Wednesday, November 25, 2009

3rd Week of Deer Camp?!?!?!

With my Minnesota deer hunting experience being somewhat lackluster, I decided to reward myself with a trip to hunt in Wisconsin. My late brother-in-law still has 40 acres north of LaCrosse as well a ready made stand waiting for someone like me to occupy. I can only remember a warmer hunting experience about 25 years ago in Roseau Mn when the temperature was near 60. The weather this year has sure been unusual. October was one of the coldest on records and November is looking to be one of the warmest on record. I guess everything tends to even out in the end. With warm November weather comes fog and Saturday morning was no exception. As thick as pea soup, visibility was about 20 feet. Usually fog means that the deer are simply bedded down for the day. With early morning temperatures at around 30, the condensation on the trees made it appear as though it was raining out. Luckily my my stand was fully insulated with a roof! Don't let that fool you however, there were holes created by squirrels as well as other animal gifts scattered on the floor. I don't think the stand had been used in a few years, however it was comfortable. The picture is the view out of the main window. Overlooking a small valley, the foreground includes about 7 acres of black walnut trees planted about 8 years ago. These trees are about 5 inches in diameter and will be worth a fortune 30 years from now. Beyond the walnuts is an erosion control pond, half full of water and the edges trampled down like a cattle pasture. Heading in my general direction are deer trails wore into the ground like cattle paths. About every 20 yards there is a tree with one side tore to shreds by a buck polishing his antlers. Right below my stand was a walnut tree literally destroyed. It takes a pretty nice buck to inflict that kind of damage to a tree that size. Unfortunately none of tree wreckers decided to show up on either Saturday or Sunday. The good news has to be they are there and it is just a matter of time.

Hunting in Wisconsin is much different than in Minnesota. Half of Minnesota is north of Wisconsin so the deer hunting season starts 2 weeks earlier. Minnesota divides the state into 4 zones, with different regulations for each. Within the zones are management areas dictating harvest levels. Zone 1 allows hunting for 2 full weeks, 3 weekends, where as some zones only allow 2 days of hunting. Unless you want to pay for an all state license, you are stuck hunting a specific zone. Wisconsin on the other hand opens it's season the weekend before Thanksgiving and runs 9 days. You are allowed to hunt the entire state however like Minnesota, there are management areas for identifiy special regulations. One advantage of hunting in Minnesota is it occurs during the peak of the rut. Bucks can be easier to harvest during this time as they have other things on their mind besides survival! Although the bucks can be in rut by the time Wisconsin season begins, the majority have finished. Unfortunately many big bucks, like last weeks post are killed by cars as the deer are really running in early November. Certainly both states brag of massive bucks taken each year during their respective season. I will certainly get back and try to find that buck making the insane rub.

My friend Dewey of What's Dewey Doin'? made a comment about deer hunting when he was a teenager. It reminded me of my first day's deer hunting. As stated in last years post, my dad would usually go up north with the boys for deer hunting leaving me to wait till he gets back. My first deer hunting adventure was with my late uncle Dewey Anderson. Eleva is in the picturesque bluff area of what is called the Driftless Region of Wisconsin. This is an area extending either side of the Mississippi River which was untouched by the glaciers during the last ice age. I was 15 at the time and Dewey invited me to go with him. His family included his wife Shirley, daughters Debbie, Susan, Anita, and Laura. No boys! Up until his unfortunate passing, I became the son he never had. We hunted on his in-laws land, a large bluff south of town. Back then there was little in warm clothing relying on cotton long john union suits, wool shirts, and a ton of socks. Of course even if you were cold it was wise to keep your mouth shut if you wanted to go back out again the following day. They might have been the good ol'days but they certainly were colder. That area was part of a small section of the state that allowed buck or doe the first 2 days with buck only after the first Sunday. Other areas were allowed to harvest a doe via a "party permit". You needed 4 hunters to sign up and if you were drawn, you could shot an extra deer via your party permit. This was an old hold over from the days when a group of hunters would harvest a deer for camp meat however there was a need to control the harvest more effectively. Few shot does back then but for a young man it offered a better chance to bag a deer. As a contrast to today, many areas of the state require you to shoot a doe before you could harvest a buck, coined "Earn a buck" program. Also back then the first 2 days were shotgun only, making it more difficult as well. I did not shoot anything that first year but am thankful to my uncle Dewey for his kindness taking his nephew out on his first real deer hunting experience.
And with that I leave my friend Dewey with a picture just for him, as he loved the last one like this! For the rest of you, you will have to check out the posts of my favorite blogs to understand. Have a fabulous Thanksgiving.


Dewey said...

My stomach hurts.......

NeenahPete said...

Sheesh, I hope that was a Halloween thing going on in that picture there! I enjoyed it along with the rest of the post. I checked both the "Interesting" and "I Learned Something" boxes. I wish I would have had teachers who would have made learning more interesting.

Dave Anderson said...

Actually it was a Halloween night at the old Curling Rink in Galesville, WI. A friend of mine bought it and we went down to see the kids. I saw this prop and had my picture taken in it just in case I needed it. It didn't take very long! I had an English teacher at Eleva Strum for my junior and senior year, she wore miniskirts, which certainly proved interesting!

Anonymous said...

I'm a deer hunter in Tennessee. Loved your posts. Good luck in the upcoming deer season.

You have alluded to the fact that men should beware cotton long johns. I've got to tell you tha I would never give mine up. I remember going to camp with my dad and the neighborhood men. We'd play euchre for hours in the evening in our unionsuits while our wool pants and flannel shirts would dry by the fire. No one ever died!

I'll never forget those special moments.