An Outdoorsman’s Journal
KAMO/The Joe/good people
Hello friends, In mid-December, Kids And Mentors Outdoors (KAMO) held its annual “Joe” Learn to Hunt at the McKenzie Environmental Learning Center and the State Game Farm at Poynette. This week’s column will help describe what it takes and some of the happy moments for the 16 young hunters and especially the mentors and kitchen help who make it happen.
Friday, Dec. 13 High 24, Low 11
I am the president of KAMO, but in reality I do very little of the work to make this incredible experience happen.
Today would be day one and maybe a half dozen of our young hunters were able to take some time off from school for a bonus afternoon hunt. The rest would arrive from all over Wisconsin after dark for the weekend.
Josh Brodeur is perhaps 30 and is the son of Bob and Linda Brodeur, who are the two folks responsible for starting and running our Lake Wisconsin Chapter of KAMO from the Poynette/Lodi/Rio area.
This afternoon Josh would be sitting with his son Landon and an 8-point buck that was very much in the rut gave Landon a shot. That is how the first and largest deer of The Joe was harvested.
The Brodeurs were friends of mine while growing up, and Bob is one of the main get-it-done people for The Joe.
Our cooks for the start of this hunt would be Jeff and Patti Rouse. They order the food for six meals for 44 people a meal. They cook on day one and Jeff returned on day two to help. We appoint kids to help do the dishes for each meal but the cooks have a big-time job. Patti was one of my best friends in high school.
Saturday, Dec. 14 High 34, Low 22
Alfonzo “AJ” Jones is a member of the Baraboo River Chapter of KAMO, a retired Air Force member, and after retirement furthered his education and became a chef. Last night after the Wisconsin Dells girls basketball team narrowly defeated the Adams-Friendship team, AJ made it to camp with his daughters Madison and Megane.
The Jones team would be our chief cooks for the duration and these juniors in high school were phenomenal. I met AJ while on a pheasant hunt a long time ago and he is the brother-in-law to Rick Miotke, who is the president of the Baraboo River Chapter. I have known Rick for most of my life.
Jon Hilmer has been in KAMO since day one and before. I met Jon at a jamboree for sturgeon spearing back in 2006. I shared my idea for KAMO with him and we have been buddies ever since. Jon came up with our motto “Tradition Forward.”
Jon has been mentoring a young man named Cameron Crawford from Baraboo, who is 11. They have been having a great year together on one-on-one adventures and today Cameron harvested his first deer, which was a 6-point buck.
Rick Miotke is the boss of this operation and gets a ton done to make it happen. Rick is a part-time pastor at his church and would be hunting with Natalie Trudell, who is 11. I would be hunting with her cousin Jevon Trudell. Both would be on their first-ever hunts.
I did as much with Jevon this morning to prepare him for his hunt as I could as we sat in a turkey blind in a mature forest. A half hour after first light I told Jevon that I was going to blow on my buck grunt call and that a buck might come in real quick.
I blew on the call, a buck came in real quick, and Jevon pointed at the buck and said, “there’s a deer.” The buck ran away.
Our young hunters harvested 11 deer. On Saturday night they played bingo, and in the championship round a .270 rifle was given out to the winner.
By the end of the weekend, and as in past years, this group of 16 kids were great friends and when they were not hunting they were playing outside.
On a serious note, our website is www.kamokids.org. Our group is strong but we lack enough members per chapter to achieve all of our goals. I grew up in Poynette and this Lake Wisconsin chapter really could use a few new members to come in at whatever level of participation they choose. In the very near future we will be running a long-term ad in the Poynette/Lodi Enterprise to reach out for help.
Check us out, we get things done in a positive way.