View Full Version : Rules for woodloafing

July 25, 2005, 08:58 PM
I find myself hunting less and woodsloafing more as I get older but since I don't think I am yet a level 7 woodsloafer, I thought I would check on how the rest of you do it. Here are some of my observations.

Woodsloafing is best done on a weekday when you really should be at work.

In Oklahoma at least, it is best done in the months of March, April, October, and November.

I almost always feel like taking a nap at some point but since I also carry as little as possible with me, I haven't figured out how to comfortably do that yet.

The best guns to take are a lever action rifle in 45 Colt or a single action revolver also in 45 Colt with only the ammunition that they hold and 2-3 extra rounds. A 22 LR rifle is second best in which case you have to take 100 extra rounds with you. Shotguns are worthless for woodsloafing, especially the single shots that you might think would be fun.

All rifles need slings for the walk back.

I used to take a backpack but now I make do with a small pocketknife and a lighter.

If you are quiet, you can be within 10-20 feet of bobcats and, amazingly enough, turkeys, but I have never knowingly been closer than 200 yards to a coyote. There is at least one turkey out there that can be followed at a distance of 25 feet for at least 50 yards across an open field without her being aware of you.

My best woodsloafing experience was when it started to snow when I was within about 300 yards of my car on my way out of the woods. It got so quiet that I turned around and walked all the way back the way I had come.

Not looking for rebuttals here since these "rules" only apply to me. I would like to hear about your experiences and "techniques" however, especially about that elusive nap in the woods.

July 25, 2005, 09:32 PM
When I was younger I could, and often would, just lay down anywhere in the woods that was semi-dry and take the longest and deepest naps. I used to go camping for 3 and 4 days at a time with a .22 rifle, a machete, a box of matches, a piece of tarp and a surplus canteen (the kind with the cup). I slept rolled up in the tarp like a cocoon. Shot, cooked and ate small game and nuts and berries and such. It was wonderful. I truly miss those carefree days.

Now roughing means a hotel with no room service.

Capt. Charlie
July 25, 2005, 09:40 PM
Ah yeah! Woodloafing. I just called it recharging my mental and spiritual batteries. Used to be I lugged a small arsenal into the big scary wilderness, along with everything but the kitchen sink. So busy looking for critters to bust that I never saw trees, rocks, or sky. Each year I carried a little less. Last to go were the guns (except for 1 small pistol), and those I exchanged for a camera. Whaddya know; there were trees, rocks, and sky out there! It was so pretty I had to plump down under a tree, and I heard a bird singing. You mean there were birds out there? Huh. Well I looked through that viewfinder a little closer and saw wildflowers, small critters, waterfalls, sunsets, and all kinds of neat stuff I didn't know existed. Well, all that stuff relaxed me so much, I fell asleep, and when I woke up, it was night. Or was it? The moon was so full that I could easily see to read, let alone walk out, and I didn't even bump into a boogey man, or el chupakabra, or man-eating chipmunks, or anything! Imagine that! In fact, it was actually.... beautiful! Well the fog rolled into the low lying areas and it looked like a silver sea with the moonlight reflecting off of it. So I sat staring, transfixed, and the next thing I knew it was dawn! Well, dammit, that was so beautiful too that I sat through that as well. But by now I was out of Hershey bars, and had to go back to reality. But the next time out, I knew I needed to carry a little more film, water, and of course, Hershey bars, so this time, I saddled up my trusty old mare, packed my saddlebags with the necessities of life (more Hershey bars and a bag of chips), and rode off into the sunset. I rode all night by myself (beautiful, no noise, no commotion, just me, my horse, the moon, and the silver seas.) Been doing that ever since, and ya know what? It turns out that most critters don't recognize a man on horseback, and I've slowly ridden up close enough to deer to almost touch them (no kidding!) So, maybe someday I can figure out how to get a paycheck out of this, and then I'll become a professional woodloafer! :D

July 25, 2005, 10:07 PM
Does Mountainloafing count?

When I was in NM, one of the most enjoyable weekends that I had was when I went into Boles Acres and into the mountains. I went to shoot and went further then normal and saw that it was getting dark. I looked down upon the valley and then spied a cave enterence. I went to ensure that no 'yotes or anything was in it (wasn't very deep) and then just kind of layed down and relaxed, viewed the sky (in NM, the sky is AWESOME, the moon looks like you can reach out and touch it, very beautiful area) and then just relaxed so much that I fell asleep.

I don't know what it was, the peace, the quiet, the sky, the moon, just a deep sense of peace I guess.

