Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Now that the farm house is close to completion in the the ‘Big Gussy Up’ project it’s relatively easy to locate the next project.

The 3-holer…is an obvious choice.

Here’s an idea to mull over. While I’m not a fan of the large mirror on the inside of the door, I do like the natural lighting (also good for ventilation), floor mats and plantings on the exterior.

I offer this as an ideal project for the locals to work on next summer. Sorry I won’t be able to help.



Read Full Post »

Me and Mrs. DED have decided to renew our vows. She’s picked out a new dress, the hall and the music. I picked out the cake. She doesn’t like it. I can’t figure women out.


Read Full Post »

OK….who’s been messin’ with my stand down below the Hog Barn?


Read Full Post »

Ran into these little guys yesterday. They were pretty pumped up about their hunt.

Looks like fall is here!


Read Full Post »

The bucks weren’t that big but the balls were.

A man needs confidence to toss a still draining deer on the hood of his Buick.

Read Full Post »

After a great Pheasant Camp (see Pheasant Camp 2010 Round Up) I was amped up for a great Deer Camp as well. Fortunately my expectations were resoundingly met. I suspect everyone had a great time but I didn’t take any kind of poll or ask anyone.

What are Al & Doug up to? In fact what are the whole Castro gang up to?

We had a terrific crowd for Friday night pre-opener. All the usual suspects were in camp including the garbage-eating dog, Schmidty!

Happy hour began promptly while the stories, rememberances and general bs flowed with equal ease. It’s true that most of the group had been together just a month prior but it was great to see how everyone fits in and feels at ease at Brambleberry Farm.

Dinner was a homerun. Chef Greg took charge of the meal. Greg brought the main course and assigned responsibilities to the rest of us with the same authoritativeness that awarded him the handle “Stormin’ Norman” during the Gulf War years at camp. Greg’s Pork loins and Italian Sausage were killer. I believe I personally slaughtered nearly a half dozen of the sausages.

After dinner and clean up led to happy hour II, perhaps a cigar or two and strategic planning. Normally clean up is a big deal. Put a bunch of macho rifle hunters into a kitchen with dishes and you’ll hear whining like a coyotes yelps until clean up is done. Not this year. This was the year of Gary “The Go-To-Guy” Schaefer! No fuss, no muss. Gary took over like nobody’s business. He was impressive to say the least. If I were gay I’d think about seeing if Gary would be my partner…well, on second thought I’d rather not go down that path.

Strategy (aka “where are you going to sit at sunrise”) is also a traditional part of the “big deal” – especially for the opening morning stand. Wind, difficulty in reaching the stand calculated by the following equation:

Distance Walk-In + Access ÷ Shot Difficulty + Ability to Hit A Deer + Wind Direction x Likelihood of Seeing A Deer + Years At Camp < # Hours Logged At Work Days = Stand Location

How anyone figures this out is a mystery – so it’s easier to let the Mayor of Brambleberry Farm (GP) lead the strategic thinking. For some of us older guys, such as Knute Ullsvik, this math has gotten so complex we’ve found other woods near by to set up in peace.

Once stand locations are set, radios checked and back-tags affixed it’s time to settle down for an early start. This year we sardined the entire group into the hog barn. Close quarters is expected. Close quarters with a couple of guys with satin pillow cases is a bit out of the norm – even for this close to Madison. Now don’t get me wrong…I’m all for upgrades in the rough and all the comforts of home – even at deer camp. But there are some comforts that I’d probably leave at home.

Can you spell Y - M - C - A ?

Opening Morning

It was dark. It was early. What more can I say? The coffee was strong, the sugared/flour edibles were plenty – and there was a line at the three-holer. C’mon Man…bust a move in there will ‘ya?

Once again sunrise brought light shooting around. I remember the good ol’ days when the first half hour of daylight sounded like Jiffy Pop on the campfire. Just the same – we had some luck.

Jarhead Jon Krueter, over by the Old Farmhouse (see strategy equation above) blasted a nice doe right away. He had a pack of three come by his stand at a fast pace. He shot a couple times and thought he may have hit a second. Scouting later proved unproductive but Jon was meat hunting – one of his dogs eats only raw venison (fortified with piggy bank breaking, organic nutrients) so his solo antlerless kill was good by us.

