11/24: With Christmas soon upon us and I am now getting inquiries from friends going out and cutting Christmas trees with their kids and Grandchildren. This exactly what I had in mind when we planted those 9 years ago. Making it an adventure,
having a campfire, picking out a tree etc. Exactly the right recipe for great memories!
November 14: All preparations are now completed for the 2023 Maple Syrup Season. Camp is cleaned, collection bags and holders combined, firewood collected and stacked, equipment ready, trees remarked and tarps up on cook shack. No doubt the camp will continue to have some activity as soon as the snowfalls with both cross-country skiers and snowmobilers, but overall things will slow down considerably. 2022 proved out to be another wonderful year for all associated with the camp.
November 13: Deer season 2022 has come to a close and we learned from our neighbors we again did better than all of them. Can't help to think our diversified / scattered food plots, road system, incredible hunting terrain, edge effects, mini- cuts and stand placement all factor in. The last part of the season friends and their grandchildren were manning the stands and passed on fawns and doe's. Overall, again it was a great season with family and friends, plenty of action, ample venison, nobody hurt and a lot of great food and cards.
November 4-7: The Hungry Beaver Camp comes through again in 2022, year after year, season after season! Even after a totally busted hunting day with winds up to 45 miles per hour on Sunday, by Monday noon, our camp had processed 2-8 pt's, 1-6 point, 1-4 point, 1 cull spike, and a dandy doe. We passed on several spikes and multiple does and fawns. One of the 8 points was another super large buck, estimated weight of 240 lbs. with an absolutely perfect rack. We also saw more turkeys than any deer season before. It was a very strange opening weekend with very few shots in the area. Although I left camp on Monday, it will remain open through next weekend for perhaps fill a couple more tags. Leaving camp, perhaps for the last time was really hard. Memories flooded my emotions. However, both potential buyers have the desire and ability to take the camp to the next level. The camp, however, has not yet been sold and was left in perfect condition with everything ready for maple syrup 2023, should it not sell. And if it does, it is totally ready for the new caretakers of this most amazing operation.
November 2-3. Spent considerable time working the fields in further preparation for next spring food plots, double checked all stands for last time. Seen 2 nice bucks and 2 does. Lot of geese flying around. Tonight, the deer hunting crew starts arriving however it's going to be a smaller crew than normal due to Covid, family obligations and a broken leg.
October 28. I got back to camp early for deer season as two potential buyers (parties) wanted to tour the operation. Both went very well with hours and hours of time. I feel the camp would be left in very good hands with either. With the deer season upon us and all parties heading out to hunt, I don't expect to talk to potential buyers again for 2-3 weeks. Besides, there is a lot for them to absorb. It was very hard emotionally for me touring around and telling stories and answering questions, but I know the time is right to proceed with a sale being so far away. My daughter Anna and family came and spent the night Friday and enjoyed the camp possibly for the last time. Having to leave very early Saturday to get back for soccer and hockey practice for the grandchildren it was a quick but great time.
October 24: Rest of the platform deer stands are now ready to go stocked with heaters etc. Seeing nice deer pictures at night and in daylight hours. Rut has to be gearing up.
October 22: Camp is open and in full swing as our youngest hunter scored a 6-point buck in Youth Season. Guess Dad and some other family members (Sister & Grandpa Mark) are staying at camp too and enjoying it every minute of it. I love it! The memories just keep building for so many.
October 12: To be forthright and honest I have notified all my hunting buddies that I have offered the camp for sale in a private offering. Many are in disbelief that I would even consider it. Although I have had many hits (mostly relators wanting to list it and that is just NOT going to happen) only a handful of semi-serious and 2 serious / qualified potential buyers have come forward. After considerable phone time talking the past several days and preparing documents to answer questions, I'll be back to camp October 29, five days earlier than I expected, as I have two showings scheduled. Second guessing myself on this I'm asking a higher power for the proper direction to take.
