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The hunt begins

The hunt begins The hunt begins

An Outdoorsman’s Journal

Mark Walters sponsored by

Hello friends, This week’s column is all over the map and good stuff. I hope that you had a great week.

Friday, Sept. 15 High 72, Low 52

Here is the plan, drive to Pepin County and the Chippewa River near Durand, camp, canoe and bow hunt. I had a slight conundrum. This is one of the only trips that I can go on this fall to bow hunt for deer as my trips are booked until Dec. 12.

I want fresh meat so, like last year when I did this trip, I would like to put an arrow in a big fat doe or maybe 1.5-year-old buck. There is no doubt that I would have a big smile on my face if I harvested a 3- or 4-year-old buck, but when you live out of your garden, freezer or barn like I do, mature bucks are not super popular at the dinner table.

Another example would be that in four weeks, I will be hunting elk and mule deer in Montana. Last year I harvested a 6.5-year-old 6x6 bull elk. This year I would be just as satisfied with a raghorn “young bull” or a mature cow.

Today I paddled a mile from camp, and I was about as happy as I could be as paddling a canoe and sitting in a tree are two of my favorite things in life to do. When I got to where I would start walking there was a 27-inch-northern pike that appeared to have just died laying in the water. I took a good look and it appeared to have swallowed a bullhead and the barbels were sticking through its stomach. I wonder who died the worse death, the bullhead or the northern pike. The following morning when I arrived in the dark, I could see where a raccoon had eaten the northern pike.

Saturday, Sept. 16 High 75, Low 51

I am hunting a ridge line that has water on one side of it and a swampy forest behind the water. If I see a deer, quite often it is on a beaver dam that is separating the two and it is always a very cool experience. Today was made up of two hunts and I would be using my Hoyt compound bow. There is another question mark in my life. I will not shoot over 25 yards and if I would switch over to my Raven crossbow, I would think I would whack more bucks. There is something in me fighting that switch but once the weather gets cold, I will have to use the crossbow due to a shoulder injury.

This morning, when I was paddling in the dark, I listened to a raccoon fight. As far as I am concerned, the raccoon is a nasty animal and I loved it when you could get good money for their furs as I was an avid trapper. On both my morning and afternoon hunts I surprisingly did not see a deer and can honestly say I really enjoyed myself.

The following morning I had my only deer experience of the weekend but it was too dark to make anything of it. I did the afternoon hunt, paddled back to my truck, and loaded up. I just started driving and got a call from my stepson Travis Dushek. Travis had put an arrow in a good-sized buck over by Wisconsin Dells. After tracking it for a short distance, the decision was made to pull back. In the morning, Travis went in with his friend Pat Guyse and his dog Ryker. Ryker’s nose did the job and just like that Travis Dushek had filled his buck tag on a beautiful 9-pointer.

It is fall my friends, live large! Sunset