Hunting Photos of the Week
February 2012

February 26, 2012

Long-leaf pine, red-cockaded woodpecker nest
Long-leaf Pine,
red-cockaded woodpecker nest

red-cockaded woodpecker

Just about everywhere in my neck of the woods in the ApalachicolaNational Forest, I come across woodpecker trees like the one pictured above. These trees are homes to red-cockaded woodpeckers. Many times while listening for deer-hunting dogs, I'll hear a little tap-tap-tap of a red-cockaded woodpecker pecking on a nearby long-leaf pine.

If you think these birds are given special treatment with a manicured lawn and painted tree stripe, you're absolutely right! When nesting-trees for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker are found, the U.S. Forestry Service paints a white circle around them for easy identification. Then prior to any controlled forest burn, they mow around the trees making a protective buffer from the fire.

The presence of these little birds is an indicator of a healthy longleaf pine forest. A healthy forest means more wildlife.

Kenny Presnell,

February 19, 2012

Honey Bee Swarm

During one of my hunting trips into the Apalachicola Wildlife Management area I came across this swarm of honey bees hanging from a juniper tree. Bee swarming is an instinctive part of their life cycle. Bees swarm when a nest gets too overcrowded. A new queen bee is hatched and about half of the worker bees will break away to establish a new colony with her. The bees land and form swarming sites, like the one in the above photo. This is a temporary home until the "scout" bees find a suitable place for their new permanent hive, such as a hollow tree. If you run across a swarm, the best thing to do is leave it alone. Even though the bees are not aggressive at this time, because they don't have a hive yet to defend, there is still a risk of being stung if they are attacked.

While you're out there hunting for deer and turkey, keep your eyes open and your camera handy. You never know just what you'll come across.

Kenny Presnell,

February 12, 2012

Controlled Fire Burn in the Apalachicola National Forest

This past week, I drove through the Apalachicola WMA after the U.S. Forest Service conducted a controlled burn. As usual, I had my camerawith me; and I took the above photo.

Not all forest fires are harmful. Controlled burns are very helpful for a forest. Controlled burns clear the underbrush and dead leaves and branches that have fallen from trees. It also aids in disease and pest control and removes invasive plants. Habitats for many wildlife species are improved by controlled burns, because it clears areas for new growth, which improves the food availability.

I always like to see controlled burns, because there is the probability of more and healthier deer the following hunting season. My wife Brenda likes controlled burns, too. She says that there is nothing more fragrant than the woodsy smell of lighter pine burning in a wide open forest on a cool, crisp day. I tend to agree with her on that.

Kenny Presnell,

February 9, 2012

Red Rat Snake, aka/Corn Snake

Red rat snakes look a lot like the poisonous copperhead snake. However the red rat snake is not poisonous. They are found throughout the southeastern and central United States. They have a docile nature and are reluctant to bite. An average adult red rat snake is 4 to 6 feet. They eat fish, frogs, mice, and insects. Some people even think that they are very nice snakes and keep them as pets. (Note: Kenny may think they make good pets; however, Brenda DOES NOT! This particular snake was safely released deeeep into the forest faaar away from our hunt camp.)

Kenny Presnell,

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