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Friday, December 7, 2012

A tale of the Bushman hunt camp!

Well it's December now.  There are still a few weeks of deer season left but I doubt I'll make it out much.  I have a ton of stuff to do but we'll see.  I could use a few more deer in the freezer.  I have just as much fun after the hunt turning the venison into all sorts of delectable yummies.

Yesterday I procured some new seasonings to make some more snack sticks with.  I will be making pepperoni sticks and mandarin teriakyi sticks.  Mandarin orange that is.  Not the tasty province of China where every bite turns your mouth into the bowels of hell with so much spice.

I am making all these yummies to send out as Christmas gifts to my family.  I have 10 pounds of the trail bologna done and waiting and now I just need some snack sticks to accompany it.

With venison on my mind I thought today would be a good time to post up some of our deer camp photos.

This is the banner I had made to hang at camp.  This was a pre-departure photo in the lower level of my home.  I also had camo hats made that have our camp name, date and personal name on them.
We are wearing them in the photo.
We left in the early morning before the sun even began to think about awakening.  Loaded to the hilt, both of us happy as could be although I was a tad nervous with the load we were carrying along with the new camper that was only used once prior.  I had done preventative maintenance on the camper such as re-packing the wheel bearings and checking tires and lights and such.  It still weighs on your mind until you finally pull into camp.
We made a stop in Houghton Lake at Dad's cottage to retrieve his hunting clothes along with some pre-cut carpet remnants for the camper floor as well as the outdoor room. We filled our water jugs there as well.  We then headed out for the final 1.5 hour drive.
When we pulled into camp about 6 hours later it was overcast and drizzling.  Not the ideal situation but in no time we had camp set up and were enjoying a beer.  Setting up camp usually takes the entire trip to do.  About the day before you depart is usually when you finish.  It's all part of the fun.
Our basic set up is the pop up camper.  We put tarps over the bunk ends to help waterproof, keep the fire ash off of the canvas and more importantly it creates an air pocket between the canvas and tarp which keeps the interior from "sweating" or condensing.  It really sucks when you roll over in the middle of the night and in doing so shake the camper a bit and little droplets of condensation rain down on you from the canvas ceiling.  This tarp cuts that by 90% I would say.
Then we set up the screened in outdoor room.  Well that was what it is supposed to be used for but we cover all the screens with tarps.  Pre-trip I sat in the garage attaching the tarps to the vinyl sides using small zip ties.  It saved us a bit of time in camp.  The carpet we brought from the cottage is all pre cut and fits inside the camper as well as covers the dirt floor in the outdoor room.  This room is where we keep all the coolers, beverages and other things that we don't like to leave out in the elements.
Once the mainframe of camp is set up we have to unpack our boxes of food and clothes and put the interior to rights.  Then you have to dig a hole out in the woods behind camp and place the commode on it and surround that with a tarp.
  Then you have to clean out the fire pit.  Sometimes other campers use this spot and for some reason they like to move the fire pit.  One year we had to collect all new rocks and dig a new one.  This year it was still intact from last year.  Then we try and collect enough firewood to last at least one evening.  Then we can sit back and enjoy.  There were a few times where we were chased inside by downpours but it wasn't too bad.
We spent the next few days collecting firewood, bow hunting, driving around the two tracks and eating all sorts of good food and drinking copious amounts of beer.
Contrary to popular rumour our deer camp does not involve going into town to visit the bars and just partying all week.  We only come out of the woods if we run out of something. (beer)
We collected 4 truck loads of firewood.  Of course it all had to be split and stacked and the weather was quite warm for a few days so excuse the fat guy splitting wood.  Some of these pics were taken with Dad's tablet and if you click on them they are really good pics.

Pops like to sit on his duff and drink beer while I did all the work.  He said something about collecting social security in a few months entitled him to more frequent rest periods.
Directly behind pops is the spring fed creek that runs by our camp.  It is cold and crystal clear and is rumoured to have huge brook trout in it.  It's nice to have that extra water source for doing dishes or bathing or anything else you need water for but don't want to deplete your drinking water source.
We would just dip a bucket in the creek and pour it in a pot and heat it up.  Also the creek is so cold that when it got really warm (fat guy splitting wood) I would set a few beers in the creek and block them from washing away with rocks and the water would chill them quite nice.

