Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
This is my ancestral deer stand.
Built oh-so-many years ago in the crotch of a common willow this was the stand from which I shot my very first deer. It is also the stand from which I killed my first buck with my first bow. It is also the stand that I came face-to-face with a possum at 0 dark thirty one morning. I killed a trophy ten-point buck from here on an opening day. It was here that I almost fell after a roosting turkey crash-landed as the sun rose on a frosty morning. This is also where I sat awestruck as I observed the northern lights dancing like a gas flame across the heavens before the sunrise. Oddly-enough, surviving elements of its original construction are salvaged deck boards from two houses ago.
There are so many memories associated with this primitive shooting platform. Nevertheless, it has outlived its useful life. Not only has the forest grown to such a degree that a hunter cannot see a thing - last year a wind storm trashed it. It is not only non-functional - it is unsafe. Slated to be cut into scrap with a sawzall I've been pondering what to replace it with. After all it's close to a great location - the juncture of a couple of wide, mowed trails that wildlife frequent regularly. Since the tree and stand cannot be moved something else must be built to order.
Voilà! The recipe...
Guard Tower Deer Stand
Assemble the following ingredients:
Various power tools - cordless and otherwise
Ratchet wrenches, pry bar, hammer, bits, tape measure, level, square, loppers and a pencil
1/2 inch carriage bolts - assorted lengths, washers and self-locking nuts (purchase in bulk at Mills Fleet Farm)
A big pile of treated lumber purchased on Craig's List and at the local lumber yard
1 pick-up truck and a couple of buddies
Pre-cut all of your posts and boards. Better yet - pre-drill your bolt holes and number them for reassembly in the field. Note that the plans for this project exist entirely in my head. The only thing that was ever written-down was a calculation of the lumber and hardware needed for the project. In the final analysis I got close. Over-estimated on the carriage bolts and 2x6's and under-estimated on the deck screws. The entire project came-in under budget.
Construct a sturdy and proper ladder that will safely support a hunter and his/her gear.
Load everything (and everyone) into the pick-up and drive to your new location.
Be exceedingly careful not to drive so fast that you dump Braumeister on on the trail. Or worse - on the county road.
Assemble the base of your shooting platform on-site.
It is hot, hot, hot so drink plenty of ice-cold water from the cooler. Raise the pre-assembled parts of the platform and bolt the rest of it together.
Mount the ladder and clamber atop your platform and screw down your pre-cut deck boards.
Add a sturdy rail system so that you cannot fall from the platform.
Almost the finished product.
Recipe yields two Guard Tower Deer Stands.
Lest you think that this is meatball carpentry I want you to know that between the three of us we hold six college degrees. And we took shop class too. The final assembly of this shooting platform was spot-on. Barely an eighth-inch variation in tolerance.
After some thought we've decided to finish it-off next weekend with some additional 1X4s. Falling hazard will be further minimized and a nice flat surface on top of the upper rail for your coffee, spare shells, bow or book. If you drape the rail with cammo netting you have an awesome platform for bow deer or spring turkey.
My pals Brau and New Guy also suggested that we build a contraption with wheels so that we could tip these stands-onto for purposes of moving them from location to location. I think that with the loader and tractor we could do just that. I'll just have to formulate the plans in my head. We might also have to borrow a welder from someone.
Hunt safely and shoot straight!