One of my best friends, that is not an animal, is made of jack pine and oak forests, as well as, many marshes and flowages. It covers over two hundred square miles of area that is owned by the public and this fall I have been exploring it for 41-years in a row.
After attempting to canoe up the Mississippi River back in ‘87, I began spending up to four months a year camped here where I trapped, hunted, ice fished, cross country skied and ice skated
The Meadow Valley Wildlife Area, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, and attached county land and cranberry marshes, which are located in Juneau, Wood and Monroe Counties, are where I will roam and what I will dream about until the day I die!
Wednesday, October 31st
High 45, low 27
I camped on Halloween with my golden retriever Fire and had a great day. My plan was simple, I was going to duck hunt on a flowage this afternoon that I had not hunted on in at least 15 years.
I had a mild surprise this afternoon when I arrived with Fire and my canoe. The flowage was being drained and there was very little water in it. Where I planned on hunting was a two-mile paddle and I decided to stick with my plan despite the low water.
While launching my canoe I saw a good sized deer and decided to take a look where it was walking, follow it and see if I could learn something. What I learned after getting on the deer’s trail was that I found a very active scrape and decided that I would come back for an early morning bowhunt.
The duck hunt did not go well at all, as I generally only had a foot of water, at most, to paddle my canoe in, I did not see a duck and therefore Fire received no training.
Thursday, November 1st
High 48, low 25
I was high up in a white pine overlooking three deer trails long before first light this morning. Within moments I was able to hear a lone wolf howling and I was liking my latest position in life. I let it become completely light out before blowing into a grunt tube and within 1 minute was rewarded when I could hear a deer moving though the marsh grass. A large doe was approaching the scrape, which was exactly what I was hoping to harvest today. At first, I could not take a shot as there were tag alders blocking her. Right before I was about to let an arrow fly she looked at me and I could see that “she” was a spike buck, which had one of its horns going horizontally across its forehead.
The spiker walked directly below my stand looked to its right, and low and behold, there was a six-point buck. The six-pointer gave me an excellent broadside shot, as well as, a straight under my stand shot and I gave him a pass as I still had several days left to hunt.
Saturday, November 3rd
High 46, low 25
We call ourselves The Red Brush Gang; we were named that by other hunters back in the late ‘70s because we hunt the furthest back, ugliest country that we can find.
My dad, the late Robert Walters, started this camp when he was a student at UW- Madison (he also created our escapes to the Flambeau Flowage, duck hunting at Ferryville and our Canadian fly in fishing trips).
Today, there were 19 of us in camp, we hauled, what at the end of the day is an 18×26 foot pole shed that we store at my place, it comes in 6-foot sections and is the home that everyone of us dreams about on the off-season.
My good buddy Nate Moll, who is 16, and I cut a trainload of firewood and tonight The Red Brush Gang did what we do best! We socialized until the wee hours of the morning and did a whole lot of laughing.
I sat in that white pine two different afternoons with my daughter Selina, hoping that the six-pointer or a fat doe would come to the scrape so I could make some fresh meat. No such luck but I have a good feeling about that spot!
Fall Camp is like a good dog, reliable! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: HIAWATHA NATIONAL BANK.