Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Deer Hunting

Sunday Morning's View From My Stand.
 Early November means one thing in Minnesota, Deer Hunting season.  Admittedly each year that passes it gets a little harder to trudge out to through the swamp yet it's something that once you stop you might never start again.  After moving from Eleva, Wisconsin to Osseo, Minnesota it took a few years of adjustment to get into the swing of things.  It was easy the first year to head back home and hunt however after meeting my first friend, Mark Taylor I started my Minnesota Deer Hunting tradition with Mark, his brother Jack, his brother-in-law Tim Guzek, and lead by Dale Larsen.  Dale was a co-worker of mine who grew up in Roseau, MN.  Dale was going back  home to hunt so we talked him into "guiding" us what started as our own Minnesota Deer Hunting tradition.  Those first days were pretty interesting.  We hunted in the Beltrami State Forest, 30 miles SE of Roseau, one of Dale's traditional places he went with his father.  Our first trip found us staying at the Evergreen Motel in Roseau, $22.50/night for a room with 2 full size beds.  With 4 of us staying in that room it cost us about $17.25 for each of us for the 3 nights.  Our mode of transportation was "Ol'Blue" a late 1960's vintage powder blue Chevrolet panel van, complete with a couch, carpeting, and all the comforts (and refreshments) for the 6 hour drive to Roseau.  Leaving in the morning, we'd get there about 1:00 in the afternoon, enough time to check out our hunting area, get back to Roseau for a few drinks before getting up at 4:30 to drive back out to the woods.  We always planned one meal at Dale Larsen's mother's house, something she really enjoyed as it was just like those hunting days of years ago when Dale's father and all the relatives came around for the hunt.  Saturday night was always celebrated at the Roseau VFW, the town's best restaurant.  Hunting till Monday morning, we'd drive back to the Twin Cities that afternoon.  I really like those days of hunting as we had almost unlimited areas to hunt, there seemed to be a lot of deer around, and half the fun was the 12 hours we spent on the road.  Eventually our income allowed us to move up as we rented 2 separate rooms so each one of us could have our own bed.  Luckily the 2 corner rooms were connected making it seem as one big place.  Eventually Dale stopped hunting so we teamed up with our friends Mark Mayerich and the Ullom boys who were hunting just southwest of Beltrami Forest near the small town of Skime, Minnesota.  Nothing more than a country store with a couple of gas pumps and some rental cabins, we hunted that area until a gentlemen bought a significant amount of the acreage we hunted and along with the locals basically ran us off.  Things were changing anyway as Tim Guzek had bought a cabin on Pelican Lake near Pequot Lakes, MN and we decided to hunt a little bit further south.  Although the hunting areas had much more hunters, there were still deer to be had.  I have tons of deer hunting stories, so much and so little time.  I have yet to miss one season since that first trip 35 years ago however today it's only Jack and I left.  We still have fun but it's nothing like the those first years of hunting, the best of times for sure.

Trenton in his stand.
As we have for the last 10 years, this year was back at our dear friend Rich Allen's place soon the be Brett's place.  It's still fairly wet yet passible as I returned to my traditional stand location on the small peninsula of large poplar trees that extend into the swamp.  Hunting with me was Trenton, Brett's son who was sitting in the stand right at the point.  A nice 8 pointer was shot off that stand last year so it has some great potential. Trenton is a great kid and proved to be a trooper as he stayed on stand all day, both Saturday and Sunday.  Although I couldn't see him from my stand, it was good to have someone nearby in case I needed help.  Saturday was opening day as we were greeted with 20 mph winds, low overcast clouds, with a touch of snow falling off and on all day.  The air temperature wasn't too bad but the wind pretty much put any damper on deer movement for the day.  Sunday was quite a bit better as around 4:00 in the morning the wind died, the clouds disappeared and the temperature was still reasonable.  I do enjoy sitting in  my stand most of the day, maybe getting down for a simple stretch, a little walk to get the blood circulating again.  I had dragged my large tub sled out to the stand as I typically use hip boots for walking then carry out my bibs and cold weather boots, changing before I climb 18 feet up into my stand.  The tube comes in handy if I do happen to get a deer, I have something to drag it out through the swamp.  About 11:00 on Sunday morning I had exhausted all of my remaining food stashes, was somewhat bored with the wait so I brought my HDS 12 Touch Manual with me, a great place to get familiar with it while I waited.  Hearing something I looked down and a small doe had walked within 30 feet of the stand.  Deciding this might be my only chance I grab the rifle as the manual dropped out of my lap and hit the bottom of the stand.  Damn, that wasn't good!  Well the deer was dumber than I was and ended up hanging from the garage.  I'm one of those guys that the averages tie into the success rate in Minnesota for deer hunting, about 34%.  I seem to bag a deer every 3rd year and this year marked 2 years since I had bagged one.  The deer wasn't very big but it did remind me of the time Mark Mayerich had shot a very small deer in Roseau.  After registering it he asked the guy what to do with it (referring to the tag) to which the guy a loaf of bread and make a sandwich!  That was still pretty funny.  Helping my neighbor Pete, he has allowed me to bring my deer over to his heated garage for a comfortable place to butcher it.  With 10 degrees on Tuesday morning, it was a lot better than doing it in my shed.  I did take a picture of the deer hanging in his garage, I'm not telling which one was mine but I'm sure you can guess!

Vension to be cut up.
With lows of 10 degrees, the ice is not far behind.  The Champlin pond has skimmed over and the ground is starting to freeze.  The weekend is supposed to warm backup into the 50's, maybe a reprieve allowing enough time to finish the last of the yard work before it gets to late.  I got a feeling Saturday is going to be crazy.  The mower deck needs to come off the lawn tractor and the snow blower needs to be mounted.  The boat has to be moved back for the winter and the snowmobiles brought forward.  I have a Strikemaster Laser Power Auger in a 9 inch model and was beginning to start hard, even after I put a new gas tank on last year.  I decided to bring it into D-Rock in New Brighton, an authorized Strikemaster service center.  While driving up hunting they called me to let me know it was ready and the bill was $66.  I asked if they did anything as nobody does work for that kind of money these days.  Sure enough, I picked it up on Monday as they installed a new carburetor kit, new spark plug, cleaned it thoroughly, and reassemble like new all for $66.  If I knew it was going to be that cheap I wouldn't have waited so long.  Dropping off my 30 year old Jiffy auger, we'll see how they do with that.   My plan is to go back up for a day to hunt with Jack, maybe on Sunday, trying to help him get a deer. 


Duane said...

You are so right Mr. Anderson. It's all about your hunting partners, the stories and your experiences. If it's only about that split second when you pull the trigger you should get another hobby.... Good post.

Jeff King said...

" Buy a loaf of bread and make a sandwich "....that's a good one