Hunting Photos of the Week
July 2012

July 28, 2012

Golden Silk Orb Weaver (aka/Banana Spider)
[Nephila Clavipes]

The woods around these parts are filling up with colorful Golden Silk Orb Weaver Spiders, also known as Banana Spiders.

If you have been outdoors lately doing a little summertime pre-hunting scouting for deer, turkey, or hog, you've, probably, had a close encounter with one of these little ladies. They weave their yellow-colored threads of spider silk into a complicated web, which includes non-sticky as well as sticky spirals. As the sunlight shines through the web, it becomes a golden-colored invitation to dinner for bees, butterflies, wasps, moths and other insects. The unsuspecting prey find out, only after it is too late, that they were on the menu!

Pictured above is a female Golden Silk Orb Weaver. After breeding, the colorful
female will eat the smaller, less attractive, male for nurishment. This common behavior is shared not only by spiders, but scorpions and praying mantises as well.

It should be noted that the Golden Silk Orb Weaver Spiders, aka Banana Spiders, are not the same very poisonous Banana Spiders found in Brazil with the same name. The Golden Silk Orb Weavers are venomous, though; and the effects of their bite is similar to that of a Black Widow Spider, but not as severe.

The Golden Silk Orb Weaver can play a part in sharpening your hunting skills.
A primary skill to hunting is the ability to be watchful of your surroundings. So while you enjoy your summertime pre-hunting scouting, you can hone your
eagle-eyes by being on the lookout for the huge-sticky golden webs of the Golden Silk Orb Weaver that are everywhere this time of year.

Kenny Presnell,

July 22, 2012

Spotted Fawns

It is that time of year again when the does are dropping fawns, after a gestation period of 200 days. Each year between late April and early July, a new crop of fawns are born. Within days of birth, the fawns are able to run around and wander through the woods. Always being careful, though, to stay close to their mamas.

These two fawns, a brother and sister, appeared to have a "what are you?" moment, as they eye-balled me when I approached to photograph them.
Apparently, they did not see me as a threat, because they continued to feed
in the open for a while. The one on the left is, probably, a buck because he is the larger of the two fawns.

Their spotted coats are not only pretty to look at, but more importantly, the spots are a means of camouflage to hide the vulnerable fawns from their hungry prey. After about 6 months of age, the white spots will begin to disappear. By the time they are a yearling, they will have outgrown their spots completely.

I watched until the two fawns wandered off into the woods, probably,
to go find mama and get some milk.

Kenny Presnell,

July 8, 2012

Alligator Snapping Turtle

During one of our fishing trips along the Ochlockonee River, Brenda and I weren't having too much luck. We had caught a couple of "fry-hards" that we threw back, in hopes of catching another day when they grew bigger. But as the hours passed, we found ourselves with only a bluegill and one warmouth to go with the catfish I had caught earlier that morning. I could see that the fish platter I had envisioned for supper would need a little more grits and hushpuppies to fill my belly.

Anyway, I believe even a bad day fishing, usually, turns into a good day in the woods. This truth came to light when we observed this alligator snapping turtle on the banks of the river. It's not everyday you get to see one of these unique creatures.

The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle found in waters of the southern United States. The average adult weights 175 pounds, with an average length of 26 inches. I'm guessing that this big fellow fits right into that category. These turtles are believed to be able to live 200 years, but most live to be 80 to 120 years of age. I'm not sure the age of this fellow, but I'm guessing he's not a spring chicken.

I looked into the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) rules and found that they prohibit taking or possessing turtles from the wild that are listed on Florida's imperiled species list. Alligator snapping turtles are one of the protected species on that list. So if you do see one in the wild, just enjoy the experience of seeing one - look, but don't take!

Kenny Presnell,

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