Fellow hunter Bill Semion and I spent much of the day before the opener in the woods checking out the spots we intended to hunt and looking for back up places in case the wind was not favorable.
We both saw plenty of fresh sign in the form of hoof prints and scat, fresh enough to be nearly warm.
On our drive in to the property we saw a dandy eight-point, heavy-bodied deer bound across the road ahead of us, another good sign.
We drove over to the deer camp of Mark McKellip from Bay City. He's been hunting in and around the Mason Tract for a number of years.
"It takes a bit of time to set up camp. Once the tent is up, wood stove moved in, floor installed, cots and beds made up and personal items stowed, we are in good shape," McKellip said.
This year, he plans on staying in camp for at least a week. "I'll have my two sons here for a few days then other friends will come up to hunt."
McKellip sets up a wall tent that is 15 feet by 21 feet. An outfitters tent made for elk hunting, it's made of cotton fabric that has been treated to keep the elements out. "I've never had a leak in here," he said.
A yearly hunting camp with family and friends brings out memories of hunts passed and stories that get better year after year.