Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Collector

It was several years ago that I had a strange chance encounter in the woods that has since left me with frightening nightmares as time passes. I had found some large hooks and other sign from a big buck around the Number 1 stand and had been hunting it on the weekends when I could get down to the famous Christmas Place Hunting Club.
One Saturday morning I left camp way before day and made the long trip around to the back of the property, parked, got my gear and rifle ready and set off down the old and winding logging road to get to my stand.
It was still an hour before day and my little pen light did not cast much of a glow as I eased down the road trying to be as quiet as possible. I hoped to silently get to my stand and not disturb any nearby deer.
The moon was lying low in the night sky and a light frost covered the old road. In an open area along the road, the fading moonlight illuminated something standing in the middle of the road. It scared me to death at first; as I realized a man was standing there waiting for me. It was not the first time I had met another hunter before day and I eased my rifle into the crook of my arm and walked up to him.
He had no light and was carrying a covered milk pail in his left hand. My light worked up his body as I got closer. He was tall, medium build, and wearing jeans and work boots. He was wearing a green wool hunting shirt, a black wool coat, and a wide brim black hat that he pulled low as my light reached his face. I saw that he was clean shaven with a sharp nose and a wide thin mouth. The faint light and circumstances made him look slightly frightening, though he made no movement as he waited for me to lower the light.
In the dim moonlight, he smiled a wide, wry smile as if he knew something I didn’t and said "Good morning". I came closer and said “Good morning Mister", and then "Did you know that you are on posted land?" His reply was strange “ I was just out collecting this morning and didn’t mean to disturb you.” I replied that I understood but we had that piece of land posted and no one was allowed to come on the land. He avoided eye contact with me and acted almost as if I had not spoken. He said “If you are interested, there’s a big ten point and a couple of does bedded down in the hollow below your stand.” This shocked me and I said “ Have you been spotlighting deer on us?” He gave a sharp, deep laugh that raised the hair on the back of my neck and said “No, Mr. Howell, I’m just collecting what I need for the next month.”
He jiggled the heavy pail in his hand. His speech was slightly stilted as if he did not talk very much or it had been a long time since he had spoken to anyone. Even so, his voice had a compelling quality to it that demanded your attention and I found myself hanging on his words. He stated “I haven’t hurt any of the deer, they are extremely useful to me, they have qualities and nutrients that you could not believe”. His eyes bored into mine as he said this and fear jumped through me as the light caught his eyes. Pale, crystal blue eyes that seemed to hold you and pull you into them. Even carrying the rifle, I felt intimidated and found myself easing a step backwards; though he did not move. I said “How do you know who I am?” He said, “I have lived here for a long time and know every inch of this land. I know where your camp is and have visited there several times.” I asked him if he knew my father. He said “No, not personally” with another strange smile. It grew quiet between us for a minute as I thought on this. Then I repeated “You’re going to have to leave” He was quiet for a second and said “I was just leaving, but I’m sure we will see each other again.”
He started past me then and moved up the logging road as I asked "Who are you?" He did not look back, but said "People call me Jack or sometimes Wandering Jack". I did not want to, but I found myself asking in a near whisper "What are you collecting?" I heard him stop in the darkness and it seemed his shadowy figure seemed to stretch and grow as he answered in one bone-chilling word, "Blood". He seemed to disappear in the darkness and I never heard another sound as he walked away.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Guest Remarks

Most guests at the famous Christmas Place have a great time. But, if you get them off to one side and ask them about the people there, they will say they were kind of ooky..... come visit us!

The Trouble With Angels

Remember the little girls that could not wait to go hunting with Daddy? Unfortunately, they grow up and quickly lose interest in hunting. Paul brought his daughters Haley and Hillary up for the ballgame last week. They are in high school but think they are seniors in college.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Strange Halloween Party

Denise and I were in Canada late in the fall to enjoy the foliage when we became lost. It is hard to talk to those people, hell half of them don’t speak American, and none of them speak Southern. We ended up traveling a lonely road as a raging storm struck. Lightning flashed, winds blew and then without warning the car quit. We were stuck, but a distant light stood out on a lonely hill and when the rain slackened we made a run to try and find a place to use the phone. What happened next was the weirdest Halloween Party ever. Nearing the gigantic old home, a brass marker at the gate said Smart Hunting Strategies. We knocked and the door was opened by a strange fellow named Dazd. He led us into a foyer where we met a red hot beauty from Texas that led us into the ballroom and one strange party. If you are ever up there during Halloween make sure to go by and join in....It’s just a jump to the left......

