I started hunting late in life, but have learned to greatly appreciate the connection with nature and the fellowship with friends and family. There is something special about using your heightened sense of awareness as the silence of a crisp morning in the woods is altered by the sound of a deer stepping on a twig or hearing a turkey respond to your call or seeing a duck race towards you at dawn or the rush of a pheasant or grouse flushing in front of you. Hunting gets you into the woods or the field to enjoy each of these sensations.
My first hunt, was Grouse hunting in Northwest Ontario in September 2011 with good friend Fred Bouwman. The combination of Walleye fishing and Grouse hunting on crisp, sunny, fall days as the leaves change before our eyes. I had great success hunting Grouse that likely had never seen a human before.
After missing the annual Memorial Day trip, I was thrilled that Jeff Westra and Fred Bouwman wanted to go back to Canada in September 2017 for another Grouse Hunting/Walleye fishing trip. Good hunting in the low light hours in the morning and in the early evening. Good fishing and a memorable trip.
In September 2018, Andrew and his friend Tyler joined Fred and I on another combined Grouse hunting and Walleye fishing trip, but hunting was more difficult. Good fishing and great weather made for a fun trip.
In October 2012, son Andrew joined up with Scott’s in laws Roger and Blake Palmer, on a Pheasant hunting trip along the Missouri River in central South Dakota. Hunting the expansive public land that South Dakota provides without a dog made for tough hunting, but it was a fun trip.
We everyone’s busy schedule, finding time for a long drive to South Dakota, Andrew, Scott and I started hunting game farms in Wisconsin. The game farm coordinates with local dog handlers to use their dogs for our hunt. It is really fun to watch a good dog work a field to flush Pheasants and retrieve them. This has developed into a great family tradition, adding daughter Nona in 2019.
In 2013, we bought 13 acres of hunting land near our home. The property has an heated storage building, which serves as a warming shelter. 10 acres of wooded land is in the Wisconsin managed forest program and has a small stream running through it that empties into the Big Eau Pleine Flowage. Trail cameras show the diverse population of wildlife that calls these woods their home.
The Wisconsin gun deer hunting season is a strong tradition. With 600,000 licensed hunters entering the woods and fields across the state for the traditional 9-day gun deer season, forms the 7th largest armed militia in the world!
Jeff and Andrew helped me build 2 new tree stands in 2013. Jed and Jeff helped me move one of the to a new location in 2020. Alex helped me move a metal stand to a new spot.
Andrew joined me for the first deer hunt in 2013.
Daughter Nona often joins me in hunting the day after Thanksgiving. I recruited Linda and grandson Alex to put on the blaze orange to walk through the woods as a deer drive, without success. I often see does, but no bucks have walked past my stand – yet!
In 2020, Granddaughter Jenna got her first deer at age 15. Son-in-law Jed shot a big buck with his bow during the gun season!
Need to be ready to hunt in all kinds of weather, the woods are beautiful from sunrise to sunset.
I tried Turkey Hunting in the Spring of 2018 & 2019. I hunted with my cousin Jeff Westra for a couple days before setting up a blind and decoys outside our woods. It was exciting to call the birds and have them gobble back in return, but not close enough for a shot.
My good friend Ron Cunningham has a lake home in Watertown South Dakota, close to some great duck hunting in the pot hole region. Ron also has some great Labrador Retrievers that love swimming after downed birds. We found a little strip of land between two lakes were the ducks fly back and forth all day. In October 2019, I learned a lot about how fast ducks fly as they pass our blind. Wow! For a guy who lives in the deep woods, I still appreciate the beauty of sunrise over a prairie lake.
In October 2020, we added 2 days of Pheasant hunting to our duck hunting trip. Ron’s farmer friend Wendell was gracious to let us hunt his land as he finished combining his corn. The combine would chase out Pheasants for us.
With my limited experience in shooting, I started shooting trap to practice. Andrew and I shot trap competitively a couple times in the Rich Seubert Celebrity Trap Shoot and Charity Auction. We had limited success, but it was a fun experience and supporting a good cause.
I bought a trap thrower to shoot near our woods. I have enjoyed teaching the kids and grandkids how to shoot.