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A slow opener at the Bullmoose Camp

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Those darn deer ...

That's what the Old Man always used to say when the first part of the deer hunting season didn't go well.

Those darn deer ...

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That's exactly what The Hack was thinking on the drive back to civilization on Tuesday afternoon after four days of deer shack nirvana at Bullmoose Camp.

Those darn deer ...

The closest The Hack came to taking a deer was on the drive back home. Just before reaching the southwest corner of Upper Red Lake, a massive buck bolted out of the ditch, headed right for the driver side window of The Hack's truck. Then, unbelievably, the big buck turned on a dime and missed hitting the truck by what must have been inches.

The Hack hit the brakes, jumped back in the driver's seat and exclaimed "whooooooa, did you see that?"

Of course, the Large One, who was riding along on the trip back to town, didn't see the deer. It all happened within a split second. The Hack took a quick glance out the side window and "der he vas ... gone."

Safe to assume this isn't going to be a tale of heavy meat poles and numerous encounters with monster bucks when the closest The Hack gets during the first four days of the season is hitting a deer with his truck.

But that's the way it was for the Bullmoose Camp boys at the start of the 2008 firearms deer season.

Those darn deer ...

The boys had traveled to the camp property numerous times earlier this fall. All signs pointed to a fine deer season - the traditional trails were heavy with tracks and numerous deer were seen on walks through the property while chasing grouse and woodcock during the in the weeks leading to the deer hunting season.

A large field nearby the camp property had been planted once again in soybeans, just like .last year. And the boys put in a lot of time at the camp, scouting around, cutting new trails and placing shooting lanes.

When the 2008 season finally rolled around, well ...

Those darn deer ...

Saturday and Sunday of opening weekend were far from ultimate hunting conditions with strong northwest winds and spitting snow. Regardless, The Hack accomplished a first - remaining in the stand all day. It's something he had talked about doing for years - spending the entire opening day in the woods.

Well, the goal was accomplished Saturday. In fact, others in the camp were so shocked by The Hack's behavior that they sent out an exploratory party to glass The Hack's stand and make sure he was all right.

OK, all right - it was enclosed stand, complete with sliding glass windows to keep the wind out and a new heater. With a comfortable office chair, provisions packed and a new book to read, it wasn't exactly roughing it to stay out all day.

At least that's what Wack said. He wasn't about to cut The Hack any slack - especially considering sitting in a freezing deer stand isn't his idea of a good time - not by a long shot. If that's the way The Hack would have done it, braving the elements, well then maaaaaybe it would have passed Wack's muster.

Yet, it didn't matter that The Hack put in a 10-hour stint in the woods. Bottom line was he didn't see a single deer. Nor did any of the Bullmoose boys - not only on the first day, but also the second.

In fact the only deer seen were a doe and twin fawns that had bedded near The Hack's stand on Monday morning. By the time the hunter realized the deer were close by, they were gone in a blur of flagging white tails.

Those darn deer ...

The only other wildlife highlight of the first four days was an encounter Wack had with a bobcat. Not the most confident with his deer hunting abilities, Wack always has wondered if he moves too much in the stand in order to be successful.

On Monday, he got an answer -- sort of. While sitting in his stand, Wack noticed some movement nearby. He glanced over to see a full grown bobcat standing not 25 yards from the stand. Oblivious to the hunter's presence, the bobcat slowly moved through the woods and out of sight. It was a rare treat.

Those darn deer ...

It was like they had disappeared from the countryside. Very few tracks were even seen, either. Who knows what happened? Did wolves push the deer out of the area? Did the unstable weather have the deer hunkered down and not moving? Who knows?

One thing the Bullmoose boys do know, however, they will all be back in the woods Friday morning.

Will those darn deer make an appearance?

Stay tuned ...

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