I dot the tops of my pies with butter, and sprinkle them with sugar. They still never come out pretty.

Wild Food: Bear For Dinner and Dessert.

Home is very open country, especially once the corn is down.

Home is very open country, especially once the corn is down.

After a trip back home to visit the family ended in 4 unsuccessful hunts (all thwarted by a small herd of black Angus) , I came back to a Monday off, except for class. I had a lot to do around the house, so I figured a set-it-and-forget-it meal was in order. I pulled out my first bear roast  and my cast iron dutch oven. Continue reading

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Matt Goes Up North Solo

Matt’s brother got his weekends mixed up, and told us the wrong ones for his next trip up to the cabin. Originally, he told us the 11th and 12th, so I asked that weekend off, and volunteered myself to work all of this past weekend. Well, that wasn’t what he meant, so I had nine days of work in a row (5 more to go), including this past weekend, and Matt went up without me. However, given the intense stomach virus I was struck with Saturday night into Sunday, maybe it’s best I was somewhere with indoor plumbing.

He had some lackluster duck hunting, tried some grouse hunting, and checked all the trail cameras up there. There are way more deer showing up, but as with every year, this coincides with his grandfather putting out bait.

There was one other reason Matt had to go up north this weekend.

A cute, fuzzy reason that chews on things he isn't supposed to, and pees on the floor.

A cute, fuzzy reason that chews on things he isn’t supposed to, and pees on the floor.

Matt finally got his retriever puppy. I love puppies, but then again I’m also the one doing all the work home for most of the day. We have our work cut out for us house training him, and getting the basics instilled. Then it’s off to formal bird dog training. We also haven’t picked out a name yet.

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Milestone: Purchasing a Second Freezer

One good thing to come out of this past weekend was a new freezer. Sunday night, the weather began to turn as we struggled back to the boat landing. And it’s been raining since. Soaking rains Monday, more on Tuesday, and the last bits straggling away today. So no deer hunting like we hoped on Monday night- I was not about to sit in the pouring rain, no thank you.  Continue reading

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Bird Hunting Before the Midseason Break

Matt had an excellent Friday night. He headed out to nearby Mud Lake just as I was leaving to go to work. Half way through the night, I checked my phone during a lull- two mallards, and two Canada geese. Both geese banded, and shot within minutes of each other. What did I get out of Friday night? Mostly clothes that smelled like fried cod, lower leg pain, and shoddy tips.  Continue reading

Northern Zone Duck Opener

This year’s northern opener couldn’t have been much different than last year’s. The weather, for one, was nothing short of amazing- 80s and sunny, with nights dipping enough to make sleeping bags a necessity. Second, we never bothered with deer hunting in the evenings, but more on that later.

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That’s Matt and I on the road, just north of Wausau. He’s towing that enormous boat (26 foot), and I’m riding behind, blocking the lane for him when he needs to change, as his mirrors aren’t big enough to see behind it. He got that 26 footer from a guy up in Oshkosh for $500. It’s in better shape than Ditchboat was, even though I prefer Ditchboat’s roof and toilet. He intended to take the trailer out from under it, and leave the boat itself with his dad for a later project. I later learned (I left early) that didn’t work out as planned.

Decoys and mirror-like water at 8:57 on opening morning.

Decoys and mirror-like water at 8:57 on opening morning.

Guess whose waders are the really short ones.

Guess whose waders are the really short ones.

This year left me really pondering a 9 AM start time for the season. We saw, no lie, upwards of 50 birds between 6:30 AM and about 7:15. Two were wood duck drakes that landed not 30 yards from us. By 9, not a tail feather. I understand that it’s meant to give the birds the absolute best chance, given how large a percentage (something like 60%, if I recall correctly) of the season’s take is on opening day alone. So, opening day for us is generally getting up at 4:30, being in the blind by 5 or so, and then sitting and waiting for four long hours. This year was at least warm. We ended with just one duck on the whole weekend. I left Saturday evening, and Matt stayed on. They got 4 ducks Sunday morning, but lost them in the rice. This has Matt dead set on getting another dog.

We didn’t bother with trying to bow hunt this year, for two reasons. First, that this part of the state is buck only this year. Second, we only caught one, lonely trail camera image (out of thousands, literally) of a little forkhorn. It was all does. We’re even hoping no one shoots him, so that he at least has a chance to breed the does we did see. We also found some wolf tracks, which would explain the absence of fawns, as would the presence of a bear.

Coyote

Coyote

Bear

Bear

Mysterious lonely buck.

Mysterious lonely buck.

One very fat doe.

One very fat doe.

So that was that with opening weekend. Next weekend is the opener down here in our part of the state. However, we’re considering driving back up so that we don’t have to both wait for another 9 am start, and contend with alllllll the other people who come out that morning.

It was only this light when I left. Deeply upsetting.

A Disappointing Opening Day Hunt

It was pretty brisk at ten-to-five Saturday morning. The sun was an hour and 40 minutes from coming up- not even a smudge of bright on the eastern horizon. I had packed everything into the car Friday night after work, and laid my camo out. Last year on the bow opener, I was sweating in light cotton. This year, it was 39F as I shouldered my pack, and trekked up the road in darkness.  Continue reading