My road trip this fall has taken me once again to the farm country of western Kentucky. The tremendous expanse of cultivated fields has pushed the woodland creatures into a relatively small patchwork of scattered woodlots. Yet the abundance and diversity of wildlife is astounding! Of course my purpose for the trip is bow hunting a large white-tail buck, but that doesn't mean I'm so single-minded as not to appreciate my surroundings. Each evening, coyotes serenade the sunset as they venture out for nighttime hunting of their own. Barred owls often join in the chorus for a gloriously eerie auditory treat. Northern harrier hawks scour the grasslands for a dinner of mourning dove (and there are plenty of those!). Clouds of red-winged blackbirds fill the skies over picked bean fields filling the air with an almost deafening racket. And a dozen or more great blue herons stand silently in the middle of a mile-wide stretch of cultivated Ohio River flood plain. I can only guess they are searching for crayfish, as their holes in the mud seem to be everywhere.
After taking a morning off, I'll be back in the deer stand later today. It's hard to imagine just what those countless hours have in store.