Yours truly, Dead Eye Dick, was down in the swamp (see strategy equation above). I was pretty certain the stand would be a bust for the opener. The swamp has been Knute’s (Ulsvik) domain for many openers…and I was in his turf. I had a bad feeling as I stepped onto the blue milk crate “ladder” to the box and my foot went through it like a potato chip but echoed through the bottoms area like an AK-47. After much sitting and nothing happening and just as I was ready to drop my overalls for my obligatory “Opener Scoot” when this lop-sided 2.5 year-old buck appeared out of nowhere. I could tell his horns were a bit goofy so I figured I better get him out of the breeding pool. Boom – he was down. Not a wall hanger but a kill just the same.

Goofy Horns - But Dead!

Drive Time

By 8:30 we were all ready to move. It was drive time. I gutted goofy and waited for Al to come from his stand (see strategy equation above). We drove the big ravine towards the Mega Stand then up towards the old farmhouse. Neither push was productive.

Time to head back in so Jeff Shaefer and Al helped me coax the F150 down the road to the swamp to pick up goofy and bring it back to camp.

Caloric Nirvana – aka Brunch.

Back at the Hog Barn the Go-To-Guy has been busy. After ironing his satin pillow cover he found time to make breakfast. The spread was spectacular. Even pancakes.

Smarter than the average bear...for sure

So here’s the scenario…you’ve got a dozen guys who’ve been out in the cold for several hours, bring them into a buffet of calories, carbs and fat grams and you’ve got the potential to lose a finger or two. Gary’s no-big-deal set up was awesome. I’d have to say the pancakes were the big hit. Fortunately, GP was able to add a bit of Smart Balance to this pile of ‘cakes to turn it into a healthy breakfast.

Clean up was no big deal thanks to the Go-To-Guy.

For mid-morning entertainment we hoofed it down the cow path below the Hog Barn to see if we could remove the Raider from a tight spot. I’m not 100% certain as to how it got to be where it was – but it had something to do with GP and Jon, a trailer, mud, transmission and gravity. As I’ve had a run-in with the Raider I’m not going to say much about this but let the pictures do the talking.

Under Control

No comment

Afternoon Drive

The only notable event of our afternoon drives was the third deer down. Art, Al and Paco were in the accessible stand between the Gov’s Stand and the Island (see strategy equ…oh, you get the idea). I was in the Gov’s Stand. Beautiful afternoon. With drivers coming up the South Ravine from the east Art saw a pretty big deer. Apparently Paco did too. The last thing he thought to himself before he fired was, “I better get him before Rick (aka Dead Eye) does. We’ll if anyone was to get that deer than me I’d always be happy if Paco’s the one. At the current rate of bullets used per deer bagged Paco will need another box of ammo when he’s 34. I’m pretty certain this is the same buck I missed last year’s opener from the Mega Stand. This is a beautiful animal…one we’ll all treasure for years to come.

That's A Big Deer!

"Perfect" Paco's Great Buck

Evening Stand

Pretty quiet for one and all.

Saturday Night Dinner

GP and “Go-To” were on top of it again. This time we feasted on perfect steaks (not Prime Rib!) with all the fixin’s. It was fantastic.

Bedtime came quite a bit earlier Saturday as we geared up for another day of hunting.

Sunday Morning

It was dark. It was early. What more can I say? The coffee was strong, the sugared/flour edibles were plenty – and there was a line at the three-holer. C’mon Man…bust a move in there will ‘ya?

Pretty quiet for all of us. We started driving around 8 but with no results.


Meat Wagon

Later in the week Greg brought down a doe saving a shut out for “Sure Shot Sam”.



Fortunately for us Greg is a better host than he is a shot. Thank you, Greg!

The Man

I’m sure I’ve forgotten many details and have left out important elements but it’s January and time to put this issue to bed.

With that I’ll sign off. We’ll see ya at a workday when it’s hot because –

Distance Walk-In + Access ÷ Shot Difficulty + Ability to Hit A Deer

+ Wind Direction x Likelihood of Seeing A Deer + Years At Camp < # Hours Logged At Work Days = Stand Location

Read Full Post »