Thursday, November 12, 2015

Deer Hunting and Stuff

Sunrise on the Stand
Last weekend was the 2015 Minnesota Deer Hunting opener.  Since 1979 I have been deer hunting with my friend Jack Taylor and the last 12 years we have hunted around his cabin on Platte Lake, which there are a few posts if you go back in the history.  Although it gets more difficult every year to get oneself out to hunt, I enjoy the comradery of getting together at  Rich's old place and hanging with the boys and this year was no different.  Brett now owns the property and there is no one that makes us feel any more welcome than he does, excluding Rich of course. As it has been for all the years I have hunted, the swamp you have to maneuver across isn't any drier now that is ever has been. Unfortunately my ability to trudge across isn't any better.  The last few years Jack and I have hunted his neighbor at the lake Loren's land, 80 acres about 10 miles down the road. It's not a bad place to hunt however it is quite surrounded by hunters, especially the neighbors that post right on his property lines to take advantage of  his open fields.  Last year he found a gut pile in his field, not that it was much of a problem but the slob left his cleaning gloves and other garbage that the coyotes don't eat on the pile.  Some people are pretty stupid.  This year I set up a tree stand on one of the corners of the field looking east.  In years past I would go up anywhere from 16 to 18 feet however I have gotten wiser in my old age and only put up 12 feet of ladder and reduced my height by half, although I am not sure falling 8 feet would be any less painful these days.  Part of the lure of
Deer Camp Deer
deer hunting is actually experiencing the outdoors at it's finest.  Looking east I could watch the sunrise each morning from my stand and it was quite a show.  If you click on the picture it should enlarge and you can see the beautiful alignment of the Moon, Venus, with Mars and Jupiter (not visible on the picture)  all in a straight line at a 45 degrees.  Except for the occasional mufflerless pickup truck roaring by the show was well worth getting up at 5:00 for.  Jack and his son Ben were in his ground blind about 200 yards from me and for both Saturday and Sunday neither one of us seen a deer.  It was really windy on Sunday morning and although the rut had began, nothing was moving around us.  That story repeated itself with the conversations that we had with some of the other hunting parties around except for Brett.  Back in the swamp he was seeing deer all over the place and both him and his son Trenton bagged a nice smaller buck and a doe on Saturday.  On Sunday afternoon I was near Brett's stand when he texted me that he had a nice doe in range and was I interested in it.  Of course....bang, it was down and I had a deer.  Brett was gracious enough to get his ATV and pull it out for me, I gutted it out and hung it up to cool (the one on the left).  With success defined as the chance to have some fresh venison this year, Jack and I left deer camp and headed home.  With the temperatures in the upper 50's we scrambled to get the deer skinned, boned and package on Monday.  I talked to my brother Steve on Tuesday and he mentioned an idea that's worth trying.  When making venison burger instead of adding pork or beef fat simply grind 3 pounds of bacon to 10 pounds of venison meat.  Man that sounds delicious and I report my findings next week.

Uncle Loren Nelson
On Friday my dear uncle Loren Nelson died at the ripe age of 87 at his home in Eau Claire.  My wife and I attended the funeral on Tuesday and it really became a true celebration of his life.  Loren and Lavonne (my dad's sister) were my Godparents and for years I was alway wondering why they were my only aunt and uncle that gave me a birthday present. One year when I was about 8 they gave me a book on pirates and for sure it was the first book anyone gave me except the bible my grandmother did.  I was fascinated by it's content about Blackbeard, Black Bart, Captain Kid and a host of others that made a definite impression on my young mind.  The best part of being related to Loren was having his children as my cousins.  Back when we were kids the big events were getting the families together and just hanging around. This is were we got very close to our cousin's that were around the same age and there was no shortage.  Loren's son's that I had the most interaction was Greg and Tom Nelson. Although Tom had left the area after college Greg settled down in Hudson, WI and it was pretty easy to find an excuse to get together.  From ice fishing to Alaska, we always found time to stay up to date on the family.  After a few years we finally got Tom up to Alaska and now he's wondering when we are going again! A few years ago Loren was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Although we had seen him a number of times at "Booger Hollar" it was difficult to stay in touch. Time flies so fast and when we got the news of his passing two things come to mind. First was wow, 87 years old, I didn't realize he was that old.  The second is the guilt associated with the fact that one hadn't seen him in the last couple of years, something we should have done.  In the end there is little one can do other than try to be better with those valuable relationships while you still have a chance.  Loren was a great guy, a fantastic uncle, and we always enjoyed each others company when we had the chance, and I'll never forget what he called be all the time..........Hey Anderson!