Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Second Week of Deer Camp

View From the Stand Late Saturday Afternoon
Well, we are done with deer hunting in Minnesota as Zone 2 ended on Sunday, November 15th.  It is still open for another weekend in Zone 1, just east of where I hunt yet mentally I have moved on to ice fishing.  I do like venison as well as the process of butchering it but this year was pretty cold and busy so not having to deal with it isn't the worst thing in the world.  Somewhat undecided as to what I was going to do last weekend for hunting, my mind was made up when Jack Taylor called and asked if I would bring his son Ben up with me.  That was a good enough excuse to leave a little early and hunt Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.  Ben was pretty excited as his mom was going to go up Friday night but decided to stay home, meaning he wasn't going.  Arriving at Jack's house by 11:30, we stopped at Cabela's to get some gloves and it was a good thing I had him along. Forgetting my reading glasses in the truck I needed Ben to tell me the prices of the items I was interested in.  With the cold weather upon us the goal was not to have cold hands on the stand. We arrived around 2:00, just in time to get the warm clothes on an head for Brett's.  He had earlier called to tell us the swamp had frozen over and getting back to my traditional spot would be easier.  Well it wasn't quite that way as the swamp had areas of standable ice yet it was still unfrozen under the snow.  Inching my way back was like walking a tightrope working hard to avoid the areas that weren't so thick, I managed to get a little wet yet stayed dry enough to get to a stand.  Saturday night was very nice as I took this picture from the stand.  There was some fresh tracks under the stand yet by 5:00 nothing had come by.  Not wanting to walk through the swamp in the dark, I headed back through the maze of solid ice, open water, and muck.  Unfortunately the trip back wasn't so forgiving as I broke through over my boot landing on a solid piece of ice.  Although I didn't get too wet, it was enough to rethink Sunday morning's hunting stand.  Not wanting to walk back out in the dark I chose a stand near the road, not to difficult to get in but not the ideal spot either.  Waking up at 5:30 I was in the stand by 6:15 and was it cold!  I lasted about 90 minutes before it was time to leave.  Packing up I headed back to Jacks cabin, enough of deer hunting for this year.  We did measure the ice in front of the cabin which sits on the east side of Platte Lake and found over 5 inches. Heading back in time to catch the Packer's play with the Philadelphia Eagles like a cat plays with a mouse!  My bet with Carl was a good one and I look forward to a trip to San Jose, CA to collect.

A Great Addition to the Tackle Box
Last Friday night Tom McAtee and I went to the Ice Fishing Show at the Blaine Sports Complex. One of the first of the year, there were a lot of new gimmicks and ideas to  mull around.  One of my favorite tools for cleaning fish is the Filet Claw, a great tool for holding fish filets when taking the skin off.  Made of stainless steel it has a claw like edge on one end and is bent up on the other to make handling a breeze.  It's one of those simple tools that really works and I never go anywhere without one.  It was interesting to meet the owner and his wife as we talked about business, his successes, and the future.   I love innovative things, I have 2 of these and decided that my ice house needs a dedicated one as well. Check out the link above and get yourself one, they are the real deal!  Besides some well know retailers at the show, I was really looking to see some of the wheel houses on display as I'm always looking for good ideas.  Unfortunately less than half the houses on display were accessible and those that were, those showing the houses weren't too interested after you let them know you have a different brand.  Clam Corp had a nice setup and it's got me thinking about selling my 1 man Clam Scout TC and getting something a little bigger in a thermal type fabric yet stay light enough that it will easily fit in the back of my truck and I can load myself.  Looking at the Clam Dave Genz Legend XL Thermal and will probably pull the trigger on one soon.  Although I have a big 2 man Clam X2 Thermal, it's really heavy and tough to load unless I bring the trailer.  This is OK for Mille Lacs but around home and on the smaller lakes I need something more portable. With 4 inches of ice already on the lakes I'll probably go out on Saturday afternoon as Sunday is the Packer/Viking game.  My last time in Wisconsin brought me by Louie's Meats in Cumberland and I purchased a couple pounds of Packer and Viking bratwurst which will be served at neighbor Tim's for lunch.  Here's hoping Aaron get's his 3rd 50 point plus game in a row!

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