In Marinette County, just off the first beaver pond at the headwaters of the KC Creek, there’s a big white pine that was somehow missed by generations of sawyers. “Under the big pine” was the recognized location of the Waldo Gang deer camp from the time it was established in 1911 until it hosted its last hunters in 1989. It was where I grew up deer hunting and, you can also say, it’s where I did a lot of growing up.
By the time I started going to deer camp, I was the youngest there by 42 years. My own pa was the next youngest! Evenings in the glowing wall tent, I’d lie on my sleeping bag and listen to the old guys tell stories. Under the big pine, I learned about hunting, about life, and about what’s really important.
Though the camp and the Waldo Gang live only in memory today, the big pine is still there. I go back to sit under it as often as I can. It’s where I can still talk best with my pa who’s been hunting the other side for decades, and it’s where I connect most clearly with my heavenly father, too.
UndertheBigPine.com will share the lifetime of stories, friendships, memories, and adventures those nights under the big pine inspired. This is a place for those outdoorspeople whose passion burns strong, but who are seeking even more from their time in camp and in the field.
Back in the late 70s, a couple of psychologist types did a study that determined there are stages in being a hunter: Shooter Stage in which satisfaction is tied to getting shooting; Limiting Out Stage where success is measured mostly in the amount of game killed; Trophy Stage at which satisfaction comes from selectivity in game taken; and Method Stage that’s about hunting within self-set limitations more restrictive than the rule book.
Then there’s a stage called the Sportsman Stage. The name is lacking because you can certainly be a sportsman and ethical hunter in any stage. And sports-MAN is exclusive of women who comprise the fastest growing segment of hunters today. For this hunter, satisfaction is in the total experience, in giving back, and in playing a role in the success of others. Most of all, it’s about the collection of experiences, memories, and stories to tell around the next campfire. Focus is on family, friends, and remembrance.
Most days now, this is how I enjoy hunting, and I prefer to associate with others who appreciate these same things. It’s not about age; it’s about attitude. So consider UndertheBigPine.com a hunting camp with the tent flap open. Come on in … coffee’s hot on the stove … there’s a simmering pot of chili, too.
Your spot at the campfire under the big pine is waiting. I hope you’ll find it warm, welcoming, and a place you’ll visit again and again; someplace you can’t wait to get back to. Let’s all enjoy the very best rewards hunting has to offer together under the big pine.