Letter from the hunting shack

by Clarence Jordan

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. That’s the way it goes with most things in life too. <BR><BR>In the words of the great British poet, Mick Jagger: “You can’t always get what you want.” <BR><BR>Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast this year. The food we had was delicious, the company was great and I can’t remember the last time I slept so soundly. Everything was perfect except the deer forgot to play along. <BR><BR>I guess it can’t be too bad, because I talked to my brother-in-law in Savannah last weekend and he only had one deer so far. He was out of sorts with the weather in the south, as it was a frigid 78 degrees when he shot his six pointer. The skeeters were so bad, it wasn’t even fun to be in the woods, he said. <BR><BR>He will have to come back to the Northland next year to hunt. I can’t guarantee him a deer again, but I can almost guarantee him there won’t be any bugs to swat. <BR><BR>Troy came to hunt with us two years ago and was lucky enough to shoot an eight pointer on opening morning at first light. <BR><BR>There was some serious razzing going on at the shack after we all came back from the morning hunt. Who was this Georgia Cracker and how did he get so lucky? <BR><BR>Well, he was using my rifle and as everybody knows, that is by far the most lethal weapon in the state. It had to be, because Troy was still experiencing culture shock from the night before. We made sure he got a proper initiation, teaching him words like Korbel and Plink. <BR><BR>He was a trooper though and found his way back to the shack after that grueling 50 yard track to his deer. Of course, he had the last laugh, as he was done at eight a.m. on Saturday and the rest of us were pounding the brush all weekend for nothing. <BR><BR>Good for you Troy, hope to see you back next year! I’m already thinking about next year myself and what can I do different. I’m always looking for an edge, anything that will make me into a true trophy hunter. <BR><BR>Here is my Top Ten List for next year:<BR><BR>10. Get to the stand 15 minutes earlier <BR><BR>9. Stay on stand 15 minutes later <BR><BR>8. Eat sandwich without onions <BR><BR>7. Don’t bring Walkman <BR><BR>6. Try to smell like anything but pork chops <BR><BR>5. Mannequins are people too <BR><BR>4. Frostbite is a state of mind <BR><BR>3. Learn to love squirrels <BR><BR>2. Make trap door in my bibs <BR><BR>1. Contrary to popular opinion, big bucks in rut do not make the same sound as a baked bean fart.<BR><BR>The recipe this week is rapidly becoming one of my favorites.<BR><BR>MOCK VENISON STROGANOFF<BR><BR>2 lbs. Mock venison( sirloin tips work) <BR><BR>1 lg. Onion <BR><BR>1 lb. Sliced mushrooms <BR><BR>2T beef base <BR><BR>1 cup red wine <BR><BR>2T crushed garlic <BR><BR>1 qt. heavy cream <BR><BR>1 qt. water <BR><BR>2 cups sour cream <BR><BR>Salt and pepper to taste<BR><BR>Saute mock venison in a little olive oil until meat turns gray. Add onion and mushroom. Saute for five more minutes. Add beef base, wine, garlic, water and sour cream. Heat to boiling and add heavy cream. Reheat to boiling, mix in a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken and reduce heat to simmer. Serve over noodles or rice<BR><BR>As always, take care, be safe and good hunting. Letters from the Hunting Shack will be back next October <BR><BR>