Saturday, December 20, 2014




I'm officially out of the woods. I've cleaned my guns, paid my bills, picked up my mail, did my laundry and hung it behind the woodstove, reamed out the stove pipe with my branding iron, so I can get some heat, and gone back on facebook....just in time. I know I said I'd never go back on fb. That's usually about the time I completely reverse myself and do just what I say I'll never do. I have 3 deer hanging, that are leading to imagery that I'm developing, a nice piece on Kate Orne's, that I'm promoting and loads of other news I can weigh in on, as well as a bunch of butchering to do. Cuba's opening up. A casino is coming to the hood. Fracking has been stopped in the state- for now. And last but not least, Kim Jong Un and his jerky stringed puppets have hacked SONY PICTURES, forcing the latest movie from James Franco and Seth Rogan- THE INTERVIEW, to be pulled from its holiday release. Thank You KJU!
    Why does it take a foreign government to have the good sense to stop the steady stream of drek from SONY? As a little side benefit we all get to learn just what movie moguls email back and forth to each other. And this is what Sony should be optioning. Get those guys from SOUTH PARK to make a bunch more puppets and do AMERICA WORLD POLICE II. Use actual emails, Presidential quotes, North Korean denials and even Franco and Rogan....if you have to. This is the movie that should be made. In the meantime, while you are in there Kim, I suggest NK makes SONY pull ANNIE, THE FURY, THE WEDDING RINGER, CHAPPIE, THE SEX TAPE, THE EQUALIZER, and 22 JUMP STREET, or suffer the consequences. That's what I want for Xmas. Stop them before they do any more damage. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! FUCK YEAH!

Thursday, December 18, 2014




I've barely taken my boots off, haven't cleaned my guns, skinned out one doe, hung her in the gallery....and Obama opened up diplomatic relations with Cuba, NY Gov. Cuomo banned hydro-fracking and plopped a casino down between me and the liquor store. I bet you can guess which issue is concerning me most. I love Cuba and am very happy the US is taking steps towards lifting the blockade. I worried that NY would follow PA towards the idiotic drilling in our beautiful county. And, although I feared a casino was coming, I prayed it wouldn't. My prayers were not answered.

    My kin have been trudging these hills (shoed and shoeless) since the 1600s. We were the Dutch hillbillies that the French and the English would hire as "civilian contractors" to fight the American Indians and later we would turn on the powers that be, becoming early Americans. I'ved been coming up the mountain since I was a tiny baby. In the 50's there was a lonely b&w sign nailed to a tree out in the Bashakill. It read: WELCOME CASINOS. I asked my father "What's a casino?" I was that young.
    It's been going on that long. Way before Vegas there were unofficial casinos in the Catskills. The Italian and Jewish mob, bootleggers, and all the hotel owners worked together to make Sullivan County a nice, quiet little playground for those wishing to drink and gamble (illegally). Money poured in. Bodies were quietly dumped in the lakes or buried in the woods. By the 50's the writing was on the wall for the hotels. Bring in gambling or die. Air conditioning, cheap air fare and crumbling, cheezy infrastructure ended the Borsht Belt. WOODSTOCK put the nail in the coffin.
   I moved here from the Lower East Side in 1995. The first thing I heard was  "Casinos are coming!". I was freaked. RNButch's and GNJohn's farms were both owned by Robert Parker- owner of the Concord Hotel. He had bought up everything in the valley, gambling that casinos were coming. I looked at the beautiful swamps, tumble down fence lines and herds of deer across the road and worried. A casino could be plopped down on this mountain and there would be nothing I could do about it. But then, as always before, the threat went away. i breathed a sigh of relief.
   I've been here 20 years and now I am a member of a very small minority here in the county that aren't thrilled that casinos are coming. But I am resigned to it. I won't be protesting or kicking up shit. But neither will I be celebrating. This Casino (on the old Concord site) will impact our little slice of paradise in ways we can predict. Traffic will increase. "Jersey Shore" knuckleheads will be back in the woods. Buses from the city will join the Hassidic caravans in the summer and the culture clash that already exists will escalate. Yes, there will be jobs. The question is will these jobs go to county residents who are in dire need of them?
   What is unpredictable is how this will positively impact any of us. Casino culture is sad, desperate, and ultimately a bait and switch scam. Look at any advertisement for Vegas or Atlantic  City, filled with lithe models and bubbling champagne....and then visit any casino. What you will find is a lot of senior citizens in walkers and wheel chairs, rough looking hillbillies (both black and white), cigar smoking frat boys, pastey bizznessmen, and a few well dressed players. Where's the head tossed back, laughing models? I'm in it for the long game. I'm not going anywhere. So it is my hope to help direct the money into the pockets of those who need it here in this backwater. It'll be a challenge. I may ruffle some feathers. I'm sure somebody is mixing cement as I write this. Bring it on boys. The Osterhouts will be here long after you've gone belly up. Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014




