The Minnesota firearms deer season is here and many have traveled to their beloved deer camps for their annual hunt. As most deer hunters know, time spent at a deer camp and in the woods goes deeper than just taking shots at deer. It is a place for families and friends to gather and enjoy a timeless tradition in the great outdoors.
I started deer hunting in the northern woods of Minnesota in my early teens. My grandpa, on my mother’s side, grew up in International Falls and had been hunting at what we call “the shack” ever since he was a young boy.
“The shack” is in Gheen, Minn., a tiny town in a place that some may consider the middle of nowhere, but to my family it's a special place.
I shared one of my special first deer hunts with my grandpa and other family members at the shack. My grandpa had a large part in the harvest of my first northern woods buck. Since I had little experience and hadn't had much luck at my own deer stand, I asked if I could tag along with him.
That evening, deep in the woods, we came across a permanent deer stand that my grandpa's cousin, another shack resident, had built. There was abundant deer sign.
My grandpa turned to me and asked, "could you find this tomorrow morning?"
I nodded, but just to be sure, my grandpa took a few tissues he had in his pocket and laid them along the route we took to help me find the stand the next morning.
Even though I overslept the next morning from staying up long into the night playing cards with my cousins, I managed to get to the stand after a late start. The tissues worked.
By that afternoon I had my first buck, and it’s still the biggest buck I have gotten to this day.
Every year, I anxiously wait for my trips to the shack to see everyone and get out in the woods.
Over the next few years, I continued to have successful hunt but I never harvested a deer as big as the one I took with my grandpa.
For my dad, deer hunting was never a success story. He decided to retire from the deer stand after many years of failed hunts. It wasn’t until he was 48 years old that he was finally able to put a deer down, and it was with a bow, not a gun.
Now, for the past five years or so, my dad and I have been bow hunting with my uncle and cousins. My dad still hasn't taken a deer with a gun, but I believe that makes our bow hunts special.
I am so happy that my dad picked up deer hunting again. Every summer we go to the bow range to practice our shots. Bow hunting not only is a thrill in the fall; it gives my father and I a great pastime that we share together. I look forward to the many seasons to come.
Now that I've shared what makes deer hunting special to me, I want to know what you enjoy about deer hunting. Share what makes your deer camp special with Lake Voice:
- Leave a comment below.
- Share a picture or even a video by tweeting at us @lakevoicenews.
- Or post on your Instagram with the hashtag #mydeercamp and #LakeVoice.
All photos by Tony Schmitt.