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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 12-16-2015

by Mark Walters

Deer Camp!  The best place on Earth!

Hello friends,

The gist of our deer camp consists of five men that are between 53 and 63, who have or are raising several kids. Those boys and one girl, who number 13, bring a few of their friends to camp with the vast majority being in their 20’s.

My father, the late Robert Walters, who camped and hunted deer while attending the UW-Madison, created our deer camp.

Though we truly do hunt hard, what I have learned in listening to readers of this column for the last 26 years, is that people like reading about our camp life just as much they like reading about the hunting.

Friday, November 27th
High 42, low 27

The population of The Red Brush Gangs camp is between 18 and 25 on the second weekend of the gun deer season. Our hunting is done strictly by doing drives and a knowledge of the land is a must. In other words, we push square mile sections, with maybe 8 drivers and about 12 standers. The standers cover what we feel are the best escape points for the deer we are pushing.

Back in the first ten-years of this century we were training the bulk of these kids how to work a compass, stay in line (the vast majority of the time we cannot see each other), to cover every bit of your territory and how to cross deep water with hipboots or walk on shaky ice.

Safety was always of utmost concern and in reality I was the jerk that was giving orders, and lecturing kids for getting a head of the other drivers or skipping potential deer hiding spots. To be perfectly honest, I hated the job and the other adults kind of knew it. If you are not teaching, something can or is going to go wrong when you are dealing with 7-16 kids carrying rifles.

Fast forward to today. My nephew Riley Schuster is 27! I told him to take charge of the first drive and it went flawless. My form of training was tough love, no one was shot and now the kids can take charge.

When the kids were in training, we killed lots of deer, generally two to four a day and they really added up by the end of the week These days we have a well tuned military unit and an over abundance of grey wolf has decimated much of the northern half of Wisconsin’s deer herd.

Today we killed one buck and that was a 3-pointer who met its demise thanks to Jeff Moll deciding to stay behind the drive and cut off its escape route.

Saturday, November 28th
High 47, low 33

We don’t talk about it but today is a sad day, it is our last full day and night at camp. Last night was the “Friday Night Party” and it was a humdinger. Since Jeff Moll had killed a “monster 3-pointer” he felt compelled to wrestle with the 20-something-year-olds. When Jeff gets crazy and he does, I kind of keep a watchful eye on things to make sure that not too many injuries occur.

So there are 22 of us. We have an excellent plan for our hunting day and after many miles of hard pushing, half ice breaking and major sweating, two deer were seen and 16-year-old Derek Cibulka made his first kill as a Red Brush Hunter on a mature doe.

Tonight visitors from far and wide came to our “Saturday Night Party”. A movie better then most at the theatre could have been made.

One of the guys started chanting something about he wanted to wrestle as we stood by the fire. That boy is considerably heavier than me. I was body slammed hard, new injuries occurred and old injuries resurfaced. As we hit the ground Jeff Moll told me to kill him. I recovered and put a can of whup ass on him!

Bury me at deer camp! Sunset