Images and story by Thomas Allen | Originally published on Outdoor Hub
Editor’s note: This is the 11th installment to a 16-part, comprehensive series about building a hunting club with buddies from nearly the ground up. Author Thomas Allen will share what he learns as he learns it. His hope is that anyone who reads this series can learn from his successes and failures, and apply them to a one-day fruitful hunting club. Click here for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th installments.
"There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm." — Theodore Roosevelt
If it weren’t for Theodore Roosevelt many of the outdoor pursuits we enjoy today simply might not exist. And while I can hardly compare myself to the man, I do share an affinity for the great outdoors, especially hunting.
I’d like to think the former POTUS and I could open a bottle of bourbon over a campfire and share hunting stories until the sun comes up.
I admire the man. Always have.
He had a vision for how the United States should conserve the greatest natural resource the world contains — among many other exploits that forever changed and defined the sport of hunting.
But it took a majority of Americans to buy into Roosevelt’s ideals and support them thoroughly to create our outdoor history.
Almost like a hunting club.
A bit of a visionary myself, but on a far lower level, I had a plan for this hunting club that we started last fall. We overcame one hurdle at a time, but the initial vision is much closer to reality now. Our accomplishments in preparation and executing the hunting season would not have happened if not for our membership.
We came together and got it done, you just have to know where to start. Everybody played an integral part.
The following project is a simple one. But it’s one of my favorite accomplishments as a hunter and a club manager. I am very proud of the men that contributed, and the new outlook we now have on a particular field.
Looking back to last fall, this particular field is where my 8-year-old daughter shot the first deer on our club — and her second. The big doe came into a field covered in BioLogic Maximum, a place deer visited with some regularity.
That shooting house was a disaster, like several others on our property, and needed either replaced or a total overhaul. We prioritized that specific spot as the one we needed to change more than any other, and this summer we did jus that.
The project began last winter as one of our members Paul began collecting pine logs for his portable sawmill. Paul had numbers of logs that needed cut with no real endgame in mind. I asked him if he’d be willing to contribute to a few new shooting house materials and he eagerly agreed.
He is a man that loves a productive project, and we share the same affliction. So, we dug in, and had a lot of fun producing our necessary materials from the ground up. Literally. Plus, when you’re on a tight (non-existent) budget like we are, you take advantage of every dollar you can save.
I was even able to find a roll of old carpet that was dumped near one of our main gates some time ago. While the carpet is vastly different from milled wood, it cost us nothing and came from the very woods we intend to hunt. After a bit of inspection, it was deemed usable — I guess you can call that organic.
All together, we have right around $150 dollars in this project, including two sheets of 3/4-inch treated plywood, roofing nails and QuickCrete.
Paul removed a pile of lag bolts from a tall stack of pallets a couple of years back that came in very handy for this project. Again, a foresight that saved us some money — every little bit helps.
We decided to put a 5-hub blind on the platform at this point. We left the main posts long so we could build onto the existing platform next year.
To tie down the blind we used 1 1/2-inch coarse-thread screws topped with a washer to secure the tie-down strings. We used the same method for the base tabs that are centered along each of the blind sides.
Here’s the process:
Once the platform and blind were set, we had a substantial amount of brush clearing to accomplish. And it was no small task.
The Alabama summer heat was intense during our first official workday of 2018, and we really only had half the day. But thanks to a few guys and my son, we managed to get the holes dug, posts set and platform leveled.
We worked hard together, sweated together and accomplished one of our biggest tasks of the preseason.
About the author: Thomas Allen calls central Alabama home, where he lives with his beloved wife, Kathryn, and two growing children, Tommy and Taylor. Follow Thomas on Twitter: @ThomasAllenIV and Instagram: ThomasAllen4