Hog Season?

We got up Saturday moning to put the finishing touches on everything before the season starts, but Paul "Plenty of Time" Howell headed out to try and shoot a hog. You can see the results as he and Paul Jones got the 175lb. boar on the hanging pole. Where is Phillip when you need him?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Halloween Invitation

I am sure that everyone has received their Halloween Party Invitations from Steve at Skinny Moose Media. Last years party was great as we went to his private headquarters in the warehouse district. It was a blast. Hope to see everyone there again this year. I asked Steve how he came up with the idea to have the party and he said his Dad, Tom Remington was working in the lab late one night.......

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Mutilation

What started as a pleasant afternoon of hunting ended in one of the most bizarre episodes that has ever occurred at the Christmas Place Hunting Club.
I had spent the afternoon hunting at the end of the Spike Camp Area on a stand known as the Cheeseburger Stand. Don’t ask. It had been a mild afternoon and very late I had three does come out together into the field and start to feed. I was ready for a buck to follow, but as it got closer and closer to dark, nothing appeared. In the distance I could see a small but sinister looking storm cloud heading my way and when the winds kicked up I got ready to leave the field. The three deer had wandered back into the woods by then and it was finally too dark to hunt. I got down as the storm hit. Quick hard rain, rolling low clouds, and lightning seemed to all hit at once and I was drenched before I had gone 20 yards.
I stopped, opened my day pack and wrapped my rifle barrel in a trash bag, tied it, zipped up everything else and started slogging toward the 4 wheeler a half mile away. It was good dark ten minutes later and the rain had let up a little, but streaks of lightning still shot across the night sky right above me. I decided to not use my flashlight, and sneak out in hope of seeing a deer in the lightning flashes if it crossed in front of me.
Heavy misty fog drifted in as up the old logging road I went, passing through a large pine forest, then a section of hardwood and I had just reached the edge of the Spike Camp Field when I became aware of a beam of light in front of me. I stopped at the edge of the field and looked up in wonder. The light seemed to go from the middle of the field up into the night sky. Then I realized it went down and was spotlighting something on the ground. I could not see anything up in the air because of the low rolling clouds and mist, except for the steady beam of light. I looked to the middle of the field trying to figure out what was going on.
There was movement there of three or four dark shapes moving in and out of the beam of light. I could not tell who they were or what they were doing. Suddenly the light went out and I was left in total darkness. I think I saw several red flashes going from the ground up and disappearing. I am pretty sure, but the light had been so bright that I stood there half blinded.
It seemed that within 30 seconds the storm was gone, I had regained some sight and the sky was mysteriously almost clear. I stayed where I was for a few more minutes, then turned on my flashlight and yelled out. I got no answer and started heading toward the center of the field. I wanted to find out what the light had been focused on.
Lying in the center of the field was a large doe. The deer was obviously dead and I stood looking a minute before I approached her. I took the bag off my rifle first and crumpled it in my pocket. The rifle was still loaded and I felt better holding it in this weird setting.
I examined the deer and this (to me) is the strangest part of the story. The deer was still warm, both eyes were missing, the tongue and one jaw had been removed and both ears were gone. The lower part of both front legs had been cut off, and there was a small burned hole in the deer’s side. The tail was gone and the rectum had been cut out. There was no evidence of blood anywhere.
I knelt there thinking how strange this was, until a quick gust of wind swirled across my neck and back. My mouth went dry and my heart pounded as I glanced upward at the sky. Then I stood up, flicked my safety off and quickly left the deer and the field behind.
We went back the next day and dragged the deer away but have never figured out exactly what went on that strange night.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Idaho Salad

I have had several emails asking "What is Idaho Salad?"
Hershel Howell and his crew of motley hunters were at their Spike Camp high in the mountains of Idaho. They were hunting elk and had been there for a week as the snows covered them. Supplies were low, but finally the snow stopped and the sun came out. Far across the mountain they could make out the figure of a man trekking toward them. He finally crossed a log on the frozen stream beside them and edged up to the fire.
His name was Nelson Tucker and he had arrived carrying half a dozen rainbow trout on a stringer over his shoulder. He was welcomed and instantly became friends with everyone there. He had 2 bell peppers, and 2 tomatos in his pouch. Hershel said "If y'all will clean and cook the fish, I will make a salad." Dad had dug out a head of cabbage and started concocting the first Idaho Salad. It has been a staple of our camp for over twenty years now.

