By Jeff Kurrus
I’ve never written a “field note” before. I think I understand the concept. You just report what you see, right? Seems easy enough, but I can’t help but also wanting to include some guesses of my own as to what I am seeing while I’m out. Below is one example:
November 1, 2011
At approximately 4:10 PM, a flock of turkeys, 12 in number, walked from right to left in front of me. Directly downwind, they never spooked yet remained out of bow range. It is not the first time I have observed turkeys knowing exactly where safety was and was not around them. There were 9 smaller birds, I think poults. Meanwhile, one larger hen led, another hen flanked about halfway in the procession, and a final bird lagged behind.
At 5:00, a coyote appeared from my left, making its way from a small patch of woods to a prairie grass opening near the edge of a cut bean field. Behind the coyote then appeared two more, each one thickly furred. In the field opening, they lay down in the sun for the next hour and a half.
It was the longest time I’ve ever seen a coyote in one spot, and watching them was no different than watching a neighborhood dog. Occasionally, one would stand, stretch its legs, and then lie back down. The only time they diverted from this pattern was when one of them would disappear for a few minutes, making what seemed to be a round through the woods. The other two would maintain their posts, and the third would then re-appear. A little bit later, a different one would leave, and then re-appear in another fifteen minutes. Not once did another coyote accompany one into the woods.
Nearing dark, the three coyotes were still in the grass opening. Then I heard a turkey peep to the north of them in the woods. One of the coyote’s heads perked up, ears vertical. Another peep led to a turn of the head from the same coyote. While the other two continued to be on the ground, the one searched for the location of the sound. This was curious because each time the turkey made a noise, I seemed to hear it before the interested coyote reacted. A few moments later, all three were gone with the interested one leading the others toward the noise.
Just as the last light of the day left, I saw the three coyotes again. They were now in the bean field with me, walking in my direction. With no wind, they walked in front of me at about 25 yards without spooking, then joined up with two other coyotes that were emerging from a cut corn field to the west of me.
As everything completely darkened and I climbed down from my stand, not an animal was in sight. But I walked back to the truck knowing that there were at least five of them watching me as I fumbled my way back home.
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