Grandpa’s Hunting Legacy
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grandpa-and-vitusHunting in Northern WI has always been a way of life. We have a nine-day season that starts the Saturday before Thanksgiving and ends the Sunday after. Some call it Holy week here because almost everything here revolves around hunting that week.

Families get together and hunt and often times it is the only time of year that many people take vacations. It is a time of harvest, a time of reflection, and a time of Thanksgiving.

For me it is the time of year that I think most about my Grandfather, Carl. Every year there was the huge anticipation of getting to spend time with Grandpa and Dad. Now several years after his passing it is still a time that I am so thankful to have my father to hunt with, but I dearly miss my Grandpa.

We often times had to get up earlier than usual during hunting season to get “down to the farm” for Grandpa’s made from scratch buttermilk pancakes. As we pulled into the yard and walked through the screen door that squeaked and then slammed, we could smell the pancakes, the maple syrup and the iron in the water. It gave the farm house a distinct and familiar smell.

The crew  would gather in Grandpa’s yard before daybreak on opening day.  Handshakes with those we had not seen for an entire year welcomed friends and family back to hunt. Some of the young boys, filled to overflowing with energy, would yard scrap.

Back then we didn’t worry about where we were going to do our drives, or in what order we would hunt them. It was the same every year. Life was simple and the buck pole was ready.

buck-pole Grandpa was the “drive boss” so to speak. He called the shots. There was never any arguments but there was always much respect. Sometimes he would give us kids directions on how to do a particular drive. He’d say something like the following. ” Just head over there a piece. Go west about 3 rods over the hog’s back, past the green swamp. Head SE past the old 57 chev parked in the field and you should end up by the old oak tree where Vernon shot that buck back in 1953. You should see a stander.”

We would nod our head in agreement and scramble to find our dads. The next conversation usually went something like this. “Dad, I need help. How far is a rod? Is that hill I can see from here the hog’s back or is it the next one? Does the green swamp have tagelders in it, and should I go through it, or around it if there is water in it? I think I can figure out the car in the field part but who in the heck is Vernon? Grandpa said he shot the big buck in ’53 but I wasn’t even born until ’65?.

To which our dads would laugh usually say something like this to set us at ease. “Go straight west until you hit a gravel road”. (Really why couldn’t Grandpa just say that?).

Then there were the rides up to “Buck Knob”. Grandpa earned every bit of his nickname on this one. “Crazy Carl”. Grandpa had an old red rusted out chevrolet  with a topper on it. He had placed an old bench seat from a wrecked truck in it for us to sit on and about 7-10 of us would pile in the back with rifles and bodies crammed everywhere.

4 Generations hunt together!

4 Generations hunt together!

Granpa’s truck had 4 wheel drive but he seemed to want to prove that his trusty ride, could make it up the muddy hill without locking it in 4. He would just gun it and go. We would hang on for dear life on those rides and one time we even had to dodge the tree limb that came through the topper. We often ended up with knots on our heads from the top of the topper. We still joked about it every year as we remanice at the local tavern after hunting hours.

My Grandpa hunted until he was 89 years young. He loved hunting and being in the outdoors. At one point, when my oldest son started hunting, we had four generations that hunted together. How many kids can say the actually got to hunt with their Great-Grandfather? After Grandpa quit hunting he gave me his buck knife. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. It goes with me as does grandpa’s spirit every time I go hunting. It will be passed on to my son Jim someday, just like the tradition of hunting that Grandpa passed down to all of us.

I cherish the memories of the years hunting with him as I prepare for hunting season each year. The smile on his face out in the woods and his love of family and hunting. I miss his physical presence, but I know his spirit lives on in our family  hunting tradition and the legacy he left, each and every year.

You smell like the Bomb! The Buck Bomb!
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buck-bombMy husband came home the other day with these lovely little canisters for me to try, called Buck Bombs. (He always makes me try things first in case they don’t work). Since I was heading out for a long sit in my stand, and the rut is going strong right now and I thought this was going to be the do all end all. I’ll try it. I will try anything to give me an edge, because I don’t get a lot of time in the woods or at least not as much as I would like.

