Duck Hunting 2009 - Through #2 of 5's eyes.

IMGA0365a Hmmm... It turns out that my kid has better timing that I do...  You see, tonight he asked me to print out a paper he typed up for English class.  As I printed out his paper, I started reading it.  As you can see here, he wrote up a summary of our duck hunting trip before I have. 

Below is a copy (exact.. Not a single change made) of his version of "Duck Hunting 2009"



Duck Hunting - 5th hour English

    Have you ever gone Duck hunting?  Well I have, and it was so fun that it was like taking the funest thing you have ever done and multiplying it by five.  Although it was a long drive to stay for three days.  We stayed at my Dads friends’ cabin.  By the end of this story you will know so much about the trip it’s almost as if you where their with my dad, me, and my dads friend all in a in the duck boat.

    First part about my trip you need to know about is the drive their.  Let me tell you without saying something ells that it was boring!  It unfortunately was an entire three and a half hour drive.   Although we had things in the cat to do, it all got boring after about two hours.  The ride got longer, and longer as if it would never ever end.  Finally about 9:00 pm we got their, and we where way to tired for our own good.

    The very next day my dads’ friend said “its chore day since the hunting opener is tomorrow.”  Just the thing I wanted to do today” I replied quite annoyed.  Then my Dad said “well nobody wants to do them but they have to be done.”  “Well no one wants to do them less than me I replied.  But he was right.  But chore day is a day at the cabin where if there is anything that needs to be done, for example wood cut for a fire.  No but their was plenty of wood, so we got the very wonderful job of taking down the metal dock that weighs about 200 pounds.  Finally we get it done and we could have fallen a sleep on the floor we where so tired.  It was good to get the dock job out of the way.

    After chore day we got up at 4:30 in the morning to get dressed for hunting.   We loaded up the boat and set off to find a good spot.  Boy was it cold driving the boat to the the spot.  You could feel the cold air rushing past you as you sat in the boat.  We finally find the perfect spot just around 6:00 after we set out all the decoys.  We sit their in the quiet, so quite that you can here your own brain more than you can here anything ells. It was around 7:00 when splash a wood duck landed right in my firing zone.  Then I picked up my gun and bang I killed the duck.  About 8:00 we headed in and I was the only one that got one.  Boy was I proud of myself.

    The last day we where their we went out the same time and where ready and waiting the same time.  Except this time I went with my dad’s friend and my dad went alone.  I didn’t see anything in my range, but my dads friend did and bang he got one two.  About an hour later at 8:00 we where about ready to pack up when bang bang. Two shots went off around where my dad was, and sure enough he got one as well.  We got in the boat, picked up the decoys and headed for where my dad was and we saw him holding a duck. We went in and packed up. We where going home.

    We packed up the car, and some how we all got in.  After checking the cabin and making sure it was locked we got in the car and…my dad lost the keys again.  We looked fore about 15 to 20 minutes when suddenly…he found them in his pocket.  Then my dad’s friend said ” you know what some things never change.”  “No they don’t I replied with a smile and got into the car as.  I took one last look at the cabin as we drove away. 

    This story means a lot to me because we only go up to the cabin once a year.  What means even more to me is that it showed me how to enjoy what nature has to offer.  Most people do not take the time to stop and think about what life really is.  I used to never enjoy nature because I didn’t think I hade than patients for it, but it turns out I do.  I Hope you enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed telling it.

I'm Going to Give it a Try


Since my last post was about our Ice Fishing trip back in February, It's about time I updated Dad's Outdoor Journal...  

Last fall on The Life of a Father of Five, I posted about #1 of 5's interest in, and subsequent foray into the world of archery. 

A New Hobby (link)

In that post, I made a passing remark about "needing to start watching craigslist for a "too good to be true" deal of my own". 

Last November, I put the RSS feed for wrong handed Left handed bows on craigslist into my feed reader, compound_bow2and have been watching since November.  I have been watching for a deal as good as #1 of 5's (a "too good to pass up" deal).  Last week - an "Almost too good of a deal to pass up" showed up.  I got in touch with the seller. 

It turns out that he was asking for just slightly more than I was hoping to spend on a bow (seeing as this is something I am going to experiment in) but when I actually saw the bow (and all the attached and included accessories) I could not say no.  The accessories alone would have cost more than what he was asking for the whole set! 

compound_bow3Worst case scenario?  I re-sell this on craigslist for what I bought it for (which would be a great deal for someone else) - and I break even...  No harm no foul.

