Thankful Outdoors: Hornets, Bears, and the Start of Archery Season

Scott Hopperdietzel

Thankful Outdoors: Outdoor Journal Week of September 6th through September 12th

Sept 6th – Boone Stirs Up A Hornet’s Nest

Roberta and I head out to the woods for an afternoon scouting trip, and Boone is tagging along as he does with most outings. I did tell Bonne this would be his last trip back to this area because the season would be opening on the 12th. He beats me down with his puppy eye stare of how “What the heck do you mean the last outing?”  Who else is guilty of talking to their dog like a human and expect a response from them?

The scouting trip is going, as usual, watching Boone run ahead and hear his powerful nose sucking in all the smells of nature. At times he sounds like a vacuum cleaner running through the woods; his nose is working so much.

I noticed a spot ahead in the trail where it looked like something had started to dig at the base of a tree; Boone noticed it too and decided he needed to add his digging efforts to the fresh-looking hole. I told him to leave it alone, and down the trail, he went. I hadn’t walked another 5 yards and heard the sound of a buzzing insect. I looked down on my arm and noticed two hornets. I swept them off my arm, and then I got zapped with a sharp sting in the back of the arm. Lightbulb moment for me, shoot Boone had stirred up a nest of hornets in the ground. I turned around to tell Roberta to stop and take a detour off the trail so that she wouldn’t get stung. Another sting gets landed into the top of my head.

I swept a few more hornets off me and felt the arm and head swell from stings. I wasn’t too worried; I have been stung many times before and don’t get much reaction other than a little swelling. Boone never gave any indication that he had been stung, and Roberta had steered clear, so our casualties from the hornets were limited.

Checked the first trail camera and scouted around a bit, checking runways and prepping the tree for upcoming sits off to the second area to do the same activities. As I was climbing the tree and looking things over, Roberta says, “Oh, guess Boone is worn out already.” I looked to see him lying in the grass; I hardly ever see this dog lay still, so I was concerned and said, “maybe he did get stung?”

Checked him over real quick, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary on him, and he was back to running around like his usual self. We started our walk back to the truck; as we got to be about 400 yards from the truck, I lost sight of Boone. I called his name, and he never showed; this is not like him at all; he is a well-behaved dog and comes when he is called.

We were getting worried and kept walking down the trail calling his name; after several minutes, he soon come slinking down the trail as if he was in trouble. I said, “get over here, you goofball,” as he got closer, I saw that something was wrong with him. His face was covered in so many bumps that he looked like an old wrinkled dog, and his chest and body were starting to look the same way.

Roberta says, “we have to get him out of here and get Benadryl in him” Boone got in the truck and laid down in the back seat as I sped to Kwik Trip to grab Benadryl. Gave him a pill and brought him home to make a baking soda rub, and he got a bath. Boone jumped on the bed and crashed for the rest of the night.

In the morning, he was right back to himself, no more swelling, and he was full of his Boone energy. It was a bit of a scary moment because I never had a dog get stung before.

September 9th – Bear Season Opening Day Is A Soaker

After running bear bait with Craig for August, opening day has finally arrived. Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself, “I must be some kind of special!” I wasn’t even the one that had a tag to hunt, but I was so excited to sit in the tree.

My involvement in this sit was going to be the cameraman. Craig asked me if I would film his hunt for him. He was going to work half the day and call me once he got home to head out. We had planned on being in the tree by 2:30.

Dad and Corey were going to head with us as well. We are a family that does celebrate and share many special hunts and moments, which was part of why they were coming along. With them tagging along though, we were applying a technique used by bait sitters, take a partner in, let them bait, and bang pails like ringing a dinner bell while you climb into a tree. It’s a technique that will give the idea to the bear that the hunter baited and left just regular baiting activity.

Well, the forecast for an opening day sure wasn’t one that looked to be dry. I had to figure out how I was going to protect the camera gear from the elements. Black plastic garbage bags and rubber bands were chosen as the homemade raingear for the Sony AX2000.

As I shared the evening in the tree with my brother, I couldn’t help but question, in-

between downpours, my sanity. I thought I’m either crazy or passionate about the outdoors. How many people would take PTO, sit in a downpour, and believe this is a good time. It helped that I had my brother with me; something is soothing to the soul about sharing time with family. This sit was one of those moments as I thought about how blessed I am to be close with my parents, brothers, and the boys. The time I spend in the tree gives me plenty of time to reflect on life and recall memories from prior outings. 

September 12th – Archery Season Opener Filming Connor

As with most of my adventures, I get as excited as a little kid waiting for Christmas morning. This 34th opening day for me was no different. I woke up early, knowing that the radar would show me green and yellow colors. As I looked at the forecast, I decided that I would let Connor sleep in, and we would have to make the hunt for an afternoon sit.

This was going to be the first archery season for Connor, where he would hunt with his bow. His prior outings have been with a crossbow. He is still looking to make his first harvest with archery gear.

The afternoon time had come, and we gathered our gear to head out for the evening sit. We decided that the red oaks in the swamp would be our spot to haul the Rhino ground blind. I chose not to carry a bow with me, and I would spend the evening sitting with Connor and film his hunt.

As we snuck into the hardwoods, things looked promising, and I had high hopes that we were going to see deer tonight. We had just got set up, and Connor was going checking shooting lanes and making sure he could draw his bow in a ground blind. As he was practicing his drawing, he excitedly started whispering, “Dad, Dad, look!”. I was busy setting up the camera gear and was looking out the window looking for a deer. Instead, we had a fisher come running the woods.

We settled in for the sit after a few hours of daydreaming out the window; two turkeys walked near us. At that moment, Connor learned just how keen the eyesight of turkey is. He tried to reach for his bow, and the turkey caught his movement; they soon walked off, knowing that something was up.

We resumed our listening and watched the gray squirrels run through the treetops, knocking the acorns to the ground to gather and hide. The acrobatic skills of the squirrels are always entertaining to watch.

As the evening was coming to an end, we were disappointed in not seeing any deer. Still, it was a peaceful and relaxing sit where you had an opportunity to not worry about anything for hours. As the boys get older, I cherish these moments more and more as I realize that someday they will be off starting and creating their own life. My oldest son, Jared, has shown that to me as he is now out in Appleton, going to school for forestry.

In closing, I hope you find a way to get into the outdoors, create your adventure and memories, but most importantly, find a way to “Celebrate the Experience.” Go check out www.thankfuloutdoors.com for more content and share your “Celebrate the Experience” moment with us!

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website www.thankfuloutdoors.com or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.