The Woodsman Magazine

Woodsman Journal

by John A. Hallock

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Woodsman Journal Think Spring 2/17/19

Posted on February 17, 2019 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Woodsman Journal Think Spring

Yesterday was a beautiful, blue sky, winter day. Even though it was quite blustery. It was the kind of breeze that reminds us to keep the woolies, long johns, and Sorrels handy for a little while yet. But there was something else mixed into the crisp, clean air. It was an earthy, yet sweet fragrance. Yep, it was a spring!

Well, not quite yet. But you can literally smell by it mid-February. I’m not saying we won’t see Old Man Winter again. We will. But his frozen, snowy, short days, and long nights is numbered. In fact I’ll predict there’s 60 days left until spring, 50 if it’s a good year.

Now, that might sound like a lot of days left. But then look at it this way, just last Halloween (my grand kids still have some candy left) it was 167 days. Think spring … already!

Bring Them Up Right

Posted on December 28, 2016 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Woodsman Journal: Bring Them Up Right. It was another beautiful day in The Great Northwoods and it almost got up to freezing. I was babysitting my 5 month old grandson Axel for a couple of hours. Our conversation, between bottles, vomit, and dirty pants (sounds like deer camp), eventually got around to pocket knives. It's never too early to think about a boy's first pocket knife. When my wife Lori heard this she asked me why I would possibly discuss pocket knives with a 5 month old baby? I gave her the logical answer, "because we already settled on spinning rods and shotguns. It's good to be a woodsman.


Woodsman Toys and Tools

Posted on December 17, 2016 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Woodsman journal. Good morning it's a cold, snowy day in the big woods. I had 10 below early yesterday morning. Nothing was moving. Not even the chickadees. When it's too cold for a chickadee it's just plain too cold. Haven't seen a single bug though. Life in the woods is complicated. It's sort of a karma thing. They're calling for warmer temperatures next week. High in the 20s. Since I'm about done hunting for the season I can spend time cutting firewood. In fact I've already begun to look longingly at my chainsaws. This does not sit well with Lori as she still isn't use to me looking longingly at my bow. And before that my fishing pole, and before that there were canoe paddles, and before that tip ups and a power auger. It can be hard to please her. Though she does make a point about my attachments to my toys and tools. Which actually proves the point I've made many times myself ... it's apparently very good to be a woodsman.


Typical "deer rut month"

Posted on November 30, 2016 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Woodsman Journal

It's the last day of November, and typical of the"deer rut month," its grey and gloomy outside. Its 33 degrees and spitting rain and snow. But the fire in the wood stove next to my spot at the dining room table is warm and inviting. Add a hot cup of coffee, a Paul Milnamow sweater, some wool socks and I could be in Miami. But I'm in the great northwoods, the hunters are all gone, and the place is all mine for 6 months. I still have a month of backwoods bow hunting. I guess that doesn't sound so gloomy after all ... it's good to be a woodsman. 


Fall Chores Are Apparently For Girls

Posted on September 10, 2016 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I'm not saying we're not going to have anymore hot days this year. I'm sure we will. But it's September and that means hunting season and that  means ... Fall! The mornings will get cooler and the evenings darker.

It's the time of year when a woodsman's thoughts begin to shift from fishing and swimming to work. The fall chores are at hand. Take, for instance, I took a full inventory of my firewood supply. I don't have enough. Unless I want to stop burning in February. But then March and even April can get downright nippy. I guess I better get Lori cutting.

Maple and Sumac leaves are turning red, popples and birch shimmer gold in the chilly breeze, and they're all falling in the yard. I guess I better get Lori raking again.

Eating is better in the Fall. We go from eating corn on the cobb in summer to hardier beef stew, from BLTs to meatloaf and taters, from tossed and fruit salads for lunch, to tomato soup and toasted ham and cheese sandwiches. Like I said, eating gets way beter in fall, I guess I better get Lori cooking, like always.

That's why I guess the best way to say it is ... Fall chores are apparently for girls.

Another Reason To Hate August

Posted on August 24, 2016 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

You may have heard about the big buck I saw in my yard. The deer seem to be on the move, even the bucks. Maybe its all the mosquitoes in the woods. It's been a bad bug year. Lots of rain, lots of heat. But like I said, I've seen lots of bucks, on the road and on the lake. At least half of them were crossing the road with their noses to the ground just like during the rut. In August?

I'm not ready for ruttin' bucks. I've not worked on my treestand. I've not tinkered, sighted, or practiced my bow yet this year. What's a woodsman to do? Should I start getting ready for the hunt? That means less time to fish. I'm not sure I can do that, in fact, there might even be some kind of law against it.

Besides if my wife sees me fishing AND hunting she'll assume I have way too much time on my hands that could just as easily be filled with a broom, or rake, or, gulp, paint brush.

What it all boils down to is just another reason to hate August. 