Head of cabbage
2 bell peppers cut up
2 tomatos cut up
Salt and pepper
a little oil
cup of sugar.
mix well and to taste
add anything else you want to throw in
P.S. Jody has a great recipe for grilled venison at The Hunters' Wife

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Deer Poem

The Deer Poem
in response to Phillips “Ode to a Hog”
Behold the wondrous whitetail deer,
The most beautiful of all creatures hunted here.
His form is graceful, athletic and lean,
Unlike an old hog that is ugly, dirty and just plain mean.

Hunting for deer is a sportmans’ event.
Taking a buck is known as a great present.
Hunting for hogs is a nasty affair,
Grunting and blasting it has no real flair.

Yes, deer hunting is a life that has essence
Unlike hunting hogs, which are a damned nuisance.
Great deeds are involved to get a big deer.
Shooting a hog is done drinking beer.

Put the horns on your wall as you tell a great tale,
Shoot a hog, be prepared, dressing it is hell.
Getting your deer is always a feat,
Find a hog hunter, at least you will get some great meat.

With apology to Willie Shakespeare

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How I Met Thunderhoof

My first meeting with Thunderhoof occurred soon after we bought the famous Christmas Place in the Mississippi Delta. In fact, it was the very first time that I went hunting after we purchased the property. It was the first day of Archery season that year and I was wildly excited about the coming season. A new place to hunt and lots of deer sign combined to make me and our whole family the most excited we have been to bow hunt in years. It was a memorable day for me in a way that I never expected.
I drove up the rutted road a couple of miles and parked before daylight that morning and walked the few hundred yards to my stand to set up. I was hunting out of a ladder stand that morning that was on an old logging road that wound down to where we had planned to put in one of our food plots.
Both sides of the road at this spot were covered with fresh persimmons that were dripping from the trees lining it and the deer sign was everywhere. I knew I would get a shot and eased my bowstring back a few times to loosen up and settled in to wait.
At seven o’clock a nice buck trotted across the clearing but I was unable to get a shot. An hour later a medium sized buck started feeding about 30 yards away. I was in heaven, the first time to hunt on the property and I had already seen two bucks. The buck moved back and forth under the persimmon trees but I did not worry. It was a 6-point and we had already agreed not to shoot a buck unless it had at least 4 antlers on one side of it’s rack
I was having a great time. The small buck suddenly shot his head up, glanced down through the woods and took off like a shot. I was standing and holding my bow at rest and watched the deer bolt and disappear. I slowly turned my head to see what had spooked the buck.
A gigantic buck was trotting through the woods straight at me! Gigantic does not describe the monstrous deer. It’s horns were at least 8 feet wide and it smoothly turned them from side to side to avoid trees. Grayish brown like a deer but it must have weighed over 1000 lbs. It is the most unbelievable sight I have ever seen. I would not have been more surprised if an elephant had come charging out of the woods at me.
It broke out of the woods, knocking over several small persimmon trees and stopped broadside to me at twenty five yards before I had time to react and at least get my bow up. It was so large it seemed that I could put my hand out and touch his side.
The buck casually looked at me then bent it’s head down to nibble on some honeysuckle growing along the edge of the road, then started munching persimmons. I was scared to death and trembling from the excitement of having this monster in front of me. Then the thought of what a hero I would be, shot through my head and I eased up my bow to shoot. I brought the bow up, managed to reach full draw, aimed right behind the shoulder and released… It was like shooting at the side of a barn…
It seemed that time slowed down as the arrow sped across the short distance. The buck seemed to casually turn it’s head and the arrow stuck right into a wide flat spot on it’s massive antlers. The arrow sat there quivering as the deer looked up at me frozen in the tree, then raised it’s head and started eating the persimmons off a tree. I shakily reached for another arrow and somehow managed to get it in my bow but as I drew halfway back, the deer stopped and looked at me. I froze. We stayed that way till my whole arm hurt from holding the bow at that angle. Then the damn deer lowered it’s head up and down a few times rapidly as it went back to eating the persimmons, leaves and honeysuckle off the low branches. As I watched, I saw something that shook me more than anything else. The arrow sticking out of it’s antler started to bob up and down with his movements. Now the bucks’ head was moving side to side and the arrow was wobbling up and down and around as I held the bow halfway back. Desperately, I tried to reach full draw. My fingers must have slipped as I watched amazed and horrified at my arrow bobbing back and forth from the big bucks antler. The arrow in my bow somehow shot over my shoulder and clattered down behind me. The buck did not look up, but made a noise that sounded like a grunt and a laugh, (GRUNTTT-HEH-HEH-HEH) I later learned that the noise was exactly what you think. The buck then looked up and gave me a piercing look, took two steps and disappeared into the woods. I did not hear a sound of it walking or crashing through trees, but heard the grunt, snort laugh again once or twice and then all was quiet. I sat in the stand for two more hours telling myself it can’t be true, it can’t be true. I got down and went back to camp. I told everyone I had seen three bucks, but never told them what really happened with the giant deer.