So I have started the process of educating myself in the ancient art of archery.  There is a lot to learn...

First off, I wanted to learn more about what I purchased, so I started doing some on-line research...

Here is what I have come up with so far...

The bow is a Ben Pearson Flame (or maybe Flame Hunter) compound bow.  It has a 70 lb draw weight and a 29" draw length.compound_bow4

I have contacted Ben Ben Parson Archery in an attempt to find out more about the exact details of this model, and when (approximately) it was manufactured.   The only thing I have been able to find out on my own is that Ben Pearson Archery made a "Flame Hunter" compound Bow in 1975.  This bow seems to be much newer than that, unless it was kept in immaculate condition...

Accessories that were attached to the bow when I got it include... 

A set of string silencers, a cable guard with rolling cable guide, a 4 pin site with bowstring peep site, and an overdraw rest with an integrated spring loaded drop rest.

The seller also included a camoflauge bag to keep the bow in, but it was just thin cotton (like a bed sheet), and I had purchased a case for #1 of 5's bow that did not fit last Christmas from a discount closeout place (aka - does not take returns) that just happened to fit this bow like a glove (see the first two photos!) 

I have also reserved a couple of books from our local library system on the fundamentals of archery, and started looking into what else I need to get started... (Like arrows, an arm guard, and a release)

I am interested in seeing how this turns out... 

As of now... I am not interested in BOW HUNTING... Just shooting targets at local Archery Ranges for some fun, relaxation, and some time with #1 of 5, but... Who knows what the future holds!?!?!

A Day on the Lake

ice fishing Since I have done such a poor job at updating here on DOJ, I felt I better get this post finished, and not wait until "evening approached"...

In my defense, many of my "outdoor activities" have been GeoCaching. I put together another blog just for my GeoCaching...

GeoCaching with Dad

But... I digress

I am not going to wax on poetically with this post, because (to be honest) there is not that much to say.  It was for the most part, an uneventful day.

The trip was planned through the Boy Scouts.  It was held on Cedar Lake.  We checked in, where the kids got a little "care package" of a few lures, a slip bobber, a depth weight, a scout patch, hot chocolate tickets, a hot dog ticket, and a raffle ticket.  After checking in, we proceeded to find a spot where three unused holes were in close proximity.  (I did bring my auger, but it's a hand auger... (I'm a cheapskatefrugal - a father of five after all) - Since there were already holes drilled, I took advantage of that.  I had set up the rods earlier, so it was a matter of skimming the hole of slush and ice, setting up a bucket, and dropping a line.

The host Troop had Hot dogs, and hot chocolate for the participants.  We shared hot chocolate (both the scout provided kind, and the premium "brought by dad" amaretto flavored variety.  (Put down the phone to Child Protective Services.. It was non-liquor amaretto flavoring...)

We had a nice chat with Ted, the boy's Scoutmaster (he's really a great guy - and a positive roll model for the kids!) and Ted's son Zach.  The are both GeoCachers too!


After a morning without a "nibble", I saved a bite of my hot dog "just in case".  I added a bit of the hot dog to my lure, but alas, that did not help.  We ended the day "empty handed".

For what it's worth though, it was not just us.  The prize for the fisherman with the most fish, won the prize with four crappies.


And, rumor has it that the TOTAL number of fish caught for the whole derby was ten. 

Ten. Measly. Fish. 

By nature, an Ice Fishing Derby is held in a large open area of a lake...   It's open for a reason... Most of the productive fishing areas are already peppered with fish houses..  I'm sure all the commotion on the top of the ice (loudspeaker, cars, kids running around, snowmobiles, ATV's, etc, etc, etc) did not do much to keep the fish around our spot. 

Although we did not go home TOTALLY empty handed.  #2 of 5's raffle ticket number was called, and he came back from the prize hut with an Eddie Bauer pocket knife, and mini LED flashlight set.  Not too bad!

The worst part of the day?  Getting off the ice. 

The guys driving the trucks and SUV's drove right up and off the ice.  Me, on the other hand,  in my little Saturn SL1, took a dozen tries to make it up the icy boat launch...  I (at one point) had to stop trying to get OFF the ice so a few other guys could get ON the ice! 

After an embarrassing 30 minutes of sliding down the boat ramp, when I did finally make it to the top - I flicked on my GPS (knowing there was a GeoCache on the lake), and the boys and I decided to make a find!

We made quick business of locating the GC18J4J - Cedar Lake Public Water Access cache.  Later, Ted and his son also found that cache.  We decided to hit one more cache that we were going to pass on our way home.

We ended our day outdoors with a final GeoCache find... GC1K29G - Local Heroes.

I had a memorable day, and I enjoyed getting back out-of-doors after a pretty "arctic" January!

Deer Hunting #2 - 2008 evening approached...

Deer Hunting #1 - 2008 evening approached...

Duck Hunting - 2008 evening approached...

The Unexpected Slumber Party

Yesterday, my closest friend Ed called me and shared a story that was too good not to share.. 

After getting off the phone, and thinking about it - I dropped Ed an email, and asked him to write the story down.  I felt it would make a great "Guest Post", and since a couple of the major participants of this story are "regulars" for our hunting trips, I felt it was a great fit for Dad's Outdoor Journal.

Now, I do understand that it helps to know the characters involved (personally), but given the circumstances, I think a lot of people can appreciate this little story.

Take it away Ed...


An Unexpected Slumber Party

Last Friday, 06-27-08, I got home from work about 11:30pm.  After talking to my wife, Jodie, for a bit I decided it was time to hit the sack as I had to work the following morning.  I crawled into bed and Jodie was doing some last minute things around the house (turning lights off, locking doors, etc…).  I remember Jodie coming into the bedroom to check if Jake (our dog) was on his bed.  Jake sleeps on his pillow next to my side of the bed.  A few minutes later, Jodie returned to our bedroom and told me that Riley (our next door neighbors dog and Jake’s best friend) was at our back patio door and was barking to be let in our house.  Before we let Riley inside, Jodie checked our neighbors’ house and did not notice any lights on.  We both figured they accidentally left Riley outside.  Jodie let Riley come inside and make himself comfortable for the night.

jakeLets back up in time a bit.  Riley is a 12 year old Golden Retriever.  My dog, Jake, is an 8 or 9 year old mutt.  We think he may be part Springer and part English Setter with a bit of PITA mixed in J.  Since day one these two dogs have been best of friends.  Often visiting each other’s homes.  Playing often with tennis balls, chasing squirrels up trees, and taking 16 hour naps in the sun on the deck.  Once in a while they will find a really good stick and begin chewing it together, one on each end of the stick, working their way toward the middle.  Both dogs are in the finer days of dog life and work hard at trying not to work too hard.

Back to Friday…Jodie placed a blanket on the floor for Riley.  He made a quick check of his accommodations and proceeded to fall promptly to sleep.  Being that it was well after midnight, Jodie and I decided not to call and wake up our neighbors.  We’d just let Riley out the following morning to go back home.

Saturday morning, Jim calls me to see if Riley had spent the night with us.  “He sure did.” I replied.  After speaking with Jim for a few minutes, I found out that he had gotten up a couple time during the night to see if Riley had come home.  We started to talk about the events that led up to last night.  Jim said his son had come to visit with his puppy late that night.  According to Jim, when that happens, Riley gets no rest.  The puppy has a ton of energy and will not leave Riley alone.

As soon as Riley spotted the puppy, he made his way to the door to be let outside.  As near as we can figure, Riley left Jim’s home and made his way to ours.  Riley knew exactly what he was doing.  He wanted to go someplace warm, quiet, safe, and comfortable for the night.  He was dog tired and wanted to get a good nights sleep without that puppy interfering with his plans.  What better place to crash for the night when you’re in a jam than your best friends home.  After a quick couple tail wags, both dogs went to their beds and fell fast asleep.


I hope everyone enjoyed! 

Thanks Ed - A truly great story about "friendship".

The College of Wilderness Knowledge

Event: The College of Wilderness Knowledge
Location: Birch Bend Campground
Date: May 16-18, 2008

Having one son in Boy Scouts for just over a year, and a second who just "crossed over" - I have unfortunately been unable to attend any of the monthly weekend camp outs. I was required to, and able to spend 4 days at Tomahawk Camp last year (and will have to again this year), but my schedule & availability has never matched up with the troop's monthly camp outs.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that I was able to attend (as a parent chaperone) The "College of Wilderness Knowledge" camp out at the Birch Bend Campground!

- - - - - - - -

The main goal for this weekend camp out was to work on the Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge. All but one of the scouts attending this weekend did not have their EP Merit Badge, and the one that already had it, worked on his Camping Merit Badge, because - after all... We were camping!

