Thursday, November 3, 2011

Check Your Gear

    The first day hunting I parked miles from anywhere on an old logging road that ran pretty much north and south.  The dogs and I headed west into a clear cut, under a gray overcast sky that promised rain or snow, and then worked our way more or less parallel with the road and south.  When the cut ended at a dense stand of softwood trees we hunted back to the road and then crossed to the east side.
    Boney terrain and scattered softwood trees led down into a promising looking cutting.  The dogs bounded ahead, hunting ever optimistically with their bells clanging.  After walking for about twenty minutes, just to check my bearings, I pulled my compass out of my pocket.
     The fluid inside the dial looked like tea, and twisting the base in my hand the needle followed the card, definitely stuck.  Looking closer I could see flecks of rust along the side of the needle.  I owned that compass for well over thirty years and never gave a thought to it failing.
    Fortunately, we had walked mostly downhill after crossing the road, so by heading up the gradual slope we eventually found the road.  Flat country might have been a bit more confusing.
    The lesson there is always check your gear before heading into the woods, and assume nothing.     
Old cuttings are easy to get turned around in.

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