“Get up… almost time to head to the stands!” spoke a loud voice only moments after the metallic ring of the alarm clock and before the light from the kerosene lantern illuminated the inside of the old tin covered cabin.
Across the one-room camp could be heard groans and moans of other hunters. “Get the fire stoked and start the coffee. I’ll work on bacon and eggs soon as I get back in from outside.” said the loud voice followed by the closing of the door. “Uh huh…” came a response.
Moments later the room was brighter thanks to the lantern and the fire now blazing in the old wood stove, it’s door open to allow air to help fuel the flames. No one spoke, but throughout the room four hunters were pulling on clothes for the morning’s hunt.
The voice that had left, returned, “Boys, it’s a lot colder out there than yesterday evening, might want to rethink what you’re going to wear. Me? I’m putting on my long-handles.” The four other hunters undressed and started rummaging through their clothes sacks to pull out long underwear, all be it, with a fair amount of under their breath mumblings.
The aroma of cowboy coffee soon was “wafting” throughout the cabin, and cups were filled. No words were spoken other than simply an “Ahhh!” of satisfaction here and there as the first sips of the black elixir passed waiting lips.
Bacon crackled in the frying pan, released tantalizing aromas that have roused many an early morning hunter.
“Joshua, hand me those eggs from the pantry. I’ve got the bacon going and it’s near finished” spoke the cook. Which was followed by, “Andrew, you leave that bacon alone until we all have a chance to get some. Can’t have you eatin’ all of it before the rest of have a chance at some!”
More shuffling, some grumbling, followed by the clanking of plates and knives and forks. Sound of coffee being poured into blue enameled cups, eggs being flipped and being placed on plates, toast coming off of the top of the wood stove, jars of homemade jam being opened. All around were smells of goodness!
“Jake where you headed this morning, back to your regular stand or you trying something else?”
After a long moment came a response, “Thought what I’d do is hunt my stand until about 8 or so, then head back here to camp and sight-in the Ruger Number 1 I just bought. Shouldn’t take long. I’ve got the Zeiss scope already bore-sighted. After that I’ll head back to set up along the trail behind my Nature Blind Treestand. Got a feeling with this dark moon deer may be moving toward the middle of the day. Couple of days ago, I hunted until almost 11 before coming in, and just as I left my stand I started seeing some deer movement. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay. Today I can, so want to make the most of my hunt. If I don’t shoot a deer this morning, I’ll stay out the rest of the day. I’ve only got today still before I have to be back at work. Headed to Montana to film another segment for the show. Any of that left over roast still in the cooler. Should make a good quick lunch.”
Joshua spoke up next…“I’m going to hunt the edge of the bluestem field, close up to the road, most likely. The grass there is plenty tall enough to hide a buck or two. Wouldn’t surprise me if an old mature had chased a doe right in to the middle of it, away from other bucks and where he can kinda keep an eye on the doe or any bucks that might head that way.” With that he took a couple of bites, but then continued, “No one has hunted that grass in a while. It’s right next to the road, probably no one wants to listen to the traffic. But, a couple of days ago I spoke to Pete Schmidt, who works for the county road crew. Pete told me he saw a really nice, big swelled neck 8-point cross into the grass and then lay down. He might just still be somewhere in that stuff, or maybe another buck has moved in there as well. Justin, where are you hunting this morning?”
Justin remembering his mother had taught him never to talk with his mouth full hesitated responding. “Remember that white oak where the cow trail goes into the woods on the way to the tank, where Great Gramps used to hunt?” All in the room nodded positively. “I’m thinking of setting up my Nature Blind shield at the base of it. The north wind that’s blowing out there should be really good for that spot. I can see several directions from there. And that’s an area where I’ve been putting out Buck Natural. I walked through there after dark last night on my way back to camp and saw a whole lot of tracks, fresh tracks. And too, found two new scrapes that look like they were opened a couple of days ago at the latest. Maybe one of those bucks will return to freshen them.” Stopping to take a drink he continued, “I’ll hunt until 8:30, then gotta go to town, but I’ll be back by 10 or so. Soon as I return I’ll head back to tree and stay there until about 2. Think that’s when we should eat lunch. When I get back I’ll warm up the stew we brought. Then we can go back out for the afternoon hunt. I too think the deer, particularly the older bucks will be moving today during the middle part of the day. Jake, if you don’t come in, want to visit with you this evening about your Number 1, been thinking about getting another one! But not sure what caliber…”
Andrew, grabbing the last slice of crispy bacon, smiled at doing so, then said, “I may stay pretty close to the camp this morning. Yesterday when I came back about 8, I jumped a big bodied deer in the youpon thicket right behind camp. Never got to see the deer’s head, but from what I saw of the body, sure looked like it could have been a buck, and a good one. No one has hunted closed to camp in a couple of years, and it’s quite possible an old mature buck has been patterning us and how we hunt. Hope he can’t count, because he’ll see or hear you guys leave and think everyone has left. If I shoot him, I won’t have a long drag back to camp. Papo you mind frying just a little more bacon?”
Moments later more bacon was sizzling in the pan. Andrew’s suggestion sounded like a good one. After all, the bacon was pretty well gone before I had a chance to grab a piece. And besides, even though it would soon be breaking first light, I intended to stay in camp this morning to write an article or two, while the boys were out hunting. But then just before noon planned on checking out an area I had not hunted for years, pretty close to where I had shot my first deer, many years ago. It would just about be time for another buck to have grown up and taken up residence. I’d taken several nice bucks there over the years. If nothing else just being in the area would bring back many pleasant memories!
As the boys left for their stands for the morning’s hunt, I pushed another log into the wood stove, poured myself another cup of strong dark coffee…..