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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 1-8-2014

A column by Mark Walters


2013 was a Very Good Year!

Hello friends,

In a few hours I will have my truck packed and I am heading down to Louisiana to visit my brother, Tom, and his family and also go on a five-day deer and hog-hunting trip.

As I do every year on this week, I am summing up my last years adventures and giving some thoughts on the new years festivities.

Last January my golden retriever Fire had the perfect litter. There were five males and five females and not a runt. I have been hearing from many of the people that purchased pups, and based on what I am hearing I will have a litter in another year and keep a pup for myself.

Last February, while doing the puppy thing, I ran a long distance trapline with my buddy, Doug Cibulka, for otter. To sum up the experience, it was a four-mile hike through the bush that we did for almost a month, that put us both in better shape and one beautiful otter was caught (we were not in it for the money).

In case you forgot, last winter was the winter that never really ended! In April, when I helped my daughter Selina and her friend Jeff Van Meter on the Youth Turkey Hunt there was four inches of snow on the ground and the ground was still frozen.

Later in the month, I actually camped on the ice with Paul Bucher, which was the first time that I ever slept on the ice in April.

That same month, Selina and I also doubled up on a couple of tom turkeys after four-days of hard hunting.

In May, I slept in my canoe on a remote section of a creek in Columbia County and fished trout. I now have a spot to catch big trout! In May, I also fished by myself on Green Bay for walleye and absolutely put a hammering on a two-day limit of 20-25 inch walleye and a 21-inch small mouth bass that will be living on my living room wall. Best tip, if you have the wind for it drift with planer boards and crawler harnesses.

Ever since 1982 I spent one week to six months in the Canadian bush. This year I was on Shultz Lake with the gang and for the first time ever caught a lake trout on that adventure. Selina, who is my favorite fishing partner, did an excellent job with the net.

The month of August ushered in cold weather early in the month, which was good for growing a food plot and bad for swimming. I take four girls on an annual camping trip to an island on the Flambeau flowage. We have a blast and much of the adventure is centered on swimming and tubing. Water sports were not fun in August on the Flambeau but the rest of the trip was a hoot.

Selina ad I planted our first food plot this year and I introduced Selina to bow hunting.

The food plot was kicking butt until the last week of August when a drought began that lasted for 35-days. Plenty of deer came to the plot but other then the oats, the rest of our crop just did not get large enough to last into November

It was in September that I got into three wrestling matches in one night, on an island on the Mississippi River, the night before duck hunting opened.

I pinned opponent number one who is 24 and when I was getting up, fell backwards with my right ankle still wrapped around his leg. I sprained my ankle and tore some ligaments in my knee, as well as, broke a rib. I am currently in physical therapy and let me tell you, two serious injuries on the same leg kicked my tail end this fall. In December, I got the warning, fix it before it is permanent.

One of my most rewarding memories for this year was helping introduce my pal Larry Wargowsky to the sport of bear hunting. From putting out the first bait to helping drag out Larry’s 325-pound trophy was a 70-day process. The drag accented my leg injury.

In late October, I went on a ten-day, very remote duck hunting and trapping trip. I had not trapped raccoon and muskrat in a long time and really enjoyed myself. That much time in chest waders and muck was the final straw for any self-recovery on the leg injuries.

As we all know this December has been pretty brutal weather wise. No cares in that area and my best memory were of the nine deer that our KAMO Kids ( harvested during our annual camp and hunt. We added another chapter to KAMO this year and folks let me tell you, this organization that is centered on getting kids outside is going to be a big deal in Wisconsin in the future. We started in 2007 with three chapters and had no idea what we were doing. There are now six chapters and we are willing to help start more anywhere in Wisconsin.

Well, I have a deer to cut up, a daughter with a brand new pair of cross country ski’s that I am going on a little adventure with, and a truck to pack.

Tonight, I am doing the solo drive to bayou country, I might even look up my buddies from Duck Dynasty (I support the Robertson’s) and most importantly I am going to have fun.

The fun meter was limited out in 2013! Sunset