Throughout the weekend, we (our troop, along with several others - broken into smaller groups) participated in many different activities related to the EP Merit Badge... Just some of the activities we participated in include...

- Brain storming and charting different levels of preparedness for a number of different emergency situations.

- For the purpose of emergency communication, we built a signal fire, used mirror signals, and practiced "universal hand signals".

- We practiced several rescue carries including the "litter carry", the "chair carry", and the "fireman's carry".

- We demonstrated how to rescue the victim of downed power wire using a non-conductive item.

- We discussed how to evacuate a room filled with carbon monoxide and with heavy smoke conditions.

- The Stop, Drop and Roll technique was discussed in the event your clothes catch on fire.

- We discussed how to perform a "non-swimming" drowning rescues (including accidents on ice).

- We participated (from within our own troops) in a "mock flooding" of our community, and practiced some "mock mobilizations" of our troop in ways that they felt would best be of assistance to first responders.

- Camp staff "lost" (hid) a "baby" (doll) deep into the forest. The staff staged and the scouts executed a mock "search and rescue line", which resulted in successfully locating the "lost baby" in the woods. (A really cool exercise!)

This was the first event for a couple of new scouts to our troop. It's always nice to see some new faces, and what they can bring to the group! But, sometimes new Scouts are not always familiar with the "pre-established" rules of scouting. As an example...

Ok. As a young man (heck, even as an adult) I found (and still find) campfires alluring... therapeutic... and maybe even hypnotic. What I do NOT remember is "interacting" with the fire as often as a couple of the firebugs (scouts) in attendance did. There was one brand new scout who had not yet received his "Firemn's Chit" (a card indicating that the scout has successfully demonstrated responsibility around fire, and fire building tools), and therefore was not to be participating in the building or maintenance of the campfire. I am not sure the Firemn's Chit rule had yet "sunk in" for this young fella (wink).

After not having set one up in over 15 years, this weekend provided me an opportunity to set up several "Eureka!" Timberline brand tents! Eureka! tents were the default tents we used for camping in the BWCA. After a couple of minutes, the steps came right back to me. I guess it was like riding a bicycle! They (the Eureka! tents) brought back some fond memories for me!

One thing that did seem different than I remember it from my days of BWCA camping... Ground sleeping... Ground sleeping was not as comfortable as I remember it. I did have a foam pad to help cushion me from the ground (as I had used in the past), but 20 years and 100 extra pounds of "me" may have had something to do with the difference in "comfortablity"...

Saturday night's "recreational" activity consisted of an evening (in the dark) version of "Capture the Flag". The scouts used flashlights as the "flags", and in several cases, all you could see was a "bouncing dot of light" as one team captured and took off running with the other team's "flag".

For each camp out, the scouts are to plan, shop for, prepare, and serve a camp out worth of meals. This weekend's Menu consisted of....


Dinner - taken care of prior to leaving.


Breakfast - Pancakes and Bacon

Lunch - Walking Tacos

Dinner - Dutch Oven Chili and Stew


Breakfast - Oatmeal

Speaking of Eating (and more specifically - Cleaning up after themselves)... One thing I did notice, was the scouts "lack of enthusiasm" for cleaning up after a meal. I "enabled" the scouts by cleaning up after them. ALL OF THEM. I cleaned up the "Pancakes and Bacon" breakfast mess - partially because they needed to get up to their classes, but partially because that is who I am. I CAN NOT STAND a messy campground. My pack can be a mess, the inside of my tent can be a mess, but my campgrounds need to be clean.

A large portion of the "Dutch oven dinners" ended up not being cleaned... but this time I let individual mess kits sit... They were all told, and they all know that they are responsible for their own mess kits. So I helped clean everything else, and let a number of mess kits sit dirty. When it came time for breakfast, many of the scouts found themselves cleaning BEFORE being able to eat, and then again AFTER they ate...

Make me wash all the dishes once, shame on me.

Make me wash all the dishes twice, shame on you.

My final observations... First and foremost - I HAD A BLAST! I partook in some activities (some of my favorites) that I have not done since I was a young man (aka - before being married and having FIVE KIDS). It felt good. It felt good to do these things WITH my boys, but at the same time, it was fun to be able to take a step back and watch my boys.

