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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 10-15-2014

by Mark Walters

A huge finish to 2014

Hello friends,

This week’s column is all over the map, in more ways than one. My guess is that you will find it interesting.

Wednesday, October 1st
High 54, low 32

My buddy Jody “Big Elk” Bigalke and I go back a long ways. Jody is my age, from New Lisbon, and an avid KAMO member and outdoorsmen. Most importantly and specifically in this case anyways, Jody Bigalke is very skilled as a trapper.

Today the two of us were on a mission, and that was to travel by foot through as much country as possible in Wisconsin’s central forest, looking for wolf sign. A few years back, Big Elk was one of the first people, in this part of the state, to harvest a wolf with a trap and today he was willing to teach me what he knew as I prepare for one of my most exciting adventures in years. I have received a tag, which enables me to attempt to harvest a wolf as of October 15th by either hunting or trapping.

As I wrote earlier in this column, is going to be all over the map. Back in the mid 90’s I was writing this column and I was a solid supporter of Wisconsin’s “Wolf Recovery Program”. I repeatedly wrote that the wolves that were in Wisconsin migrated into this state and were not translocated from other states. A lot of my pals in the northern part of Wisconsin did not appreciate my support of wolves returning to our landscape.

I have always been into bio-diversity, followed up by good biology, followed up by the potential to harvest the species that has recovered, should it recover to a sustainable level.

That is why as of October 15th I am going to work myself to the bone in an attempt to harvest a gray wolf, while walking through forest and marshland until I either harvest my quarry or the season closes.

As Jody Bigalke taught me and I already knew, the gray wolf, like the coyote is incredibly intelligent and one of my main goals will be to get my “sets” out and then let time and nature do it’s best job to remove any human scent left in the area.

Folks, no matter who I am talking to or what I am doing, my attempt to catch a wolf is on my mind and I love it.

Here is where the all over the map part sets in. Last night, Selina and I headed over to the Stevens Point area where we built a camp and were helped out by my good buddy, Ben Gruber in our choice of a deer stand on his 130-acre farm. Tonight after Necedah’s homecoming football game, Selina and I will be heading to camp and in the morning I will be sitting in a tree with my 13-year-old daughter, who will have her choice of either a bow or a 30:06 with the high hopes of making some venison during Wisconsin’s Youth Deer Hunt!

Another first for me is that as of December 26th, I have my first tag for harvesting a bobcat and it is for Wisconsin’s “northern zone”. I have been applying for a bobcat tag for years and I am super excited.

I hope to pursue my first bobcat by dog and am reaching out to my readers, if there is anyone that is really into running bobcat get a hold of me, lets have some fun!

I currently have two fish at the taxidermist; if I am successful on a mature wolf and or bobcat, I am thinking full body mounts. If Selina harvests her first buck this weekend (so far 3 doe under her belt) I will be doing something with that as well. My potential taxidermy bill actually scares me but it is a healthy and worthy fear.

Being a hobby farmer and a person that heats my house with wood and barters with firewood, is another area of my life that literally has me scheduled every minute of my waking day until early December.

Live life to its fullest, someday you will not have that choice! Sunset