New uses for old license holders in the deer woods

Steve PollickA couple of tips recently have crossed this outdoors desk, so to say, and they are worth sharing – one related to Ohio deer hunting and one about feeding songbirds in winter. So, here:

During the slug-gun season just passed, we had taken a buck – my brother’s eight-point – to a local Hocking County processer. We laid out the buck with the other kills and something stuck right out – it was one of those why-didn’t-I-think-of-that things. Another hunter had used one of his old back-display license-holders to attach his homemade temporary deer tag to his buck’s ear.

Most of us who weren’t born yesterday well remember the days when a hunting license had to be plainly, visibly displayed on the center of the back of your outer hunting coat or vest. Tagging changes over the years caused most of us to toss the old tag-holders in a box with other hunting odds and ends, if we kept them at all. The holders usually were sturdy, heavy plastic with a deep waterproof flap to protect the paper license inside; they were equipped with a heavy-duty overgrown “safety pin” for fastening. They stayed put.

The old holders are perfect for securely holding the new handmade-tags we must fashion now and attach in the field to the kill. The big heavy pin can be punched through a deer’s ear – twice – and fastened to readily keep the kill-tag in place and dry. I don’t know how many other makeshift tags we have tried in the last few years, and I know more than once we have had to backtrack through the woods in search of a missing sandwich-bag-and-twist-tie or some other makeshift affair. No more.

On return home from slug season I promptly dug through old gear, found a couple of the sturdy old license holders, still like new, and I’ll be carrying them from here on. All I need now will be a deer to pin it on.

As for the birds, recent snows have lain thick in my creekbottom, and when I go out to shovel the driveway, I take time to make paths to my songbird feeding stations, whereupon I clear out a nice, flat square down to the grass. This allows perching birds to easily forage for fallen seeds, and it also provides ready access for ground-feeding species.

Remember, you are feeding birds more for you than for them. They have been finding food for millenia of winters. But when you tease them in with easy pickings, you make them dependent and have a responsibility be considerate of that fact. So, clear snow and icy crust away from beneath your feeders. And keep those feeders well-supplied and regularly replenished with fresh seed; birds have a high metabolism and need to feed constantly in winter.

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