Even though as a kid I wanted to be a Boy Scout, I never became joined, and so I am also enjoying the time my boys spend in the Scouting Program. I can literally watch their character and maturity grow - right in front of me.

Duck Hunting - 2007

Saturday October 6 - Monday October 8th 2007.

This year's Duck hunt was what I would consider a real "wash out".

Due to an (unexplainable) lack of interest in hunting this year, an overall deficiency of and for motivation regarding all things hunting, and an already way to busy schedule, I was seriously debating on weather or not to hunt waterfowl this year. I decided I would get some “small game” hunting in (honestly, small game is some of my favorite hunting – Grouse and Squirrel top the list, and are some of my favorite delectable, delightful little delicacies! (Say that fast three times!)

My lack of interest caused me to spend nearly a week debating if I wanted to sit out the waterfowl portion of this weekend’s hunting activities. Also, because of Ed’s very busy schedule (and his “nesting project" for his new baby due in November) we had not planned for the trip like we usually do. I had no idea who was going up, what time we were arriving, and what the plans for food were going to be.

Because of a meeting at work, Ed was not going to be up at the cabin on Friday night (for the Saturday morning hunt) as planned. We were not going to be arriving until Saturday afternoon, which left Saturday evening, Sunday morning and Sunday evening. Three “hunts”. I had pretty much decided that I was going to pass on hunting waterfowl until Ed called me on Thursday night. We ironed out most of the details, and decided since Friday was a wash; we would stay up at the cabin for a Monday morning hunt. That made the deal a little more enticing.

It was not until the last possible moment (as I drove past our local post office) that I made the final decision to “go for it” and grab the Federal Stamp. I had not even spoken to Ed, and (as stated) did not have any formalized plans as of yet - but I felt I needed / deserved a weekend of waterfouling.

I got home, packed up my duck hunting gear (I have started a new "plan" where I keep most of my "duck hunting" stuff in one Rubbermaid bin, and my "deer hunting" gear in another. It makes packing up "significantly" easier.) After packing up my car, I headed up to the cabin. Since having only bought the Federal stamp, I knew I was going to have to still have to stop for the State stamp. As I left the house (around noon), I planned a quick stop at Wal-Mart to pick up a State stamp.

Once at Wal-Mart, I was behind two other guys who were in line to fulfill similar licensing requirements. The clerk behind the desk was relieving the "regular" sporting goods "team member", and due to his un-familiarity with selling Minnesota State Hunting Licenses (and other related items like Duck Stamps) along with his general struggle with speaking English, we will sum up this trip to Wal-Mart as a "hair pullingly frustrating" hour and fifteen minutes of my life. Thank goodness the guy ahead of me in line was a "like thinking" sort of fella, and so we passed the time with talk of hunting, guns, and our experiences with gunsmiths.

After (finally) getting my State stamp, I went to neatly tuck it in my wallet with my license, and my Federal stamp when I noticed something missing... My License and my Federal Stamp! I made a quick call home, confirming my nightmare that I did indeed leave them at home. I had to make the 15 minute trip BACK to my house from Wal-Mart to get the forgotten license and stamp, then turn back around and make the 15 minute trip back (passing Wal-Mart) as I finally made my way to meet Ed at his cabin. This little "oversight" added another two hours (total) to my trip. (Thank goodness for XM Radio and my radio buddays Ron & Fez.) I originally left my house at noon. I did not actually get "on the road" to the cabin until 2pm.

With a 2pm departure, I did not have an arrival time until almost 6pm. The trip did include a grocery stop in Aitkin, and much of the grocery shopping (that we normally do together) was done "together" on cellular telephones! Ed brought up the "meat", and I filled in the rest...

When I finally arrived at the cabin I discovered that it was going to be just myself and Ed this year! This was how the first few years of my introduction to duck hunting came about. Many years was spent with just Ed and I hunting together. After having a number of years with new friends join us, it was nice to have a “nostalgic” year of just Ed and I!

(Note: I realize that some of the newer friends I have made at “duck camp” read this blog. I want it known that I enjoy the new friends I have made over the years. This observation should not be construed in any way that I don’t like having others up there with us. It was just a nice sort of coincidence that it worked out this way! It “took me back” to days gone by.)

