Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I shoot a Remington Model 6, 30-06 pump action rifle. My first deer hunting rifle was a sporterized 30-06 military gun with a simple 4X scope, it must have weighed at least 10 pounds. I bought it from my boss at the time for a whooping $75. Although extremely accurate, it was a bear to carry around and I needed to look for something more practical. Lee's Taxidermy in Prescott Wisconsin was probably the best place at that time to buy a gun, something I soon found out. Having only $350, I was determined to get a simple Remington 760 pump, a sling with hardware, some shells and a case. The owner suggested I get the Model 6 instead, it was a fancier, nicer gun with a Monti Carlo stock, special checkering, and a unique cartridge end mounted in the receiver. Stating I didn't have enough money for the gun but he must have either felt sorry for me or really wanted to get rid of that gun. The price was $340 for the rifle, $15 for the sling, $10 for the mounting hardware, $365 + another $17 for tax. Having only $350, he told me to take the gun and pay me later if I could. As I left a pretty happy new gun owner he yelled out "Hey, you better sight that gun in" and handed me a box of shells to boot. I ended up buying a scope from my good friend, the late Pat Holmes. His company was the rep for the company that made all of the 1 inch aluminum scope tubes for Burris. He got a super deal and I was in business. 4 years ago I was sighting my gun in and the first shot was 6 inches high, 4 to the left. After adjusting and shooting another round it was now 6 inches low and 4 inches to the right! I adjusted it back to where it was and the third and fourth shot was a bulls eye. The next year a deer came by my stand, one that Jack had hit in the leg. It took me 6 rounds to finally I finally put the deer down. Knowing something was amiss and because the scope had a lifetime warranty I sent it back to Burris. A couple weeks later they called stating the springs were weak causing the scope to be off, they could not fix it, the model was obsolete, and they would offer me 75% off any scope in their lineup. Because most of my shots are under 50 yards I took their 1.5x - 6x model, quite a bargain at $200. After carefully mounting the scope I bought some Federal Premium 165 grain Sierra Boat Tail bullets to sight it in. Man, I had trouble as they were all over the target. 10 years earlier a worker at our plant loaded me a bunch of shells that were dead one, 2 inch patterns. Talking to my in house gun expert Brett Jelkin, he believed that the factory loads were not ideal and he would load me up some shells to try. He set the bullets a little further out so there wasn't as much "jump" when the bullet hits the beginning of the barrel and did it ever make a difference. My first 3 rounds yielded a group at 1 1/2 inches, pretty impressive. Brett does an excellent job as his shooting knowledge is second to none. He even sent me this ballistics chart with the solid bold line being my loads while the dotted lower line is a standard factory load. Although I was definitely ready, I never did get a chance to put it too the real test. The good news is that everything will be ready to go next year.
This morning it was 10 degrees and the small potholes and swamps were froze over. My guess is the surface temperature on Mille Lacs has to be in the high 30's. Hard water can't be far behind. My friend Keith is back from his summer in Alaska and I am determined to meet up with him a couple of times out on the ice. In the meantime my neighbors boy, Ryan Przymus stopped by with a couple beautiful pictures of a 17.5 and a 15.5 inch crappies he got in Nonyhoa Lake. When I asked him where that was he said.........Non yhoa business! He promised he'd take me there and I am looking forward to it. He also promised to send pictures however I am still waiting and will post them when they show up. Those were impressive to say the least.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
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!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I am way behind in posting pictures my friends have sent me so I will include one of my friend Matt Taylor and his girlfriend Christina. Matt called me earlier this year and asked for advise on planning a trip to Alaska. Having been there a number of times I was able to help Matt put together a nice experience. They took my advise and did a combo out of Seward. I am pretty sure they headed to Montague Island, a popular halibut spot, got their limit then went for silvers on the way back. Matt said they had a blast and caught tons of fish including these two beautiful silver salmon. If you look close, the silver Christina is holding has some pretty big marks on the side, more than likely cause by a salmon shark that prey on these fish. I really enjoy sharing my experiences and advise with my friends, especially when things turn out well.
Off to deer camp, hopefully da thurty pointer will be in my sights on Saturday morning!