It was Monday night when I arrowed my deer.  After the shot I found the arrow and the sign on the arrow wasn't too promising.  I won't go into details but I decided not to track it.  It's better to not push it if your not sure of the hit.  Most times they will bed down within a short distance and you can recover them the next day.  This was one of those instances.  So I headed back to camp and discussed the options with pops.  We agreed to look for it in the morning.  If we jumped it out of its bed in the dark it would most likely cross the creek and then it would be really tough to find it.
We had chicken wings for dinner that night.  I had brought my turkey frying set up with the fish basket.  We set up inside the outdoor room on a table and fried up some chicken wings and french fries.
While doing that mother nature decided to throw us a curve ball and this is what happened.

This is very cold rain.  In the form of white!
It came down hard and fast and we were like schoolchildren playing in it.  Taking lots of pictures.
 I believe this was the beginning of the demise of my phone.  It was all I had to take pictures and the screen was already cracked.  The very next day it went to pot and Dad had to take all the pics after that.  Most of these are his pics that he emailed me.
The snow was fun but it negated any possibility of tracking the deer I had shot.  We were limited to a body search.  Turns out the deer only ran about 80-100 yards and bedded down.  Dad found it the next day during our search.  I was very lucky.  I am really glad I didn't pursue it that night because he would have ran to the next county.  You see it was still alive when we found it.  It was mortally wounded but still alive.  I had to sneak up to within 5 yards of it for a finishing shot.  Had we tried to pursue this the night before he would have had plenty of life left to run for a few miles.  It wasn't the best situation but those are the things that you have to be aware of in this sport.  Sometimes bad things happen and when they do, such as being unable to recover a wounded animal, it is really hard on a guy.  I am lucky to have had everything line up for me.
We spent the next few days leading up to the opener of the gun season enjoying each others' company.  We were on a quest for a camp chimney and really had a hard time finding one.
Every year we look for a hollow log that we can set on top of the fire.  We pour our used fry oil down the top and the flames come shooting out.  This was how I named the campsite this year.  We camped along the creek and our camp is famous for fried chicken and of course our chimneys.  Hence the name Chimney Creek hunt camp.  There are other camps in the area that we use but this one has become our favorite.  Dad started hunting this area back in 1984 and brought us boys up soon after.
Now when we go to deer camp we eat good.  Really good.  Here is just a sample of some of the things we dined on.  Every morning usually started with eggs, potatoes, sausage and toast or sausage and egg mcmuffins.  For lunches we had Koegel's hot dogs, chicken and vegetable soups, bratwurst and assorted munchies.  Dinner was our main event.
This was fried chicken night.  We fried up a whole cut up chicken but before that we had an appetizer of gizzards and hearts.  Not the little package that comes with the chicken either.  I bought an entire package of gizzards and hearts.
The second night in camp we had some beautiful beef sirloins cooked over hot coals with huge fire baked potatoes. (sorry no pic of this one)
We also had hobo dinner which Dad had never had before.  Venison loin steaks, potato, onion, butter and seasonings wrapped in foil and tossed in the hot coals.

We had an assortment of wild game and seafood as well.
A friend of mine from Alaska had given me some moose, halibut, red salmon and smoked salmon
Dad brought up some bay scallops that were harvested this year down in Florida.

We cooked everything over a fire.  It was awesome

Scallops and Halibut
Red Salmon slathered with butter

Moose steaks (these were amazing)
I lied I did have a pic of the sirloins.  We had a ton of scallops so we had steak and scallops with our potato that night!
Opening morning of gun season came and Pops and I both shot a doe that morning.  We had to add some reinforcements to our buck pole to hold the weight. 
Deer activity really slows down as the weekend approached.  Lot of hunters driving around and they also drive in to hunt a few hours and then leave.  The deer get educated in a hurry.  I did have another buck tag left but it was good only for a buck with 4 or more antler points on one side and all I seen was a small scraggly rack 4 or 5 pointer.  Not big enough.
We finally secured a chimney after many miles and hours of searching.
We had a bunch of really good campfires this year.

We like our campfires.  The giant wood wall doubles as a windbreak as well.
We packed up the following Saturday and headed for home.

We always leave the campsite better than how we found it.  People leave junk laying around all the time.  Until next year Chimney Creek Hunt Camp!

I had a great time this year.  One of my best trips ever.  I can't hardly wait until next season.






  1. Looks and sounds like a great time Bushman! Food looks amazing too. :) Congrats to you on the deer!!

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