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Magic in The Smoke

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Howdy, Neighbor. People have been telling Phil he’s a good storyteller for a long time… so we are trying something new and pretty-much non-sales Just sharing occasional sweet stories, tall tales, and life lessons learned around these parts. Northwoods Notes are a new, semi-bi-irregular peek into the heart and mind of Phil Frasier… you can read or listen… whichever you prefer… and you are receiving a copy because you’re a current customer of Frasier’s Plumbing and Heating, Inc. We think you’ll like them, but you can unsubscribe any time by clicking on the link at the bottom. But we hope you give us a chance!




I was in a deep slumber, cradled by the gentle lull of the wilderness, nestled beneath a canopy of trees. My dad sat next to the dancing fire, puffing contentedly on his trusty pipe.

Suddenly, I was jolted awake by a thunderous shot echoing through the woods. Every fiber of my being was acutely attuned to the situation unfolding before my bleary eyes.

Then, through the smoky haze, I spied a magnificent buck. My dad had taken him with one shot.

Ah, yes. The campfire.

A small campfire.  Across the top are the words

In my many years roaming these Northwoods, I’ve come to understand the curious nature of these noble creatures. Oftentimes, they will walk right up to the smoke, driven by a burning inquisitiveness that outweighs any fear.

Years later, I recalled a similar adventure with my youngest son, Chad. He was brimming with excitement on his first hunt at the tender age of twelve.

The winds were harsh that day. As a relentless gale swept through the forest, I turned to Chad and said, “Buddy, we’re going to harness the power of the bee smoker.”

A small campfire.  Across the top are the words

You know, those little smoke canisters used by beekeepers? Did you know that they come in handy when hunting deer?

We huddled in low pressure, watching the wisps from my trusty bee smoker snake along the ground. That smoke is almost like a siren’s call for deer.

In the distance, we caught a glimpse of a majestic ten-pointer, around five and a half years of age, concealed by thick underbrush.

Curiosity got the best of him. Before long, he ventured closer and closer, his mighty antlers betraying his secrecy. Step by cautious step, he entered the veil of smoke. With bated breath, Chad took his shot, sealing the magical moment forever in our hearts.

Without that curtain of smoke, that majestic creature would have been nothing but a fleeting dream.

A small campfire.  Across the top are the words

I’ve read articles by fellow outdoorsmen who swear by this method, infusing their clothes with a smoky scent and carrying a trusty smoker as a constant companion.

It’s tradition, you see. For decades, my dad hunted by campfires, just as his father did before him. For generations, our family has shared stories of deer enticed by the magnetic allure of smoke. And in these Northwoods, where cabin chimneys churn wood smoke into the frigid air, the deer are consistently intrigued. They don’t shy away from it; they embrace it as part of the tapestry of the wild.

So, my friends, the next time you find yourself with a bad wind direction, remember the tale of the curious buck in the firelight.

There’s magic in the smoke.

Take care, neighbor. Take good care.

Phil Frasier

P.S. – Don’t forget to pack a little smoke and a lot of patience. You might just find yourself in the midst of a story worth telling for generations to come. Happy deer hunting season, neighbor.

A young man sitting behind the animal he hunted.

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