I have hunted most of my life, and most of my life I have hunted primarily in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota. As a kid I started out with small game like most kids do. Partridge [grouse], and snowshoe rabbits were my targets at that time. Gradually working myself into deer hunting which i still do at the present time.
I did bowhunt for a few years, but went back to firearms season which is something i look forward to every year. Nothing like deer camp!! I hunt north of Duluth, on public land [and on some private land at a friends place] where i have been hunting since the 60’s. There may be more deer in Central Minnesota and further south but i have no interest in hunting in those locations.
I need the surroundings of the deep forests, smell of fresh pine, and all the critters that live there, including wolves. Wolves are elusive creatures, however i have seen a few while hunting. Love the howling during the night while we sleep deep in the forest. One of my favorite things to do in deer camp is sit around the campfire, talk about the day’s hunt, and have a great meal along with a beer or two.
Here are Clay, Erick, and Don taking a break from the mornings hunt getting ready for some lunch. This was last November . I cant remember the last time we had any snow on the ground that lasted through the season. Last firearms season it happened.
Getting set up the night before opener. The smaller containers of plastic have some of Don’s whiskey dip for our crackers. Bottle of Jag spice to warm the inside a bit and some dark beer to wash it down. On the end of the table are two soups in cryovac bags that Clay made. We didn’t need a fridge or cooler this time around. As you can see the flakes were just starting to come down with no snow on the ground.
The snow started to come down steady late in the day prior to the opener. It was a wet snow and we wanted to set up the chairs around the fire but we didn’t want to get our cloths wet. So we sat in the camper for the most part into evening. more to come..
This is my deer stand that I have sat in for many years. Had to fix it up here and there over the years. Got a swivel type chair last season so i can turn all the way around without much noise. The season before this one I had to pass on a trophy buck because it took me too long to turn around for a safe shot. I heard the buck coming very close behind me, and it was one of those inch by inch body rotation deals. Hopefully I get another chance at that brute.
Talking strategy with the guy’s . My brother came with his best friend from Arizona to hunt with us. Spent a couple of days with us in our area and then went up further north near the Ash River Trail to hunt with friends of ours.
Had a big pot of soup going on top of the stove, with some of my venison polish. I know it looks like a big party going on but I had to bring in some of the beer to thaw out. Seemed to work fine. The soup was great and was just right for the cold evening.
The place we hunt get’s logged at times. Where once was thick forests, open areas are made in the process. The loggers do a decent job cleaning up after themselves. They pile up much of the branches and wood they can not use in these piles. Providing cover for the smaller critters of the woods.
Some of the area turned into fields and remained so with only some brush growing here and there. Couple of or stands are located right on the edge of swampy areas. As you can see, it’s fairly open here, however over the years this area will once again be filled with Popple’s , Pines, and Birch trees.
Couple of season’s ago Erik was new to deer hunting. Matter of fact it was his first time at it. So what does he do? Get’s a nice 8 pointer opening morning. That was not enough though. He shot another 8 pointer the same weekend. Both bucks were shot right in the kill zone behind the shoulder. Proud moment for him and now he is addicted to deer hunting.
Home away from home. My trusty 1974 Jayco camper. Real good shape for all the years of use. This is where we sleep and cook in. I bring it up to our deer camp area prior to opener and the camper has served us well.
I’m standing next to my first deer [on the right] and a buddy of mine at the time with his. He decided to dress his up a bit. Kids being kids I guess. However I remember we were very excited that day and talked about those deer all year. It felt like the end of the world when the sun set on the last day of the season.
Wolf tracks by the water bottle near the deer stand. We hear them at night and I have seen some while hunting over the years. This past season I didn’t hear as much as past years and only saw tracks of a single wolf, no pack sign at all.
2014 DEER SEASON
What a short season it was. Short on deer and time but always long on memories. That’s why I go hunting. Weather always is a factor of course and this year was no exception. The day before the opener was pleasant. We took the time to set up camp and then set out to check the area and make some minor adjustments to our stands along with clipping some brush and branches to clear up our shooting lanes. During our walk we noticed no rubs or scrapes. When we were up two weeks earlier we noticed the same, but we did see some beds and tracks.
Opening day was what we did not want and that was high winds, and it was windy. The stand was moving pretty good and I was wondering if I should even sit on it. Going to have to re-build the stand or move it a short distant to make it more secure. I’ve been fixing this stand over the years and I think it’s time for a new one.
Had a tree fall over our trail during the day as well. Well that tree will make great firewood for next season. It was bucks only this year because of the deer numbers here and across the state. 95% of Minnesota is bucks only this year and I don”t look for that to change much next year, especially up north. I knew the numbers of deer were going to be down, so the bucks only was fine with me. The deer that were there must have been moving during the night because we sure didn’t see them during the shooting hours. We jumped a couple of does and that was about it. By Monday we heard of the snow storm coming from the south so we decided to leave instead of Tuesday.
We set up camp two weeks before the season as usual. This is the time when we check on the area for signs and make any repairs to stands that need it.
Couple of our stands that are more in the open.
We have some deeper in the woods as well. This one has served us well and has been there many years.
What a difference a couple of weeks make up north. Sitting in T-shirts two weeks before opener and in full gear on opener.
Our good friend Al [The Chef} came along before opener and joined us in some grouse hunting.
Breakfast was great with my home smoked Canadian bacon and some eggs.
Of course a cold one is always on the menu.
Our new camp toilet, redneck style, worked out great.
Always nice to have a snipper along to clear some branches.
Hard to get phone service where we are. Clay trying to get in touch with the boss.
Good supply of brews. Didn’t need any ice to keep them cool.
Had some snow the day before opener.
Sitting on my stand watching the sun come up over the swamp.
Some more pics from our stand on the edges of the logged area.
Always our favorite times around the fire where lies are told.
Leaving our deer camp on Monday around noon. It was snowing a little but most of it was south of us as we found out.
35 W was slick all the way down to the cities and more. What normally takes us around 3 1/2 hours from the deer camp to my home took us around 8 hours with speeds of 35 to 40 miles per hour all the way. Four wheel drive all the way as well. Tow trucks made some money this day and the first responders were out in full force. There were vehicles passing us that were later seen in ditches. Well there is always next year and I’m looking forward to it. more to come……