Michael Pearce

The Eagle's outdoor reporter highlights the latest hunting, fishing and wildlife news.

The perfect setup for close shaves during deer season

12/12/2010 12:00 AM

03/30/2012 10:45 AM

While in a barber's chair, I've heard many stories about deer being shot.

From a barber's chair, I've told of good deer hunts, too.

But I'd never actually shot a deer while I was sitting in a barber's chair until Tuesday.

The chair was in a super-souped-up deer blind seemingly nicer than some small apartments deep within the woods of our farm.

And all I originally wanted was a basic wooden box to get out of the weather.

I broached the idea with hunting buddy Ed Schulte, reminding him he's on the century-side of 50 and needs to keep his old bones warm and dry.

I threw in some stuff about needing a great place to take squiggly kids and wimpish adults hunters, too, for good measure.

He took the bait and volunteered to build the blind.

Perfect.

Schulte is a longtime skilled overachiever with handyman projects.

Having the carpentry skills of a termite, I never envisioned the extremes of his finished project.

I blame it on his childhood.

Schulte was raised on a huge farm on the wide-open Nebraska plains.

I'm guessing he saw building the elevated shooting house as a way to ease some long-held frustrations of never having a tree house, or even a tree, as a child.

Fort Pearce, as someone dubbed it, is thickly insulated and well-carpeted with sliding windows that don't need to be opened until deer appear.

The roof is shingled. Trim inside and out is impressive. The thing is so airtight, we could almost add water and fish in the summertime.

It's stocked with a wide-array of snacks, a propane heater and camping lamp. A big side-view mirror from an old truck is coming to see what's passing behind the blind.

But Schulte's proudest furnishing, by far, is the red barber's chair.

He called shortly after he found it at a retirement home that was closing.

Schulte proudly praised it as it being comfortable, steady and that it would swivel quietly. Twice he played the "perfect for kids" card because the height was adjustable.

I wasn't impressed. I envisioned something heavy, clumsy and in the way if someone bowhunted from the blind.

After a few days of proudly driving around with the chair in the back of his truck, much to the bewilderment of area drivers and chagrin of his ever-patient wife, Ronda, he brought it to our farm.

Still not impressed, I said he could put in the blind just prior to firearms season.

(I would've loved to have watched him wrestle that big, heavy chair up the stairs and into the blind.)

Schulte gleefully hunted from the chair a few days early in the season, seeing many deer, but didn't raise his rifle.

The honor of the first shot from the blind and the chair went to my stepbrother, Randy Quisenberry.

It was the first time we'd hunted together or he'd hunted on the farm in more than 30 years. It was also his first deer hunt.

Monday afternoon when an eight-pointer appeared in a grass patch to the east, Randy quietly swiveled the chair 90 degrees and made a perfect shot.

He liked the experience enough to want to make it a family tradition. That's cool.

I was alone in Fort Pearce an hour before daylight the next morning with the little heater chugging as I sipped hot coffee.

After about 20 trips to cold and hard bowhunting tree stands, the cushy barber's chair felt nice.

My mandatory departure time was 9 a.m., and at 8:59 a doe stepped into view, moving steadily across a food plot.

I slid the window open and the rifle rested on a wide ledge. With my right elbow on the chair's sturdy arm rest, the scope's crosshairs were rock-steady.

A light push against the floor with my right foot kept the chair turning and my sights on the doe as she walked.

Eventually she stopped, I flipped off the safety and squeezed.

Doe down.

As I headed to the doe, I sent Schulte a text telling him I'd already picked the locations for Fort Schulte and Fort Quisenberry.

I hope he can find two more barber chairs.

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