just to keep around. I may run into a beer bottle from a brewery that has not been around since my Grandpa's time. I am pretty sure these are from deer hunters, too. You don't see anything from before the advent of modern deer seasons.
Now of course, you might say, "Shaman, why don't you pick it up?" Well, there are a couple of reasons. First off, it give me something to ponder. Second, if I picked up all these vintage cans and bottles, and brought them up to the house, I'd probably be more likely to get robbed. I suppose I could sell them on Ebay, but that seems like a lot of trouble and it really is nice to see someone come out to visit and go on a hike and find one of these things and ask me "Shaman, can I keep this?" Sure. See? Now I have a friend for life.
There is one other thing I will mention, and this is a secret deer hunting strategy. If you find a few beer bottles out in the woods, it is always a good idea to stop and figure out what that fellow was doing when he sat there and drank them. These weren't stupid people wandering drunk in the woods (well not all of them) . Occasionally you get some insight. There have been a couple of places on the farm, where those telltale clues led me to see where these guys were sitting to do their hunting. Furthermore, you can see that there are different cans and bottles in the same area. That means multiple people used this spot. If you find a beer bottle from the Sixties, that's golden!. That means even with the deer herds at a tiny fraction of what they were now, someone thought enough of this spot to sit and hunt.
The result of all this briar archeology has jived with all the other scouting: deer sign, topo reading, etc. The bottom line is that the old beer bottles and Pepsi cans are amazingly good indicators of current deer activity. If I find old litter, I usually find current deer sign. Beer equals deer. The converse is mostly true
as well: in an area filled with old hillbilly litter, if you find a no beer, the deer will usually be non-existent as well. There are a few spots on the farm that look like they would be great for deer hunting from a structural point of view, but in 10 years I have never seen a deer-- never saw a bit of litter in there either.
While I'm on the subject, I will clue you into another litter-related strategy. One of the things I did early on was cart a bunch of 5 gallon buckets out and set them around the likely spots I wanted to hunt. I'd then still-hunt from one bucket to the next. Occasionally I'd find a cigarette butt next to a bucket, and I'd know I was being poached on, so I'd concentrate my patrols around that bucket. In another instance, I noticed there was a guy hunting pretty close to my line. He'd also clipped the fence. I talked to the landowner, and he said it wasn't one of his people. I put bucket out some distance from the line, but within sight of the stand. I put out some beer bottles I collected, and took some toilet paper and wadded it up and threw it around a freshly overturned rock between me and the stand. The stand went away.
I'm feeling like I'm giving away all my most guarded secrets here, but you might ask "Shaman, why not just pull a Kellory
, on the guy?"
Kellory: You realize of course your doodie-on-the-stand-seat is now and forever associated with you? I have the R&D guys trying to come up with fake Kellory-in-a- Bag that hunters can use to scare the other guy off their stand. The key is going to be working in the micro-encapsulated scent crystals.
The answer is simple. Unless the other guy comes back rather quickly, your message is going to be fairly unrecognizable. One good rain, and all you're going to have is mud. Toilet paper on the other hand lasts for good part of season. Napkins and paper towels work even better. The point here is not honking the guy off. Rather it is to suggest to the guy that there is a drunken slob near his stand that has serious gastro-intenstinal issues. You need to let him discover this on his own and let his mind to most of the work for you. If at first you don't succeed, throw in an old Playboy magazine, a gut pile, the wrapper from some Limburger cheese and a handful of spent brass or shotgun hulls.