Saturday, November 14, 2009

The 2009 Hunt

Sorry guys! I did it to you again! I keep letting the posts trail off after awhile. I promise I will endeavor to do better in the future.

Anyway, on to the hunt. November came in quite beautifully, if a bit chilly. We had, sometime in the months previous, picked up a Zodi Camp Shower unit, so we felt we were pretty much better prepared for a week-long stay in the cabin, so long as we had a way to keep ourselves clean. Opening day looked full of promise. We -- Dad (Harve, Sr), John, Tom and I -- had spent the previous night settling into the cabin, having had a great meal and told many bad jokes and old stories and generally preparing, with great anticipation for the upcoming day.

Morning came far too early, but we were up and into all business mode as we donned our gear, packed our lunch cans, loaded our guns and capped off our hats with trail lights. Tom and Dad had the furthest to walk, so they left fist, followed closely by John, who decided to hunt neighbor Jeff Jarosz' place, as he had given us permission to do the night before. He and his wife were dealing with some health issues that, as he explained, would prevent his coming up for the hunt this year. I followed last making sure to turn down the lights and creep very quietly and very carefully to my perch. Given all of the gear with which we were encumbered, I think we did a pretty good job of settling in without really making much noise.

Quietly and patiently we sat, calmly waiting for the break of dawn. We could here the early morning critters awakening. We even saw shapes moving about, but it was just too dark to make out anything. Suddenly, just as the sun is getting ready to pop up over the eastern horizon, to light the sky, down the lane come a crashing, squeaking, rumbling noise of a big 4x4 as our western neighbors came bumbling in to their property. Then, of course they whack-crashed through the brush and bramble as they left their truck, having made sure to very loudly slam its doors, to stumble out to the stands, which they made certain to rattle quite a bit before climbing into them!

Not a very auspicious start to the hunt! Any way, later on that afternoon, we got a visit from a couple of very cute DNR officials (hey ladies!) who were checking on a flyover report that said we were baiting. We showed them that we had recently been clear-cut and what looked like corn from the air was really sawdust shavings from the lumberjack's blades. That was our Saturday, pretty much in a nutshell.

Sunday, however told a different tale. Again we crept quietly out to our respective perches. Again we suffered the noisy intrusion of our lower neighbors' entrance into the area. but an hour or so after full light John spots a beautiful 3/5 spike and shoots it as it is running away from him and drops it on the first shot! His first deer, a buck and running away! A guy couldn't ask for much better. So I got down out of my stand and helped him haul it back to camp. By then Dad had come in so the three of us, dressed it out and hung it.

Later on that afternoon, I was sitting in my perch when I heard a crashing coming from the north part of the property, right along the line. At first, I couldn't see anything. Just then, a tree seemed to move. Then I saw that it was a deer walking cautiously up the border. His nose was in the air and he was being extremely careful about each step. Practically, in slow-motion, I raised my rifle and peered through the scope. I laid the cross-hairs right on his left-front shoulder, took a slow, steady breath and squeezed the trigger. I had heard many stories about the first deer. Buck fever. Nervous reloading. Freezing up and watching it walk right on by. But I experienced none of that. Rather, I felt calm and focused on the task at hand. And that little button buck dropped like a stone, dead in its tracks. My very first deer. At 49. I was elated. Oh, and he tasted good, too!

Tom would go on to close out the week collecting 2 more, one right on top of the other within a 1 minute period of time. So with a harvest of four, 1 doe, 2 buttons and a spike, we had a great hunt for 2009.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Deer Fort

For sometime now, John and I have been working on building his new deer fort. Basically, it's an 8ft by 6ft cabin, with balcony, 9 feet in the air. It has a fantastic 360° view of the entire property and will act as a great summer tree house shelter or overflow sleeping cabin for Spring and Summer camping activities.

We located it behind the cabin, on the other side of the creek where deer stand #1 sits. This cabin will replace that deer stand. Next Summer, we hope to add a lower platform with a nice picnic table and chairs and some hooks for lanterns and hammocks. It sits just 5 feet from a beautiful twin oak tree so ought to be real nice in that setting.

Next time up (10/3) I'll be doing a little work on my tree stand to get it shored up a bit, put some weather walls on it and make a new ladder so I can easily access it. It was a stand we were contemplating for removal, however given the way my knees are acting up and the close proximity of the cabin and the basic traffic patterns of the deer, we made the decision instead to shore it up for use this year and then rebuild it a little higher up in the trees next year.

We picked up a couple of trail cams from Gander Mountain and have been using them to monitor our deer plots and trails. We have caught a lot of does but the big buck, whose hoof-print is nearly the size of my palm has not yet shown up on the camera. We left the cams up north for the last 2 weeks to see if he gets in the shot. Will let you know if we get a picture of him.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Wood Stove

Well, we finally did it! Due to some rather creative financial dancing and careful shopping, we managed to get a wood stove, pipe and crown, along with the protective wall board. It cost a little under $1000 for everything which makes it 1/3rd the cost of the entire cabin! Still, it works like a charm and sure heats up the place. Too much so, if you ask me. Still, it'll be nice for hunting season and trips made this Winter.

In previous week-ends, we had purchased and installed insulation. We bought R11 for the whole cabin, but to date have only managed to get the downstairs and half the upstairs finished. We got the hard half of the upstairs done which means the vaulting part. All that remains inside is to do the loft ceilings and back wall. And then the under floor which is the porch ceiling.

