Cleaning my office today was quite an adventure. I didn’t finish, but made good headway working down through piles of mostly paper. Found some interesting stuff, like a check I had written last December and the bill it was meant to pay, ready to mail.

Sorted through press kits from a couple dozen outdoor companies – Remington, St. Croix, Filson, Cabela’s, Pure Fishing, Coleman, and more. Materials from past years get recycled. Interesting to see how much flashier some media kits were a couple years ago, when companies had money for marketing. Wonder what next year’s stuff will look like?

Took several years’ worth of WI Outdoor News & Outdoor Gazette down to the basement catacomb archives. (Go ahead, call me a packrat – I know I am, but I’ve got copies of just about every story and photo I’ve ever published.) I have no idea how many that is, but it’s nowhere near the output of guys like Tom Huggler or Dave Richey. Heck, Dave retired more than five years ago and he still writes as much copy now as he did when he was writing for the Detroit Free Press, only now he posts it all on his blog.

Anyway, when I moved a few books to clear a space for Vol. 15 of WI Outdoor News, I found a handful of beechnuts at the back of the shelf. The last year I recall we had a crop of beechnuts was 2007. A deer mouse must have stashed them there two years ago for safe keeping. I occasionally find a stash of beechnuts, sunflower seeds or corn kernels in a jacket pocket or boot. These stores don’t do any harm, and they usually elicit a chuckle. Not so the mouse nests that occasionally turn up. I found one once in a pile of camouflaged clothes. The perpetrator had chewed holes in a pair of pants, a shirt and a turkey vest and made a nest of the shredded fabric in the middle of the pile. This spring, when I took my boat stuff out of storage, I found a nest in a crankbait bubble package. This time, the mouse used a nylon driftsock as nest material.

I run a trapline of Victor mousetraps in the shed, garage and basement and check them regularly. Fresh mice become cat food. I suppose the money I save on cat food about equals the damage the mice do each year, but I’d hate to see the mess they’d make if we didn’t keep trapping them. I don’t keep an accurate count, but I know I catch several dozen each winter and about one a week the rest of the year.

Can’t wait to see what’s behind the shelves and boxes yet to be moved!


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