I headed out to my stand with my usual equipment in hand. Grunt call, bleat call, the judge (in case I encounter something large with large teeth) and of course my bow and quiver. I tucked the buck bomb into my pouch also and walked to my stand. The usual routine of checking the camera etc. went off without a hitch. Now to set off  “The Buck Bomb”.

I read the directions thoroughly so that I made sure to use it correctly. I pointed it down wind just like the can said and clicked the nozzle. I set it on the ground and everything was as planned. Bomb is going off like a charm.

I start toward my ladder stand and head up. All of a sudden out of nowhere…the wind switches directions. The slight breeze switches for a moment and drifts directly at me.

I at this point am covered in a fine mist of, you got it, deer urine. Doe estrus to be exact. I am trying not to gag at the fully odorful smell. (I know that is not a word but it describes the Bomb very well). The wind switches back and the canister completes it’s dispensing. I think mother nature likes to play pranks on me. Maybe because I find it amusing after the fact.I finish climbing up the ladder and settle in. I am not giving up my time in the stand for anything.

My sit was quite uneventful and I didn’t see any deer. I can’t say whether or not the “Buck Bomb” works or not. I really was not sitting still as usual. I was rather fidgety. I could not get away from the aroma. I can say that the smell does cling to everything, just as it says on the can. The stand, my clothing, my face mask, my bow,  my hands, the surrounding trees, everything and it only takes a few seconds.

The other reason it was not a fair trial was that I was now facing my real dilemma. I was going to have to get down and walk back out of the woods smelling like the Bomb. You know the stories that are running through my mind. I can just see the news stories across the country.  “Big buck attacks and kills huntress that smells like the Bomb” or maybe “Wardens find huntress trampled by jealous does”.

Needless to say the hunt didn’t turn out quite the way that I would have liked it to and neither did my product review, but I am finding it kinda humorous now. It brings a whole new meaning to “Smelling like the Bomb!”

Hi Mr. Buck!
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tali1As many of you know how I encourage taking little ones into the woods. It can be a very rewarding adventure to let your little ones experience nature first hand. I love taking our little girl to ride on the rhino when I go to check the stands. She has been riding with me since she was born and is usually singing and making all kinds of noise and all that stuff that kids do. My theory is the if we do it all summer and fall the deer are just used to it as well as the sound of the Rhino.

It was a beautiful, sunny warm fall day and we were enjoying our usual ride. We have been working really hard on being quiet in the woods, which for her is often a struggle. This day however she was a bit tired from all the fresh air she had earlier in the day and was in a semi trance like state .  I always have my bow with and release on just in case we see something I would like to shoot. We seldom see anything but does and since our herd here is so depleted I have chosen not to take one this year.

As we rode along I notice antlers behind a windfall. I could see from quite a distance away that it was not a buck I wanted to harvest this year so we just rode until we could get fairly close. I wanted to practice getting out and getting the bow out of the case but he bolted and ran a short distance away. Little girl thought it was fun and we continued on our way.

We rode through the woods for about a 1/2 hour, checking each stand and looking for deer or signs of the approaching rut. As we circled around and came close to where the small buck had been earlier, we watched the woods closely to see if we could see him. As we approached the T- trail I glance up in front of us and realized there was a deer standing right in front of us.

I said to our little girl, “look a deer”. At that moment I also realize what I first thought was a doe, was actually a very nice buck. His antlers were beyond his ears and I didn’t see them up against the background brush at first. I whispered, “Mommy wants to shoot that buck” as I slid out and around the Rhino, to get the bow out of the case.

512px-whitetailbuckI was amazed as he stood there like a statue, 30 yards in front of us broadside. As I was putting the arrow into my bow and clipping my release to the bow, the semi comatose child comes out of her trance and yells…”Hi mister buck!” and she waves wildly at him.

