It's down to crunch time if you are going to fill your muzzleloader tag, and believe me I'm hoping that big old buck just happens to step out so I can finally go to ice fishing mode. Speaking of ice fishing, last weekend at the ice fishing show in St. Paul was crazy. Being most of Minnesota was just freezing the show was packed. People from Iowa to Canada came to see what was new for this year.
Sometimes we have bumps in the road that we cannot avoid. They may set you back but don't let them stop you. We arrived in Montana a little later than planned, so we need to make the most of the little time we had before the mule deer season ended. Being no one likes to eat their tags, the plan was to not attempt a one-day trophy hunt and to shoot the first decent deer I saw. This would be about having meat in the freezer to remember the season, not antlers for the wall. That would have to wait to next year.
Being I had to cut Minnesota deer season short due to some medical issues, this year Thanksgiving dinner would have to be a day early. Because when everyone else is going into turkey coma I'll be watching the Montana sunrise and looking for a mule deer to finish my season off with a bang.
Well, I guess our deer season could be summed up with three words—does and fawns. At least for the first half of the season anyway.
As I rolled out of Brainerd at 4 in the morning, I glanced at the odometer on the old Chevy and just hoped that after 270,000 miles she had a few more thousand in her. The 16-hour drive didn't seem too bad, because I had the hunt of a lifetime only a day away. The weather was a little warmer than I wanted but that would soon change as I drove to the top of the mountain. Soon it was snowing and blowing. Now it felt like elk hunting.
By the time this goes to print and everyone is reading this, if all goes well I will have 14 hours behind the wheel and 5 or 6 miles on my boots.
This year for the Camp Ripley disabled veterans deer hunt I didn't have to pack any orange. Instead the muskie rods were loaded. A new addition to the hunt was offering a lucky group of veterans the chance to hit Lake Alexander for the fall muskie bite. And since I've kind of been in fishing mode it only seemed fitting.
Well, the plan this year has been to concentrate on fishing right up until I leave for Montana elk hunting. And although the guide trips the last few weeks have been pretty good, with the walleyes getting more aggressive every day, I have to say with the smell of fall in the air and the ducks flying it's really hard not to think about throwing the decoys out or chasing grouse. It will all be worth it when I crawl out of the tent that first day of elk season. But I have been getting pretty jealous of all the hunting pics on Facebook lately.
So, as a fishing guide you get to meet a lot of people from all over the country. You get to know all of them a little bit through your conversations in the boat but sometimes you get to be good friends.
The talk of the town this week has been the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Mille Lacs Lake. Once again the top anglers from all over the country are competing for the angler of the year on what has been called the best smallmouth fishery in the nation. And once again the bass guys are hammering the walleyes, but that's a whole other story.