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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 12-23-2015

by Mark Walters

Hunting with UW Madison’s “Badger Hunting Club”

Hello friends,

I spent the last day of southern Wisconsin’s duck hunting season on Madison’s, Lake Waubesa with Bryce Kies and Aron Sthilsky. Bryce and Aron are sophomores that attend the UW-Madison majoring in geology and business and are the Co Presidents of Badger Hunting Club.


Badger Hunting Club is an organization (they are on Facebook) that was formed in 2006 and is a way for UW Madison hunters to get to know each other as well as introduce other students to hunting.

Sunday, December 6th
High 44, low 34

I met Bryce and Aron at Lake Farm County Park. It was dark and we would be traveling by canoe and kayak, and hunting until dark, my golden retriever Fire would be rounding out our crew.

First thoughts that I had, these guys were driving an old Ford pickup and paddling instead of being pushed by a motor, very cool.

I was at the landing a bit before my comrades and spoke with other hunters and the common word was not many ducks around but quite a few geese.

We paddled maybe a half mile and set out 3-dozen diver decoys, a dozen mallard and a few geese then became comfortable on shore where we hid our watercraft and waited for night to become day, at this time both Bryce and I realized that our chest waders leak.

This year the members of this club, will hunt deer with a bow, turkey in the spring, did a lot of duck hunts, which seems to be their main energy and each semester they hold a trapshoot at The Waunakee Gun Club which is social, as much as shooting event.

This fall a young lady shot a gun at this event for the first time and hit 11 out of 50 clay pigeons.

This past duck season Matt Davis, who is the former President of Badger Hunting Club, and about to graduate with a degree in wildlife ecology introduced UW-Madison students from Denmark and Germany to duck hunting as well.

So our hunt is rather unique in its own way. One, it is quite foggy and that fog would last until early afternoon. Two, on a day when most fishermen should be on the ice or the ice should be getting thicker so that men, women and children could be on the ice, we were watching several boats and I think that their occupants were catching fish. I told these guys that Wisconsin’s climate seems like that of Tennessee and I do not think that I am too far off.

To be honest there were not a lot of ducks and very few geese. The first two hours we had some random shooting and a couple of ducks live to see another day. One time Aron Sthilsky who is from Plymouth (a very cool town) went for a walk out of boredom.

Our best action of the day happened at that time when four mallards flew over and I sailed one that landed a long ways from shore. Bryce and I paddled out to it and had a good laugh when Bryce went to put a final volley of steel shot into what was a four curl greenhead and missed it by a long shot.

Bryce is from Necedah and another member of Badger Hunting Club is Nate Moll, who has been traveling in the same pack as me since he was born. Nate is from Niagara and going to be the President of UW Madison’s chapter of Ducks Unlimited next year.

These guys text me, we share experiences at various hunting and fishing camps in a years time and what is really cool is to see that they are hardcore outdoorsmen that are giving back to the outdoor world while basically living in a capital city that does not have a strong emphasis on hunting.

We pulled the decoys when the legal hunting hours ended on the last day of the season. I challenge interested people to checkout this club and help our hunting heritage to stay strong. Sunset