by Mark Walters
The Cottontail Classic
One of the many benefits of being the President of KAMO and a syndicated, outdoor adventures columnist is I get to meet some really cool people and have tons of fun with them.
I recently headed over to Denmark, which is located in Brown County, where I hung out at the Maribel Sportsmen’s Club, which is located in Manitowoc County and participated in their 24th Annual Cottontail Classic.
The Maribel Sportsmen’s Club started a KAMO Chapter (www.kamokids.org) last summer and let me tell you I had no idea what I was getting into. Holy cow was I impressed by the Maribel Sportsmen’s Club, The Cottontail Classic, and the new KAMO chapter.
George Robinson and his wife, Lynn are very active in the MSC. George just finished a term as President and Lynn has been Secretary for something like 25-years.
Saturday, February 14th
High 7, low minus 12
So I get to the clubhouse last night, which is actually two buildings, and the place is full of people registering for the 3-hunter teams, which in the end would be a total of 183 hunters. Rabbit hunts like this generally are won by the heaviest 9 rabbits of a 3-person team, and this would be the first time that I have ever been in a competitive rabbit hunt.
The Robinson’s welcomed me in their home, as they did 8 more hunters the following morning for breakfast and lunch.
Until this weekend, I had only met George and Lynn two other times and it would be fair to say that we really did not know each other. What an eye opener it was staying at their home. I probably just got to know a man that hunts and fishes and lives the life more then anyone I have ever met.
From the eight hunting dogs that George and Lynn truly love, that live right in their home. Or possibly the gazillion outdoor oriented stories and pictures of which many are of waterfowl hunting at their cabin near Wadeana, Saskatshewan Canada. Most, importantly I discovered how much it is a way of life for the Robinson’s to include kids on their outdoor experiences.
This morning, the weather was brutal at 6:00 a.m. It was probably 25-below with the windchill and four battle hardened young hunters arrived at the Robinson’s ready to chase rabbits. Megan Brunner, 18, and her brother Tayten, 12, are both from Denmark. Matt Monk, 17 and his brother, Paul, 14 are from Manitowoc and they were traveling with mentor and pal Matt Ernst who came down from Green Bay.
These kids are active sporting clay shooters as they are members of the WAYS (Wisconsin Amateur Youth Shooting) program and it was pretty cool to hear the pride in their voices when they spoke of their accomplishments.
George is running our hunt and his beagles Bud, Dino, and Frank are seeking and pursuing rabbits. After our first hunt, which lasted about an hour the kids had harvested five cottontails and the hand that I had recently reformed in a woodsplitter was totally worthless as in it was numb and the hand and fingers would not move.
I secured a hand warmer on the top of my wrist for the rest of the day and never had another problem (try it, it works).
Folks, I wish that I had more space to tell this great story but to sum it up The Maribel Sportsmen Club is just an incredible, get it done organization. What I saw with the Robinson’s, Matt Ernst and many others tells me that this new KAM0 Chapter has the potential to be another venue for folks in this part of Wisconsin to get their kids outside.
In other words, if you live in the Denmark area, there is an insured club, that would like to help get your kid or neighbors kid outside to hunt, fish, hike or whatever the two of you choose to do. Please help them to help you!
As far as the hunt went the beagles did an excellent job, the kids pulled their weight and everyone that participated in this event is well aware that anyone that even attempted to hunt rabbits was either nuts, extremely tough or both because the weather was absolutely brutal.
Love my job! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Hiawatha National Bank