Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Break in at the deer shack

To celebrate President's Day we played hookey from work. A foursome headed north to the Vasaloppet practice loops, a series of 4 connected ski trails laid out, cleared, and mostly maintained by the Legend and the GraciousPartier. The two trail founders joined us at the cabin for a healthful and nutritious lunch of bratwurst, chips and salsa, and South Shore Nut Brown Ale. We had skied about 20k in the morning and the Memorial trail with its up and down switchback curves was beckoning for our afternoon ski. The old classic deer shack was on the trail and the Legend wanted to show my sister (blog name is coming!) and UncleRick how deer were hunted in the good old days. He has often remarked that if the walls could talk there would be a lot of people in a lot of trouble. We skied over to the shack, took our ski off and walked in. It was apparent that something was amiss when we noticed the broken window and glass all over the floor of the camp.

It was pretty quick detective work to discover the culprit. The broken window was high up and had a circular hole in it. No human could have entered through that hole. The glass was strewn across half the cabin which meant it had to be a pretty good impact, like maybe a softball being thrown through the window. We did not find a softball however, just a kamakazie grouse. He was all the way across the room, laying under the wood stove and frozen stiff as a board. As anyone that has hunted and missed grouse can attest, these guys can fly about 20mph and will induce a mild heart stoppage when they flush from cover. Given the forensic evidence, we figured the grouse was going full speed, hit the window, bounced off the table, and slid under the stove.

The floor was swept up, the Vasaloppet memorabilia and deer racks on the wall were admired, and we packed up and headed out on the Memorial Trail. The Legend packed up his "cargo" on the six wheeler and headed back to the cabin, a structure that the GraciousPartier had insisted on as an alternative to the masculine yet 'homey' deer shack. A minimal amount of deceased animal parts are allowed in the new cabin and the consumption of kippered snacks is absolutely banned. Also, to the best of my knowledge, a punch has never been thrown in the cabin. The deer shack on the other hand, has a pair of bronzed boxing gloves. This trophy was awarded to the camp member that met three criteria: 1) Became involved in a fist fight, 2) Over something stupid, 3) And managed to draw blood. Its that kind of cameraderie and camp tradition that keeps us deer hunters coming back to the camp year after year.

The Memorial trail was excellent and still tracked with double classical, triple in some spots, track from the 42k classic race a week before. Around here we have no snow and the Birkie skiers have been going around the 2.5k loop at Elm Creek just like rats in a psych lab maze. Little do they realize that a mere hour north of them there are nearly 25k of excellent, non boring, completely wooded trails. Shhh, don't tell em......this will be our little secret.


Silbs said...

Good detective work, however you have not established the grouse's motive.

DaveO said...

My guess is suicidal depression brought on by a severe case of SADS. Or maybe a hawk was chasing him.........