A new frontier
An Outdoorsman’s Journal
Hello friends, This week’s column is going to be all over the map because there is a lot to tell in the space that I have to tell it. So, I am at one of those F and F stores that outdoorsmen and farmers love. I am in the parking lot and a fella comes up to me and asks about the Kids and Mentors Outdoors sticker on my truck. Next, he asks me if I remember who he is? I don’t, this happens a lot.
Long story short it’s Mike Kindschi, who along with his father Rick and brother Kurt farms a couple of thousand acres near Mazomanie in Dane County. I met Mike back in 2002 at Judd’s Resort, which is on Lake Winnibigosh in northern Minnesota. I was with a couple of buddies, we were fishing perch, not catching squat and Mike showed us where they were. Long story short, my new, old buddy tells me I am welcome to hunt pheasants or about anything I want on his family farm.
Friday, Dec. 30 High 27, Low 17
We’ll start with the tour, and it was a dandy. In Mike’s UTV I was shown the 2,000 acres which is over 3 miles in length, has 17 miles of ditch, a trout stream and a few ponds that have fish. To make things even more perfect, the Kindschi farm is almost surrounded by public land known as the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Pheasant, duck, deer, turkey, goose and coyote country. Yours truly has just decided he has a “new” best friend. Heck I even gave my old buddy an elk roast and bear back straps to seal the deal.
Interesting side note, this farm was a sauerkraut operation until the late ‘50s when it burnt down. During WWII, German prisoners of war were used to do much of the work and they were housed in Lodi. The prisoners became popular with the locals and after the war some of them settled in this area.
Secret note, other than the basics, I have done very little hunting type training with my 9-month-old golden retriever Red. After Michelle passed away last June, training a pup to hunt was not a priority. There even is a chance she is partially gun shy. On the other hand she is very smart, tough and likes me.
So, I began my walk which would cover ditch banks, unpicked corn, forest and brush and lots of harvested land that was in soybeans or corn. I am well aware that I may not see many pheasants as a brutal blizzard one week earlier had quite possibly killed them.
We had been walking maybe two minutes when Ruby and Red both broke through some ice on a ditch and I watched Ruby literally blast herself out by digging her front paws in the ice and lunging. Red was thoroughly enjoying her swim and was not able to do what her mother did. If I had not been there, she would have been a goner. I tried getting to her, but the ice was weak, and the water was over my hip boots. I had Ruby stay on shore, grabbed her collar for an anchor, spread my body on the ice, grabbed Red’s collar and gave her a jerk. All’s well that ends well.
So, I walk and the dogs are really trying to find something to chase but I am not seeing much sign of pheasants in the way of tracks in the snow. Now in the end, I would do this over two days but what I did see was a piece of land that I would like to explore a few times a year and maybe even bring some KAMO kids to hunt, fish or camp, and I think I can get permission to do that.
Ruby and Red did kick up some rabbits and I was accurate. Red had no fear of the gun and absolutely loved bringing the rabbits to me. This piece of property and the surrounding public lands, which are in-part being developed for ducks and mourning doves, may well become a part of my outdoor smorgasbord.
No matter how good or bad your day is, the sun always comes up the next morning!