I awoke the next morning, feeling better than I'd felt in years (wish I could do it again, it was just so, great).

The funny, maybe scary thing, is that I found 'yote tracks all over the area that weren't there when I first explored the area. I have no idea who my bedmates were that night, or who had come to visit the strange and smelly thing on the ground.

I think that the Indians had a few good things that we just don't know about and don't appreciate (being part of nature).

Besides camping and sleeping out in the open at T&C, I can't remember another time that I was so relaxed.

I had the GP on me at the time so it's not like I was afraid of any two legged critters coming around (and I was pretty high up so they wouldn't have seen me anyway).

Dang, maybe it's time to go loafing again.


July 26, 2005, 10:45 AM
Ah yes. More and more I find myself unwilling to shoot a deer. I have killed my share. I live on 80 acres and my older brother is an avid hunter. He has full range of the place along with one other friend. Me, I just go to my stand, which is a short ATV ride from the house. My stand is in a hollow, is big and sturdy and has a big cushioned jeep seat for me. It is safe and comfortable. I am putting a roof on it next month. I may nap more than hunt.
I just like to sit and watch things. I will shoot a big buck, but that is about it. Any doe or young 'un gets a pass. I have a freezer full of pork and beef and some of last years summer sausage. We take about six to eight deer a year between bow and gun hunting. In my younger days (59 now) I would be right out there amongst them, now it is rocking chair time. I bought this place for deer hunting 10 years ago. My lovely new wife (16 years younger than me) wanted to live on it. How lucky can one guy be. We moved from STL 9 years ago and love it.

July 26, 2005, 11:36 AM
Woodsloafing. Am glad to see there are others who treasure the quiet, simple beauty of being outdoors in wooded areas. Don't know what level I am on but have learned there is only one rule that matters to me:
Sometimes I take .22; other times a camera; and sometimes just binoculars. All have their special benefits. Main thing for me is just to SLOW DOWN, LOOK, RELAX, AND ENJOY. Helps to sit under a tree, lean back and take a nap (contemplate the grand scheme of things), snack on goodies (I prefer Snickers to Hershey's), and just observe. It is absolutely amazing what one can see if we just take time to stop and really look. Looking at wildlife is natural but try to study the less obvious, i.e. tree/leaf/bark shapes/types, spider webs glistening with dew early in the morning with rising sun, non-man made contours in the ground, creeks/springs, trails (try to determine what types of animals use them and for what purpose). Ah well, this old man is rambling now so will stop and let someone else say it better. Makes me really want another hunting lease so I can practice my woodsloafing skills.

Good shooting and be safe.

July 26, 2005, 01:48 PM
I will have a handgun, but not a rifle (too lazy to carry it :o ). I got a camo seat (just a square foam rubber pad from Walmart) that has a strap that I snap around my belt. Then I put a plastic bag with a handful of jerky in my shirt pocket and fill my canteen with ice/water. Nothing beats picking out a nice tree to lean against, planting my rear end on that foam pad and munching on jerky with a cold swig of water. And yes I've dozed off more times than I care to remember. The things you can see just quietly watching the woods is truly amazing. Mother Nature at her finest.

July 27, 2005, 05:06 AM
Woodsloafing is best done on a weekday when you really should be at work
.... And while most everyone else are at work; then you have a better chance of having the entire countryside to yourself :D

My favorite time of year in the temperate climate is fall and after the first night frosts have rid the air of most all of the mosquitos and other bugs. 50 degrees in the shade, blue sky, little or no cloud nor wind. Perfect!

I think the ideal woods companion is a good .22 pistol, although in any area with 4-legged predators I would be inclined to modify that statement somewhat. A .22 pistol - and a light handy rifle.

I have often been in places where patches or even great expanses of open ground had offered sufficient ground padding for a truly comfortable nap. Sometimes on hill slopes or riverbanks. If it is merely a comfortable bed that is needed a thick bed of dry leaves, grasses - even pine needles - will work.

I am also inclined to simply prop up a tree, sitting on some padding.

No doubt as many others, I have travelled progressively lighter. But at a bare minimum today I would at least have a knife, a compass, a small signal mirror, compact first aid kit, some water, some snacks and firemaker(s). All this will fit on a belt and or in the pockets of a good jacket.

A very small day pack will hold a bivouac bag or a complete set of the sort of shell clothing that might save your life after a mishap and impromptu night out in cold wet, windy weather. Having had some very close calls with very severe weather in valleys - and at high elevations - I would always weigh the risks carefully on this one according to where and how far the sorte is going to be.