Monday, October 22, 2007

About What I Expected

The truth is that Matt is a great contractor, unfortunately we are beginning to believe that he knows nothing about deer hunting, or maybe he is just too soft hearted. He blogs at Bright Idea Outdoors in the heart of Virginia and is very knowledgable about hunting around Camp Cowboy. He just doesn't know where the deer are every day. I sent my top-notch investigative reporter to his house last week to look around and report the problems. Slipping around the side of the house, he took this photo. About what I expected... here is a picture of his backyard. Click for a large view.

The Change

I just got off the phone with my brother Paul. He is getting super excited about deer season and once again has changed into Antler Man. His schedule has suddenly cleared so that he can be at camp every weekend till February. Amazing isn't it.

My other brother Darrell (Trent) has disappeared. Where is he? Hmmm... There is a rumor floating around that he was spotted in Romania at the tomb of the unknown buck.
They say he left a note in the statue's antlers. Too bad, won't help him a damn bit!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Beware the Bushwacker

I have added a new link to my sidebar. I think he is English and specializes in Primitive camping, hunting and survival techniques. Kind of a reverse McGuyver. Want to catch a polar bear on a home made fishing rod, catch a moose in a horsehair lariat, make a hatrack out of a live deers antlers?? He has the info. No, if you seriously want to know about survival and bushcraft you need to read his blog. I can shoot a deer but do not know 1001 one ways to prepare it with nothing but two rocks to bang together. He blogs at the Suburban Bushwacker and is a fun and informative link, go read him.

Friday, October 19, 2007

An Alaskan Eye Opener

Mr brother James has been in town checking on his daughter. Her name is Victoria and she just started at the University of Mississippi. His whole clan came down from the wilds of Alaska and they have been making the rounds. We took them to a pep rally for the Water Valley Blue Devil football team. None of his kids had ever seen or gone to a football game before

We also spent a nice evening in Oxford with my cousin, Kent Howell and his beautiful wife Mary Jean. The men got to drink beer on the deck while all the women caught up on news and talked about how horrible we were. The kids enjoyed games and the WIE. and then dinner was served.

Here is a pic of the ladies! (L to R) Wanda (Pauls wife)was up from the coast, My Aunt Marilyn was presiding over the affair, Jan (married to my cousin Bebo) Kecia (James wife), Shelley was there with Trent, and Denise was with me. Mary Jean served great Lasagna and we really enjoyed a relaxed evening being together.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


To keep the camp running halfway smooth, everyone has to chip in and help. this mostly involves cleaning up and chipping in on carrying in firewood, sweeping etc.
Now that he has a taste for blasting a big old buck, I can make Spencer do lots of chores! Here is Spencer washing the Gator before we put it away on Sunday.

Camo has a job too! Her job is to go outside at night and bark. She guards the camp and helps run off coyotes, gorillas, burglars, evil deer and Pauls' friends.