October 3-7 Wow, what a great week!!! Arrived Monday 7:30 AM and the weather and leaves were gorgeous. After checking all the equipment, (everything started perfect) I immediately went to work mowing South Pipeline, widening all the trails and opening up some shooting lanes. Mark had done a wonderful job mowing all summer. In the afternoon we disassembled the platform stand we called Pretty Pond. We decided to move it to a better location called Four Corners. On Tuesday, I hung another 6 turkey tails on the camp walls that were shot last spring. Now have 37 hanging. I spent the rest of the morning plowing areas for 2023 food plots where we are going to add new corn areas as we are replacing the corn areas for a couple years with oats and other forage giving the soil a rest. We tried Oats in 2022 and had great success with both the turkey and deer. Areas enhanced by plowing were SPL, Orchard, North and South of Oak Tree and NPL. Wednesday morning, we had a men's breakfast at the camp with 7 buddies. Man I miss that! Afterward, we went to the orchard were everyone who wanted pick apples and took them home. Always enjoy that sharing element. Then we used the added help to actual move the Pretty Pond stand and get it set up at Four Corners. That was a big job, but it turned out awesome! The balance of the day was used getting equipment (heaters etc. / ground blinds) ready for deer season. Thursday morning, I picked the rest of the Fireside apples to take back to Texas and removed all the motion sensors around the orchard. We replaced another 3 window curtains in Stinky and Oak Stand, cleaned all the stands and placed the heaters etc. Then we started working on Maple syrup for 2023. We assembled about 150 bags and holders and painted all the trees we are planning on tapping next spring. During the entire week, we were also working on firewood supplies for syrup season. We also completed hanging our aluminum highly reflective road signs. 109 are now hung and the job is complete. This was a big and very pricey project that started 4 years ago! These will last forever and are really cool and very unique! So many thanks to all involved. Lastly an inventory was taken for what we need to deer camp so I can prepare a menu and a to bring to camp list for everyone. Super week with great friends!!! I'll return on 11/2 to open the camp for the 2022 Deer Season! We also reviewed all the camera chips, and we are seeing many deer, lot of 8 pointers throughout the entire property. I firmly believe all these food plots we work so hard on really pay off for holding the key wildlife.
9/26 Well the beaver war continues. Dam open, dam closed. However, we are winning the battles by reducing the pond level significantly! Guy were duck hunting Saturday various ducks and geese are starting to fly.
9/10 Some neighbors along with Jim, have opened the beaver dam and the water has dropped significantly. Seeing lot of turkeys and some real nice bucks on the cameras. Lots of wood ducks flying around that will soon be hunted.
9/5 Apples are Ready! Various groups heading out and picking Zesters and State Fairs. I sure am missing this time of year up there!!
8/23 Heading back to camp for a week in October. Can't wait!!
8/22 No sign of bears in the orchard since the alarms were set! Perhaps we got them running? Meanwhile Tractor taken in for an annual service/tune-up, repair a gasket leak and replace front axle seals. Also change out blades on the brush hog. Nothing $2800 doesn't fix! Keeping everything in top condition.
8/13 Bear alarms are deployed and active. Jim said, "they are loud". Those critters are in for a rude awakening! LOL Seeing lot of turkeys in the oak food plots.
8/9 The bears are back getting into the food plots and orchard. We are deploying 8 solar powered alarm systems to scare them away! Also, time for a tractor tune-up. Guys taking back to Kubota dealer for a servicing along with brush hog. As always have to keep the equipment in top condition so it ready to use when we are!
8/2 Update from the camp: Orchard mowed and apples gaining in size. Looks to be a nice crop. Oats are turning brown and corn growing well. Turkeys in the oats!
7/26 The apples in the orchard doing very well as with all the corn, oats and clover food plots. Hay has been cut and bailed and should be able to get a second cutting come early September. Cameras showing deer and bear activity.
6/18 Jim, Rock and Doug got the orchard mowed and sprayed along with all the food plots. Camp is looking great!
6/17 Mark was out mowing trails all day.
6/11 Back to camp and time there was awesome. Lot of chores accomplished. Food plots looking very good as with the orchard. Trails cleared from recent windstorm but not yet mowed due to so much recent rains. Moved lot of firewood for 2023 Maple Syrup season.
6/4 Many thanks to Doug for mowing the orchard this past week. I'll be home on Saturday to get the tractor set-up and start mowing.
5/16 Orchard is mowed trimmed and fertilized. Food plots all planted in both oats and corn for 2022. Many thanks to Roy, Mark and Jim for doing the work! Now, start growing!
4/28 Back from a week at the camp. Totally awesome! 7 turkeys harvested - a record, new road signs hung up, new curtains in the box blinds, trails open, firewood cut, great food and a lot of cribbage games. Talked with all the neighbors and checked out the apple orchard which is looking wonderful after the guys trimmed them all. Also worked on getting tap holders prepped for 2023 maple syrup season.
4/13: The team is back at work after a winter break. Jim, Rock and Mark all out working the camp today. All equipment started right up! They set trail cameras trimmed orchard and got operations ready for Turkey season. Getting closer to being back in God's Country!
