July 23 • 06:48 PM

Business and bowhunting just don't mix

November 05, 2008
Business and bowhunting go together like water and oil. Most of the time one interferes with the other.

With the economy in such dire shape here in Michigan it's hard to appreciate the simple pleasures of fall. There is not a part of my life that has not been touched by the financial crisis in this state, and I'm sure you're all feeling it too. It's unlike anything I've ever seen.

Pick up a newspaper, watch TV or listen to the radio and no doubt a good portion of the programming will be devoted to the woes of our economy, the war, or news of another layoff. There seems to be no place to escape from it all, except the woods.

Trying to figure out what is going on in today’s business world is enough to send anyone running to the woods (or waters) for some much needed relief. As they say, “A bad day in the woods is better than a good day in the office.”

And at times, perhaps escaping is the best course of action.

There is not a time of the year I like any better than right now. Deer season — bowhunting to be specific.

My brother-in-law and business partner, Tom Campbell, shares my passion for bowhunting over all other forms of outdoor pursuits. We attempt to align our schedules to allow as much time in the woods as possible. And often the conversation around the office is tonight's hunt.

One of the office staff members caught Tom and I in action just the other day, it went a little like this...

"Which stand are you headed to tonight?"

"The pine treestand," I replied. "Seen a couple deer there the night before last."

"Any horns?"

"Nope, but on the way in I heard the crashing of brush behind and looked over my shoulder to see a spike and a larger buck head into the bean field from their bed on the point by the lake."

"Where did they cross? Anywhere near that stand you sat in the poplars?"

"Yep, bout' 50 yards or so."

The staff member looked on as I broke out a piece of scrap paper and started to doodle on it, making crude landmark drawings of the lake and giant oak trees. Then with a squiggly line, I marked the path of the deer I had seen. Once I was done, Tom latched onto the pen and did some doodling of his own. The staff member, no doubt, had an important business question, but he has learned to wait till we're done, knowing our minds were too cluttered with buck talk.

It's just the way it is around our office during the hunting season. In good times or bad times, it's just the way it is. It's our time to escape the everyday pressures of all that unfolds around us.

Now, I can't speak for Tom, but to say I'm some sort of hunting wizard with many success stories under my belt, well, as much as I hate to admit, it's simply not true. Although, some are under that impression. No doubt because Tom and I run the Woods-N-Water News. Some think we are some sort of grand hunting gurus. I'm not and I don't think Tom thinks of himself as one either.

In fact, I have to tell you of one telephone call I got from a business which wanted to buy some trophy deer head mounts.

I answered chuckling, "Sure, are you lacking a dandy 5-pointer with an 8-inch spread for your collection? Wouldn't he look nice over the fireplace?"

No, there are no Pope & Youngers hiding in my closet!

We're just like you, trying to squeeze time out of our jobs to get to the treestand. Sometimes it's two hours here and four hours there and to be sure, there is always some reason we have to be back to the office. Therein lies the problem, I know.

As a result, we don't always have the scouting time we'd like to have. And hunting time is a scheduled item regardless of the weather or wind. But as they say, "a bad day in the woods is better than a good day in the office."

Our hunting property holds a good number of deer and has great deer habitat. We've hunted it for some time now and feel we have a good handle on deer movements and patterns. We have pinpointed bedding areas and know the feeding routes. And we take the time to plan out our hunts before we go or at least we attempt to.

Over the years I've learned to take my hunting a little more seriously and have tried to pay special attention to my approach to hunting.

In years past I'd bust out into the woods with the finesse of a heavy machine operator. I'd get my hunting clothes out of the hamper, which laid under the jeans I changed my car's oil in last weekend. The only time I would worry about wind direction was once I got into the stand. For me, the most important thing is just getting a chance to get to the woods, not the noise and smell I bring to it.

I've learned plenty since those early years and yes, it's nice to simply be in the woods, but it's nicer to see deer close enough to shoot if I so wished.

I have taken extra time, using scent bags to store my hunting clothes, wash myself and my gear in non-scented soap, wear rubber boots and walk into the woods as slowly as possible.

I spent hours checking and double-checking my backpack for all the essential hunting needs. The wind is my friend and I know how to get to my stand using it.

I know success is at hand — if I shoot straight, and by the way I've shot plenty of practice arrows and feel very confident in my shooting ability.

I climb into my treestand silently, and leave my stand with the same stealth, or as best I can.

Tom and I have meetings and phone calls we must attend to in our business life, but the meeting we most look forward to is the 2:30 p.m. meeting deciding our strategy for stand selection. All else stops then, even the people around us who could care less what we do in our spare time.

I have no answer for the economy, like you, I'm simply going to do the best job I can.

Yeah, I wish my retirement plan was doing better, business surely could be better, and I certainly wish the price of gas would drop. But, it took us a long time to get into this mess and it will take us a long time to recover.

Till then, I'm going to fully enjoy my favorite time of year.

Castle Creek
07 - 23 - 19
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