A column by Mark Walters
Arctic Deer Hunt
There are about 25 people that call themselves part of The Red Brush Gang. We hunt deer in northern Juneau County, in big forests and marshes on what is literally hundreds of miles of public land.
Our temporary home each fall is a 36×18 foot steel pole barn that we take down on the last day of the season and store at my home.
Most of us arrive at camp the Thursday night before deer season and during the entire 9-day hunt there is always 5-22 people in camp.
The energy at this camp, on any given night, is not only created by our 6 propane lanterns and two woodstoves but in the fact that every human that calls this place home is having an absolute blast.
Saturday, November 23rd
High 18, low 9
This would be the first year I would take a kid from KAMO (Kids And Mentors Outdoors) to deer camp and I chose 15-year-old Jaimie Bistodeau, who has hunted ducks with me on the Flambeau, turkey on several occasions, and I was in a stand with her when she shot her first deer in Marquette County.
Jaimie Bistodeau is the perfect example of what KAMO is all about, she lost her dad at a young age and her mother, Trudy Bistodeau, reached out to KAMO to get her daughter outdoor adventure experiences and that is exactly what we have done.
This morning, along with just about everyone else in camp, we were up at 4:00 and with 18 of us in camp, some would be hunting within a couple hundred yards of camp, and some were driving 15-miles, then walking up to two-miles to get to their stands.
Jaimie, my 12-year-old daughter Selina, and myself would be hunting in The Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and doing the long walk, well before first light. Did I mention that it was biterally cold and a brutal wind had started before the walk began?
I probably do not have to as over 600,000 of us walked into the woods, fields, and marshes across Wisconsin this morning and found out for ourselves (think about that! 600,000 so few accidents, so many positive stories, I pity the anti-hunter politician in the Badger State).
First, Jaimie Bistodeau was dropped off; a half mile later I made sure my daughter was secure in an oak tree on a ladder stand. Last, but not least, one very crippled (I will heal) Red Brush Hunter climbed into one very dead oak tree and watched night become day. For the 42nd Saturday before Thanksgiving in a row I was hunting in paradise, I really did not care if I put the lights out on a whitetail deer.
At about 6:35 I heard the first shot of the season and it was roughly half a mile away.
My buddy Jeff Moll, who just happens to be spending his 38th Saturday before Thanksgiving in a row here in paradise, set up his 19-year-old son Ross yesterday.
Last year Ross was in basic training for The Wisconsin Air National Guard and missed deer camp. Yesterday, Ross had to work as he is now a trainee for a Madison area fire department. Ross traded Christmas with another firefighter so that he could be here this weekend, and dad and brother Nate Moll’s hard work yesterday paid off when a beautiful 9-point buck came sniffing the Doe In Heat that Ross had out. Ross’s buck was directly under his tree.
At 8:30 I was getting no response from either Selina or Jaimie and knew I should check on them. Selina was asleep, and when I climbed up her stand, her first response was that she could stay in the tree all day!
We were able to get a hold of Jaimie and she walked over to Selina’s stand where both girls laid on the ground and I covered them with a blanket. Selina and Jaimie are like sisters; both young hunters, had deer experiences, but the deer won and both girls hunted until the last minute of legal hours.
By 9:30 all 7 hunters that I had been able to see from my perch were gone for the day.
Seventeen-year-old Nate Moll put a hole in beautiful 8-pointer and the top story of the day for this gang was what my brother-in-law, Dick Schuster, harvested.
Dick hunts close to camp and late in the afternoon saw a large doe, got ready and sure enough a beautiful 9-pointer was chasing her. Dick put a bullet where it needed to be and harvested this camps biggest buck ever which came in with a 19 5/8 inside spread. At a camp that used to only have spikers and three pointers on the pole we had some real trophies!
For the 42nd year in a row I ate at the Hunters Dinner at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Necedah and loved every minute of this day!
Live large! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Hiawatha National Bank