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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 4-23-2014

by Mark Walters

Water Logged Turkey Hunt and Camping Trip

Hello friends, 

This is another one of those stories where I have way more to write then space to put it so here goes. KAMO (Kids And Mentors Outdoors) take kids on outdoor experiences. I was helping out at Mackenzie Environmental Education Center and a 13-year-old girl by the name of Anna Dunnick, who is the daughter of Joe and Jane Dunnick of Necedah, kept asking me if I would take her on some outdoor experiences.

Anna got her wish and here is the story.

Sunday, April 6th
High 72, low 48

Today I picked Anna up and phase one of this adventure began. I took her to my house and my daughter, Selina, and her shot bb guns, 22’s and a shotgun. Though Anna has very little experience, she was a natural and Selina was an excellent teacher.

Next we hooked up my pop up camper to my truck and headed down to the Portage area where we were fortunate enough to have been given access to a couple of quality properties to hunt and camp on (thanks to both families that did this for us).

My old buddy from my high school days back in Poynette, Doug Cibulka, would meet us with his 15-year-old son Derek as they would also be a part of the following weekends adventure.

Next we went scouting for turkey and then we headed home as the girls had school the next day

Friday, April 11th
High 64, low 34

There was major rain forecast for this weekend, which would also be Wisconsin’s Youth Turkey Hunt. Today after school we put out our blinds, tarped the roofs and then set up the camper, which we double tarped before the monsoons arrived.

I had caught some walleye a day earlier and Doug created an awesome fish fry. The kids played outside, had a great time with my dog Fire, and Doug and I talked about the past, the present, and tomorrow. It was midnight before I hit the hay.

Saturday April 12th
High 58, low 40

Not a one of the kids had any trouble getting out of bed at 4:20 this morning and soon we found ourselves walking through the woods and then sitting in blinds as we waited for night to become day.

We were scattered five-miles apart but both mentors had unique experiences as there were toms gobbling and soon gobblers heading to decoys. I felt like a real pro as I called my birds into range and was really excited about what was about to happen. At this same exact time my old buddy from Poynette was watching his son who he thought was about to knock the lights out on a beautiful gobbler, that was in love with his decoy.

Well folks there is a reason that the Youth Hunt started before the regular season and in both cases the score was Toms ran away, kids not so proud of themselves.

Whenever I am mentoring a kid and they miss a duck, big fish, or a buck I always say hey look at it from the deer’s point of view, it gets to live another day, this really does seem to help.

After the turkey experiences, we had a huge coyote come by us which I believe was the biggest coyote that I have ever seen, it started raining, and about noon we headed to camp for lunch and a siesta.

At camp the kids played, the old timers relaxed, the kids took a nap, and one old timer took a nap. When we resumed hunting the monsoons really began and life became very interesting.

Possibly our coolest experience of the day was watching many violent thunderstorms pass that had hail in them, while doing this we watched a herd of ten-deer play in a long since harvested soybean field in front of us. Actually there seemed to be a lot of deer in the Portage area. What was really cool is that two fawns kept doing long runs of 100 to 400 yards while jumping and kicking their hind legs. What was even cooler was that the fawns were both pigmented (partially white) as was their mother.

Tonight this part of Wisconsin received the bulk of the over four-inches of rain it would receive and the pounding of rain on our camper’s tarp was very loud.

The next day we did not see a tom, but four hens came in very close and I taught Anna how to relax and aim for when she gets her chance, when a gobbler comes in during her season in May.

I predict Anna Dunnick will be on many KAMO experiences in the future! Sunset