Opening Day with the Lads
November 23, 2009
There we were, out at the Wildwood Bump, a shack on a parcel owned by one of the gang. 6 of us on 20 acres. Small but picturesque and full of deer. What would the morning bring?
Well, the corn harvest was late this year and it was all still standing on opening weekend. The deer were sleeping where they ate. So we didn't see much. One lad got a young-un at first light and that was it for our next few days.
But this past summer Camp Boss had built himself a first-class sauna in the porch of his shack. So every evening after we put the sun down out in the bush we'd sidle on back and get all heated up.
...If they had a buck pole for saunas we would've been hangin' trophies.
We had good eatin', too. Our group has been morphing around some. I missed opening day last year and we're at a new place now. But we've always had a chef (in real life) and a cheese and meat man (for real) and our specialty foods proprietor. There's now also a high-end restaurant owner in the mix! ...Food fest!
Everyone was shooting 12 ga. There were 870's and Mossberg 500's and my Disco-era 1100. One guy had a neat thing. He's kinda new to deer-hunting and he prefers a certain tree-stand. Being new maybe he can think outside the box a bit better. What he did was replace the regular butt-stock of his gun with a shorter tactical stock with pistol grip. You might think, Huh? But when you consider it in light of tree-stand shooting it makes great sense--and works great. Full stocks are made for, what? Wingshooting, offhand standing. Sit in a chair in a small box and aim downward and what works best then? A pistol grip and short butt with lots of drop puts you right on target. Neat!
Anyway, here are some pics of the time we had. See for yourself...
(PS: The corn is mostly down now and the deer are starting to move. A week late. Oh well!)
I love the drive to deer camp. I pass a dozen Amish farms after I get off the main roads. There is a special atmosphere around a place with no wires, even if the wires go past some of them. A windmill lets you know. A tidy simplicity. It helps slow me down, too, and get into Deer Camp mode. At one farm I saw 100 jars drying on a rack, twinkling in the sun. Another had a tall black horse standing out back. I once saw six kids on a porch and a couple in a buggy trotting down a grassy side lane with another buggy going another way, both pulled by gorgeously Derby-esque shining black thoroughbreds. I'd never seen so many people in the countryside in one view before. And with no shrieking sound of a 2-stroke engine anywhere, no rock'n'roll, no screaming, no automatic gunfire. No sound at all when I slowed the car besides kids chatting and hooves clopping. Eery. Humane...
Jars in the sunset.
The Wildwood Dump.
Still life with shack.
A dandy tree stand in a huge oak we call the Gargoyle. Yielded a heavy 9-pt last year.
I donned waders and got across to the far side of the swamp for one sit. It was a nice up-close-and-personal location on good swamp trails, but I was only able to toss up a slightly concealing brush-ring at the time.
Tree blind overlooking a spring and tamarack swamp. Picturesque. Amazingly, there was a frog doing a slow "creeeek"-croak.
After a day afield, it's time to get hot, melting hot. We're lucky to be invited to a shack with such a deluxe sauna!
Dinner is served! A feast with naked guys. (No... Sauna etiquette is wrap with a towel when you're outta!)
The gear corner. Too much is never enough. No, it was perfect.
Here's a really weird thing. I slept on a pad on the couch-frame. Ever since we started fixing up this place we thought some previous person had shot marbles at some walls with a slingshot (classy!). While we were playing darts this weekend we noticed it looked like more of a pattern so we thought maybe not a slingshot, maybe a ball-peen hammer. Then I thought, Hey, it might spell something... Whoa...! I suddenly got a sneaking suspicion... There were shirts on a nail so I took 'em off. There it was: "JEFF" spelled out over my bed. Creepy!
The end of opening weekend...
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