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An Outdoorsmans Journal – 12-17-2014

by Mark Walters

The Red Brush Gang!  “The Best stories of 2014”

Hello friends,

We are wild, crazy, hunt harder then a lot of people that I know, and seldom go to bed before 3:00 a.m. What I am talking about is the deer camp that my father the late Robert Walters started back in the late 50’s in northern Juneau County and that well over 20 of us call home at some point during Wisconsin’s nine-day deer gun season.

Tuesday, November 25th
High 26, low 12

This part of the world received a horizontal snowstorm yesterday that dumped 7-inches of snow and would make deer hunting conditions brutal for a variety of reason for several days.

One! Visibility in the woods and marshes was 5-feet to 100-yards due to every tree and willow bush holding onto the snow. Two, The Red Brush Gang does deer drives the entire last 7 days of the season and because the snow was often falling onto our rifles, the actions on our rifles were freezing up and often could only be thawed at the end of the day by our trucks exhaust so that we could unload them.

Today my buddy, Doug Cibulka, who fished the same stream as me when we were kids and I were the only two people in camp and our plan was to check out some new country that we had received a tip on, that was in The Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent to land that we have hunted for over 50-years.

In this situation, I was wearing hip boots as was Doug, we both carry packs and we walk away from the truck all day, living by the compass and at dark, we work our way back to the truck.

The snow and warm temps before the snowstorm has created the worse problem of all and that is the dreaded “half ice”! Half ice sometimes supports the person walking on it and sometimes does not. This years added bonus is that the water table is up in a big way so what is generally knee deep is waist deep

Doug and I are walking 50-yards abreast of each other, and hoping to kick up a buck that one or the other of us puts a hole in so that we can eat venison and look at it on the buck pole

Our adventure is maybe 20 minutes long when I take a hard fall through the ice and fill my right hip boot. Ten minutes later I fell face first as I was going through the ice and I am soaked.

Twenty minutes later and still working away from the truck I watch Doug go through the ice and even saw is rifle completely go underwater. We love deer camp!

Friday, November 28th
High 34, low 22

We number roughly 12 hunters today, ranging from the age of 13 to 62. Our day is spent doing drives and as usual, working away from the truck. It is 3:45 and we are setting up our final drive of the day and it is a one-mile square of marsh and scrub oak forest.

We are running out of daylight, we must hurry. First, 13-year-old Dylan Walters misses a buck. Then at least one other buck is kicked up late in the drive. Daylight is fading, shots are fired. I am the end driver and am exactly 3 miles from the trucks. I see a rocket sailing over the marsh grass, it’s a buck. My first potential shot in 7-days. I put a bullet in the 5-pointer and one very physical drag back to the truck begins.

The next two nights! Travis Dushek brags about how much he loves deer heart and shows everyone how much by kind of cooking my bucks heart on the campfire. After a few minutes the buck’s heart erupts from Trav’s belly!

I am hiding parts of my humongous bucks anatomy in my 26-year-old nephew Riley Schuster’s pillowcase. Riley catches me and for no real reason attacks me. We wrestle and fall onto Chris Grinde’s sleeping bag in a rather hard way. Chris is in his sleeping bag and takes his new head injury well.

There are 12 kids between 19 and 26 in this camp! Many of us hide in the woods after dark and throw snowballs at the guys hanging around the campfire and watching Trav consume my monster buck’s heart.

We have so much fun that I think we will return next year! Sunset