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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 8-13-2014

by Mark Walters

KMAO The Fishing Club

Hello friends, 

I am on my deadline, my secretary will be here soon to fix my errors and then send this column out to the 60 papers that run it. I just received four emails from a father who lives in Columbia County that has a ten-year-old daughter and he wants to know how we/KAMO (KidsAndMentorsOutdoors) can get his daughter introduced to shooting.

I told him to contact me in a couple of hours and we will take care of it. 

Last week I received a call from a very wise man, who has one of the oldest existing deer camps in the state of Wisconsin, that has a bit of a problem. They just do not have enough young hunters in their camp, after a long talk we may have an idea on how to fix that issue.

Two weeks ago, I picked up my phone and talked to a WDNR official who has an idea of introducing kids with mentors to landowners who may allow them to hunt on the landowners land, but there will be an obligation. The mentor and mentee will have to spend some time prior to the hunt, learning the land and perhaps helping the landowner with some form of a project.

This week’s column is abut a really cool KAMO event that was hosted by the Baraboo River Chapter of KAMO, specifically Jeff Rouse on Lake Wisconsin at Merrimac in Columbia County I believe that this is the 3rd year that Jeff has put this together and the simplicity and potential is so cool it deserves a column on it.

Soaring Eagle Wildlife Center is currently in its 25th year and is run by Linda and Jerry Bethke of Prairie du Sac. What the Bethkes do is attempt to heal about 100 birds of prey a year, that have some form of an injury. The Bethkes do not have a whole ton of cash to work with and so any free chow such as fish or deer hearts/livers or rodents is greatly appreciated.

Jeff Rouse came up with the idea of hosting a KAMO picnic where we meet at Memorial Park in Merrimac. Some people come by boat, others drive to the park, and we help kids catch as many sheephead as possible and then give the sheephead to the Bethke’s to feed their great horned owls, eagles, red tailed hawks, etc. etc.

Wednesday, July 30th
High 85, low 55

So I am in a 14-foot boat with Jeff Rouse and his nephews Haakon, Rosholt, and Devan Paynter. I have no idea how this event is really going to turn out but we all have high hopes that it will be a simple and positive KAMO event where everyone has a good time and hopefully some sheephead are caught.

Soon our friends Linda and Bob Brodeur pull up in a pontoon boat with 3 boys that are eager to catch fish. Bob Brodeur is now the President of our yet unnamed Poynette Chapter, which just formed last week and this chapter is going to rock.

Jeff has to cook brats and beans so we head to the park where this picnic really takes off and I have a huge revelation.

One by one KAMO members from both chapters, arrive by both boat and truck and everyone visits, fishes, and eats. At first the fish are not hungry and no one cares, then the fish become hungry and it is really cool to watch what KAMO is all about actually work.

I watch Elijah Keller, who is also brand new to KAMO, arrive in a boat with 3 young fishermen and he donates 13 dozen nightcrawlers that he caught. A week later, Elijah would become the Vice President of our new Poynette Chapter.

What was incredible about this very simple event is that is was kind of like stepping back in time 30-years. Just like that 26 people are visiting, kids are actually playing outside, I did not see a one on a cell phone, sheepead are being caught and donated to a very good cause, and I come up with a new idea.

Why couldn’t this happen three or four times a summer? Why couldn’t these two neighboring chapters of KAMO split the hosting and have a picnic here maybe every month or six weeks?

Then I got to thinking, why couldn’t the other 7 chapters of KAMO do the same thing at least once a year or “maybe more”? It does not tie up a weekend day. The expenses are minimal and the results were incredible.

On August 18th we have a Board of Directors meeting and I am going to pursue this idea. Jeff Rouse thought of this and we need mentors and kids, eventually KAMO will be in every part of the state, check us out at

Thanks for reading! Sunset