Published November 15, 2009, 12:00 AM

DEER TALES: The 'Polish Condominium Deer Stand'

The stand stands out, and so does its name. It’s been called the “Polish Condominium Deer Stand.” Not only has it held a hunter or two, but years ago, it also held hundreds of chickens.

Sylvester “Syl” Duray, who farmed all of his life near Warsaw, N.D., wasn’t a hunter, but deer season was — and still is — a tradition for family members and friends who gather on the land. Duray was 90 when he died last Nov. 12, and one of his children, who wishes to remain nameless (“the story’s about the land — not me”) penned this article about a deer stand on the family property.

In this Polish community near Warsaw, N.D., you will find many deer stands as you drive along the country roads, but few are more unique than this one.

The stand stands out, and so does its name. It’s been called the “Polish Condominium Deer Stand.” Not only has it held a hunter or two, but years ago, it also held hundreds of chickens.

The chicken coop is from the late Sylvester Duray’s farmstead. The neighborhood hunters mounted it on an old combine that was used to thresh grain years back.

The deer stand is nestled in a grove of trees by the family farm. The building may have moved, its use may have changed and the combine no longer runs, but the deer stand remains on the prairie as a monument, of sorts, to a different time.

Today, most of the farmsteads are empty, places once inhabited by Polish neighbors, families with names such as — to name just a few —Ebertowski, Popowski, Gerszewski, Slominski, Babinski, Lizakowski, Perkernoicv, Grabinski, Osowski and Grembowski.

These Polish settlers passed down their land. They made a way so their descendants could hunt on the land today.

For us who remain, it’s not about the hunt so much as it is about the land we hunt.

Now as then, we also have the gorgeous sunsets that stretch across the prairie sky — beauty for all of us to share.

And we all know who to thank for that.

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