Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson
For May 2nd, 2008 Edition.
For me, the months of April and May hold mountains of anticipation concerning cherished upcoming events. Even though winter is a favored season, by the time Easter rolls around my thoughts turn towards annual spring flings and spirit lifting pilgrimages to recharge my batteries.
With the arrival of April many songbirds and various species of waterfowl wing their way back to their breeding grounds. The arrival of our resident flock of red-wing blackbirds is always a welcome sight, along with those red, red robins that come bob, bob bobbin’ along looking for a handout. This spring a small flock of drake wood ducks appeared on the creek a day prior to our two-day snow storm in mid April, along with a lonesome pair of mallards. Two days later a pair of Canada geese checked out the housing situation, followed by clouds of grackles.
As always the weather pattern dictates when JR DeWitt and I journey south to the Fox River for our annual catfish outing. We stay with our good buddy, John Keipe, who owns a lovely hundred plus year old cabin at riverside. The three of us spend three days in semi-solitude leisurely soaking worms and minnows for wandering catfish, eating a tad too much rich food and reminiscing during the late afternoon over goblets of iced internal body stimulants. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!
Our annual outing at the Fox vacillates between very early April and mid-April. Back in 2000 when we had one of those early springs we arrived at John’s cabin for the festivities the last week of March! This year we had to wait until April 21st to head south.
A second joyous occasion that takes place in April is my annual spring turkey hunt. For almost two decades a pal from Green Bay, Dr. Tom Tilkens, and I hunted those wary birds either in Michigan or Wisconsin, on either side of the mighty Menominee River, depending on which state could provide us with turkey tags. Neither of us actually hurt the turkey population too much, but we always have a great time, except one year when an April blizzard cut our hunting time to one day.
In April of 2005 Tom and I accepted an invitation from a mutual pal to hunt with him on property he owns in the southwest portion of our state. “Duke” Munger, a former police officer from Green Bay and his wife, Sue, retired to a magnificent ninety-two acre chunk of beautiful rolling rural real estate. Besides getting to hunt in “new territory” I was able to coax a 24-pound gobbler into range.
In April of ‘06 we added a Chicago boy, Don Capoccia, to our merry band of would-be turkey slayers. Lady Luck was on our side and all three of us went home with a succulent young tom turkey. That was Don’s first ever turkey hunt and now he’s hooked for life. Turkey or no turkey the sights and sounds of just being in the spring turkey woods is excellent hypnotic medicine for ones spirit and soul!
Don, Tom and Duke are also “regulars” that are part of what has become a very large “opening day crowd” that joins me in honoring the opening of open water fishing season “up-north. So, beginning last year we opted to plan our turkey hunt the week preceding the opening of walleye and pike season. Wisconsin sets six different five-day spring turkey seasons and hunters can apply for one tag for one season. Each five-day season begins on a Wednesday, so we only have two and a half days at most to hunt gobblers. We arrive at Duke’s farm on Tuesday to do a bit of scouting, and we must leave turkey country by noon on Friday and drive north to get ready for the opening of fishing season on Saturday. All this rushing is sooooo stressful, but someone has to do it!
Over the past fifteen years the size of my opening weekend fishing gang has expanded from three persons in one boat to twelve persons in five boats! Volunteers keep coming out of the woodwork! But it’s heartwarming to realize there are so many folks willing to sacrifice themselves to have fun! And we do have fun!
We open the fishing season with a much too big and delicious breakfast at Wolf Pack Café. Then there’s a stop at Ray’s Landing for bait. Finally, about nineish we hit the water and leisurely attempt to entice a walleye or pike to join us. At 11:30 we all meet for shore lunch, generally prepared by Chef Tilkens, who is assisted by volunteers. Our noon feast is modest in scope, with something like ‘burgers, sloppy Joe’s, brats or Italian sausage, plus condiments.
After lunch it’s back on the water till about three. Then we head home to clean the catch and get ready for an evening “shin-dig” that will knock your socks off!
Generally, counting the anglers who worked so hard to provide the main entrée, plus the guest list, pushes the total number of partygoers past twenty. Wifee Poo and I host the event, with our deck that overlooks Lost Creek serving as the kitchen/bar/dining room. Fortunately, we have no nearby neighbors, so “whooping it up” in moderation is allowed until ten o’clock. Sunday is another day of slightly more serious fishing for those so inclined.
I often cringe when people complain about “livin’ in this Godforsaken country.” I consider anyone who is able to live here as being highly fortunate folks! There is so much to do and so much beauty that surrounds us, I can’t imagine how someone can’t love living in the north woods!
Here we can enjoy life without floods, severe forest fires, earthquakes, smog, rampant violent crime, traffic jams, road rage, mudslides, hurricanes, and overcrowding. Count our blessings!
As I write this column I have not as yet experienced this springs catfish outing, turkey hunt or the opening weekend of fishing season. But rest assured in upcoming columns I’ll fill you in on how we fared. (With a minimum of exaggerations!)
Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin. Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean, both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide. Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email: email@example.com or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.
Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here
Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger
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