Visitor at Camp Cholesterol

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Every deer season we hear Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Our old FM radio played it on Saturday, a reminder of the sinking of the ore carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.
We didn’t have a sinking feeling when my relative Greg and I hit the gravel road on the way to the shack Friday morning. Seeing a doe and a fawn run off into the woods could be a good sign. Or the only sign.
Greg had traveled 1,700 miles from San Diego for his first deer hunting experience at age 31. He was eager to get in the woods when we got to the shack.
But first we had to unload the truck, carrying in groceries, water and guns, followed by driving the wheeler off the trailer.
With a fire started in the wood stove, I outfitted the California boy with some wool pants and a nice blaze orange jacket I picked up from Tom Today.
A pair of LaCrosse 18” Burly Air-Grip boots should be enough to keep his feet warm. A new orange cap from the Surplus Store topped off his outfit.
We reviewed the workings of the .243 rifle and did a map overview of the area where he would be hunting.
Next up it was time to walk out to the stand. We call this ladder stand Target Field with its spacious views and upper level seating.
I wished Greg good luck and gave him our standing saying: “Shoot straight.”
The day was a bit nippy with a stiff wind to test your clothing choices. My advice to Greg was to dress in layers and I think he was at six so that should’ve kept him warm.
If you’ve never sat on a metal stand 20 feet up a tree in a strong wind at 14 degrees, you’re not familiar with bone chilling cold. Especially if your home habitat includes a beach and an ocean on the west coast.
We met up after dark back at the shack. I left the gas lights on so he’d have some light and hopefully a bit of heat.
“See anything?” I asked.
“Well, I saw a wolf,” said Greg.
“Really? Holy crap!” I said.
After getting down from his stand, Greg made his way along our trail from the ridge to a hard right before you head down into the swamp.
That’s where the wolf was and not far away.
“How close were you?”
“Pretty close - like 20 feet!”
Before I left the woods I ran across a fresh set of wolf tracks that had come from Target Field. These weren’t brush puppy tracks, these were adult wolf tracks.
“Well, I was hoping you would see a deer but it’s pretty cool to see a wolf in the woods,” I said.
We were supposed to eat like wolves that night but I forgot the venison tenderloins at home.
So we settled for venison burgers cooked on the grill.
Greg told his wolf story again and I smiled and listened. He was hooked, no matter if he saw a deer that weekend or not.
The radio played old songs, we broke out the cribbage board and put a dent in the cooler that night.
Greg was a long ways from California but he looked at home at the shack.
Welcome to Camp Cholesterol.