Outdoors

Wed
01
Dec

Letter from the hunting shack

Never have so many hunted for so long for so little. That’s the story of the season this year. <BR><BR>The list of excuses I could use is so long, Nick would have to rename this paper. Too warm, no snow, the wolves came through and on and on. <BR><BR>What can I tell you, I certainly tried hard enough. I was out of the shack at pitch black and back in the shack at pitch black every day. I tried sitting for long periods, I tried walking, hell I even tried looking out the shack window. <BR><BR>I got a headache one day from squinting so hard, trying to make a deer materialize out of nothing, that I thought my head was going to explode. I tried grunting, rattling, scents and I even took a little snooze a couple of times, unintentional of course. <BR><BR>This is the first time that I ever got seriously discouraged and downright impatient while hunting. But you know what, that’s the way it goes with hunting.

Mon
29
Nov

Birdshot and backlashes

The 60 mph Road Hunter<BR><BR>The deer harvest was down about a fourth, sayeth the Department of Natural Resources. It was a good year, but not as good as 2003. The DNR, along with Minnesota’s 400,000 hunters have been holding a post mortem.<BR><BR>Reasons abound, such as unseasonably warm weather, no snow, late rut and a variety of other excuses; but one which is never mentioned is the excessive speed apparent this year by road hunters. <BR><BR>To the non-hunter, an explanation is due: “Road hunting” has nothing to do with hunting for a road; like the time Uncle Arvo missed the turn going to Side Lake and wound up in Kinney. “Road hunting” refers to hunting from a vehicle on a road.<BR><BR>There have always been road hunters even before autos. Great, great grandpa did his road hunting from a horse-drawn surrey, but that was even before the DNR became concerned.

Mon
29
Nov

Hook and Bullet Club

We met at the top of what’s known at Camp Cholesterol as Woodpecker Hill. It was just past 5 p.m. on Day 16 of the 2004 Minnesota firearms deer season.<BR><BR>Mike, Jake and I were standing with guns slung over our shoulders as the sun set in the west just past the beaver pond in the big tamarack swamp.<BR><BR>We talked about the season, from the lack of snow to the fun at the shack to the two of them putting venison on the meat pole. <BR><BR>And at that point in time that’s really all we talked about. We didn’t know about the hunting murders in Wisconsin or that Chai Vang was being arrested at nearly the same time. <BR><BR>The safety of our family members had not been discussed. There was no fear of somebody intentionally shooting at people. But all of that changed when we got home that night.<BR><BR>I still have my All-Season license which means I can hunt with a muzzleloader through Dec. 12.

Mon
22
Nov

Letter from the hunting shack

Well, the last weekend of deer season has come and gone. Once again, you’ll have to wait until next week to see if I evened the score with Old Joey Bucksnort. <BR><BR>The weather has surely been a factor this year, what with all this warm stuff and no snow. But hey, we do the best we can and put our time in. You just never know what may walk by when you least expect it. <BR><BR> I was lucky enough to spend last Friday hunting with a couple of friends and although we didn’t see anything, I had a great day walking around in the woods. I walked through some territory that I hadn’t seen before and it was really neat to go exploring. <BR><BR>It took me back to the days of my youth when I would strike out with my old single shot 410 and my trusty dog to fill my pack with squirrels for my Dad who loved to make a big pot of stew with those squirrels and all kinds of vegetables. <BR><BR>Times have surely changed since I was a kid.

Mon
22
Nov

Birdshot and backlashes

There it goes. Deer season came and deer season went. Sixteen days. Some hunters hunted every day. Some only on weekends. Some only on the first weekend. <BR><BR>Some hunters were successful and got their deer right away. Some hunters were successful and got one later on. Some were successful and didn’t get one at all, thus did not have the mess of dressing it out, dragging it out, skinning it out and cutting it up. Enjoyed the hike to the woods, the fresh air and sunshine but no mess.<BR><BR>“Aha!” a hunter might say, “But you didn’t get any venison to eat.”<BR><BR>True. But while deer meat is quite palatable, I have never had a deer steak that came anywhere close to my wife’s fried chicken.<BR><BR>STRANGE DEER STORY<BR><BR>Linda Fryer at the Chamber of Commerce has a very interesting deer hunting tale. Linda had an operation on her shoulder and had one arm in a sling. So all the hunting she could do was one-armed.