Since we were both famished, we started in on getting dinner done right away. Dinner consisted of two "gigantic" Porterhouse steaks (BBQ'ed to perfection - thanks to Ed), Bushes onion baked beans, bakery fresh olive oil / rosemary bread sticks, a six pack of Leinenkugel's "Oktoberfest" beers and some Dr. McGillicuddy's Vanilla Schnapps liquor for a bit of dessert . The hectic pace of the day (the stress of forgetting my license / stamp, running back and forth, trying to get to the cabin on time, stopping for groceries, etc...) was all washed away as we gluttonously savored this bountiful feast.

The remainder of the evening was spent cleaning up dinner, unpacking, some catching up, and finally a hard crash to the land of the sleeping.

We got an early start in the morning. We set up in the slew on the north shore of the lake before sunrise. It was warm... Unusually warm... The morning was around 70 degrees. The skies were overcast. There was very little activity in the air. We noticed a few small flocks of high flying ducks as the darkness of the early morning turned to the first light of dawn. I sat in the boat with Ed to my left, watching a slightly larger flock of ducks that were noticeably out of range on my right when I heard Ed whisper "Mark" (our term for "birds coming in, and I've got a visual on them"). I started wondering why Ed was going to even try taking shots at these birds, when I was startled out my curiosity by three loud blasts from Ed's gun.

Quickly looking back and forth trying to get my own "mark" on what Ed was shooting at, I saw flock of nearly a half dozen birds buzz our decoys. They came in from Ed’s left and originally out of my line of sight (blocked by Ed). By the time I shouldered my "cannon" and got a bead on the now distant birds - I decided they were too far for an effective and responsible kill shot, so I watched them fly away down the barrel of my gun. As the ringing subsided in my ears, I could hear the sarcastic banter of “Mr. Smart Ass” (oops... I mean Ed) as he stammered "I could have used a little bit of help there"...

(Reminder to self: Ed’s sarcastic remark was seemingly more a result of his frustration with himself over his bad shooting than it was with my complete oblivion to what had just happened)

Well, with the first bit of excitement of the day past us, we settled back down into the boat, and resumed our vigilant observation of the fall skies. As morning progressed (with nothing more in sight) we kicked back a bit, and started to relax a little. We lit up a couple of morning Backwoods cigars, and just started enjoying the day. Unexpectedly and out of NOWHERE a single teal flew in. It flew perpendicular to us (straight in at our 12 o'clock), and landed in the middle of our decoy spread. Simultaneously, we both looked at each other in complete disbelief. Ed whispered "Take it, it's yours", so I very gingerly set the cigar down on the boat seat, shouldered my behemoth of a gun, put a bead on the duck, and slowly stood up from the seated position. I had a bead on the teal before it even noticed me. I took my shot (completely strafing the decoys) as soon as it saw me it started to take off, dropping the duck. After a short time of watching it struggle in the water I placed my second "kill shot".

We hunkered down for a few more minutes (in case the sound of the shots rousted any other birds), and after not seeing anything, and because some morning "sprinkles" started to fall, we pulled out of our hidey-hole, gathered the decoys, the downed teal and headed back to the cabin for the morning.

When we arrived at the cabin and brought up our gear, we decided that our Backwoods cigars would not be enough for breakfast, so we dug into the groceries and got to the business of whipping up a quick little late breakfast / early lunch that consisted of thick sliced bacon (and I mean THICK), eggs, hash browns, toast, milk and orange juice.

After gorging ourselves on breakfast, we decided the best way to work it off was a "grouse / squirrel hunting" walk up the ridge along the lakeshore. It was still overcast and damp out, but the morning "sprinkles" had subsided. It was a nice walk. By the time we reached the end of the trail, and had walked back to the cabin, we had flushed up two grouse.

(Note: "Flushed up" does not mean we got a shot off at them, or even "saw" them for that matter...)

Since it was still not raining, and we had walked a large portion of the property, we decided it was time to walk some of the other nearby logging trails, and miscellaneous roads. We got into Ed's truck and drove to a local "Minimum Maintenance Road". Before we even arrived the morning "sprinkles" had returned, and developed into full blown afternoon "showers". Not really inclined to get soaked, we parked the truck and fell asleep while waiting out the rain.

We later woke to find the afternoon showers had subsided, and so we got out of the truck and started up the first of two long trails. After walking both the "Minimum Maintenance Roads" flushing 3 more grouse, we took a walk down the "Thompson Trail" (an old logging road), and saw nothing.

(I later realized this would end this fall's "grouse / squirrel hunting" season with a total of five flushed birds, and zero in the "game bag".)

