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Keep a journal and enjoy outdoors for years: Tom Shank's Woods & Waters

Posted 11/14/18

Keeping and maintaining an outdoor journal is a way to look back at your Woods and Waters experiences.

Reading entries that range from many years ago to the present allows the reader to …

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Keep a journal and enjoy outdoors for years: Tom Shank's Woods & Waters

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Keeping and maintaining an outdoor journal is a way to look back at your Woods and Waters experiences.

Reading entries that range from many years ago to the present allows the reader to experience those special moments. Journals are history of the fondest memories that we have in the great outdoors.

The first cabin journal I recall reading was from the camp my father hunted from. The Rosedale Camp was in north-central Pennsylvania, not far from my hunting cabin of the present. The Rosedale Cabin journal was kept as a continuing record of the cabin successes and highlights.

As a young hunter, I loved to read about the entries during the deer season. The stories of deer harvested and the unique literary style of the person writing the entries made me laugh and smile.

Being mentioned in the journal was of course a great honor, if it resulted in a harvest or incident worth bragging about. Finding yourself in the journal as a result of a miss or blunder brought out laughter and smiles, not to mention the tradition of getting your shirt-tail cut off. This was a reminder to all that the deer got the better of you.

The Rosedale Camp had its share of cut-off shirt-tails, including yours truly.

Cabin journals should be written throughout the year, especially during the spring months of trout fishing. Such entries can provide useful information on productive fishing spots. Summer months of deer and bear sightings shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Areas of concentrated wildlife might be in that area as hunting season rolls around.

As the years went by, I found myself at my own cabin. Keeping tradition alive, a cabin journal was started and goes back to the late 1970s, recording the exploits of the Whispering Pines gang.

Entries were made especially during the deer season along with photographs. To page through the early journal entries and look at the pictures of that time era is priceless. We were all young hunters back then wearing the traditional red Woolrich or green wool hunting pants.

Deer would be hung proudly on the meat pole and would be taken home on the roof of our vehicles. This has changed, and when announcing a deer harvest nowadays, it is best to be as stealth as possible. Hunting isn’t viewed now, as it was back then.

Keeping a written journal along with photographs may be “old school,” but I consider it a record of greatest value for any hunter, fisherman or outdoor enthusiast.

You never have to worry about losing your data on a computer. The paper and words written can’t “crash.” The art of writing down your experiences and keeping photographs within an outdoor journal can provide a continued insight into your outdoor experiences past and present.

Good luck writing!

Tom Shank has been writing Woods and Waters for the Press & Journal for about 10 years. His expertise has been gained through more than 50 years hunting, fishing, trapping and exploring the full gamut of nature. The Susquehanna River and his cabin in Lycoming County are his true loves. Woods and Waters is his playground in life, and to write about it for the Press & Journal is a dream come true.