by Mark Walters
Another Incredible Weekend on “The Joe”!
Good people are what makes the world a better a place. This week I have more to write about then I have space to write it, but here goes!
Friday, December 13th
High 22, low 3
I will be writing about KAMO’s (www.kamokids.org) annual deer hunt and camp at the Mackenzie Environmental Education Center near Poynette.
I am mentoring 13-year-old Meghan Van Meter of Necedah and we would hunt Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Meghan is a first time hunter and I was impressed with everything about her from her ability to help with chores, get up in the morning, never give up and make new friends.
Meghan passed up a yearling on night one and did not get another opportunity to harvest a deer.
My good friends Jeff and Patti Rouse, and Patti’s mom, Marlene Shaw, are our cooks. Patti “Shaw” and I were great friends growing up and sat next to each other in homeroom from 7th grade until we graduated.
I have stayed at the Rouse’s home in Algoma and fished salmon with them for about 16-years. These three people order all our food every year and do all the cooking the entire weekend for about 40-people “flawless”!
There are 16 kids and about 20 hunting mentors! Kevin Seymour has been a friend of mine since middle school. Kevin joined The Baraboo River Chapter of KAMO when we started this organization. When our Huntmaster, Joe Stecker-Kochanski (the hunt is named after Joe) passed away last year, Kevin, along with several other members of KAMO, took the lead on putting this hunt together. Kevin Seymour hunted with 11-year-old Sierra Johnson who harvested a beautiful 5-point buck
Tim Larson is a retired fish biologist (WDNR for Columbia and Sauk County). Over the years I did several stories with Tim and all I can say is, this part of the state has a lot more fish thanks to this man’s career.
My brother Mike had to work on the first full day of the hunt and Tim stepped up and guided 12-year-old Dylan Walters, who shot two deer on the morning that they hunted together. Mike has also joined KAMO!
Bob Brodeur is another buddy of mine from high school and recently joined KAMO. Bob mentored 11-year-old Austin Schuster who had several deer experiences but did not end up putting a tag on his first deer.
Duane Walker is the President of KAMO’s brand new chapter, The Chippewa River Chapter of KAMO (Eau Claire)! Duane hunted with Zach Whetstone and Zach harvested a large doe in the last hour of this incredible weekend.
Bob Nicksic is a good friend of mine who loves to hunt elk and flies into one of my good buddy Pete Hagedorns outposts in northwest Ontario each June.
Bob was hunting with Margo Weiland and at first, had two coyote push two deer past their stand and were kind of thinking their hunt was over. Two hours later, Margo harvested two doe and the smile never left her face all weekend.
Ben Gruber is a young man who first contacted me several years ago while he was a paramedic in Middleton. Ben is now KAMO’s Vice President and the energy that started the Chippewa River Chapter, as that is where Ben now lives.
Ben Smelcer is from Necedah and his family is friends of mine. Keith Crispell was my daughter Selina’s 2nd grade teacher and I volunteered in Keith’s classroom for that school year. Keith Crispell helped Ben to get his first deer on this hunt, lots of smiles on both of their faces
Perhaps the best story of all is Matt Brewer and his three sons, David who is 21, Sam 12 and Isaac who is 11.
The loss of his first wife, and some tough health issues in the family since then, has kept Matt from spending as much time in the outdoors with his boys as he would have liked to.
Today, 12-year-old Sam Brewer who was being mentored by Tyler Frank, a young man on the Middleton Police Dept (friend of Ben Gruber’s), harvested a beautiful 8-point buck.
To watch the Brewer family enjoy both camp and listen to their stories was very cool.
I see a Poynette Chapter of KAMO on the horizon, there has been a lot of interest. Please check out the website, no matter where you are in Wisconsin, we can make this work!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative