Anything for a deer
An Outdoorsman’s Journal
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 have never hunted deer in this neck of the woods and would be using my stepson Travis Dushek for advice. Travis moved into a home near Lake Puckaway in September and I am reaping the benefits of him living in a great part of Wisconsin.
Travis is a carpenter and had to work today, but he told me where to hunt and how to get to it. I had a doe tag as well as my buck tag and was really excited for this hunt.
Kind of bad luck came my way in two forms. The first was that heavy rains had flooded where I hiked in and then partially froze the water on top of the ground.
Second was that there had been a major release of pheasants on this 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 would hunt with me the rest of the weekend and actually use 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 that 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.
I want to mention that when Travis was 6 years old we started living in the same house and I took him everywhere that 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 that, at least in part, that is why he is such a hunting and fishing machine and also 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. 11 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 while breaking skim ice with my canoe.
It was an epic day for dad and I 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 and a great hunt it was.
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 that they had to do something about me because I had been causing 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 that was consumed with anger and he actually scared the bird watchers off.
In reality my guess is that 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 muzzleloader season and never saw a deer on all eight hunts on public land.
Beware of crazy man!