Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Time in the woods during the fall is food for the soul. No matter if you’re swinging a brush saw in the rain or righting a deer stand that tumbled in a summer windstorm.
Having a day off to sight in rifles turned into a change of plans with rain again falling in the Ely area.
Deciding not to give in, I fired up the brush saw to re-open some of our trails by the shack. Since I didn’t have Megan’s golden retrievers Millie and Maverick with me, this seemed like a good plan. At least there would be no three-legged dogs when I was done.
The tag elders grow like weeds and in my mind that’s what they are. You cut them and they grow back. Rinse and repeat.
By the time I had run through two tanks of gas, hit 15 rocks and was soaked to the bone, it was time to call it a day. But it was a day away from work, spent out in the woods.
On Saturday I headed to my buddy Rob Wilmunen’s shack to help him return an elevated stand to its original location.
Good thing Steve Crittenden was there as well or we’d still be breaking our backs trying to lift it.
Rob has switched to platform stands that are built with four by fours for legs and can be put anywhere. This one was in a clear cut until Mother Nature decided to blow it into Lake County. Well, not quite.
The platform was laying at the bottom of a hill. Our plan was to flip it end over end back up the hill. What we needed was another flipper.
The three of us were able to make one flip and get the platform halfway up the rock ledge. That’s when we ran into problems.
The idea was for Steve and Rob to lift on the legs and for me to take an eight foot long two by four and push up on the middle. Going uphill. It almost worked. We neared the tipping point and realized we were running out of pushing power.
The stand started to come back down on top of us. Rob bailed to the left, Steve nearly got out of the way on the right and I tumbled backwards out of harm’s way.
The cross braces on the legs formed an X. The high point in the middle was where the stand landed on Steve. Good thing he’s skinny.
Millie was watching this whole debacle and ran over and plopped down next to me after I landed on my keister. Everyone was okay but Millie wasn’t leaving.
Apparently she thought I was hurt and had come over to comfort me. Thanks, Millie. Just hurt my pride.
We decided to roll the platform instead of flipping it up the hill and there were no further issues. The stand was righted so hunting can continue. Unless Mother Nature changes her mind and sends another 54 mile per hour windstorm through the area.
On Sunday Megan and I cleared trails with the help of the two dogs. Good thing we all fit in the side by side. Millie sits on the seat between us with Maverick plopped down on the floor under our legs.
Each time we would stop to cut a tree across the trail, the dogs would hop out first and then be the last ones back in.
With the trails back open we headed back to the shack. The radio crackled to life and a fire was lit in the wood stove. We cooked deer Polish and noodles on the propane stove.
Lunch at the shack. Time in the woods with my daughter. Life can bring plenty of challenges but it’s the rewards we need to recognize and cherish.
That’s what fed my soul last weekend.