WE AWOKE IN the dark to pack the truck and head out. Driving north, through country less settled by the mile, he went over the rules. Again.
“You can’t tell anyone anything about any detail of where we’re going,” he reminded me. “Not the nearest town. Not the name of the creek. No posting on social media. No photos that show horizons or even cliff faces. Close-ups of fish, maybe. But be careful.
“I’m not trying to be a hard-ass about this,” he said. “It’s just that…”
He never finished his thought. He didn’t have to.
It was a two-hour drive to the trailhead, if you could call it that, and then we hiked with backpacks and fly rods along a series of old roads, foot trails, and game trails. We crawled over downed timber. We bashed through thickets of alder. All the while, my friend knew exactly where he was going. I could have been on the face of the moon. Once, at a large muddy wallow in an aspen grove, he waited for me to catch up.
“Step in my tracks so it doesn’t look like a couple of guys are hiking in here,” he said. The expression on his face was a mix of conspiratorial frown and sheepishness. “I know it sounds crazy. But trust me. A few more miles, and you’ll understand.”
And in a few more miles, I did.
BRAVE NEW WORLD
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LIVING THE DREAM
After the author arrives in Maine’s fabled North Woods with a moose tag in his pocket, an adventure he’s been wanting to take his entire hunting life, reality sets in, and he learns a valuable lesson: Be careful what you wish for
Get the Drift
How to make an accurate windage call under pressure
An icebreaker outing in a pristine spot produces the rut hunt of a lifetime
A Local Haunt
The author finds a sense of place in an overlooked creek, close to home
A Hop and a Pump
Jump-shooting rabbits with classic upland guns is about as good a time as you can have in the outdoors
Welcome TO camp
Is there any place better than a good hunting camp? It has everything: great food, games and pranks, and of course, hunting. Shoot, we don’t even mind going to camp for grueling work days in the summer. Here, our contributors share their favorite stories, traditions, and lessons learned from camps they’ve shared. So come on in and join us. The door’s open.
Before you even claim a bunk, you need to eyeball the hardware your buddies have brought. In the process, you’ll see that the guns at deer camp are changing. What was walnut and blued steel may now be Kevlar and carbon fiber. The 10 rifles featured here aren’t your father’s deer guns. They’re today’s new camp classics
THE JOURNEY TO PIKE'S PEAK
Last summer, the author and three friends ventured off the grid to a remote fish camp in Canada. They hoped for great fishing, but what they experienced was truly something else
When early-season whitetails vanish from open feeding areas, follow this woods-edge ambush plan
A pup’s first year, from preseason training to fall’s big show