Now some of you are probably thinking…of course, she didn’t want mommy to shoot him. Quite the contrary, as he starts running (and waving back at her with his tail) she starts yelling at me quite miffed. “Shoot him mommy, shoot him!”.

She is  looking at me in total disgust. Her little wrinkled up forehead, hands on hips and lip pushed out. I am sure she was thinking “What is wrong with you? Why didn’t you shoot him?. At this point all I can do is laugh until I almost pee my pants.

This is one episode of the “deer that got away” that will live on, in my most favorite hunting memories forever. I have a favorite hunting memory of each and every one of my children and not one of them involves killing a deer. It is all about taking them with, having fun with them and making memories! And sometimes waving bye bye to Mr. Buck!

Be the Tree!
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Sitting in the deer stand can sometimes be a little boring when the deer are not co-operating. This particular day I was amused by several animals and their antics!

black-squirrelOne day last week I was sitting in my stand when I became very bored. I have to sit extremely still in my stand since the leaves have fallen because I am very exposed. I must have been doing a fantastic job of sitting still since the neighboring black squirrel, climbed right up the tree next to my stand and was about to jump onto my leg or in my lap.

Now I am not afraid of squirrels of any color, but I was not too keen on him climbing my leg. I am pretty sure I would not have been sitting still very long if that had happened! We have all heard the song, The day the squirrel went bizerk, well this would have been darn close! I probably would have had to try out my safety harness while dancing and shaking the squirrel from my leg.

I turned slightly so my arrow was pointed at him and moved enough for him to realize that I was not, in fact, a tree and it could be dangerous if he tried to attack. He apparently was not appreciative that my Prois hunting clothing in Realtree  AP camo had fooled him. He proceeded to sit and chastise me for making a fool of him. He chattered and spit and I think he might have even been swearing at me! lol.  He definitely covered up any sound I could have possibly made that day.  Life in the wood is fun and fooling the squirrel? That was pretty funny.

Somewhere in between tongue lashings from the squirrel I heard a flutter and felt something land on my hat. I felt something brush my eyelash. The tail feather of a chickadee! He had landed on the brim of my hat. I was looking cross-eyed at the bum of the chickadee. I almost burst out laughing that I had fooled the little bugger and was wishing at that moment for a pair of those glasses that take video. I figured no one would believe this!chickadee

Well the chickadee finally  flew away and the squirrel continued cussing and swearing at me, all the time stealing corn from the bait pile. I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon in the warm sun pretending to be a tree. It is so much fun to be one with mother nature!

Oh and yes I saw deer too!

Mom and Dad 50 yrs. together!
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anniversary-front1In this day and age when marriages come and go I would just like to recognize my parents as having the fortitude to stay the course for 50 yrs. together. Have they always been perfectly happy years? Most yes but this is a true marriage and they have had their ups and downs. But the thing I admire the most is that they did it, they reached that milestone that I will probably never be lucky enough to reach.

One of the things my parents did together when they were young was hunt. (Yes I didn’t have a chance, mom hunted before she met dad so I got it from both sides!). Hunting together can be some of the most fun dates out there. The excitement of being together but not usually saying a word. I guess it is one way to tell if there is chemistry between you. (Ladies there is no BS going on it’s all body language).

Maybe that is why guys like gals that hunt…they aren’t talking! lol I know it isn’t or wasn’t our feminine hunting clothing back then because there was no such thing. Only now can we strut our stuff in Prois Hunting Clothing! (Shameless plug…you can find it in our Camp Store). It isn’t our makeup job because we usually can’t wear any and our hair? Well let’s just say hats are not the best thing for beautiful hair. Pretty sure it’s the not talking thing.

Anyway I just wanted to do a little shout out for the couple that started out hunting together and have made it 50 years in marriage. Mom and Dad congrats! We love you!

Infolinks 2013