It's over. The last drive was completed at 4:26 pm behind the brick house. Here's how the day started.

   I took Union street, past the elementary school, figuring i'd drop into Maybrook on the back end and be at the farm before 11:00 am. I passed the catholic church, Mike's Deli and slowed right into line of traffic behind one of those big waste disposal semis, that seem to be tipping over everywhere. I looked at the clock. Plenty of time. Then, just past Roger Beatty's house I looked in my rear view and saw flashing lights. Fuck.
    I could go into great detail how i get along with cops, but i know you want me to get to the hunt. Suffice it to say he gave me a ticket, I was pissed and let him know. I always forget I'll get to see him again in court. Hands Up. I can't breathe!
   So I tossed the ticket on the floor and beat it to the farm. Savage, Uncle Bob and i were going to push the spots that hadn't been pushed all season. They were seeing more does feeding and a big buck could easily be bedded in one of the swamps or woodlots that surrounded the place, cheek to jowl with houses, roads and barns. It was tight shooting, but Savage and UB knew it perfectly and I'd hunted it enough to be comfortable.
    The first drive put out does and a tall spike. The radio crackled: "If that spike gives me a shot, you want me to shoot him?" Savaged asked. "That's why we're shoot deer." UB confirmed the mission. We all had buck and doe tags. It was old school meat hunting. If it's brown it's down.
   Savage shot a doe that took a little bit to find, in the thick cover. But Savage's eye for a blood trail got him to her. UB missed a long shot on a doe in the woods and I saw nothing. The next drive Savage shot the spike, but it didn't go down. He found good blood, but the buck jumped and went down the bank to the river, towards the golf course. We couldn't follow. The plan was to go back in the morning by boat and hopefully find a dead deer. This part of hunting sucks, but it happens. If a deer isn't mortally wounded it can go for miles. We had no choice but to move on. Oh. I saw nothing, but the smoke from Savage's gun.
    After a little lunch we set up for a promising drive, now with Young Bob along. Savage and UB drove, while YBob and I were on stand. I saw deer go out ahead of Savage and YBob's gun cracked. Then UB came over the radio. "One's going out the back door, Mike." I turned to see a huge doe cross the field and stop broadside at "not quite" 300 yards. I pulled up the gun and leaned against the tree in Charlie's Stand, clicked back the hammer, settled the crosshairs right behind her shoulder, and fired. All I saw was smoke. I got on the radio. "I don't know if I hit her." I said. "I'll have to go look for blood." "Just direct me." UB offered and he and Savage took up the track, while I swung around to the bridge, at the end of the swamp. They had good blood, but no deer. I scanned the road for blood and saw nothing. Then I turned and saw brown in the middle of a green field. She was down.
   I've killed 3 deer in four days, after a season of frustration, mistakes, passed opportunities, and bone crushing endurance. The feeling that I pursued in chasing a big buck has more than been fulfilled by the clean killing success I have had since Sat. Three deer with three shots. And two I dropped in their tracks. No gut shots or lost tracks. Two of these deer I took with some of my favorite people: Savage, Mupp, Photogeorge, and Uncle Bob. As well as being along for Milawyer scoring on a nice buck, I packed in the social aspect of hunting pretty well in this season, with these solid, completely safe and very good hunters. We all came through unscathed. No heart attacks. No gunshot wounds. I bow to them all. A man couldn't ask for better hunting partners. Mission accomplished.