Our next hunting adventure sent us to Amana, Iowa; home of the Amana Colonies– what an experience! The Amana colonies definitely have a unique culture and heritage. The settlers of the colonies were Inspirationists; a separate ethno-religious group than that of the Amish. It is easy to confuse the two ethno-religious groups when touring the old-style, self-sufficient villages, however the Amana colonies live a contemporary lifestyle.
The settlers were German descendants that were forced to seek a new home from an economic depression and persecution in their homeland. At the time of settlement in Iowa, they named their village “Bliebtreu” which translated “remain faithful”. Later the name Amana was derived from the Song of Solomon 4:8. Amana translates to “remain true”. There were originally 6 villages total: Amana, East Amana, West Amana, South Amana, High Amana and Middle Amana. Six years after settlement the village of Homestead was formed giving the colonies access to the railroad system. You can read more about the unique history of the Amana Colonies at http://www.amanacolonies.com.
After arriving at Jagermister Outfitters, we quickly unloaded Clyde and headed to a prime spot to put up a ground blind. This would be a place we would spend the majority of our time hunting. The hill that we placed the blind on overlooked a valley and was positioned so that we could watch a travel corridor and the adjacent hill; which was a known bedding area.
After setting up the blind, we drove into Amana for lunch at The Colony Inn with our outfitter, guide and their wives. What a unique experience!! This was the first time I have ever had a family-style dinner at a restaurant. I had Chicken schnitzel with spaetzle (German dumplings) but there were many other German dishes, as well as American dishes and a variety of meat on the menu. After our meat dish was brought to us, the never ending bowls of mash potatoes, green beans, gravy, cottage cheese, salad, sweet kraut and bread. It was a nice setting where we all were able to visit with each other and get acquainted.
When we were finished we walked out to our vehicles where Clyde had a surprise on the windshield….I know you are thinking a parking ticket…but it wasn’t. Jerry Hall from Altoona, Iowa was kind enough to leave me a nice note welcoming us to Iowa and he included two very pretty Iowa post cards. That was so thoughtful and what a gesture; you just don’t find that in many places anymore. What a way to start the week off.
After a quick stop at camp to change, we were dropped off at a blind in the middle of a harvested cornfield. It was a tight fit sharing the blind and even tighter since we were sharing it with the field mice that made a perfect little home in the blind with leaves from the harvested corn stalks. I tried to get pictures but they just would not stand still—cute little critters…I wanted to catch one.
We seen several deer including 3 bucks…but all of them had a missing antler or no antlers at all which is common for this time of year since testosterone levels drop causing antlers to shed. I was definitely starting to get nervous about the outlook of seeing bucks with both antlers. I shook my backpack out real good when we came out of the blind at the end of the hunt just to make sure I didn’t bring home an Iowa field mouse.