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Letters from the Hunting Shack

Here it is. The day is finally upon us at last. Obviously, I am writing this well before you are reading it. By the time your mailperson delivers your Echo, I am confident that I will have already bagged the TROPHY of TROPHIES and will be relaxing in the shack working on next week's column in my head. Of course, the sad reality is that I might not even see a deer by the time you read this. I might not see a deer for the whole week, but I guarantee you that each day I will leave for the woods full of hope and confidence.You will all have to wait to see if my new deer call and the Buck Bomb worked in my favor. In any event, I'm sure there will be a couple of stories to tell about the exploits of The Great Pumpkin versus the trophy buck. It's hard to describe the feeling of opening morning. Most of the guys are up really early, raring to go. We sit around drinking coffee in the dark, talking about our game plan for the day, acting like it's no big deal. Truth be told, I am busting a gut inside, I can't wait to get to my stand. The time can't go by fast enough, one more cup of coffee and I'll get dressed. Then, the thought process turns to the mental gymnastics of how to keep your cool when the big boy does show up. I don't care who you are or how many deer you've taken in your life, when a deer, any deer, comes into your area, your heart starts pounding. You begin to breathe as though you've just finished a marathon and for just a split second, you become a pool of Jell-O. That's when your experience, your woodsmanship and the ice water that runs through your veins, takes over and you are able to finish what you came to do.Speaking of finishing, I was able to come up with a complete menu for the week, so that's one less thing to stress over. Avoiding stress during the week before opener is crucial. If you head into the woods all knotted up, I believe you will send out some bad karma. Take a long walk, do some exercises, do anything that will help get the bad vibes out of your system. Me, I like to pack and unpack my stuff 40 or 50 times through the week. I'll check and recheck my little packsack daily, making sure I haven't forgotten anything. Problem is, I keep finding things that for some reason seem important to have and add them to the pack. By Friday night that pack will probably weigh twice as much as it needs to. But it's better to have too much stuff than too little.Before I close with this week's recipe, I would like to take the time to wish everyone good luck for the season. This week is something simple. If you are tired of the salsa products in the jar, then here's a recipe for a homemade salsa that not only tastes good, but looks good too.You will need:Three large tomatoes, seeded and dicedOne medium onion, finely dicedOne each red and green pepper, finely diced1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantroJalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced. One for mild, two for medium etc.Salt and pepper to tasteOne teaspoon each of oil and vinegar. Mix all ingredients together, cover and refrigerate for one hour. Serve with your favorite chips.Enjoy and good hunting.

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