An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 9-18-2013
by Mark Walters
This is a column on how things sometimes work out, which is not always quite the way we want them to.
Saturday, August 31st
High 88, low 58
The plan seemed perfect. I was heading down to Columbia County with my 12-year-old daughter Selina and golden retriever Fire, for a two-day goose hunt.
I found goose paradise last spring when I was canoeing in some backwaters of the Wisconsin River and have been really excited for this hunt ever since.
Selina and I would be canoeing into this remote location, the day before the opener of Wisconsin’s Early Goose Hunt setting up camp, scouting, and relaxing.
Problem one came a week earlier when I started getting really nasty headaches on the left side of my head. They come and go and are like getting kicked in the side of the head about every ten minutes.
The headaches did not matter because I had aspirin and was going have a good time.
Annoyance one came when I stopped at a Big Box store in the Dells to get some steel shot. The lady in charge of sporting goods told me the government banned the companies from making steel shot. I started dissecting her wisdom and kept looking. A moment later I found steel shot and she came back with a reply of, someone must have just stocked that, we have not had it all summer.
Selina and I had a huge job in front of us, as we unloaded our canoe and two Otter Sleds from the truck, and then loaded them up with 5000 pounds of gear. My head was numb on the right side and I was trying to be fun.
The paddle to, what I sincerely mean is a remote location, was tough due to our caravan of sleds, weeds, and shallow water.
Hundreds of mallards, wood duck, and teal were spotted. Not a goose was seen on our journey.
Finding a campsite was a very large challenge! The marsh I chose did not have high enough ground, so Selina and I pulled as much marsh grass as we could, and stacked it about 18-inches high, and put the tent up on top of it. The entrance to our home on the marsh had three-inches of water in it the next morning but our sleeping bags were dry.
After setting up camp, Selina and I were mud from head to toe, we were running out of daylight, and so I decided to set up my propane lanterns, cook stove and cook some pork chops. Problem 27 arose when I realized that the tote with the lanterns and stove was not in our 5000 pounds of gear.
The rest of this trip, Selina did a wonderful job of preparing peanut butter sandwiches.
Things hit another low when I was preparing for the morning’s hunt and realized that I had purchased the wrong size shells for Selina’s shotgun (3-inch and they should a been 2 ¾).
Selina and I are resilient, and climbed into our sleeping bags covered in mud.
Our tent was within inches of a stream, and it was pretty neat when a family of otters swam by within an arms length.
Later in the night, they came back and one of them got out of the water and put its nose within inches of my face and began bark/snorting at me. Fire, the guard dog, was too tired to care if the otter took off my face.
I did not sleep on this night and Selina and I were off to goose paradise long before daylight. We did not see a goose and so the problem with the wrong shotgun shells never was an issue.
Back at camp, it was extremely hot, Selina made our favorite lunch of peanut butter sandwiches, and we made a monumental decision and that was to break camp and go home.
The canoe trip back to the truck was very physical and we were very happy when we arrived at my trusty Chevy.
Our joy lasted all of ten seconds when I looked behind us and realized that we had lost one of our Otter Sleds and gear; naturally we unloaded our gear and went and found our lost possession.
I am leaving in a matter of hours for a South Dakota fishing trip that I am confident will have much better results.
Headaches are gone! Sunset.
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Hiawatha National Bank