There was still some daylight left as Tracy and I gathered our gear and headed back to meet our friends at their base camp nestled in the rolling Wisconsin woodlands. It was a beautiful evening — little wind to speak of and just cool enough to see our breath. I flipped on my Petzl headlamp, as I always do, just to be sure that anyone within earshot would see us as soon as they heard us approaching on the two-track trail.
We were about 100 yards from camp when we saw a wheelchair-bound hunter abandoning his makeshift post.
"Hi, I’m Jason," he said. "I got here a little late tonight. Just thought I would post on the top of this hillside in case any deer moved through there. You never know."
We chatted with him for a while, then continued the conversation while enjoying a hearty dinner of our friend Kathy Krueger’s famous deer camp soup and homemade cornmeal bread.
I forget that working for the leading deer hunting magazine and TV show does attract some attention. After dinner, Jason and his buddies were eager to pick my mind on all things deer hunting. Jason asked one of the easier questions:
"Do you know Ted Nugent?"
When I explained that, yes, in fact, Nugent has been a D&DH contributor for many years and that we had the honor of visiting with him for a TV episode last year, Jason’s eyes lit up.
"I love Nugent! I saw him play three times this year already. He even inspired me to get a custom license plate!"
Tracy and I couldn’t wait to see it. As we were leaving camp, Jason took us over to his pickup and pointed proudly to his Wisconsin tag: "BKSTRPS."
That image — along with the smile on Jason’s face — is inspiration enough to keep my hunter’s heart warm for a long, long time.