Thankful Outdoors: Trail Camera Bear, Apple Butter, and Tree Stands

Thankful Outdoors: Outdoor Journal Week of August 23rd through August 29th

August 23rd – Trail Camera check

After letting two trail cameras go unchecked for a week, I was excited to see what this new section of public land was going to show me. As I plugged the SD card into my Wildgame Innovations viewfinder, I started to scroll through the pictures. Not only was this a new area to run cameras in, but it was also a new trail camera model that I was using. I was hoping the investment on the cameras was going to be worth it. As I scrolled through pictures and looked at daytime and nighttime pictures, I was impressed with the quality and trigger speed.

One camera captured all kinds of activity, in that one week, a doe, buck, bear, raccoons, fisher, and coyote all walked by the camera. There was one tree that must be some kind of scent post for the animals; every animal went to that tree and sniffed at that tree. I have that tree saved for a later time to run traps by it when the season opens.

With the buck that I captured on camera, I’m hoping to get on a pattern of being able to hunt this buck. With a lot of luck, I will be sharing a picture of that harvest with you this season. The chess match of getting this buck patterned begins NOW!

August 27th  –  Apple Butter – Click here for the recipe

We are now entering the end of August, and we are entering the fall season. When I sit on the deck in the morning enjoying my coffee, you can see that the landscape is starting to change. The leaves are just beginning to get a little less green looking.

My co-workers talk about how well their gardens are doing. Their effort of putting seed down many months ago is now providing them with an excellent harvest. I don’t have much of a green thumb myself. Well, it’s not like I can’t get a seed to grow; it’s the maintenance of the garden that I fall behind on, and then the plants suffer from there. Maybe one of these years, I will slow down and enjoy the value of a garden.

Friends, Rick and Sandy, are having their country compound overtaken by apples this year. Rick brought into work several bags of apples that I had initially planned on feeding to the deer and putting them on Craig’s bear bait. Rick tells me that he and Sandy do make pie filling and things like that from them.

Later that day, I get the idea of trying something I have never done before; I need to learn to stay off Pinterest when my wheels are turning. I scrolled through several apple recipes and decided I would try apple butter.

I thought this couldn’t be that hard, peel some apples, throw them in a crockpot, and then water bath can. It turns out it isn’t that difficult and wasn’t that time consuming of a method. Roberta and I peeled the apples that night and added the other ingredients, and by morning it was sweet, delicious apple butter that just needed canning.  

August 28th – Apple Bourbon Butter – Click here for the recipe

Friday night, boredom set in, and I had more apples to do something with; I was inspired now to try a different recipe. So as I scrolled through the pages of Pinterest, I found an Apple Bourbon Butter recipe. Now, this is my kind of recipe; dropping a little bourbon into any recipe is a good day in the kitchen.

Here I am 11 pm peeling apples to have a batch ready to be canned in the morning before going to check bear baits. This late start and early morning was motivation to keep the bourbon that night in the recipe and not to pour me a glass.

August 29th  – Busy Saturday

Saturday morning started at 5:30 with canning and making breakfast for the boys. Craig, Dad, and Corey would be at the house around 8 am to meet up for the weekend bear bait check. If you have been following the weekly feature, you have read that the baits are active; this weekend’s check showed the same results. I was surprised at the amount of day time activity that we had, considering the heatwave that was part of our weather pattern. I was happy that this morning bait check had brought us much colder weather.

After the bait check, the boys and I ran over to Wausau to pick up a couple of used treestands that I had purchased from the Facebook marketplace. With bow season just around the corner, I decided that a couple more treestands were needed.

Connor has his temps now, and this would be good practice time for him; he got behind the wheel to drive us home. As I watch the boys grow up, it’s these little moments that are bittersweet to me. It’s exciting to see them turn into young men, but then it also reminds me that as each milestone comes in there life, it’s one more moment that is closer to them being out on their own and makes my life closer to an empty-nester lifestyle.

After grabbing some lunch and a nap, it was time to go through the treestands to make sure that everything is in safe, functional order. This task means checking out the straps and tightening of bolts, listening to see if any squeaks that needed to be silenced. After checking over the stands, it was onto the next item of getting ready for the hunt.

I had not used the 12×18 Davis canvas wall tent in many years now; as we pulled it out of the storage container, I had hoped that no mold or mouse damage had occurred. To my surprise, the tent was in perfect shape. The boys helped set up the metal frame and draped the canvas tent over. We shared excitement, looking forward to the memories that will be made using this as base camp up north this year.

The goal of the setup wasn’t just to see how it had weathered in storage but also to give the canvas a good spray of waterproofing. The boys with their younger hands took over the task of running the spray bottle. My old hands just can’t take that repetitive activity anymore.

In closing, I hope you find a way to get into the outdoors, create your adventure and memories, but most importantly, find a way to “Celebrate the Experience.” Go check out for more content and share your “Celebrate the Experience” moment with us! Read more “Thankful Outdoors” OnFocus here.

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Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.