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Bobby Bass

Deer Camp 5

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Bobby Bass

Made by way down the trail from the Hotel in the cool darkness of the morning. The damp ground quiet under my feet as I tried to move along the trail with out making a noise. Moving just quick enough to cover ground but trying hard not to warm up bundled up in all my clothes. The Hotel thermometer read 33 when I stepped out on to the porch. After a few quiet words exchanged with my friends we all walked across the clear cut and took our own separate trails to our stands. Soon the dim light of the Hotel was left behind and with a shift in the wind the smoke from the stove could no longer be smelled. I paused from time to time, taking time to adjust my pack and look around me. The walk out to the stand always takes longer then the trip back. I arrived at the stand and climbing up, secured my pack and settled in. After a few minutes the coat was zipped back under my chin and my cuffs on my coat pulled down onto my gloves.

With my head resting against the tree I tried just to move my eyes as I looked out over my little area of heaven. Having been in the tree now several times over the last week I was pretty comfortable with the shadows as I knew now what they were. As on cue the area around me started to go from black to gray. No sunrise this morning with the cloud cover. A half hour later and it was as light as it was going to be. I had the right combination of clothes on today and I was as comfortable as a newborn in a fleece blanket. Nothing moving at all, not even a pesky squirrel to break up the quiet. I shifted a little and rested my arms in my lap. The first snow flake fell and landed on my glove. Then another and another. They say no two snow flakes are alike, with the flakes on my glove I started to compare them side to side, yup they were different. Raising my eyes I scanned the area. Looking slowly I swept the ditch ahead of me. The swamp off to my right then back down the trail towards the Hotel. Nothing, I looked at more flakes that had fallen next to the first ones.

I woke up, must have doze off. Snow now covered the ground around my stand. Falling heavy it now covered the bare trees and brush with a blanket of white. Actually I could see farther now and I could make out trees in the cedar swamp. The snow falling in the ditch met the water and melted. The trail and grass now were white. I had a little layer of snow across my pants and jacket. My pack to was covered in white fluffy snow. I moved just a little and under the blanket of snow I flex my arms and back. In mid stretch I saw her. Easing out from the cedar swamp her head up high she was slowly walking down the trail coming to the ditch. Her tail flicking back and forth she would stop and look behind her then move forward a few more steps before putting her head to the ground and her nose rubbing from side to side.

Trying to relax I settled back into the tree, Easing the rife in her direction I turned to face her and waited. It was quiet, I could hear her when she picked up her hooves and set them back down, at least I think I could hear them. Something else to a bumping sound. Took me a little while to realize it was my heart in my chest, felt good. She was moving slow and I was starting to have a hard time staying still, maybe I was even getting a little impatient with her. Some thing was behind her in the swamp, following her but staying out of sight. She was a nice big doe but I wanted to see what was behind her. Could it be the Ghost that I had seen on opening? Might I get a second chance here? The doe stopped, finding something on the trail for breakfast she was chewing. Still rasing her head from time to time to look around her. She had her head up and was looking around when she stopped, her head pointed in my direction. She was staring her ears flicking in my direction her nose testing the wind. I froze, not daring to move I watched her watch me. The snow continue to fall and I felt pretty good that she could not really make me out, could she?

Locked eye to eye we looked at each other. Me trying not to move and be discovered and her seeing something that didn't look quite right but not knowing what I was. Like a pitcher trying her pick off move she put her head down but then snapped it up again. Having seen this move before I had not moved. She again stared in my direction.

She went back to eating and slowly took a few more steps down the trail. She was in range and I could raise the rifle anytime now and have a good shot. Straight out from me she offer a broad side shot and I watched as she walked by. I wanted to see what was behind her. I waited.

Nothing. The doe moved pass me and down the ditch. I let her pass and focused on the edge of the swamp. Looking for any kind of movement. Something horizontal in a vertical world. Something new now, the sound of my stomach rumbling and a no matter how much snow I licked from my lips I needed to get a drink and eat. I stood up in the stand and my butt barked at me along with my back that had been part of the tree for the past few hours. I shook the snow from my coat and pants and climbed down. Pulling back my glove and checking my watch I could see it was almost noon. Guess somehow I had the entire morning pass by. I headed back to the Hotel following the same trail the doe had taken. Perhaps a hundred yards from my stand from the ditch side a second set of tracks appeared next to the does. Twice as large and deeper, The Ghost had appeared. Together the two sets of tracks followed the trail and then turning off the trail had gone back into the brush.

