“You aren’t going to believe this thing Brian stayed up all night building,” says David.
“Well what is it?” I reply.
“You’re going to have to wait until we get to the hunting spot. See you there in a half hour!”
I jump in the van (as a quad in an electric wheelchair, “jumping in the van” takes about five to 10 minutes, unless it is pouring rain outside, and then it takes about 15). The van already contains my mound of hunting paraphernalia — clothes, gun, bullets, rangefinder, mitts, block-heater, thermos, snacks etc. It takes about 20 minutes to drive to our hunting place, where I find a nice spot to park and watch the scenery. I sit back to patiently wait for my hunting partners to arrive, wondering what the heck they’ve come up with this time.
It’s early November, leaves have fallen, and the grass has turned brown. Soon everything will be covered with snow. The smell of fermenting vegetation permeates the air. I love this time of year!
About a half an hour later a pickup crests the hill on the old dirt path that follows along the trees, leading to where I am located. I see a couple of guys in the front seat — more like two huge grins — no doubt, my hunting partners.
Behind the pickup is what looks sort of like a tent trailer, but it appears to have been modified. Knowing these guys, I suspect that the trailer is very highly modified! I am not to be disappointed.
“You are going to love this, buddy,” says David. “You know how you are always cold when we are out hunting? This is going to fix that!”
As a quad, temperature regulation is my nemesis. In summer I get very hot and don’t sweat to cool down, so I am susceptible to heat stroke. In winter the opposite happens. I can sit outside in the cold and all seems well at first, then an hour or two later the shivering starts as hypothermia sets in. It can take hours to warm up again. As I age, the thought of getting cold and shivering takes the fun out of going outdoors on cold days (getting a bit whiney) and around here we get about six months of cold days. On the positive side, I have found that lively discussions over what temperature the heat should be set at are a great way to work on the strength of a relationship.
“Where did you get that thing?” I ask a little suspiciously, referring to the trailer they are pulling.
“It won’t be missed,” comes the nonchalant reply, with a sly grin.
“By who?” I say.
“Our fire-chief, it’s been sitting around the station for years.”
“What!? You stole it?
“Well … not exactly, we told him we were taking it, and then when we explained what we were going to do with it, he agreed to donate it.”
Sure enough, the guys built a portable hunting/wildlife viewing blind that you set out in the field. The sides fold up, the roof slides on, I can wheel into it with a ramp, and it is heated by a wood stove! All of the windows are at the correct height for me to view out of, and they all open. Even in weather when it is near 40 below, we can stoke up the fire and stay toasty warm.
A heated blind is a wonderful way to enjoy nature when the weather is not so great outside, especially when you are one of those aforementioned cold-blooded quads. It is not only used for hunting. I realize that a lot of people do not hunt, and prefer to watch or photograph different forms of wildlife. Often times we will sit in the blind and simply brew coffee and take pictures or videos of the wildlife that we see. We have had a large buck walk right up to the shed and look inside at us! He was within inches of touching us, and had no idea that we were inside. We simply laughed about this face-to-face encounter, left our guns down and let him walk calmly away. What a great way to spend an afternoon!
One time while we were hunting outside it started to get cold, so we went to the hunting shack to warm up. David stoked the fire and we sat inside and waited for deer while the weather deteriorated outside. Pretty soon the wind was whistling and rattling the shack, and the snow picked up to where our visibility was very low. David reached over and took my gun off of the gun-rest, unloaded it and set it in the corner.
“What are you doing that for?” I asked, as it was still early.
“We are done hunting,” said David, reaching into the backpack that he had carried all day.
“Look at this,” he said, pulling a frying pan out. He set it on the stove and reached back into the backpack and proudly pulled out a ziplock bag.
“Sautéed steak,” he grinned, and reaching for another bag, added, “and of course we must have our vegetables!”
So there we sat, out in the shack in the middle of the blizzard. We had the fire roaring, it must have been 75 degrees inside, and he was cooking a gourmet meal! The steak was sizzling in the pan, the vegetables were poured on top (cooked “al dente”) and David reached into the backpack for one more surprise.
“A splash of red with your steak, monsieur?” said David with his best fake French accent.
“Unbelievable! I can’t believe you’ve been hiding this all day!” I said.
We sat back, guns safely locked away for the day, sipped a glass of red while the steak simmered in the background over a wood fire while the winds howled and the snow flew outside. What a day!
Many wonderful memories are made in a simple wooden shack in the wilderness. Time spent with friends and family, long conversations with a hot coffee while waiting for the next eagle, coyote, deer, moose or whatever might come by. We have never regretted time spent in a simple old shed out in nature. I feel very fortunate to have friends that will go to these lengths to include me in these adventures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do you put the sheds?
At the edge of a farmer’s field. Of course we ask permission first. We like to pick areas where animals come out to feed in a hayfield.
How long do you leave them in the field?
Sometimes they will stay there for years, depending on what the owner of the property wants. They should stay in one spot for at least a few weeks so that the wildlife can get used to them.
How do you get in the sheds?
We use a portable aluminum ramp. Sometimes if it seems too steep, we will simply park my wheelchair van beside it and run the portable ramp between the van and the shed.