Hook and Bullet Club

by Nick Wognum

Another year has passed and it’s back to the shack for the Camp Cholesterol folks. Looks like there will be five of us hunting this year when the deer season opens Saturday morning.
Evan and I were out last weekend working on trails and we got a lot done. Megan and I had been out the weekend before checking the deer stands.
Jacob is scheduled to arrive Friday night from Fargo. Also showing up then will be my nephew Justin, fresh out of Germany, where he was stationed while in the Army.
We expect the mayor to stop out for a visit with his new puppy. I used to discourage having dogs in the shack during deer season, but I’ve mellowed on that one.
I guess I’ve mellowed on a lot of things over the years. I was talking to a couple of dads over the past two weeks and they both said the same thing, “Doesn’t matter if I get a deer, I just want my kids to do well.”
There’s a special pride of seeing your kid shoot a deer and help in the harvesting process. There’s a special bond created in the woods, one that will last a long, long time. I’ve been blessed to be able to have my three kids hunt with me, something I wouldn’t change for the world.
Now I’m always a happy camper if I get a shot at a buck and even happier if the buck ends up on the meat pole.
But as both Dean and Kevin said, I’m not as mad at the deer as I used to be.
I started hunting with my dad and then spent a lot of time in the woods in my younger days with Bob Cary. For him it was nearing the end of his hunting career and for me it was just the beginning.
I remember those days well and how I was so anxious and eager to get out to the stand while he seemed content to take his time and get where we were going on a slower pace.
Now it’s me on that slower pace. Bob used to say a good hunter should walk and then stop for as long as you just walked. Let the woods absorb your sounds and give yourself a chance to see, hear and smell all that is going on around you.
I do that more now than ever before. I thank Bob for teaching me that deer hunting is not a race but a journey. And that a hunter needs to be a part of the woods more than an intrusion.
He was also good at being a smart hunter in the cold. One day he came out of his house with a big pack on his back. I didn’t ask but did wonder what in the world could be in it.
When he got to the spot off the powerline where he was going to be sitting, out came a large goose down filled sleeping bag. It may not have been approved by Cabela’s, but it sure did look warm as he pulled it up over his chest.
Hunt smart. Look and listen. Always be hunting. Good advice but there’s always something to learn when you’re out in the woods. Never will you know everything. A deer spends its whole life being hunted. You’re out there hoping he makes one mistake. And that you don’t.