Monday, November 19, 2007

Camp Chicken Deer Camp 2007


Deer Camp 2007 was a fun, relaxing time at Camp Chicken. Arlene, Dan and I arrived on Wednesday night and were so excited about the next four days. Mom and Cindy came up to visit us that night and to bring Arlene a birthday present as November 14th is her birthday.

We could hardly sleep that night and I was up at 4:34 am to get ready.

Dan was itching to get going too and was all dressed and over to fill up his new Stanley thermos by 5:15 am.

Dan and I were in Skyview at 6:04 am, which was a tad early as you really can't see until about 7:00 am.

We saw quite a few deer that day but none we really wanted to shoot. Friday proved more of the same. We are pretty picky about what we take anymore. When you think about the work involved in shooting a deer: tracking it, dragging it out of the woods, field dressing, hanging it so that it ages properly and then butchering it; you want to make sure you take a good one.

After we got in from hunting Friday night we found my sister Cindy trying to figure out the gas oven so that she could get the lasagna cooking for us. Arlene's daughter Janet makes us a big pan of venison lasagna for our dinner during deer camp. Yummm! After a great meal we got out the Attack Uno game and went a few rounds. 10:00 pm is bedtime during deer season so Cindy reluctantly left so that we could get some shuteye.

Friday, while hunting with Dan in Skyview, I popped something in my neck and suffered the rest of the day with muscle spasms. So I decided to hunt Saturday from the Taj Mahal right by camp in case the spasms got so bad that I had to put some warm compresses or ice on my neck. Arlene convinced me to hunt with her at Cadillac II on Saturday as it is within easy walking distance of camp so I agreed.

Saturday was perfect UP deer weather: no wind and a steady soft snowfall. We saw a good buck at 7:45 am and Arlene was ready to pull the trigger but he never stepped out of the bushes for a good shot. I couldn't get a good look at his head but I saw a lot of antlers. The last we saw of him was his hindend headed East.

It was chilly that day so Arlene had her "Mr. Heater" going all day in the Cadillac II, to keep me warm . It really puts out the heat. I wanted to make sure my neck was warm so the muscle spasms didn't return so I dressed in lots of layers; poly-pro long underwear, heavy camo sweatpants, a heavy thermal underwear top, hooded sweatshirt, camo insulated bib overalls and my camo/blaze orange reversable vest.

At least that is how I started the day. Here I am, alert and watchful and the Cadillac II is now warm enough that I can take off the bib overalls and hooded sweatshirt. It's getting pretty toasty in here.

About an hour later, the Cadillac is really warm now. Those Mr. Heaters really put out the heat!! It is snowing and about 28 degrees outside but inside it must be about 75 degrees. I've shed the camo vest, insulated underwear top, camo sweatpants, and hunting boots and am down to just my poly-pro black long underwear.

Okay, it's really getting warm in here. I had to shed my heavy wool hunting socks next. I told Arlene that all she needed in there were some rocks and water to pour on them and I could take a sauna (it's like a steam bath for all you non-Yoopers out there).

I guess the heat finally got to me because about a half-hour later, Arlene took this photo:

Arlene was hoping a deer would come along so that I could shoot my buck in barefeet and long underwear. She thought that would be a great story.

For some reason, Arlene was quite comfortable and didn't seem to be bothered by the heat in the shack at all. She managed to be quite a bit more alert than I was, as you can see.

We did see deer all that Saturday. Our skinny resident doe came in to eat. She normally eats at the Taj Mahal and is so used to our presence that she merely raises her head to look at us while we are outside the trailers at Camp. I hadn't had time to put out food at the Taj, so she came down to the Cadillac for her meal. She had found a boyfriend too, a young muscular spikehorn that Arlene had seen the previous day. They made a nice couple. He's going to be a really good buck next year.

When we came in from our shacks after dark we had a nice surprise; Arlene's daughter Judi (Dan's wife) had driven out from the Soo to spend the night and go hunting with Dan the next day. We had leftover lasagna and macaroni soup for dinner. Just as we were finishing up, Mom pulled in to visit and brought treats. My Mom is so great! Every weekend that we are at camp, she bakes some great treats for us to eat: ginger cookies, brownies, peanut butter and jelly bars, and lots more.

Sunday morning was cold, calm and very clear. The stars were just brilliant in the early pre-dawn sky as we made our way out to hunt. Dan and Judi took his big 4-wheeler out to Skyview and I hunted with Arlene in Cadillac II. It was an odd day. We never saw a single deer all day long but Dan and Judi saw 13. We decided to call it quits at 1:30 pm so that we could get in early to pack up camp and get home to unload in the daylight.

So the sad story is that for the first time in a very long time, there were no deer hanging from the old Camp Chicken Buck Pole for Opening Weekend. But that's ok. We had a great time, great food and great company. And, there is still this weekend!!!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you guys eat well up there. Sorry there weren't any opening weekend deer, but there's still more season left.

I have to say the pictures of you in the blind with Arlene are great. That's the way to deer hunt!

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

Chris and I are giggling! Love those photos of you in the shack. I'm sure you'll get your deer soon.

Cathy Smith said...

I must be getting old because sitting in a spacious warm comfortable 6 ft. by 5 ft. by 6 ft. high "shack" is pretty appealing. LOL.

Marian said...

Had to chuckle at you stripping in the deer stand. :) The weather here in Vicksburg is not usually that cold very often and my husband and I use Gortex-Thinsulate camo and it keeps us nice and toasty. We do not use heaters....we just face the elements!