Sneaking Around

Everything is done at the famous Christmas Place Hunting Club. The only thing left to do now is find a big buck to hunt. When you are dealing with lying crooked lawyers it can get complicated. I wrote about this last year and it is still true.

You have to get out in the woods and walk.
Scouting can take a long time and of course
you have to keep it secret.

Here is a pic of me in a section of woods that
we call The Lost 40. A beautiful patch of woods
filled with old hardwoods.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Haunted Train Trestle

The famous Christmas Place runs along the edge of the Mississippi Delta and is about 10 miles NE of Yazoo City and a solid hour from Vicksburg. Old maps of Holmes county show several railroad lines that ran across it. In early years the delta flooded every year and several of the oldest lines ran across the tops of the bluffs in different places before falling down into the main corridor to these two cities. The remains of the oldest of these early rail lines is still visible here, if you fight your way deep into the heart of the property. This is the incredible tale that Paul told, and I have seen the remains of the old railroad trestle with my own eyes.
Paul, as you know, spends a whole lot of time scouting for deer. He has walked almost all of the property and early in the fall of 2001 had started making an effort to roam and know every part of the very east side of the club. This part of the property is thickly grown up and a perfect bedding area for deer. We have not spent much time exploring it because it is just too steep to deer hunt. Deep, deep valleys and high hogback ridges cover this area and there is really no open ground to hunt. It is hard to get into and even harder to get out of.
Paul parked his 4-wheeler near the Box Stand field and spent the afternoon fighting the high narrow ridges and crossing the narrow hollows. He found plenty of deer sign but not a good place to setup or to comfortably hunt. Late in the afternoon, he decided he would head back and found himself following a ridgetop about 12 feet wide that looked like it had been used for logging 100 years ago. It was grooved out and flat like an old road and he followed it in a generally west direction. He had a machete and used it along the way to cut through briars and tangled vines and when confronted by a giant bamboo thicket, started cutting his way through. He knew he was not going to get out of there until after dark.
Off in the distance he could hear a train whistle.
After he got through the thicket, he saw protruding through the leaves and dirt, a set of iron train tracks.
He rubbed the leaves and dirt away and followed the train tracks down the top of the narrow ridge hopping back and forth, walking on top of the rusty rails.
He could now hear the distant chugging of a train on a steep grade and thought about how cool it was that an old steam train used to run across the property and what it must have been like.
A short distance later he stood at the end of the ridge. It sheared off straight down and the old iron rails jutted out about 6 feet into this void. The ridge resumed at another sheer cliff only 30 yards away, but Paul knew he would have to backtrack and go off the side of the ridge to get around the drop-off. He knew this instantly, but what caught his eye was located halfway between the 2 points. He could really hear that train loudly now but he was studying the sight in front of him. Practically perched in mid-air in front of him were two rusty 16 foot sections of iron rail of the old track. Looking down, he could barely make out the vine covered and rotted remains of the very center of an old train trestle that miraculously still held the last two pieces of rail suspended in front of him.
The train was louder now and seemed to be way to close. An icy chill seemed to suddenly run down his spine and he turned and peered back down the narrow ridge. Several hundred yards away, through the thick trees, cane and briars he saw a large light and realized that it was rapidly coming down the ridge right at him. He stood gaping for a few seconds and then the phantom train let the steam whistle shriek. The ground seemed to shake under Pauls' feet, the ear-splitting blast seemed to almost freeze his blood, and panicked he glanced sideways to find room to get out of it's path. The tall cane he had chopped through seemed to bend over and move out of the way as the fast moving train hurtled toward him. He could see the cowcatcher underneath and the steam pouring out of the stack and jumped to the side just as the ghostly steam engine reached him. It gave a long shriek of the whistle and seemed to fade away as it hit the old bridge.
It was twilight, but Paul saw the large number 83 on the side of the engine and said that it had 4 or 5 freight cars behind it. He could not see anyone up in the cab but he was trying to get out of the way. What skeletal hand was on the throttle and what happened to the lost souls aboard this strange phantom train? We will likely never know. We are planning on going and sitting in the woods this Halloween and see if the Haunted Train reappears.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Marians' Blog Recovery

My great friend Marian at Marians Hunting Stories is in the hospital for a couple of days having, what we hope is minor surgery. She will not be blogging but I am sure she will want to know what we are all up to. Please go by her site and leave a get well comment. I wish you all could meet this fantastic southern woman and enjoy her friendship like I have.

