Thursday, November 10, 2011

Deer Hunting Family Style

The 2011 Deer Hunting season so far has been just that, hunting.   Having strategically located my stand in a “can’t lose” spot, Saturday morning Jack and I were greeted with nothing less than gale force winds, sometimes gusting to 35 miles per hour.  The swamp I was in did not have the big 16 to 20 inch diameter poplar trees of Rich’s place so I had to settle for something less sturdy and as I found out, more susceptible to the whims of the near hurricane.  The fact that my stand is 20 feet tall to the chair added another aspect of excitement to a rather unsuccessful opener.  There were times that I swear the only thing holding that tree up was the ladder portion of my stand.  I always wear my harness just in case the unfortunate event would see me falling out of the stand, I’d be saved.  As the wind increased my thoughts ventured to whether or not it was a good idea as if the tree went down I would be securely tethered like a flag to a flag pole.  Apparently I survived.  The greatest thing about deer hunting with Jack is all the great people we meet.  What impresses me the most is how they have involved their entire families into this great tradition.  Friday night was spent at Rich’s place, having our traditional steak feed and reacquainting ourselves with those we spent the hunt with last year.  There was no shortage of young hunters as Brett’s son (featured last year), his friend Brennen, Chris with his 3 super smart boys, Kevin, his dad Eugene and his boy Austin long with Ken.  I love to engage the kids on the ways of the world as we shot a few rounds out of my pistol and spent the night arguing which gun was the best for deer.  Unfortunately I did not get a picture of our group this time, something I regret.  I did however snap this picture of our hunting host for this year, Loren Tolama and his fine bunch of children and grandchildren.  Sunday’s wind was an exact repeat of Saturday’s weather and during the afternoon the Tomala's called and said were coming over to see how we were doing………….. 3 truck loads! Loren is the guy on the right side of the picture and is the big kahuna of this bunch of dedicated deer hunters.   On the far right is Nathan Tomala, a senior at Pierz High School who is playing this week for a chance to go to the Minnesota State Football Tournament.  In between is his parents, uncles, and 4 of the most interesting young hunters I have ever met.  They spent an hour with Jack, Ben and I discussing everything that is important in life like deer hunting, football, and whatever makes the kids smile.  A couple of weeks ago Loren took Ben in the John Deere combine to pick corn while letting me get on the old Farmall M and pull the gravity box over to the edge of the corn.  I think I could have stayed there all day.  If you measured wealth not by money but by family, the Tomala's are definitely one the "richest" families I know. 

So what does deer camp look like?  Well, Loren suggested we pull Jack's wheel house (pictured above) onto the property to make sure we have an official headquarters to base ourselves out of.  It was kind of nice to have a place to get our hunting clothes on, cut up some lunch, and have a place to unwind for a few minutes before heading back to Jack's cabin.  It worked out really well as we cooked some locally made wild rice sausage for lunch on Sunday, pretty good if you ask me.  When I first started deer hunting in Minnesota, it was with my friend Mark Taylor, Jack Taylor, Mark's brother-in-law Tim Guzek, and myself.  We would leave Minneapolis right after work on the Thursday before opening day and drive to Roseau, MN to hunt with Dale Larsen, a guy that I worked with who was from that area.  Roseau is home to Polaris Industries and is located 10 miles from the Canadian border.  We probably started going in 1980 and would take "Old Blue", an older powder blue van that Jack and Mark's dad Earl had.  We would throw a love seat and chair in the back then loaded her with our favorite refreshments as it was about a 6 hour drive.  Arriving around midnight at the Evergreen Motel, they'd leave the room door open for us so we would not have to wake them.  Back them we had little money so 4 of us crammed in a single room with 2 queen size beds.  At about $20 a night, if we split it our cost per guy was $20, a bargain!  Those were the days for sure.   Well, Mark hasn't hunted with us in a number of years so we thought we'd send him a picture that might convince him to come and spend the weekend with us.  The last picture is our proposition, a couple of chairs, a bottle of "Easy Jesus" (E & J Brandy) and a plastic red cup already mixed for him.  I did e-mail it to Mark but like a lot of us, sometimes as we get older we simply have more excuses why we don't try to enjoy life as much as we once did.   Maybe next year.  I am planning to go up for a day this weekend and see if I can still bag a deer if possible.  The weather is suppose to be nice as last weekend the deer simply would not move with that wind.  Wish me luck! 


Anonymous said...

Tough weekend for hunting. Among all my friends that were out only one 6 pointer was taken. Looks like a better weekend coming up but you know me, I'll be out fishing!

AK Keith

Duane said...

I was only 15 ft up last Saturday night holding on for dear life. When a dead 70 ft tree right behind me fell over, I decided Happy Hour was in order and beat feet out of the woods.
Be safe!!

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