October Reimagined: Scenes From Deer Camp, Via Prisma

I’ve hunted Okanogan mule deer since college, and I’ve always taken photos while afield.

Back in the day, it was with a Nikon N50 and slide film, then a D7000 and crazy lenses before a series of pocket digital cameras, and for the past few years my smartphone.

I truly miss shooting slides, but I also love being able to edit images right there on the phone — what my young sons call “messing up pictures.”

Amy and I had been having fun with Pixlr, then earlier this year a cool new app came out. Prisma uses artificial intelligence to blend your original images with famed artistic and artists’ styles.

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MT. HOOD ON PRISMA’S “CARIBBEAN” FILTER.

I started mojoing shots from the past three hunting seasons with Prisma and liked the results.

Desperation or inspiration, I’m still not sure, but for The Big Pic in the October 2016 issue of Northwest Sportsman I used them to tell the story of this hallowed time of year.

I hope you enjoy a walk through my October, reimagined.

I WILL ADMIT THAT FOR MANY SEASONS Dad and I weren’t very successful, though we always enjoyed being at Deer Camp and hunting the mountain.

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BUT SLOWLY I BEGAN TO BETTER UNDERSTAND muley movements across the landscape, and why others hunted where they did.

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FIRES THE PAST DECADE HAVE CREATED a new wrinkle, improving the mosaic of deer habitat.

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IT WILL BE GOOD TO GET BACK here this month for Washington’s Oct. 15-25 rifle mule deer season, but the journey through the North Cascades is also well worth it, in my book.

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MIKE IS A CAMP REGULAR, AND LIKE most of us there, we used to work together.

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After one shift 20-plus years ago he and I sighted in our rifles together at the Kenmore range on the eve of season, me earning a scope bite I bear to this day for my procrastination.

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It wasn’t till two years ago that Mike got his first buck, a nice muley from below camp, where I hadn’t hunted in more than a decade.

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It was really great for him to get his deer after putting in all that time. I don’t really recall ever hearing him complain about seasons or muley numbers or state management or predators.

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It’s nice to notch a tag, though the experience of just being in the mountains in fall is what it is for our camp, especially Dad.

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But I will admit that at the end of some unsuccessful trips I’m not too excited about the prospect of hunting blacktails!

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IT WON’T BE MANY MORE YEARS BEFORE Dad and I dish up a couple extra plates at dinner. My two sons want to know when they can come to Deer Camp.

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Mama says it’ll be awhile, but this summer River got his first pocketknife and he’s currently taking archery lessons, while Kiran likes donning my hunter orange.

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I’VE SHOT SEVERAL BUCKS ABOVE DEER CAMP NOW, but it wasn’t till the end of last season that I killed a large muley.

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It was near a spot we call The Saddle, but off to the side and overlooking a bowl. Oddly, it was the first time I’ve ever set up there, and in fact had just found the perch earlier that day. It was on the other end of a deer trail on which I’d killed a buck two falls before.

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Looking at things from a different perspective yielded a pretty good result, not to mention lots of venison for Amy, River, Kiran and I, as well as this artistic take on Deer Camp.

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WHAT WILL THIS SEASON BRING? Rain and snow for starters, so we’ll have the tarps set up this weekend. But that could work out well too, as I’ve noticed the deer move well in nasty conditions.

As for the hunting prospects, well, this year isn’t exactly 2015, which is good and bad as I wrote here.

But we wouldn’t miss Deer Camp for the world!

Good luck this fall.

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