Thursday, November 15, 2012

Deer Hunting's Done, Let The Temperature Fall!

One of the stands at the edge of the swamp

Often the second weekend of deer hunting can have it's advantages.  There are fewer hunters in the woods, the deer have had a few days to settle back into their patterns, and for me the pressure is off.   More than 60% of the deer harvested are done during the first weekend of hunting so the expectations are not as high for the last 2 days of deer camp.  I hunt about 80 miles north of my home and the weather forecast was originally stated as highs in the upper 50's for Saturday with a cold front coming through on Sunday.  Not wanting to hunt in the rain I decided to pick up Jack's son Ben, drive up to his cabin and hunt Saturday, tear down my stand that evening and drive home.  It was very dark when we got up at 5:00 to get ready to go, a peek outside and the wind was howling from the east, not a good sign.  I always attribute an east wind to rain.  No sooner than I closed the door and the sky let loose.  The rain finally stopped a half hour later yet it stayed a damp mist for the rest of the day.  Although my hunting clothes are Gore Tex, everything was hat, gun, scope, stand, it was a mess.  The upper 50's never materialized and by noon we hit a paltry 37 degrees.  It wasn't that bad however just 80 miles away at home the sky was blue and the temperature was 67 degrees.  We were parked right on the front end of the cold front and about had enough! Just about the time I decided to get off the stand and go in a movement caught my eye.  There had been quite a few shots fired and after seeing a deer driving in, they were obviously moving.  Sure enough a big doe had stepped into my view.  My disadvantage was in the form of trying to get too high in the tree, the tamaracks got a little thick, never the less after cleaning enough moisture off the scope lens I had her in sight.  Just a couple of steps more, I need a better shot and Bang, as I watched a guy in the center stand took a 150 yard poke at her.  She bucked like a bronco, ran 25 yards, I was sure he hit her good.  No dice, she started walking around like nothing happened.  With the opportunity to get another shot I patiently waited until the right moment, squeezed the trigger, and the 2 inch branch 6 feet from my barrel exploded in front of me.............damn!!!  By that time the guy who took the first shot was checking out his success, I got down and told him the story as we walked around looking for any sign.  Wet, frustrated, and the afternoon looked no better I tore down the stand, packed it on my ATV and headed back.  Well, at least I can say that I had my chance which in the end is all I am ever looking for.  I did get plenty of deer meat from my neighbors and friends, as well there is still some left in the freezer.  For sure it was a successful season, not necessarily bountiful but successful.
Light colored inside will be nice!

It is getting colder and ice fishing is just around the corner.  In my ever quest to horse trade and upgrade I dropped off my older Clam Thermal X2 at Bill's for a new 2013 Clam Thermal X2 portable ice shelter.  Weighing in at 135 pounds it's not that portable yet really offers the comforts for fishing those cold days on the lake.  The newer house has a number of features that are really nice.  First is the new pole system.  Nothing wrong with the older system however this on will be much easier to set up and tear down.  The sled/tub that is the base for the house is now double molded and the inside is a very light gray color making it much easier to see things inside the shelter.  I also like the hyfax runner system the new sled has, individual nylon runners that will really protect my investment.  Of course nothing seems to go together as easy as it should as the shelter come completely unassembled.  The first thing is to install the runners, 6 - 50 inch, undrilled pieces with 30 #10 x 1.00 inch screws, washers, and lock-nuts.  After aligning the runners and drilling the holes it was time to attach them to the sled.  I drilled the first hole through the bottom and screwed the supplied hardware together to get a feel for it.  Immediately it was evident that 1 inch screws would stick up through the floor too far, at least in my estimation, causing things to catch every time you wanted to move something.  Deciding to take matters in my own hands I located enough 10-32 x 3/4" truss head screws to make the installation more proper.  Arriving on Tuesday, later that night I tried the first screw.  Immediately the lock-nut bound up and dang near twisted off.  Closer examination found that the nuts were 10-24, something I never even considered.  I have since picked up some 10-32 nuts and am ready to continue.   The real problem is that after a quick assessment the assembly time is going to be around 4 - 5 hours.  Nuts, bolts, brackets, tubes, plastic parts, runners, thermal shell, uffda.  Thank god it will be a few weeks before we get real ice!  This weekend is the first of 2 ice fishing shows in the area and I am anxious to see the new equipment, especially the new reels that I have been talking about for years.  That will be a story for next week.

My tractor mechanic, Dick called and said the Ferguson is finally finished.  The oil leaks are fixed, the radiator has been rebuilt, a rebuilt oil pump has stabilized the oil pressure, new fluids in the motor, transmission, and hydraulic system.  She'll have a new alternator complete with a tach drive in the back to drive the original tachometer (It has been converted from 6 volt generator to 12 volt alternator) with a cable. Just in time to level my pole barn driveway and put away the implements for the year as I don't think I'll have a need for the disc harrow and plow for a while.  With the potatoes dug, the bulbs put away, there's still a lot of work to put everything away for the winter.  It seems like the time continues to fly faster and faster!

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