It’s the final countdown.
With less than a week until the 2022 deer season, the anticipation is almost too much to take.
Soon I’ll be sneaking up to my booth under the cover of darkness, then waiting eagerly to watch the wind blow and listen to the squirrels making deer-sized rustles in the leaves.
I tend to be a last minute packer, but that doesn’t mean I sit still. More preparations are underway, including a few things you might find useful – or at least interesting to try.
I’ve already started my sleep modification routine, to ease the shock of opening morning (even more so with each subsequent day spent chasing lean, free-range protein). Fortunately, my internal clock has become more malleable with age, so training has become easier.
The goal is to wake up comfortably at 5:30 a.m. by the end of the week, when I walk around Orange Friday to claim my free hat.
Another equally important preparation also concerns the internal rhythms. I’ve found that eating oatmeal every morning this week does wonders for…well…clearing my schedule for the day. This eliminates one more thing that could take me away from my stand and the aforementioned excitement.
Plus, One Minute Oatmeal can be a quick and healthy breakfast for troubled-eyed hunters as they put together sandwiches and snacks for their packs. In fact, it’s usually the most indulgent (and dare I say fun?) oatmeal I make all year, and can include any combination of cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, diced apples, cranberries and walnuts.
Just like my deer season tastes like oatmeal, it smells like coffee.
I am, admittedly, an adult coffee drinker. I quite like it, but the pleasure of a dose of java doesn’t come close to what I appreciate the most: its stimulating properties.
This is especially helpful when a lack of deer sightings may cause someone to give in to the urge to nap. In addition, a cup poured at the right time can effectively ward off the cold.
Like oatmeal, deer camp coffee can provide a fun way to shake things up a bit.
Over the past couple of years I have purchased several coffee making tools from camps, deer stands, ice cream shacks and wherever else I can find myself. A compact drip filter, French press, espresso machine and the like all turned out to have an ideal time and place.
This espresso machine made its maiden voyage last year during our trip to Yellowstone. There was a little extra time in camp one morning, so I turned it on.
I was so proud when the frothy chocolate colored spray started to gush out. It looked and tasted fantastic.
The only problem was that my wife was not at all interested in trying it, leaving me the 10 oz.
I wish she would have said be ahead; I would have earned less. She wished the same all day when we set new speed records for the park’s hiking trails.
I’ll leave the espresso machine behind when I go up to my plastic house next Saturday. But if I don’t bring a full thermos, I’ll probably have my backpacking stove so I can make instant bean juice.
A few years ago I was introduced to Medaglia d’Oro, an “instant espresso”. It comes in a small jar, allowing you to dose it as you wish.
One of the reasons I like it is that it’s quite cost effective compared to pre-measured types of sleeves (especially from this West Coast coffee behemoth). The other thing that sets it apart is its lack of that freeze-dried aftertaste that normally plagues instant coffee.
It’s smoother than the bolt on my old Remington 700.
Speaking of sweetness, there might not be anything better than Swedish egg coffee. My brother made a few of these a few years ago when we stayed at Ulen Municipal Campground for the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Hunt. I had no idea what was waiting for me when he mixed the ground with a raw egg – shell and all.
But it turned out so well that I dedicated an old aluminum coffee maker to the cause.
The origins of Swedish egg coffee are murky, even debated. But the consensus is that the egg clarifies the brew and removes the bitterness.
Highly recommend as a deer camp treat. It takes a little longer, but you’ll already save it by making quick oats, right?
All you need is coffee, water, an egg and a pot to simmer it all in. Proportions vary by source, but about 4 cups of water and 1/2 cup of grounds works for me.
Crush the egg in a bowl and mix with the grounds. Pour into boiling water, stir and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Pour in half a cup of cold water and let sit until the raft of grounds and egg sinks. Pour it, filter if you wish and enjoy.
I’m going to do that next weekend. If I’m feeling ambitious, I might open Grace Lutheran’s Centennial Cookbook (one of the finest specimens of the genre) on Thursday or Friday.
On page 100 is the only known print of Mary Schuldt’s Fat Emmas, which surpasses any cookie or donut ever made.
Fat Emmas was the one thing I wanted most at the basement potlucks of my youth. Paired with Swedish egg coffee, they could help avoid shooting the 30-point buck.
Anyway, at least I’ll be awake for this.
Roy Heilman is an outdoorsman, writer, musician, and native of Minnesota. His adventures take him all over the map, but he is always at home in everagoosechase.com.