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Marsh Musings - Tell a story
Dr. Dan Witt - Special to the Tribune

It has been a tough winter. I can’t recall this much grain still in the fields. The cold rain has flooded lots of crops, made access with equipment impossible in many areas, and created misery and dislocation for a lot of wildlife. Most of the deer were harvested in bow season, I think. Crossbows are becoming more popular all the time. Several of my rifle hunting buddies haven’t been able to get back into the areas where they normally hunt, and the season is essentially over. A significant number of big deer got a pass because they couldn’t be hunted. It will be interesting to see the deer next year. Brian has been surprised by the low numbers of deer hunters. He stays busy, though — poachers are generally tough and smart about timing and location.  

Bird hunters have had lots of difficulties. It froze so early in the duck season that most just went on past us to warmer weather and open water. Geese are tough and raft up together to keep open water. They are still here in good numbers and go out to feed daily. Setting up to hunt them is another story. The ground is frozen hard and doesn’t accept decoy stakes very well. Lots of guys are using electric drill bits to set the stakes. When you put out a thousand wind socks — it takes significant effort and time to get set up and then take down after freezing your butt off lying on the ground in a frozen field. My Ohio buddies seem to thrive on that torture. I’m just not that mad at the geese to go through all that like I used to. I’m a lot more philosophical than eager to slog around out there. That being said — snow geese are mighty fine table fare. 

My grill died. I got a new one after the tornado took my other one. I think it lasted better than I expected. I have a new one now that has the capability of being managed from my phone. That almost seems illegal. Programming it is like a test in mechanical engineering — I hope I can find a fifth grader to do it for me.

Pheasant hunting is also pretty awful. The standing water, uncut milo, impossible mud and bad footing makes for a slippery walk about. I had a small ankle surgery a couple of months ago, and don’t have a very steady base yet. Thanks to the folks that keep me from falling over at basketball games and such — I appreciate your help and concern. More than you know! Sandra and I can’t thank you enough.

Photography has even been a bit tough except for our sports teams. Those kids are sure fun to watch and photograph. When you take a picture for the paper or any publication it has to tell a story. I will help you with the story involved with this picture. My buddy Duane is here from Saskatchewan. He enjoys going to a ride every morning and letting his Labrador go for a run. We go through the Bottoms frequently, and then find a elevator to visit and drink coffee with the guys. We were in the Bottoms when this duck came screaming by with a hawk on it’s tail. I couldn’t get a picture of the hawk attacking the duck, but the duck made it to the water after being whacked. I’m not sure what diverted the hawks attention, but it left the injured duck in pool one close to the road. This is the picture of that duck. I’m sure the hawk or another raptor will have a meal. It can’t fly anymore.

It is a beautiful cold world out there right now. I hope you can find a way to enjoy it with us! Layer up — it really is chilly!


Doctor Dan Witt is a retired physician and nature enthusiast.