Ohio Annie
July 27, 2005, 07:46 AM
I try to do this once a week, it's essential for mental and spiritual health. Gotta watch where you nap though, the coyotes will come in and steal your bologna sammich! :)

For really closeup birdwatching, etc. the best cheap camo is a mesh bug suit with a boonie hat under it. I have had yellow-shafted flickers come within 10 feet of me. :eek:

Dave R
July 27, 2005, 09:36 AM
Pardon me for getting all spiritual about this. But this excellent thread reminds me of how sad it is that so many people never get to see the 'real' world. They live most or all of their lives surrounded by the things man has made, rather than the things God/Mother Nature/whoever you believe in has made.

And since they are never see the things God has made, they forget Him. I think that's one of the sources of trouble in this world.

I think those of us who are blessed to spend significant time in Nature are more humble, and receptive to beauty, and have a borader perspective on life, and our place in it, because of the things we see there.

Capt. Charlie
July 27, 2005, 05:50 PM
+1 Very well put.

I guide trail and help wrangle more than 200 horses on 4200 acre Faith Ranch near here, and I'm fortunate to have the run of the whole place. Most of it is fields, forest, streams and ponds, all on rolling landscape. I walk or ride a lot of it in the moonlight, and even most of the staff think I'm crazy being out there by myself. I try to explain that it's a spiritual experience, but can't seem to get through to them. I feel badly for them, but then again, if they started doing it, I'd no longer have solitude :D . This pic was shot there entirely by moonlight.


Brian Williams
July 27, 2005, 08:29 PM
There ain't none. If there was a rule book for woodsloafing it would not work. Idea is to be there, once in a while.

July 28, 2005, 08:05 PM
Ahhhh - you guys are making me nostalgic - thanks for sharing your stories :D I can vicariously experience them by reading your descriptions :) I haven't done it too often, but as far as "magic" times in the outdoors, I'd say that going out at night is way up on the list.

We used to vacation each summer on Ocracoke when I was growing up (from age 5-25) - a barrier island off North Carolina - on the inland side is the Pamalico Sound - about 25 miles to the mainland across protected salt water of very gradual bottom slope. We'd go out at night with a Coleman lantern and "gigs" (basically a broom handle with a spear on the end of it), wading out to our thighs (could go out maybe a mile), looking for flounder on the bottom. In all the years we did that, we didn't get many flounder, but we always saw lots of sealife, and seeing them inside a 25 foot circle of light in the darkness just brought a real sense of mystery and wonder to the whole operation.

Other good nocturnal activity has been a couple of cross country skiing outings at night, one on a frozen lake out in the woods under a moonless night of winter's clarity, sprinkled with uncountable stars, and the other, my first time cross country skiing was at night out in the woods with a full moon - almost like a cool blue daylight with the ground reflecting so much light - was fabulous!

Like others have mentioned, I too have noticed that I see more when I am carrying a camera - you are constantly looking for the unusual and the beautiful in this case... and when you look, you find it. :D

July 29, 2005, 01:51 AM
Another good thing about watching the critters at play: when you don't shoot 'em, you don't have to clean 'em! :D

Good thread; I haven't hunted in over 10 years now, my plan for this fall is to buy the hunting license & walk the woods this fall, mostly carrying a .22 rifle(either the old Browning Automatic, or the new-to-me Winchester 9422), or maybe the new-to-me S&W Kit gun. Walk a while for the excercise, then get off the logging lanes & into the thick woods of NE Tx. Be still a while, & see what I can see. Carry a few matches or a lighter, a pocketknife, some cord or string, maybe a few slivers of "lighter -pine". Maybe a brief nap now & then. And leave the #@%!*^@* cell phone in the car! :D

July 29, 2005, 08:47 PM
In my younger (early teen) days, I did a good bit of hunting on my uncle's (huge) farm. I would shoot just about anything that moved into range. These days, I'm workbound, and have no land to roam, except a very small wooded bit behind my home.

