In the mid-1950s, our family started to hunt on the farm of a family friend near the town of Herman in west-central Minnesota. Many years were spent there sleeping in an old barn and using various campers after the barn was torn down.
It was decided in 1980 that a more permanent hunting shack was the answer to staying there. An old, single-car garage was bought and hauled to the site. Many changes have been made to both the inside and outside of the structure, but the original garage frame remains. It has undergone several color schemes. Heat sources have changed too, starting with a wood stove (always too hot or too cold) and then on to several different propane heaters and furnaces. There is no electricity at the shack. Coleman lanterns provided light for the first few years. Eventually we added wiring, and now a generator is brought along to run lights, coffee pots and the like. A portable potty provides the necessary sanitary facilities. Water is hauled up in 5-gallon jugs. Sponge baths are the norm on longer visits.
The name “Herman Hilton” was bestowed upon the shack from day one. It just seemed to be a natural identification. Through the years, untold hunts and adventures have occurred there. Fishing trips. Waterfowl, pheasant hunts and deer hunts. Visits to get away from it all are frequent, too. The peace and quiet of prairie nights make for restful sleeping. There are sometimes adventures getting in and out on the field road that runs a third of a mile to the shack. Heavy rains can make the mud a treat, and more than one snowstorm has made getting in and out a challenge.
Through the years, family and a litany of friends and hunting companions have put the Hilton to use. It is comforting to us to know that we have a place to go to and enjoy the hunts, the post-hunt cribbage games, and all the other activities. Stories have been generated — and told. Most of us feel the stories are better than the events that precipitated them.
Brad Schultz, Lindstrom