Anything for a Deer
An Outdoorsman’s Journal,
By Mark Walters
Hello friends, Though I had a ton of fun and interesting experiences this past fall while hunting deer, my luck really sucked when it came to actually harvesting my quarry.
This week’s column covers eight muzzleloader hunts at the Grand River State Wildlife Area in Marquette and Green Lake counties.
Friday, Dec. 6 • High 22, Low 8
I’ve never hunted deer in this neck of the woods and would use my stepson, Travis Dushek, for advice. Travis moved into a home near Lake Puckaway in September, and I’m reaping the benefits of him living in a great part of Wisconsin.
Travis is a carpenter and had to work today, but told me where to hunt and how to get to it. I had doe and buck tags, and was really excited for this hunt. Kind of bad luck came my way in two forms. The first, was heavy rains flooded where I hiked in, then partially froze the water on top the ground.
Second, there had been a major release of pheasants on the 7,000-acre property and there were hunters in large numbers in my area. No deer were seen on hunt one.
Saturday, Dec. 7 • High 29, Low 14
Travis hunted with me the rest of the weekend and actually used his compound bow. This morning, we hiked in the dark into another area and he placed me in what he thought would be a good spot. When night became day, it was obvious where I was hunting was also flooded and not a deer did I see.
We went scouting for new country after our morning hunt and found what looked like a very promising spot, and this afternoon, returned ready to make some meat. On my hunt, I saw 26 deer and it was a very cool experience. Too bad for me, that they were all on private land and naturally, I left them alone.
When Travis was six years old, we started living in the same house and I took him everywhere his schedule would allow, on hunting, fishing and canoe trips. No matter what I threw at him, he could take it and I firmly believe, at least in part, that’s why he is such a hunting and fishing machine, and why we have so much fun together in the outdoors 22 years after our first outing.
The following morning, I hunted where I had the night before and did not see a deer. For the afternoon hunt, Travis and I went exploring once again, but not a deer did we see.
Tuesday, Dec. 10 • High 13, Low 3
When I was a kid, my family hunted pheasants, ducks, geese and rabbits like there was no tomorrow. To put it bluntly, we were very good at it. One time, my dad “forced” me to skip a day of school and we canoed out onto Grand Marsh in the dark, breaking skim ice with my canoe.
It was an epic day for Dad and me, as we were dropping ducks and geese on a very cold morning. A flock of widgeon flew over and we dropped two as we both leaned back to shoot. Unfortunately, we flipped our canoe and it was a pretty ugly situation. My dad being a proud Marine “captain,” said we can keep hunting, as we figured out a way to get back in the canoe for a great hunt.
Today, I had an experience with a very nasty man! I was pulling into a parking lot to hunt. I had just driven from Necedah, and was really excited, despite the fact that the temp was only 10 degrees.
There was another vehicle with what appeared to be two bird watchers in it and as I was pulling in, a farmer pulled in next to me and assumed the bird watchers were DNR, as he called them. I then listened to him tell the DNR/bird watchers they had to do something about me, because I had caused trouble all fall.
This man was literally out of his mind with anger and said I was the guilty party, because of the color of my truck. I was careful with my words and listened to a man who was consumed with anger, and he actually scared the bird watchers off.
In reality, my guess is he has a long history of harassing hunters, and because of his advanced age and pure anger, no one pops him in the nose or has had him cited for hunter harassment.
I hunted the last three hunts of the muzzlelaoder season and never saw a deer on all eight hunts on public land.
Beware of crazy man! Sunset