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Deer Camp 2012

November 17th, 2012

Deer Camp 2012

The local northern hunting experience that comes once a year is upon us once again. On a large portion of acreage in northern Michigan, Deer Camp is set up with a main lodge and hunters choice from fourteen different deer blinds strategically placed throughout the landscape. Each hunter has their own special preference as to which deer blind they choose to hunt from. These typically don’t vary from year to year, but occasionally hunters trade spots, or give up their blind after they have had a successful hunt.

Weather is always a factor in the hunt; too warm and the deer don’t move as much as they do when it’s cold and a ¬†slight covering of snow always helps too. The weather for this year was picture perfect, cool fall weather with all day sunshine and clear, starry nights. I can’t remember a more pleasant stretch of fall days for deer camp in recent years. A few years ago It was too warm, reaching a high of 55 degrees in the afternoon, and then there was that one year when the early morning temperature dipped down to -9 below. Each of these weather patterns brought their own set of issues that contributed to the hunting success ( or lack thereof) for that year. This year it was nice to spend time in the woods and forest for a few days and the terrific weather that made the experience all the more enjoyable.

My opening morning started off just like any other year. A good cup of coffee and a full thermos to take with, along with a sandwich and some cookies to help keep the munchies away. I dress in several layers of clothes to keep warm in the blind along with aim insulated set of camo overalls just for deer ¬†hunting. I think of these as a wearable sleeping bag because they area quite warm and insulative against the cold. I took out my rifle and checked the magazine for enough rounds. I walked the long meadow from the lodge down to my blind which has a splendid view with a nice viewing area known affectionately as “Death Valley”. Deer regularly visit this grassy meadow browsing on the sweet rye shoots.

Once I arrived at my small northern woodland condo, I unpacked my gear and settled in to watch the morning unfold as the sun rose in the east and splashed the valley with sunlight. The experience of watching the forest come alive in the morning is one of the many pleasures that deer camp holds for me. I had a few four legged visitors close to the blind, but nothing to put the scope on. About 9:15 am in the morning I was enjoying my second cup of coffee and I noticed some movement out of my right window. A large deer was walking to the right of my blind and stopped, just out of sight behind a small group of trees. I opened the window and aimed my rifle out the window. I had to wait a few seconds for the buck to clear the trees to get a good look at him. I lined up the shot and pulled the trigger. The large 9 point buck lay on the ground a few minutes later. This would be the first deer on the buck pole this year.

This was the 9-point buck I downed on opening day 2012

The remainder of deer camp was very relaxing with card games, camaraderie, and some great meals. Cedar enjoyed her time out in the weathering yard as she came along for the trip. My fellow hunting crew really enjoyed having Cedar perched in the yard as well. Cedar also took to tolerating Wink pretty well, as he wandered around camp enjoying all the smells. Wink is an eight year old English Setter who really likes hunting grouse and woodcock in the fall.

Here’s the nice patch I received from the Michigan DNR when I stopped at the Deer Check Station in Mio.


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