Deer Camp Radio
December 03, 2007
The gang went up north this past week for our annual deer camp.
It was the last week of the season. That's because some of our folks are in the food biz and they're busy with T-day til then.
We have occasional newcomers---this time we had 2. We try to show them the lore and the ways.
Unfortunately this time we didn't have any butchering to show anyone.
We got skunked.
There were lots of does but we passed on them. We haven't been seeing as many bucks lately...and does make bucks.
We did process a bunch of pen-raised trout that we had on hand. Man, our resident pro butcher went through those trout like butter---he even filleted most of them before I said Whoa, no need to go that far.
The food dudes brought up plenty of tasty vittles. The small-batch family-made Wisconsin bacon is an astounding thing to smell in a cabin. Someone also brought some duck breasts---they come with thick layer of fat that you leave on and sear to a crisp and include with every bite. Oh my!
I brought some of Andy Hampsten's homegrown olive oil from his farm in Italy (where he runs a bike tour biz). Plus I brought a library and my whetstone. Everyone has something to offer.
Deer camp is about more than putting meat in the freezer, though, Lord knows, we need meat. I love and prefer just rolling out my back door for most everything---including my hunting. But if we just wanted meat we could all find some back-forty downstate here or just look for roadkill---there are more deer here and fatter ones, too---the deer need curtailment, in fact. Speaking of which, I better put my name on the county roadkill email list. I need something fresh and lightly winged. I'll keep my eyes peeled on the ride to the post office. Something always turns up. That's meat. Deer camp is more. What it is exactly, well, that's hard to say. A campfire is involved, though. I'm sure that deer camps come in all flavors, all of them good.
At every camp there seems to be a modest little event involving peer pressure. Last year we tried to appease the Great Spirit by all diving into the icy pond at snowy midnight. (Only one desperado tried that form of appeasement this year...the ice was too thick for everyone else...he got a bit cut up.) This year we ended up causing a wee bit of a ruckus then driving around in a tiny old open jeep under the full moon on 2 tracks...without headlights. We quieted down with a climb up a tall pine on the top of a ridge. It was neat to be down in the dappled light and sound of branches clashing in the wind, then to go up and up, higher than all the other trees, until I could see the treetops swaying below me like dark green waves and see the even moonlight washing the limbs around me, undisturbed. It was quiet like an ocean up there and I could see for a long ways.
One of the guys is Chris, a Michigan NPR reporter (he co-runs the http://MichiganNow.org project). He had a microphone out occasionally. The day after we got home he had a story about our deer camp put together which aired across the state. Here's a link to it:
Whittling up a shooting stick (fashion alert!)
Midnight tree climb
Tommy and Rodger heading out (.30-06 and Savage 99 .250 Sav)
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