Well, by the time this week’s paper comes out you should be sitting in your deer blind waiting for that trophy buck to walk by. I will be sitting in mine wondering where the last year went so fast and how it could be that a firearm deer season is upon us again. The weather should be okay for the first few days anyway with all the snow being up in the Copper Country.
I sat in my blind on Monday and it dropped down into the 20s and about got your attention. In fact, after all the wind and rain, everything was frozen up. It can really make it interesting for keeping in a vertical position when getting around in the woods.
There seems to be a lot of deer running around but the question always is will that buck walk by you. No matter how much one plans or how well prepared he can be, the only way you can be successful is have something you can shoot walk in.
But I am one of those that think that the true value of deer season and spending time at camp is not just getting a deer but the families that get together at this time of year. I guess in a lot of cases it has changed a whole lot and to be honest it seems less and less people are making it a point to spend time at hunting camp together. You would have to be a grandpa and grandma and have a grandma and grandpa’s heart to know how this works.
I sit here working towards year number 70 and yet I can recall times spent with dad, uncle Randell, Ivan Skinner, and dad’s cousin Eldon. They had a hunting camp on national forest land made out of paper mill construction paper with a wood cook stove and a little fuel oil burner. The refrigerator was a wooden orange crate nailed to a tree.
The beds were straw ticks with sometimes three to a bunk when we kids got to go to camp. Sometimes there was more wildlife inside dad’s camp than we saw on the outside if you counted all the mice and squirrels.
At times we had to go into camp with a team of horses the weather would be so bad. One thing about horses, whether it was mud from that famous Ontonagon red clay or snow, they never seemed to have a problem. It sure would be neat if a person could hit rewind and go back and relive some of those great memories, but I guess it only happens in the movies.
Not that I like hanging onto memories (ha) but I do still have the old Sears radio dad and his hunting buddies hauled way back into camp so they could listen to the “Deer Hunter’s Roundup” each evening. Back then the radio station would report on successful hunters that called in each evening at 6 p.m.. This radio had a large battery made up of about a zillion flashlight batteries wired together. If they only used it to listen to the “Deer Hunter’s Roundup” with a little luck the battery would last the week. In fact, I also still have those wool red-plaid pants I got for Christmas back in the 50s hanging down in the basement.
Those living in this day and age would have no idea how it was back then. When you were out at hunting camp you were totally out of touch with the outside world. Would you believe when we headed up the Norwich Road to the Frazier farm (dad’s aunt and uncle) before we got there we would go by a farm that was the last one on the road that had electricity.
So needless to say everything was done with lanterns and oil lamps and flashlights that if you were lucky would light up your feet. I can remember hiking back into camp with dad with my trusty Red Ryder BB gun so I was sure to handle any problems that came our way.
There is no doubt I had the best type dad any kid growing up in the U.P. could have. I cannot recall him ever acting like having me or my brother along was a bother. He just made us feel like one of the hunting camp crew. If he was still here now I would say, “dad, I love you and just wanted to say thanks for all the great times and memories you made for us years ago while we were growing up, you were the best dad a guy could ever have.”
So get out there and spend time with your family and friends and build memories that will be passed on from one hunting camp crew to the next. Remember to treat this deer season like it may be the last one you may have with those at deer camp because we really never know what traveling down that road of life in the next year may bring forth. Have a great season.