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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 12-9-2015

by Mark Walters

Deer Camp!  The best place on Earth!

Hello friends,

This is a summary of the first five, days of deer camp for The Red Brush Gang. We call a 36×18 foot pole barn home each November, which we put up on public land in The Meadow Valley Wildlife Area.

By the last day of the season, over 25-people will have slept in it and let me tell ya folks, we hunt hard and at night, we have a lot of fun.

Saturday, November 21st
High 35, low 22

The majority of the gang came to camp on Thursday night and with about a dozen of our members being in the 20-something age range, the evening is just a blast for us conservative “old timers” to watch.

There were several wrestling matches and yours truly would obtain, rib and head injuries with the rib injuries lasting the entire nine-day season. The head wound was so ugly that I refused to look at it the first 6 days I was in camp.

Last night I cooked my meal for the season, which was scalloped potatoes and ham, a hot dish made of rice and wild game and squash. In reality you have to have about 50 pounds of food to feed this gang. Once the meal is served you get to belly up to the table the rest of the season and have someone else prepare your meals.

On opening morning there was 18 of us spread out over about 15-square miles.

Twenty-seven year-old Ryan Moll thought he saw deer as night was becoming day, and that was confirmed when it became light enough. Ryan had what he described was an “incredibly easy shot” at a 9 point buck with an 18-inch spread. Ryan’s trophy had a very busted up rack and would eventually win the The Red Brush Gang’s big buck contest.

About 3-miles north, Doug Cibulka and his 16-year-old son, Derek, were hunting an area near the Sprague Mather Flowage. Just like last year Doug and Derek had an experience with a pack of wolves and later in the day they relocated. Doug Cibulka saw a six-pointer going through the brush and made some venison.

Back in the area of our camp, Dick Schuster (who is in his mid 60’s) and climbs way up a pine tree and sits all day missed an easy shot on a six-pointer, tried a desperation shot and put a bullet in it’s neck.

These three guys would be “buck brothers” for the night. As far as the rest of the gang goes, over half of us did not see a deer.

Selina and I hunted where we bow hunted and I believe that the water levels rising over 10 inches in what was dry marsh’s and then freezing into half/ice pushed the deer out of our area. In two days of dark to dark hunting Selina and I would see one deer.

Tonight as I have done for 44-consecutive years I headed over to Necedah with the gang and ate a turkey dinner at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

On Monday after a very lively Sunday night at camp we began a different method of hunting deer, which is big drives that literally cover a square mile.

Everyone wears hip boots and carries a compass. All of us find out what kind of physical condition we are or are not in and today we had pretty steady action and not such good success.

None of the adults has a doe tag. There are three kids that do. Three bucks were kicked up and it sounds like one of them would have won the big buck contest.

That buck was shot at by two hunters on a dead run and they both missed. The half ice that I was talking about is incredibly difficult to travel through. The marsh grass, grabs your legs above the ice and you have to break ice to make the next step forward.

On Monday night it was down to Ross Moll, his dad Jeff Moll (40 consecutive years) Doug Cibulka, Selina and myself.

We ate a great meal, Jeff would not let Doug and I go to bed and the next day we hunted hard and that night we had visitors that kept us up late once again.

Every Red Brush Hunter is addicted to this place! Sunset