Mon
22
Nov

Hook and Bullet Club

When our youngest member first came out to Camp Cholesterol, our oldest member gave him some good advice.<BR><BR>“Remember, what happens at deer camp stays at deer camp.” <BR><BR>Good advice. <BR><BR>There are plenty of goings-on that could make the wives a bit suspicious of our sanity, even more than they are already.<BR><BR>But it’s probably all for the best anyway, especially when we’re having a year like this one. <BR><BR>Heading into the final weekend of the rifle season we stood at a grand total of one deer for seven guys. <BR><BR>Thanks to Jake we were able to try out the new meat pole and I have to say it worked to perfection. This was a great relief but unfortunately our pole designer was not able to join us and see the inaugural hoisting of the venison. <BR><BR>We did get a visit from an unexpected visitor Friday night.

Sun
14
Nov

Birdshot and backlashes

In the early dawn frost of opening day, Don and Cindy Beans tiptoed quietly through the fir and aspen forest to their deer stand on the edge of a ridge, settled down and waited for daylight. A sound of footsteps caught their attention. A doe came past, moving along noiselessly. Don and Cindy were near their home adjacent to the Fernberg Road in a bucks-only area. The doe vanished. Then silence.<BR><BR>From the distance, ravens called hoarsely, winging on their way in search of breakfast. Squirrels began to rustle about in the dry leaves.<BR><BR>Cindy nudged her dad, spotting a deer moving slowly toward them. It was too far off to tell if it was a buck or a doe, so they simply waited. The deer vanished into a ravine, then emerged closer, the antlers glistening in the sunlight.<BR><BR>“My hearts was beating so loud I was sure the deer could hear it,” Cindy recalled later.

Sun
14
Nov

Letter from the hunting shack

Well, the first weekend of deer season has passed us by and the score is: Deer 1, Clarence 0. <BR><BR>I did see a few deer, but they were all small does. The weather didn’t cooperate very much either. The winds that we had on Sunday and Tuesday were downright rude, but my new tree stand withstood the test. I wish, like everyone else, that we had some snow on the ground, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. <BR><BR>Our crew didn’t get skunked however, as cousin Jeff bagged a nice eight pointer on Saturday morning. The rest of the crew got to see some deer but no shots were taken. <BR><BR>One of the hot topics of conversation at our evening round table was the lack of fresh sign around the woods. It seems that the deer were few and far between and hopefully things will change for the better the second week. Overall, I think it’s safe to assume that a good time was had by everyone and there was certainly plenty to eat.

Sun
14
Nov

Hook and bullet club

The funny thing about deer hunting is that it imitates your regular life at times: not all goes as planned. <BR><BR>Take opening morning for instance. All of Camp Cholesterol were able to clamber out of their bunks, put on the orange and be out the door before the crack of dawn. <BR><BR>This was pretty amazing in itself after our annual Camp Cholesterol Awards Banquet that is traditionally held on the night before the opener. Luckily for us the dancing girls decided to go home early. <BR><BR>After donning our blaze orange, Jake and I walked across a soggy swamp in the dark and made our way up to the two stands we have on the other side. <BR><BR>The other five hunters in our group (Bill, Dave, Brian, Mike and Steve) spread out across the forest, heading for the stands they hoped would be the lucky one that day. <BR><BR>It was quiet in the woods on opener. Real quiet.

Sun
07
Nov

Birdshot and backlashes

Deer hunting is here. Ice fishing is about upon us. Well, not on all of us. Just those of us who engage in this activity. Certainly the major part of our senior population has no interest in obtaining fish by dropping a line through a hole in the ice. <BR><BR>Most sports-minded folk are watching football or basketball from the warm comfort of their living rooms. Most of them are dimly aware that there are some misguided or perhaps mentally impaired citizens who tread out upon the frozen, windswept surfaces of our lakes intent on harvesting, perhaps, the ingredients for a walleye, trout or pike dinner, frost bite notwithstanding. <BR><BR>Ice fisherfolk, although few in number, are an enthusiastic and hearty breed, possibly due in part to the Scandinavian heritage of the north country. Unfortunately, they seem compelled to discuss their activity at length.

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