Monday, November 14, 2011

I can see Canada from my deer blind

Well, you might have to squint a little...

We're just back from a productive and enjoyable vacation hunting whitetail deer north of Badger, MN (aka "Almost Canada").

My buddy Greg shot only one deer, but not for lack of trying; not for nothing was his elevated hunting shack nicknamed "Disaster Stand."  My son Erik shot two nice does, one on Saturday, another Sunday, and then went back to school.  His Ameristep "Doghouse" pop up blind was in a very productive spot so I sat inside it Monday and Tuesday, harvesting mature does each day.  While waiting for my deer to arrive I read Inferno, written in 1976 by sci-fi collaborators Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle ($0.50 at Half-Price Books, Apple Valley, MN).  I also got caught up on a variety of podcasts on my iPhone.

Most evenings Greg prepared our meals at the home of our host Kasey, the son of my cousin Rick, but three nights we drove to Roseau, MN, to dine at The Silver Dragon, our favorite Asian eatery north of Minneapolis.  Word on the streets of Badger (yes, it has at least two) is that Kasey enjoyed meals that didn't come from the microwave and which were served on plates he didn't have to wash.  We even vacuumed before we left.

After sleeping in Wednesday I commenced to skinning, cutting, and wrapping our venison, which took two days. This work was accompanied by Richard Pogge's most excellent Ohio State University Astronomy 161 - Introduction to Solar System Astronomy course on iTunes.  I did not get a chance to listen to Astronomy 162 - Stars, Galaxies, & the Universe, which is even more fun.  Yes, this in one of the podcast lecture series that I've listened to more than once.

Once I had some spare time I got to engage my most recent book purchase, Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age, by Robert Neely Bellah.  Be warned, the first chapter or two is a mind-stretching conceptual slog, but then it picks up and becomes very readable.

On Thursday my vacation finally became fully effective - I forgot what day of the week it was.

Minnesota is a party hunting state - we can shoot to fill the tags held by others in the hunting party.  On Saturday morning I was asked to join an old-fashioned deer drive.  The youngsters and the huntmaster did the pushing through the thick stuff.  The elder cousins and uncles sat post - stationary spots where we prevent the deers' escape if they bust out to the left, right, or rear of the drive.  It just so happened two ran past me so I made quick work of them with Erik's Kimber 308 (I had loaned my Remington 30'06 to a cousin for the morning).  I chose factory loaded 150 grain bullets for both rifles this year as time and money got a little tight.  These conventional "cup and core" bullets are too destructive if you hit anything edible up close (despite our scenic vistas our longest shot was 125 yards), and are made of lead, which is less that good.  That said all six fell to the hit and our four now reside in our freezer.  We will use non-lead and perhaps heavier (slower) bullets in 2012.

All in all, it was a fine season.