More TreeRat Weekend

The Tree Rat Weekend was great, and I finally embarrassed Paul enough in front of his guest to actually get him to help clean out and repair our main Box Stand. It was full of wasps but Paul was expendable and we sent him in to clean it out. No names will be mentioned, but some 80 year old codger left some Apricot Brandy bottles in the stand.

As stated, it was the best meal of squirrel and dumplings I have probably ever had. Here is a pic of Dad and my brother James holding up the dinner for me to take a pic.
The weather was great, the fellowship and hunting was great. I got 5 stands finished and ready for the season, and everyone had a great time. Each year it just gets better and better for my Dad. This is his weekend and it turned out as good as he had hoped. Time to get ready for the Youth deer hunt!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shots From Squirrel Camp

The 2007 Squirrel Camp was a resounding success! The hunters bagged 62 squirrels for the weekend and Saturday night they served the best squirrel and dumplings I have ever tasted. The new patio was also a big success. Paul brought a new friend and his son in for the weekend and our old friend David Hyde. David surprised everyone by getting after the squirrels and was a lot of fun this year again. This year a lot of squirrels were taken unlike the pitiful 2006 Squirrel Camp. Hope David will come back and shoot one of Pauls' deer this year. This year my brother James from Alaska joined the camp with his sons, Brock and Nathaniel. Roy and Michael Stevens were there, "Limpy" Baxter Jones, Guy Dale Shaw, my Dad, Paul and Michael Howell, Sam Goodwin and his son Thomas, Paul Jones, David Hyde, Joe Newman, Burney and Bobby showed up with Austin, and Greg "Sleepy" Jones. It was another fantastic weekend for my Dad and all these guys love to come for the squirrel camp weekend. Will post more pics later!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Blood Tree

The famous Christmas Place Hunting Club is well known for many strange and eerie sights, but none is stranger than the Blood Tree.
There is a large, (40 acre) lake on the property that is fed from small creeks leading through the heart of the bluffs above it. The largest creek is spring fed and runs year round. The ridges on each side of this creek are extremely steep and almost impossible to climb up or down. The sides are choked with almost impenetrable buck brush, honey suckle, twisted bodock and thorn trees. Few people have made the effort to scout the area, much less hunt there. Walking (or fighting) your way up the creek, from the lake, about 400 yards the narrow sides retreat a little bit and a small swamp is formed in the middle of a hollow. This area is open with big oaks, swamp grass and bubbling muddy ground that you can hardly walk across without sinking to your knees. In the middle of this hidden swamp is a slight knoll about 5 feet high and maybe 25 across. Sitting on top of this knoll is an ancient and gigantic tree that we call the Blood Tree.
The tree is old and almost jet-black as its almost leafless branches loom over the boggy swamp like a giant scarecrow. Year round it is covered in solid blood red leaves and no one has any idea what type tree it is. There is a gaping slit running from the bottom of the twisted tree that goes up about six feet and leaves a hole into the trunk. It is a chilling site as you travel up the sandy creek and see the strange black sentinel standing in the middle of the desolate area. Sometimes your subconscious recognizes danger before you do, and I have always avoided going closer than necessary as I scouted the area.
It was bow season and I was hunting the Persimmon Stand across the Beaver Dam late one afternoon and just before dark, a nice doe came out. It took a few minutes till she was in bow range and I shot. I thought I had made a good shot. The deer took off and I got down. A minute or two later I had found blood and started tracking the doe. A hundred yards later I had to turn on my flashlight as night caught me in the woods. The trail crossed the old ridge road and headed off the side and down toward the creek. I followed slowly as the full moon rose over my shoulder. At the bottom, I followed the spots of blood into a canebrake and then heard a horrible thrashing, a muffled cry of pain from an animal, more thrashing and then silence. I fought my way through and found myself on the edge of the swamp. I crossed the creek and could see where the deer had jumped out through the muddy swamp. I followed; slogging my way forward and then realized that I was getting to the edge of the little rise that held the old tree.
I stepped onto dry ground and my light could see scatterings of small bones mixed in the leaves. Stepping forward, I also saw what looked like pieces of old hide or fur. I reached the base of the tree and could see a large bloody spot. Checking around, the trail seemed to stop at that spot. I walked around but the blood trail ended at the large bloody spot beside the tree. I went back and played my light over the area. The tree trunk was covered in blood. Bits of hair and blood covered the base and I realized then that the slit in front was closed. There was just a thin line up the side of the black tree. Playing my light up, I saw movement and realized I was looking at the hoof of a deer sticking out of the narrow opening. As I watched, it slowly disappeared into the tree. Mesmerized I watched for another movement as I tried to understand what was happening. The slit in the tree slowly gaped open again. The danger I was in finally sank in and I jumped back and ran at the same time. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the limbs moving down toward me and I jumped into the muddy swamp as they grazed my back. I had dropped my bow as I fled, but found the flowing creek and half crawled and half splashed my way back to the lake and walked back to camp. I told the story and everyone talked about how they had felt creepy being near the tree too. We all went back and stared at it from a distance, a few days later, and from then on we have left that little area alone. My bow is probably still lying under it. You can have it if you have the nerve to go get it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Say What?

