Pages of Life: Great Outdoors has much to offer

Photo courtesy Dorothy Kleindienst
Eric Kleindienst holds a set of deer antlers he found.
Photo courtesy Dorothy Kleindienst Eric Kleindienst holds a set of deer antlers he found.

Springtime! there seems to always be something intriguing out there for those who want to seek it. At this time of the year there are wild greens and berries to gather and much more. The excitement in finding is as important as the eating. We all sort of have that kid spirit, searching and finding.

Actually, if you go out in the woods, you will run into outdoor enthusiast any time of the year. Even before mushroom fever strikes, our family has always been out there. Unusual rocks, arrow heads, bottles, deer sheds, etc... all are fair game.

This is the best time of the year to find deer sheds and many people are out looking for them. If not found now, they may be gnawed upon by squirrels or eaten up. We have always found them while turkey hunting, coming soon, or searching for mushrooms.

Our youngest son Eric looks for the deer sheds every year and has pretty good success. He looks for likely places where the deer are active, and after a lot of walking, sometimes he will find one. In picture is what you would call a hunter's dream, a perfect 10-point complete set. He only found one side but went back to the same area in a couple days and found the other side.

The best way to search is to follow a game trail where deer frequently run. My husband David tells me to look over logs, or old down fences, where a deer may jump, causing his loose antler to fall off.

Of course, a matched pair from the same deer is what you are hoping for but most likely the shed antlers will be found distances apart.

It is not unusual to run into other hunters also searching for the antler trophies. You find a perfect spot where you know the deer travel. You think you are the only one who would dare to challenge the steep hills and rough country following the deer trail. Then when you've just about wore yourself out, you are surprised to meet up with a couple older people using canes or walking sticks, who give you a howdy and tell you, "We are looking for deer sheds."

Although David and I can't get out and walk like we have for all our lives, COPD, I think I still have a little dent in my head from a few years ago when David and I were out looking. Do you know there are certain kinds of weeds that will grab you around the ankle and throw you down if you aren't on guard. Just kidding, if you are an outdoor person, you already know this.

Let me tell you it's hard to be on guard all the time when you are mesmerized by the peaceful rustle of leaves, and listening to the water as it makes a soft sound running over the rocks in a nearby little creek? And the only sounds you will hear, except for the singing of the birds, or an occasional bark of a squirrel, or maybe a turkey gobbler calling out to his ladies, is the otherwise the peaceful stillness of the woods.

Anyway, I guess I let my guard down and just as David said, "Watch those vicious leg grabbers." One got me! He was ahead of me luckily and didn't see my body propelled forward as if by some strange force. I hit the ground like whiplash and my forehead barely touched a log. Humiliated, I got to my feet as David walked on not knowing.

I did find one half of an antler set though on that trip. It was glistening white in the sunlight up through the leaves, well worth the fall.

Then a couple weeks later in another part of the county, I found another part of a set, making it look like a complete set. However, this time on our "shed walk" we followed a deer trail deep into the woods but didn't find any.

As we were on our way out, my husband and guide David, ahead of me, called back, "Watch out for the old hidden fence here!" I answered back, "Not a worry, I got this." Then as I stepped over the old, barbed wire fence and log, I somehow turned my ankle and fell down!!

This time I wasn't so lucky. David saw me and he came running back. "You O.K?" he asked all worried looking. "Well sure I'm O.K." I said. You just got to roll with the fall, and besides that, you know I'm pretty close to the ground anyway."

I always tell how he has fallen all the way down a steep bluff while holding his bag of mushrooms high in the air. It looked funny but scary too. Neither he or his mushrooms was hurt. It is a harder fall for him being over 6 feet tall.

The next morning as I got out of bed my ankle was a little swelled and sore and I thought I hope I can walk at church today, how embarrassing!

I don't often fall in the woods and have never given much thought about it, but I believe in my senior years if I go hunting, I'd better be more careful.

If possible, get out and enjoy the fresh air and beauty we have been blessed with. However, be alert as well. There are other things in the woods these days we never had before.

There was a Bear within sight of where we live, pictures took. Also, sightings of Mountain Lions (one hit by a car), and Bob Cats are getting more plentiful. I took pictures. They are afraid of you so don't be overly afraid, just alert.

  photo Dorothy Kleindienst