The doe had been a distraction a decoy. The Ghost didn't get as big as he is walking down trails with his girlfriend. Closing the door of the Hotel I shook off snow and put the gun in the rack. Fresh baked bread was cooling on the cutting block and the smell of baked ham in the oven met me. A few minutes later elbows secure on the edge of the table and a sandwich in my hands I told Elmer of the doe. " Are we having fun " he asked. With my mouth full I just nodded yes and smiled.. From Lake Iwanttobethere

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snoozebutton

Another great post Bobby, I always look forwrd to reading them.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • AlwaysFishing23
      That last gill is a STUD Rick nice work!
    • monstermoose78
      Nice fish rick and thanks for letting them go!!
    • tca12
      Went out to Otter Lake (next to Bald Eagle) on Wednesday, a lake filled with hammerhandles and could barely make out three small pike in the dirty water before giving up.  Was up on a lake in the Horseshoe chain that is also supposed to be filled with small pike and saw zero but the wife caught a small on a tip-up.  At least a big catfish came in and sat at the bottom of the hole for well over an hour.
    • Rick G
      Only a few tiny ones..... Pays to get the hell away from the crowd...  
    • Wanderer
      That’s a bucket list trip for me.  No reason that I haven’t been there yet outside of the fact it isn’t in my normal territory.  And that’s an ironic statement for me to make! Come to think of it, I should just plan it and go.  It’ll never happen otherwise.  Anybody got any pointers for heading that direction?  I wouldn’t even know where to start.  Pretty self sufficient for gear and travel and could figure it out eventually but a helping hand or even a guide reference would be appreciated.
    • Jim Almquist
      The ice is gone now. More than likely won't be anymore this year.
    • Tom Sawyer
       that reminds me the batteries on that GPS tracker hid somewhere on your truck are running low. The red blinking light on the base unit here at home, sure has been annoying. Can't believe it showed you were out fishing in the wind, close to home anyway, today. 
    • kelly-p
      Upper Red nears record winter harvest Ice fishing on Upper Red Lake has slowed in recent weeks, but the walleye harvest is on track to set or approach a wintertime record, numbers from an annual winter creel survey show. According to Henry Drewes, regional fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji, anglers through January had kept about 125,000 pounds of walleyes. The wintertime high for Minnesota's portion of the lake was slightly more than 140,000 pounds in 2015, DNR statistics show. Anglers harvested 109,327 pounds of walleyes in the winter of 2017, according to DNR creel survey results. "If we have an average February, we'll be right in that area" of 140,000 pounds, Drewes said. "Catch rates and pressure have really tapered off in the last (few weeks). I think that's related to winter fatigue and a slower bite." Wheel houses, which have exploded in popularity among winter anglers in recent years, now account for more than 80 percent of the ice fishing pressure on Upper Red, Drewes said. Anglers on Upper Red can keep four walleyes, of which only one can be longer than 17 inches. Walleye and northern pike season on Upper Red and other Minnesota inland waters closes Sunday, Feb. 25 and reopens Saturday, May 12. The Minnesota DNR manages 48,000 acres of Upper Red, while the remaining 72,000 acres are within the boundary of the Red Lake Indian Reservation and managed by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. -- Brad Dokken Grand Forks Herald
    • monstermoose78
      Same for me on Green by Princeton once it got dark the fish started biting. I was marking them and only had 4 bites while the sun was up. 
    • JBMasterAngler
      Was on North Center yesterday. Crappies were easy to find, but they would not bite for nothing! Somehow coaxed 2 into biting, so I avoided the skunkaroo. The vexilar began to light up more, and the fish began to move up and down the column a little bit more as evening progressed. So maybe, the bite would have picked up as the sun went down. However, by then, the kids were ready to leave, so maybe I’ll find out next time. On a side note, this was by far the thickest ice I’ve drilled through (30 to 32 inches) with my ion in the 3 years I’ve had it. Was impressed. 
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