Also, we have to fix the spring arms of the loft ladder. John and I took one side off and noticed that we could easily pull it down a good inch and a half or so, so that'll be done, hopefully soon. We also rearranged the furniture and shelving in the place to get everything in its proper long-term place. We have a little clean-up to do yet, but it's shaping up just fine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The nerve of some people still gets me! After learning, two weeks ago, that our favorite breakfast spot had been robbed, along with 2 other restaurants in town, we strove to do a better job of locking up our own stuff by cable-locking the generator, putting the tools away in the shed which is normally padlocked and separating the keys to our equipment from where it is normally located.

Never the less, upon arriving at camp, this past weekend, we discovered that we had been robbed! (pictures to follow) The villains had kicked in one of the panels of our cabin door and unlocked it from inside by reaching through the hole they had made. From here they stole John's new $80 fish-finder, Dad's tripod and a battery-operated lantern. Fortunately, they were either too busy or too stupid to lift up the air mattress that was on the downstairs cots, or they would have gotten his $1250 brand-new .3006 rifle.

Next, they took one of our own axes, and chopped through the half-inch cable holding the generator to the cabin and made off with that -- about a $500 piece of equipment -- but anyone who runs a raw camp like ours will tell you, a nearly indispensable one!

We found that they had lifted the tarps on the four-wheelers, but never noticed the keys in the cabin, so we were fortunate there, as well. However, they took our sledge-hammer, which I was using to hold the tarp down on my four-wheeler, and smashed the lock on the shed hard enough to take the lock and the entire bracket assembly completely off. From there they had a bonanza. 2 $200 chainsaws, 1 air compressor and 2 air-nailer guns all worth over $1000. plus several other power tools we are still attempting to identify.

They even managed to break into the back of the old pickup we keep on the property and tried to take Dad's table saw, which we were storing in there until later, but apparently, it was too cumbersome to carry off with them so they dumped it into the weeds near the end of the driveway.

Altogether, we figure, in equipment alone, we've lost over $2500 in goods and suffered damages to the tune of roughly $500. Of course, there is always a silver lining. As it turns out, these thieves have hit many, many places in the area recently, and their standard modus operandi (method of operation) is to vandalize and sometimes even burn, which thankfully, was not the case for us.

We have, of course reported the theft to the authorities, who will be sending out a loss-list to my home to report all the missing items and their values and to issue us a blue address tag for our property to make it easier to locate us in the event of another emergency. We also gave a preliminary list to the local pawn shop in the area. And we contacted our neighbors, only to learn that some of them, too have experienced similar assaults on their camps recently. And now having exchanged contact info, we can get in touch with each other in case something like this ever happens again.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Spring Thaw

March is here and while it is quite a beautiful day, it is never-the-less still quite chilly. The Kettle river is as yet mostly ice-covered and snow continues to litter the ground. The sky is a brilliant cobalt blue and the sun is pleasantly warm on the face. We've come up again for just the day to kind of keep an eye on things until we can see some growth to cover up the openness left by the removal of the trees.

We have at last received our check and hola! it is for much more than we originally figured it would be. This means that very likely, we will be able to afford to do all of the things we planned for back in February.

Oh Happy Spring!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


It's February now and Dad and John and I decided to do a Day-Trip up to the cabin. Just to sort of check things out and to see if the loggers did anymore clean up since John and I were last there in January. We haven't seen any sign of the funds from this venture yet and are apprehensive of the outcome of that given the amount of detritus they have left for us to clean up. The only good thing of which is we won't have to worry about firewood for awhile!

It's a pretty bleak and grey day out, but we take the time to walk all over the property just to get some different photo angles and to fully appreciate the extent of the clearing. After a bit of exploring and walking about, we sit down in the cabin to discuss plans for this year's work and what we intend to do to complete the cabin project.

Our basic plan for now is to repair the creek bed(s) and put in ditches to divert the overflow water caused by the damage of the loggers' heavy equipment back into the main stream outlets. Also, do a little road maintainence to make it easier to access the property. Then, move on to the cabin, with wiring via an off-the-grid 12v-110v Battery system with various recharge methods (solar/wind/gas generator). Next insulation and wall boarding. Then flooring -- carpet in the loft -- and closeting off the compost toilet, wood-burning stove in the back-right corner and mini-kitchen in the back-left. A futon and dresser for the main living area and futon matts for the cots in the loft. Finally, partially rounded cedar or pine log-style siding, to complete the look. If we have time, maybe we'll even get a well dug, as well.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Well folks, I must apologize for once again neglecting my blogging duties and leaving you all in the dark as to the status of Woodpecker Hollow. Here it is January of 2009. We have a new president, the market needs financial crutches just to keep from completely collapsing and the loggers have come and stripped my land of nearly all of the birch trees. This leaves me with -- and I am basing my calculations purely on visual guessing -- approximately only 5% - 10% of my total tree count.

At first glance, it looks pretty bleak, but there are some real benefits here that need to be taken into consideration. First of all, the areas we were thinking about clearing for various reasons, are now cleared--less work for us. Also, you can now see all the way across the property, making hunting lanes easier. We can now map out and make our trails and access roads as we like. And finally, it is easier to walk across the property with less brush growth to fight through.

Here is Panoramic image of the property from the southeast corner. For best viewing, zoom(Ctrl++) it all the way in and use the scroll bar to pan left-to-right and vice-verse.