Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Another week at camp

Deer camp was last week. For context deer camp is the week we hunt deer, as opposed to moose camp which was the week we hunted moose or just any regular trip to camp.

We didn't shoot any deer although Dad saw two which is always nice. Deer are pretty scarce in northern Maine. Back around 1980 there was a spruce bud worm infestation which killed a lot of the spruce trees. Its not unlike the asian bark beetle thing people are all worried about now. In the wake of the worm big sections of the forest were clear cut which removed much of the habitat for the deer. In the winter the little buds on the spruce trees are just about all the deer have to eat and theres no place to hide in the clear cuts. So the deer moved out and the moose moved in. The moose don't mind behind out in the clear cut and they browse on all sorts of things that come up in the first regrowth so they had lots of food.

Now its almost 40 years later and the spruce trees planted in the wake of the worm are nearing full maturity, they've grown in thick in the way that the forests used to be and in ways that the moose don't like. If you're an 800# moose you don't want to be pushing through thick spruce forests so you head out to more open spaces. Today the moose population is in decline and the deer population is on the rise. When I shot a moose in 1999 our butcher skinned and quartered 14 moose in one day. This year when Dad shot his moose the same butcher figured he might do 14 moose in 2 weeks. In '99 he thought he might process a couple deer, this year he figured on 50 or 60.

Anyway I do bring a couple projects for deer camp, this year I installed a couple 12v reading lights:

This is above my bunk, to the right of the light is the mount for Angie's battery powered light. Dad's bunk is on the other side of the wall, theres a hole behind my light with another wire that goes to another light at Dad's bunk. The lights are 2.5w when on full and have a low power blue light setting as well. They throw lots of light and are great for reading. Now that we have solar it seemed silly to have batteries for flashlights as a continuing expense, these lights were a test and since they worked so well I'll be ordering some more.
Last summer Dad installed a 20w LED fixture over the kitchen table, the gas light was producing too much heat to be comfortable. If it'd been me I'd have looked for about 10w, the one he got is really bright but its nice when you first get to camp to be able to turn on the inverter and hit the switch without having to turn on the gas. I'm going to get another 12v light to go over the sink, the inverter draws .25A all by itself, the reading lights are about .20A.

A few years ago I spent a bunch of time learning to make the best french fries possible. One thing I learned is you can't beat frying in lard, nothing works as well or tastes as good. This year we tried something new and made fried shrimp:

The batter is just ploy mix, the trick is getting the right consistency and letting the shrimp dry a little before battering them. Dad tried to recreate my shrimp a few nights later but couldn't get the batter to stick as well as I could. He didn't let his shrimp drip so his batter got too wet. Maybe I should make a video on this...

We didn't see much game but one day I spotted this little critter:

In this picture I'm about 3 feet away from him and he's finally starting to get upset. When I spotted him we were in the truck, I rolled down the window and called out but he didn't move. I got out of the truck and he didn't move. It wasn't until I got this close that he finally got upset with me. A second or two later he ran down a hole under the stick and wouldn't come back out. Weird squirrel...

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