Hook and bullet club - Getting ready for deer camp
The preparations for the 2004 firearms deer season are on the verge of completion. This is no small task, by the way, since we formed Camp Cholesterol. In the old days it was simply a matter of filling up the truck with gas and making sure you didn’t forget your gun, blaze orange and coffee. Hunting out of pick-ups does have its advantages, but they were definitely outnumbered by the disadvantages.We were able to see and hunt some very different areas when we truck hunted but we never got in the woods very far. Whether it was the Fernberg, the Cloquet Line or the Echo Trail, we never really sunk in, mainly because we were geared for hunting out of the truck. You just seem to get into a routine that revolves around meeting back at the truck. Not wanting to inconvenience your hunting partner, the amount of time between when you leave the truck and when you return seems to get shorter and shorter.For example, in the morning we would discuss where each guy would go and what time to meet back at the truck. If it was colder out, the meet time was usually around 9:30 a.m. If it was warmer, we’d go to around 10:30 a.m.When that hunt was through, we’d usually hop in the truck and head up the road. This was not so much to road hunt as it was to see something new. We might drive to another spot to hunt or we might return to where we had just been. Maybe we just thought we would see something while driving, one of the allures of road hunting. Then there would be another hunting segment, likely ending before lunch along with several more in the afternoon. But the truck was always your home base and after awhile the surroundings of your extended cab became a bit crowded. We truck hunted up until the 2000 season when, while truck hunting, we found Camp Cholesterol and decided to make the switch. This will be our fifth year of camp hunting and if the past four were any indication, we have a lot to look forward to. There will be some changes, for sure. Our French cook, the Squirrel, has moved west in order to frolic at higher altitudes. We will certainly miss his cooking and being able to take an all-afternoon nap at the drop of a hat. We have a new man for the job and assuming he survives the Camp Cholesterol Awards Banquet held the Friday night before the season, I think he’ll be able to fill Squirrel’s spot on the couch admirably. And even though we spend the majority of our time hunting out of a shack, the Slicer and I still tend to migrate north several times during the season and hunt out of a truck in our old stomping grounds. It’s like coming home when we pull into the same spot we’ve parked for nearly 20 years and go through the process of determining who is going to go where and the all-important “what time are we going to meet back at the truck.”We hold some advantages from being experienced truck hunters. For instance, we can tell you the nearest outhouse on almost any stretch of road around these parts. We know little roads and trails off the main routes and more importantly we know who owns what land. We have relationships with some of the private landowners and have been privileged to be able to hunt on their property for many years now. That’s not something we ever want to give up and despite the drawbacks of hunting out of a truck, I imagine we’ll still spend a number of days each season on the road. But our home base will still be Camp Cholesterol, after we make the final preparations.We have one more stand to put up, a two-man unit that nearly takes a crane to lift into place. This is a three to four man installation depending upon whether you can find the perfect V-notch around 20 feet up to run a rope through. The first time we put the two-man up we decided to finish assembling it in the woods. This was not a good idea, especially when it started to get dark and you’d drop a nut into the moss where it was magically absorbed in a nanosecond. Now, we’ve got it down to a science more-or-less with a minimum of cursing uttered by the erectors. But it’s still one heavy stand. We still need to put up a new meat pole since our old one that we installed five years ago finally broke last fall. With two engineers in camp, I’m sure there will be a multitude of suggestions, plans, foiled efforts and hopefully in the end a pole that could support the weight of a truck. Deer season is now less than two weeks away. Get your stands done or get your truck cleaned out, either way the best time of the year is upon us.