It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog but with some encouragement from family I’m going to get back in the saddle and start writing again. There were a couple of factors that lead to me stopping my blogging for a while which I’m sure you will read about in coming posts. For now let me just say that the past year has been full of ups and downs, shots fired, arrows released, and lessons learned. Most importantly though I’ve been thankful for the time spent with family and friends, it’s because of them that I get to do what I love every fall.
Now lets get down to business. As this post goes up I will be getting ready for the Wisconsin gun opener, it’s something I look forward to every year. The guns have been sighted in, the blaze orange is coming out, there is jerky marinading in the fridge, and thoughts of Da Thirty Point Buck are dancing in my head. It’s time to head north and enjoy another year at deer camp! I hope you all have a fun and safe hunting season.
We often hear the phrase “What would your mother say?” when talking to kids or young adults these days when it comes to hair styles, clothes, or just their actions in general. It has got me thinking lately…what would my grandpa say about the hunters shown on TV or in Outdoor Magazines these days. How would I explain to my grandpa that I need to go to the store so I can pick me up a nice bottle of doe pee so I can get me a big buck? OK, well, oldtimers used to cut out the tarsal gland of a deer they just shot and use it lure in anther deer. And I know I have heard stories of the Native Americans doing the same, so I guess it’s not that far off base.
How do you explain to grandpa that you need a camo golf cart with a winch, roll bar and flood lights to go get your deer out of the woods? I can see it now….Grandpa takes his cap off, scratches his head, and looks over at me, “you got legs, don’t you?”
OK, Grandpa maybe I don’t NEED the golf cart, but what about this sweet GPS unit with maps and aerial photo overlay. “Didn’t your dad teach you to use a map and compass, boy?” he would reply. ”You should at least pay attention to your surroundings so you can remember where you are going. That’s as bad as your Dad needing that dang PGS thing in his car to tell him how to get to the store. Did you even see a deer when you went hunting yesterday?” he would ask. Ummm, well no, but when I checked my trail camera and I had 143 new pictures on it. “Grandpa, do you want to see? I got a sweet buck on there, I call him Crab Claws.” I can already hear his reply. “Well for land sakes, what in the heck is a trail camera anyway? I thought we were talking deer hunting here, not lobster fishing.”
If you talk to anyone who is successful at what they do, odds are they can tell you exactly what their goals are. More often than not they will have their goals written down somewhere and they will evaluate them often to make sure they are working towards those goals. When it comes to hunting, I am no different. Last fall I made the decision that I wanted to expand my hunting horizons and explore some new hunting ground other than the family farm. I wanted to start hunting public land, which I had almost never done in my home state of Wisconsin until last year. My goal for the year was to shoot at least a 2 1/2 year old buck on land that was open to public hunting. In my heavily hunted home state, I thought this would take some effort, but something that I could definitely do. I put in some long hours scouting and by the end of the season I was able to harvest a nice 2 1/2 year old buck. I was really proud of that deer and all the work that went into that hunt, especially the drag out. Here is a picture of my buck from last year.
This year I wanted to try something new so I am going to try to accomplish a few different things.
1. Shoot a deer on the ground on land open to public hunting.
2. Self film a few of my hunts to post here.
3. Introduce someone new to archery. (This is kind of an ongoing goal)
I will keep you posted on how my season is going and how my goals are coming. What are your goals for the 2012 season?
I really enjoy the guys over at Deer & Deer Hunting. Not only do they put out a great magazine, but I get to bowhunt right in their back yard. OK, not their actual backyard, but I do get to hunt just outside of Iola, WI which is the site of the Deer & Deer Hunting headquarters. Anyway, I really like the magazine and I think they put out some great content for all levels of hunter and a full range of deer hunting info. This year they have upped the amount of info they put out with a Wednesday afternoon live video called Deer Talk Now. It has some great content and they have guest speakers call in and answer questions from the viewers. You can also check out past episodes, which are all great. Keep up the great work guys.
Now that August is here, my blood really starts to pump as I get ready for this coming fall. This is also the time of year when I start looking back at pictures from previous hunts and dream about getting back to some of those places. Here are just a few of the pictures that I have been looking at over the past few days.
Not the elk that I was looking for that year, but she sure would make some great steaks!!!
Didn’t get an elk on this day but we had a great hike and beautiful view from the top of the hill.
Saw some elk and a cow moose today but couldn’t quite close the deal. It was a great hike out on our last afternoon. If you look at the hill side you can see what the pine beetle kill looks like in parts of north central Colorado.
Slightly dejected after missing a nice 5×5 elk. You can see the small notch the broadhead cut out of the tree, 1/4 inch to the right and I would have killed the elk and not the tree. Oh well, there is always next year.
Looking back at these pictures really makes me miss Colorado and elk hunting. There is nothing like the high country and hearing an elk bugle. Or getting up well before the sun to hike in brisk cold mountain air only to shed layers later in the morning as the sun climbs in the sky. I can’t wait for my next trip back to elk country. I think I will break out the cow call and practice a little bit while my wife is out of the house.
My wife asked me to get some venison out of the freezer, because she was going to make some venison mini meatloaf for dinner. She had been to the farmer’s market the day before and we also had some sweet corn and carrots to complement the meal. My wife put me to work shucking the corn while she got the venison ready for the oven.
My wife mixed up the ingredients which included 10 crushed saltines, 1 egg, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 Tbsp milk, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, salt and pepper to taste and 1 pound of ground venison.
After you have mixed all the ingredients together, you form individual balls or patty like shapes and place them on baking sheet. We used some tin foil as this makes for easy clean up. Heat the oven to about 400 degrees and you are ready to cook.
Before we put the meatloaf in the oven we also put a sauce on top of the meatloaf. To make the sauce you mix 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 Tbps brown sugar, 1 Tbps cider vinegar, and 1/4 tsp of dry mustard. This gets mixed together and put over the top of each mini meatloaf. If you want to add a little kick to your meatloaf you can use some El Pato Tomato sauce instead of the ketchup. We didn’t use any today but it gives the meatloaf a good kick.
While the mini meatloaf was cooking, we got the corn and carrots ready. We have found that blanching the corn after you boil it tends to help hold the flavor longer and keeps the corn from getting that starchy taste if you wait to long to eat it. Well at least that’s what my wife tells me, and she is from Iowa so who am I to argue. We had a dozen ears to cook and what we didn’t eat for dinner was going into the freezer for later in the year.
Let the meatloaf cook for about 30 minutes and then check to make sure it’s done. We plated it up with the corn and carrots and had a great meal of venison and fresh vegetables.