I go over and read Steve at The Shed Antler all the time. He is an antler finding machine. I read all his articles and if I go shed hunting, I might find one antler.
He can go out in the yard, look under your car and find two. He is amazing.
I have emailed him several times to tell me his secret but he always gives me the same enigmatic and crazy answer.........

The Drivers Seat

Someone knows what the hell they are doing, Matt.
He already has a nice buck and is relaxing in the sunshine drinking whiskey and talking bullcrap, Art.
Go over and see Phillip at The Hog Blog for the story.

Squirrel Camp Letter

Subject: Christmas Place Annual Squirrel Hunt 9/10/2007

Dear Squirrel Hunters,

Get ready for our fun weekend at the Christmas Place! Try to come Friday if possible, and make sure to bring a sleeping bag and shells. If you hunt Hillside, you will need steel shot. (#4’s work well) If you have a four wheeler, bring it and we will have rides after the hunt. We may have some doves in the cornfields, so bring dove shot if you want to try them. Bring fishing gear if you want to try fishing. Some may want to sit around and nip,
so be sure to bring a nip too!

The season opens October 13, and we are looking forward to a good hunt. The menu
and designated cooks are listed below, Come hunt and have a good time!

Friday night meal – fish, boiled corn, baked potato, Idaho salad, crab salad, hush puppies on paper plates
Roy Stevens-Joe Newman-Hershel Howell
Roy and Joe are furnishing the fish and corn with the camp furnishing everything else.

Saturday and Sunday morning before the hunt- sausage and biscuits, nic nacks on paper plates, coffee and milk.
Baxter Jones-Sam Goodwin-Greg Jones.
The camp will supply paper plates.

Saturday noon- Boston Butt Bar-B-Q and buns, Idaho salad on paper plates.
Burney Howell-Hershel Howell
The camp will supply everything.

Saturday night- Turnip greens, baked sweet potatos, fresh onions, Jalapeno corn bread (thanks for the corn bread Mary Lou Jones) squirrel and dumplings on regular plates.
Roy Stevens- Hershel Howell-Baxter Jones

Soft drinks, nic nacs, and hors d’oeuvres are to be supplied by Rex and Paul Howell

I hope this menu will be satisfactory for everyone. Please call if you want a change.

See you at camp Friday October 12

I am ordering permits for those hunting on Hillside Reserve.