I'd love to have that big farm to roam again. One of the great simple pleasure that just sprang to my mind (don't know why!) was how often I would roam near a babbling brook. Now, y'all know what that does to a man. ahhhh.... I just hope that no one was down stream getting a cool drink... sorry 'bout that. :)

Big Ruger
July 29, 2005, 09:11 PM
Shortly after we were married I was trying to explain this affliction to my wife. So I took her to the area I hunted deer. We went early in the morning, and as the fog started lifting about thirty yards away we saw a Doe nursing her fawn. Then about 11 am on another trail we saw two young bucks playin and cavortin. She never had trouble understandin loafin again. Life is wonderful

July 30, 2005, 10:25 AM
My Grandfather had 100 acres of land, rugged terrain, that I hunted on as a kid. I would hunt for hours and hours to cover that 100 acres. Last time I was there, as an adult, I walked the same area, remembered very square inch of it as though it was yesterday, but it only took me a short time to see it all. What a change from being a kid and being adult and looking at the same place with 20 years between. What memories it brought back. I went right to the place I shot my first squirrel, and to where I shot my first rabbit. I could see it again as clearly as though it just happened.

But, as they say, you can never truly go back. That 100 acres was like 10,000 acres would be to me now. As a youngster I worked my way through briar patches that I wouldn't dream of going through now, climbed down into ravines, across rocky ledges, under fallen trees. At the age of 8 to 15 I would spend hours sneaking up on a spot that I had seen a bobcat at before. Now I can see all of that 100 acres that I care to walk on or through in short order.

I wouldn't take all the money in the world for one days worth of those memories now. I don't think adult woodloafing holds a dim candle to kid woodloafing.

October 21, 2007, 01:19 PM
I know this is over 2 years old but I started it in the first place so what the heck.

The temperature is finally supposed to drop into the 50s here this week and as soon as it does I'm hittin the woods. Changing my own "rules" this year. I'm only taking a pistol and something to sit on. Anybody else had good enough weather to go bumming yet?

Art Eatman
October 21, 2007, 07:56 PM
I've done a fair share of woodsloafin'. The nice thing about having a house in what's essentially a wilderness area is that it can be done on the front porch. Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, javelina, raccoons and all sorts of birds: They think my front yard is a sort of rest stop or feed trough on their main highway.

Night time, there's a doe who comes for water from the pan at the hydrant by my benchrest. :)

But it's not far to several good sittin' spots from which you can't see anything that resembles human "stuff".


October 21, 2007, 08:15 PM
This is a great thread - I'm glad it's revived, as I missed it previously. I can definitely see myself trading in my gun for a camera & bigger binocs in a few years, once I (hopefully) get this hunting thing out of my system. That's half the reason to hunt, is to be out there, observing nature, breathing fresh air. I am determined to learn all the tree types where I hunt, and I have a good start on that. Next I'm going to learn wildflowers, mushrooms & fungi, and butterflies, too.

Oh yeah, I love taking naps out on the ground in the middle of the woods, and waking up wondering where the hell I am - as long as it's not too hot.

October 21, 2007, 08:29 PM
I love to hike over to the rock bluff over look on the mountain and sit for awhile. I have often see deer on the ledge about 70 yards down, but never thought of shooting one. Too much of a problem getting them out. More often than not I end up leaned back on my back pack and fast asleep. Following a bologna sam'ich ofcourse.

I really enjoy being in the woods in the fall. This year has been less enjoyable, chiggers have been hell! I keep going back though. I can't wait for deer season to be over so I can go woodsloafing again.

October 21, 2007, 09:58 PM
When I was younger I could, and often would, just lay down anywhere in the woods that was semi-dry and take the longest and deepest naps. I used to go camping for 3 and 4 days at a time with a .22 rifle, a machete, a box of matches, a piece of tarp and a surplus canteen (the kind with the cup). I slept rolled up in the tarp like a cocoon. Shot, cooked and ate small game and nuts and berries and such. It was wonderful. I truly miss those carefree days.

That sounds like a lot of fun.
Wish I knew enough to be able to do the small game cleaning and stuff.

Wish I had some free land to go on, even if it just meant being a few hundred yards from my home. Like 80 - 100+ acres

October 22, 2007, 02:50 PM
My favorite thing is when I hunt through the fog layer and pop out above the clouds. That view, with the peaks looking like islands, always makes me stop and enjoy it for a bit.

And I do enjoy a nice nap at the end of a long hike before I start back to camp. Not that a justification is needed, but I like to pretend I am just "letting the woods settle" for when I start to back track...

October 28, 2007, 04:27 PM
Went yesterday with a S&W 44 special. Saw a lot of turkeys. Bugs were still bad in the afternoon. Why is it when I use a semiauto that I always worry about having the right caliber and enough ammo but a revolver with six is enough?

October 28, 2007, 10:51 PM
I dont have much in the way of woods in these here parts but lots of wide open space.

I like to take along the .270 for zapping yotes but i have been known to park my truck and spend the whole afternoon just wandering around up in the coulees not really doing anything.