4/11 Long list of things to do at camp. Replace all stand windows, hang road signs, clear trails, cut and split firewood for 2023 maple syrup, reattach syrup bags to holders and repack, hunt turkey, see people.... Can't wait!
4/6 Sure getting anxious to get back up north to the camp and for spring Turkey.
4/1 I completed the first 48 of the 109 road signs we are replacing. First round of signs 9 years ago was wood and have deteriorated badly. New ones are commercial metal with highly reflective print. First Class!!! See picture below.
3/15 Leaving Texas a month from today to go the Camp for 2 weeks. Opening Turkey season is 4/20 and the camp will be full of my buddies. Plan on plowing some of the food plots prior to leaving so the others can plant at the right time.
2/4 Well, I'm on day 2 of remaking all the 24 blind curtains in our 6 permanent stands. 20 yards of coated tent fabric, 48 yds of bulk zippers and each window of each stand a custom fit. I had ordered a special threaded that should help these last longer than round one that we did 9 years ago. Considering exposure to the Minnesota environment everyday all year I think we did well. Actually, expecting these to last 11-12 years. Planning on replacing them before turkey season in April.
1/10 Since moving from Minnesota one of the things I miss is sausage day with my buddies. Well, today I finished doing it myself here in Texas. I finished with about 50 lbs. 60/40 venison pork with homemade assortment of seasoning. Actually, had some for breakfast and it was outstanding. Some will be heading to Geoff's in Phoenix in February along with some Texas Whitetail that I shot in San Saba in December.
12/19 Well, another year come and gone. Now with a few Christmas trees from the plantation gracing several homes, activity at the camp is complete for 2021. Again, a big Thank You to all that make it possible! Looking forward to the events of 2022.
11/11. Just back from the camp from 2021 deer season. Again, it never disappoints!!! Could have easily filled out but stopped at 7 for 8, 4 bucks and 3 does. Weather was perfect, comradery again outstanding! Had a new member of the crew come to camp - Nolan. This is Marks grandson and Roy's son - both founding members of the camp. Food fantastic, cards a hoot, and ample venison for all. By far the best time of the year!!!
10/14 Back from spending a week up in Minnesota. Although I only had the opportunity to work at the camp for a couple days it was great to be back home. Trails were in great shape thanks for all the hours the guys put into it. Bear had gotten into the orchard just before arriving and helped itself to the few remaining apples, however Jim had picked a bunch and had stored for us to take back to Texas and enjoy. Also got to spend several hours on the tractor mowing the south pipeline and together with the guys cleared several trails from windblown trees. Stands and camp are ready for deer season coming upon us quickly.
9/23 Things continue to happen at the camp. Apples being picked, trail come pictures showing bears in the food plots, trees over the trails being cut up, etc. etc. I'll be back to camp pretty soon to help prepare for deer camp in November. Can't wait to get back and see everybody and check things out. So hard being away from it.
8/20. Sorry but I have been slow at posting all the activities at the camp. Mark, Rock and Jim all continue to work at the camp. Lot of time taking care of the orchard food plots and trails. Report is fewer but better quality of apples for 2021. Looking forward to getting back up their pretty soon. All fine with the camp and equipment! Thanks GUYS!!!
7/4/21. Hay being cut this weekend. Lot of effort still be put forth by the guys keeping the place up. THANK YOU!
6/5 The gang continues to keep things rolling with taking care of all the food plots, trails, mowing and the orchard. Thank you to all!
5/12 Well the guys were back at it today planting all the food plots. Corn, radishes and oats were the primary seed planted. They also addressed the orchard and watered the trees. Great to have wonderful friends covering for me. In addition, the maple syrup crew has taken and cleaned up all the vehicles at the camp after what was a very muddy season. They are now running well and ready for people to enjoy.
5/3 Jim taking the beaver bus (crew cab ranger) into the dealer for it's tune up. Couldn't keep or run the camp without good friends!
5/2 The team took to the camp today, (first time less me), and mowed then plowed all the food plots in preparation for seeding. Full day of work having done it myself over the past 8 years. Mark mastered the tractor and changing implements while Jim handled the more manual parts of the equation. Thanks to both!!
4/23 Today was opening morning for Spring Turkey 2021. This is the first hunting camp I missed now since moving to Texas. And yes, missing it severely with all my buddies there. At this writing at 4:00PM 3 of the 4 hunter have Toms. Mark, Roy and Jim all scored. Rock had several opportunities also but passed waiting for a bigger one. The camp comes through again, year after year creating memories!