By this time we were both getting tired, and hungry. We headed back to the cabin, starting in on preparing the evening feast. When the dust settled, we sat down and enjoyed an evening of Bratwurst (with onions), left over Bushes onion baked beans, more (now day-old) bakery fresh olive oil / rosemary bread sticks, and a few more Leinenkugel's "Oktoberfest" beers.

Planning on an "early" bedtime, it was around 8:30 when we started bunking down... that was until we discovered a possible mouse hideout. As we started investigating the possibility of a mouse infestation, our first discovery was of two live mice under the Ed’s bunk. The first of the two mice got away, while the second met an untimely disembowelment by the heel of Ed's boot. The box spring area of Ed's bunk had indeed become their home. After cleaning the box spring of any/all foreign nesting material, a pile of D-Con they had dragged into the bunk, and one previously deceased mouse, we moved our focus to the "built in" storage bins that line the wall (between the two bunks). We found evidence of mouse activity in these as well. And as we reached the end of the row of built in storage boxes, we hit my bunk. There was some (but very little) evidence that a mouse (or mice) had been in this bunk, but it was to a pretty limited extent. After a lot of cleaning and repairing (covering and plugging the holes where we felt the mice were moving through) we finally made it to bed.

When we did finally get to bed and achieved "lights out", we fell asleep to a full fledged thunderstorm. This was significant (to me) because of all the years I have been a guest at Ed's cabin, this was the first thunderstorm I experienced there. I am a big fan of thunderstorms, and this one was memorable as the "first" at Ed's cabin, but also because of the sheer darkness and utter and complete silence normally experienced at the cabin.

I awoke 30 minutes prior to the alarm sounding. It was pouring rain, and there was a "heavy fog" that significantly limited visibility. A quick "conference" with Ed resulted in the unanimous decision to forgo hunting, and "sleep in".

Our leisure morning culminated after sleeping in, and enjoying another hearty breakfast of thick sliced bacon (and I mean THICK), eggs, hash browns, toast, milk and orange juice over some relaxing and delightful conversation.

(That is the one thing that I miss most about Ed living in Duluth. We do keep up on the phone and the email, but nothing beats just sittin' down and shooting the breeze with an old friend over a meal, some drinks, or a cigar. This was one of the best mornings I have had in a very long time!)

After breakfast, with it still slightly foggy outside and the weather alternating between "damp" and "raining" we decided to call it a weekend. Ed was going to be staying longer than I was, so (because it is so much easier to get the boat in with two people (one on the ATV/Trailer - other in the boat)) we got the boat brought back to the cabin, cleaned, and stored away for the season. We cleaned up the cabin a bit. I packed my gear in the car, and we said our goodbyes.

I was on the road by 10:30 am, arriving home by 1:30. Because I was unable to make it out to the field anymore this year, this trip was the conclusion to my 2007 Duck / Squirrel / Grouse Hunting season.

(One last note I'd like to make. This trip was also the last of many trips to the cabin in my 1994 Teal Green Ford Escort. Just a week or so after this hunting trip, I made a “Road trip” to pick up my new (or new to me) 2000 Saturn SL1. Thanks to my Escort for many safe trips to and from Ed’s cabin over the years. I’m looking forward to a number of similar trips with the Saturn!)

Grey Squirrel Cobbler

In an attempt to "spice-up" the outdoor blog, I thought I would post a recepie (once and a while) that I would like to try!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Grey Squirrel Cobbler.

3 cups squirrel meat - boned and cut into serving pieces
1 cup onions, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup turnips, skinned and cut into small dice
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
3 cups veal stock.
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
salt and pepper
2 lbs puff pastry for covered pies and cobblers

In a high-sided skillet, brown meat and onions together in butter over moderately high heat for 20 minutes, uncovered.

Add turnips and green peppers, reduce heat and simmer for an additional 20 minutes, uncovered.

Stock will have reduced by half.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in cinnamon, cayenne pepper and brown sugar.

Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. After stock has cooled somewhat, fold in sour cream and blend thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 425. Pour entire mixture into a deep oven-proof casserole pan, 2-quart size or larger. Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness and place a dough lid on casserole dish.

Dough will rest on meat and sauce. Crimp edges and cut several steam vents. Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is nicely browned.

Serves 6.

Wild at the Table
Currently, Dad's Outdoor Journal is a "single post on the front page blog".

Please feel free to use the Archive, Catagories, or "Older Posts" link to locate additional posts.