Hook and Bullet Club

by Nick Wognum

We never know when it will be the last trip out to the shack by truck due to snow. With the muzzleloader season over, Evan and I went out last weekend to take down deer stands and cameras.
Evan and Nella’s black lab Hank was in the back seat of the truck. Well, he was half in the back and half in the front. I’m not sure he knew where we were going but he sure was excited to be along for the ride.
There really wasn’t much snow so driving in was easy. We pulled the side-by-side on a trailer and unloaded at the top of the hill by the shack.
We went inside to grab a pack and then hopped in the side-by-side with Hank in the middle. At each stop along the way Hank would hop out and zoom through the woods, sniffing out all the smells. Deer, wolf, beaver, snowshoe hare and more had him running steady.
The afternoon flew by. It was cold out but not windy. The trail cameras were taken off trees and put into a pack to be looked at later. This year I vowed to keep them all in one place instead of playing where did the cameras go in the spring.
One camera would be treated differently. After gutting the buck I shot during the rifle season I positioned a camera on the gut pile.
Those photos would become part of a study being done by the University of Minnesota. This is the third year of the study, which seeks to “better understand what and when species use deer gut piles provided by hunters across Minnesota.”
The camera stays at the gut pile location for a month. The photos are then uploaded so the scientists can look at what comes to feed.
From my camera I saw ravens, mice, wolves, pine marten, bobcat and Canadian jays.
During our time in the woods Saturday we watched Hank more than anything. With the last camera in the pack we loaded up and headed for home. Chalk up another year in the books at Camp Cholesterol.