It’s been chilly in the Midwest. As in, highs in the low teens, lows in the single digits to negatives. So much so that I was fearing a return to the weather we had last year for opening day. Anyhow, this weather is weather for hearty, hot meals. Soups, stews, braises. In two days, I’ve made two soups. Continue reading
Saturday was the USMC Ball for RS Milwaukee. So we didn’t plan on doing a whole lot this weekend. However, one (or more) of the neighbors on our block was taking issue with us and a handful of other residents’ activities on their respective properties. This person called the city building inspector. Who then issued several citations. So we went from black tie formal attire Saturday night to Carhartt bibs on Sunday. Continue reading
We made a trip up north to the cabin over the long Veteran’s Day weekend. We tried duck hunting with little success, did a little trapping, and sat for bow hunting. Continue reading
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Monday night, Matt announced that he had written me his bear piece. Turns out he meant by hand. Matt’s handwriting is not the most legible on the planet, so some editorial license has been taken. Grammar and spelling is mostly original. Continue reading
I have yet to get Matt to sit in one place long enough to write up his story. I’ll put up his pictures tomorrow. Aside from one short jaunt over to hunt Sunday evening, I spent most of the weekend starting to process some of the bear. Continue reading