sorry Andy, yours got lost in the mail

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blog Evolution

I got tagged for this meme by GuyK at Charming, Just Charming. My blog started out as a camp newsletter to keep things interesting at the famous Christmas Place. It evolved after studying, researching and finally starting my own blog. I knew I could add pictures, stories and hunting info that we could keep from now on. Now I am having fun adding videos! I also recognized that humor is cyclical or circular, unlike my confused friend Old Scratch. I don't just blog about deer hunting but everything always returns to the hunting camp in the Delta. Here is my very first post From the Hunting Mecca of the Mississippi Delta. It has taken a long time to get a steady readership, but it grows every day. Starting out, I thought you just went to peoples blog and said "Hi, I like your blog" and they would come and link up. I did not know I was a troll. The Grouchy Old Cripple, Straight White Guy and a few others put me in my place. Now, if I go visit, I add something to a conversation or shut the hell up. Another really nice guy I managed to piss off was William at Amazing Facts. I said the wrong thing at the wrong time and wish I hadn't. I miss linking with him, he runs a very interesting site. People are different and you better be on your best behavior if you go to their site.
I have found that people are glad to help if you just ask. Big Dick runs a NSFW blog but was helpful and friendly when asked a simple question that really ended up helping me. Even the beautiful Atlas Shrugs left a nice comment here.
I have followed the actions of my hunting camp and keep adding a few twists to the stories and it has been fun. Deer, Ghost, Treasure, Adventure it is all here.
I am trying to learn how to write also. It is a whole lot harder than you think.
I do like ghost stories, so I have worked on these for October each year and the giant deer Thunderhoof is evolving too. Tall tales are always in fashion. I always try to keep it short and add at least one picture. I have met and linked with an absolutely great bunch of people that support each other, helped start an Outdoor Bloggers Group and I have not run out of material yet.
I hope my blog keeps evolving. I am going to pass this meme to Phillip, Moose and the lovable Dana.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I Think It's Done

Valhalla, MS> I think the work is completed. This weekend we finished up all the planting and stand repair, plus got the camp ready for Dad's big Squirrel Camp.
We even got Trent to brush the rust off the big hog cooker so that Burney could paint it.

This needed to be done and is a big help to get our Youth Hunt going in a couple of weeks also. We worked on stands of course (no help from Paul and Trent) and did a thorough cleaning of the camphouse.

Paul even worked by cutting all the grass around the camp and even over at the Witch's House. He said he was too sick to work on deer stands so of course all he did was do the grass and then slip off and go scouting.

He brought his pal Terry to camp and he helped a lot. He went up the lake with me and helped rebuild a stand and Dad put him to work moving our table in the back yard. I think I got him fired up when I suggested that he had been around Paul too long and was as worthless as teats on a boar hog.

Denise fixed a giant beakfast
for everyone. We could not
hardly walk after eating that feast.
That Denise is as handy as
socks on a rooster!
While that was going on,
Dad had men laying out his new
concrete patio that we have been
begging for now for 10 years.
The kids Sarah, Spencer and Erin are practicing their supervisory skills here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Deer Potion

He moved hesitantly through the dark streets deep in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The man stopped frequently to check addresses against the tiny piece of paper in his hand.
Finally, he stopped in front of a large house that was set back from the street and checked the address again. The rambling old home was surrounded by a thick grove of old Cedar and Magnolia trees that hid it from the street. He stared up the crumbling sidewalk and could just see a gleam of light under a pulled blind and a small neon glow near the front door. He put the paper in his pocket, squared his shoulders and slowly eased up toward the house.

He looked at the neon sign and rang the bell. It was opened by a beautiful gypsy woman in a flowing gown that smiled and led him into a dark room with a lighted crystal ball. He sat on one side and she sat on the other as he laid the money on the table and said " My name is Paul Howell and I'm a flop with deer."

I took my troubles down to Madame Rue
You know that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth.
She's got a pad down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine
Sellin' little bottles of Deer Potion Number Nine
I told her that I was a flop with Deer
I've been this way since I've been hunting here
She looked at my palm and she made a magic sign
She said "What you need is Deer Potion Number Nine"

She bent down and turned around and gave me a wink
She said "I'm gonna make it up right here in the sink"
It smelled like turpentine, it looked like Indian ink
I held my nose, I closed my eyes, I took a drink
I didn't know if it was day or night
I started shootin' everything in sight
But when I shot a cow down at Thirty-Fourth and Vine
They broke my little bottle of Deer Potion Number Nine

(instrumental break)
I held my nose, I closed my eyes, I took a drink
I didn't know if it was day or night
I started shootin' everything in sight
But when I shot a cow down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine
They broke my little bottle of Deer Potion Number Nine
Deer Potion Number Nine, Deer Potion Number Nine, Deer Potion Number Nine

Someone changed up the words and made a song out of it, but you know the real words now.