I'm sitting home this morning, nursing Milady (who is feeling much better, thank you) and got a phone call from my brother-in-law, Terry.
Terry lives just minutes from the deer lease and this time of year is out there almost every day. Our lease sits on land that is owned above-ground by a timber company. Everything below plow depth belongs to an oil company. We lease the right to hunt on it. Leasing land for hunting purposes is an accepted practice in Louisiana and some hunting clubs have histories that stretch back forty years or more. Timber operations, dry land oil operations and hunting activities are mutually beneficial. The timber company gets the trees, the oil company gets the minerals and the hunters watch over the place, letting the company know if there is a problem. Sometimes you might be sitting on your stand and have an oilfield company truck drive past. Or a hunter might watch a timber crew cruising timber. In a gun-friendly state, this is normal.
Safety for everyone is paramount. Target identification is crucial. We spend a lot of time around the campfire talking about shooting lanes and bullet flight and hunting safety. The last thing anyone wants is for a tragedy to occur, especially one that can be easily avoided.
Our lease sits on 20 year growth that was planted after the southern pine beetle decimated pine trees in the mid-1980s. Most of the lease was an impenetrable thicket that allowed the pine trees to grow unmolested. The timber company has been doing some thinning and clearing underbrush which opens up new areas to the sun. The oil company has been maintaining their rights-of-way and this also opens up new areas.
Hence the phone call from Terry. The oil company has cleared some flow lines, underground lines that bring brine from a well head to an aboveground tank. This brine is valuable as a mineral and is toxic to the environment, so it is captured when pumped and sold as by-product. The small flow lines are mini-pipelines. The oil company recently cleared a flow line through a thicket that was impenetrable for the past twenty years. One lane, ten feet wide, that runs a mile through that thicket from a well-head to a tank battery. Terry asked if I want it to put a stand. Yes, I do. The geography of the line is such that a shooter can only shoot down it in one direction. Shooting the other way would be a hazard to the main camp. Tragedy might result if a hunter fired east along the line. All shooting must be done to the west from that stand.
Yeah, I want that stand. It's an easy walk from the main camp and it covers ground that humans haven't tread in a decade or more. The deer are in that thicket, which covers a hundred or more acres and this flow line punches completely through it. Damn right I want that stand. I'll be at the lease next Saturday morning to claim it.