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Above my head is a five gallon pail swinging from a deer gambrel. The pail should be full of deer tallow saved from the November deer season. My daughter and I slice off the creamy fat in long thick chunks, and ration it over the winter to woodpeckers and nuthatches and chickadees, At least that’s the plan.

We have one metal suet feeder and we improvise using onion sacks to offer additional feeding stations. The freelance onion sacks under certain circumstances actually disappear. The entire bag leaves during the dark of the night.

This plan is simple if all Gods’ critters would follow the plan.

Fisher and pine marten crawl and work there way up the tree I have the large suet feeder suspended in. I can’t prove one way or the other but my money is on the fishers for chewing through the cord. I think the pine martens just nosh and depart. How many Saturdays in one winter, and this is after trapping season, would you imagine I have to re tie a tooth threaded cord to hang fat back in a tree?

Chickadees, nuthatches, wood peckers, and blue jays get the daylight hours to pick at the white frozen tallow. Now I have set up a spot light to see what’s doing what at night but I always fall asleep and miss the late show.

Then in the morning I go out and check the snowscape for tracks. Plenty of mice runs for chunks the birds pick off during the day and drop. Once I had the big owl wing swoops in the snow. Im thinking that was bad night for the mice.

I get the occasional stray cat tracks and the fisher bound about while the pine marten leap and run from one overhead branch sending snow in long stretches across the yard then they descend in the thicker balsam stands back to the ground. One onion sack of tallow gets a lot of mileage in my back yard.

In the fall grouse hunting, I will be poking along one of my skidder trails and here sits a red onion sack. Has to be a quarter mile from my house and its nine feet off the ground in the crotch of a tree. Since there plastic nylon bags I wonder has it sat there one winter or two?

So I store as much accumulated tallow in a bucket as I can feed during the winter. Today like in winters gone by I go to my pole shed and start to load the wheelbarrow with today’s load of stove cut timber for the yard dragon to feast on.

Interspersed in my wood pile are strands or chunks of tallow. My plan was to feed critters of a winged sort. I end up giving as much to weasels in my pole shed and the fishers and pine martens in the yard. The weasels have the most fun. They rob the bucket and then stash the frozen fat in the log crooks and crannies. I actually get some of it back as I dig through my wood pile so it’s not a total loss after a weasel visit.

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. My daughter and I saved the tallow to feed critters. We are definitely feeding critters. Its all according to there tastes and my plan.

The trout whisperer

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