Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Season over

The freezer is full of venison. It took two 16-day hunting seasons but we’ll be able to dine on deer meat this winter and hopefully right up to the 2018 season.
Heading into the last weekend of the muzzleloader season there were some doubters among my hunting partners. I had to send photos of two deer on the ground to prove them wrong.
Saturday morning was a chance to hunt on my buddy Jim’s land up the Fernberg. Twenty-five years ago we used to park trucks there and walk north, crossing ridges as we headed toward the invisible BWCA line.
Today not only are there hunting shacks but year-round homes as well. Jim’s land lies in this area and had been holding deer all fall.
The deal was I would sit in his enclosed tower stand and when I was done, take down the fabric covering the stand and haul it back to town.
It was crisp Saturday morning. Getting out of what little wind there was seemed like a fantastic idea. I unzipped the window that looked to the south and settled in.
Otto was hunting just north of me and had spied my truck when he drove past before sun up. We traded text messages and hunkered down for the morning.
There were fresh tracks when I walked in, likely from the night before. Because nothing moved while I was there. Otto had the same luck and pulled the pin to go watch Army kick the crap out of Navy in the annual football battle.
I took a ride further up the Fernberg but there were fewer tracks that way. Time to head west, back to the special state park hunt in the Soudan Underground Mine State Park.
The weekend before I had a doe walk in behind me and stomp her hoof to get my attention. This time I was keeping an eye behind me as well as over the clearing in front of me.
A black lab came to visit me, her owner walking down the trail off to the south. That’s how the state park hunt works. There are big signs that state “SPECIAL HUNT IN PROGRESS.” But people ignore them.
Figuring the dog scent wasn’t going to help my hunting luck, I took a slow walk around one of the mine pits. This is really a nice trail to walk, with towering white and Norway pines and fairly easy terrain.
The views down in to the pit are staggering. As in don’t stagger or you’ll go over the fencing and never be heard from again.
Coming back around to where I started, a doe was standing on top of a ridge. Well, it could’ve been a buck because all I could see was a big body of a deer.
After figuring out which end was which so I could place my shot, the muzzleloader roared and we were one deer closer to a full freezer.
Thanks to Evan, Tommy and Mikey for the assistance in getting the deer loaded in the back of my truck. Can’t wait until they are of age and can bring a cold beer to top off the day’s hunt.
Sunday was the last day of gun hunting in 2018. With one tag left to fill, the park was going to be the place to fill it.
The big decision was whether to go back to the truck at noon and tune the radio to the Vikings game. Always enjoy hearing Greg Coleman’s pre-game preach where he mixes bible verses with a rally speech for the fans right before kick-off.
The decision was made when a small doe came walking through the clearing. One puff of white smoke and the tag was filled. Season over.
Evan and I will still need to make another trip out to the shack to pull a heater left in a stand in case I went there during muzzleloader season.
Now it’s time to figure out how many pounds of meat will go into wild rice brats, enjoy some steaks and begin thinking about next year. And smile knowing the freezer is full of venison.