It Was The Shots

Posted on August 12, 2016 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I've never been too crazy about this time of year, the Dog Days. It started when I was very young, all kids go through it and grow up to hate it. It's just naturally in our genes, it's called school and all the things that go with it. School supplies, but the paste never tasted good, and the note books made lousy bases. A new backpack was nice but it took a whole year to find enough mudpuddles and slush to drag it through until it's good and broke in. Mid-August was the time you got tied down trying on new clothes and shoes, and just tied down for school shots, oh my God, how could I forget. The fact is, August sucks and it apparently always has.

Though now that I think about it I've caught some of my biggest fish in August. I once caught a 38 inch, 20 pound northern in August. I was using a Mepps Giant Killer with a bronze colored spinner and a rubber blue gill. There are usually not too many mosquitoes in August. It's too hot for the little blood suckers. August is for sweet corn dripping in butter and sprinkled liberally with salt. Okay, so food, good food is available this time of year. Melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, I love them, they hate me. It doesn't matter how much sour cream and sweet onions I mix with them. But they're so good going down.

Okay so I'll admit there are a few good things about August. I'll take them. But all and all August still sucks. I mean, I can't forgive or forget that one of the worse things about August. It was the shots. 

Summertime Adventure

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

7:00 a. m. 68 degress. Mid Juily. It's a bright, shinning sun that breaches the pines at the east end of the lake. The sky blue water sparkles and the breeze is soft and warm. It's the kind of morning you think about when you think about morning. The heat wave we've endured for the last week is suppose to subside slowly starting today. We've been in the low 90s and someplace in the mid or upper 90s but the thing is, of course, "it's not the heat it's the humidity." The humidity has been above 70 percent for a week too, C'mon cold front.

10:00 a.m. It's mid morning and the blue sky and sunshine have been covered by a gun barrel gray overcast. It's 72 degrees and yesterday at this time it was 90. I guess that's a cold front for July. I hear a chainsaw off in the distance. One of my neighbors is taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and starting the process of firewood collection and processing, Why now one might ask, in the hottet part of the year? Well let me put it to you this way ... 6 month ago, just 6 little turns of the calendar, or 6 full moons back, the wind chill factor was 50 below. That's something you dont forget and you can't  prepare for it too soon. I have more that half of next winter's firewood already cut, split, and stacked and now, suddenly Old Man Winter doesn't look so tough. But don't tell him I said that.

 3:00 P.M. Careful what you ask for: The cold front finally arrived full force. It's now about 69 degrees and the humidity still hangs so thick it's like a splash of water in the face. The thing is, there is no thunder or lightning. It's just a steady summer shower. I happen to know summer weather like this really turns on the fish. Big ones, too, northerns as long as your leg. Bass and bluegills to fill a platter. And best of all, it's Lori's turn to bail the boat. Summertime adventure in the rain with your babe at your side with a bucket and maybe a sandwich, It's good to be a woodsman.

I Got No Stamps

Posted on July 17, 2016 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Cool, 76, cloudy and some rain. Not the deludge we received several days ago. It measured 9 inches on my official boat seat measuring line on the top of the seat. The seats are exactly 9 inches high, I know this for a fact because when I catch an 18 inch bass I only have to fold it once. And now the water was just skimming across the top of all 4 seats.

Who the heck is gonna' bail this out," I asked Lori as we looked down at the boat tied to the pier.

That was yesterday, she handed me a plastic 2 gallon bucket and told me to make it "snappy" because I was taking her to lunch.

On the way to Oak Ridge Bar on Lower Webb Lake for burgers and fries we would stop at the mail box and get the mail. Not happening, the Namekagon River was cresting right up Webb Creek and by the time we got there the creek was running fast out of the swamp, across the road, and between the 5 country mail boxes at our corner.

Well Sir, a true fisherman is always ready. I grabbed the ever present ultra-light spinning rod from the back seat. I never miss chance to fish new structure and I figured a U.S. Mail Box had to be holding something.

Anyway, as it turned out, like with all new, unfamiliar structure I snagged up right away and finally broke off. We went for burgers. Maybe the river will recede enough for the mail to get through to our boxes by tommorrow. Mine is the one with a red and white Baby Bassarino hanging off the bottom. I hope they don't charge me postage. I got no stamps.

I'll See You At 7:00

Posted on June 29, 2016 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

We celebrate the end of June the same way we celebrated the beginning, with a fish fry. Specifically a morning, breakfast fish fry. There's nothing better than fresh caught fish, with farm fresh eggs, and maple breakfast sausage from Louie's.

I catch the fish, blue gills and bass off the pier around 7 a.m. It's a golden time of day on our lake. The sun has just come up over the pines on the east end of the lake. The lake surface is smooth as glass and a few whisps of fog rise from the water. The fishing is easy, a small jig, a rubber leech, and a red and white bobber attract a strike almost every cast. We only need a half dozen. When I can get her to do it, Lori cleans the fish and I start the sausage. But it's usually the other way around. It doesn't really matter as this is a real Adams Lake tradition started by my Mom and Dad. It's fitting way to say, "so long" to June, The Fishing Month.

Which brings us to July, high summer in the north woods The fishing gets good in June and stays good the warm days of July. I call it, The Really Good Fishing Month. And what does that mean? It means we celebrate again. To the dock ... I'll see you at 7:00.