Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson
For March 5th, 2010 Edition.
Ah yes - March has arrived! Never a year passes, when March ends up on my calendar, that I don't vividly recall my dad lamenting, "God created March because Eternity was not long enough." As a very young kid I didn't understand what dad was trying to say, but the older I became the clearer was his message!
Recently, while Wifee Poo and I were watching an old re-run of Family Feud, starring Richard Dawson, one of the final questions was, "A hundred people were asked, what is your least favorite month?" I instantly yelled at the TV, "MARCH!" And guess what, that was the most popular answer! No surprise there for me and probably not for most year around residents who live in the far northern latitudes!
A phone call from our oldest granddaughter, Kelly, who is presently a senior at Platteville, rekindled old memories of my college days. Kelly and I chatted for a few minutes and than she told me she needed to run and get some lunch at the cafeteria before her next class. I replied she was lucky to be able to afford to eat in the cafeteria, which prompted her to ask where and what I ate during my college days. That's when my memory really kicked into high gear!
I spent my entire freshman year in the men's dorm at Superior State with Tom Dean as a roommate. In September of 1942 Tom and I started kindergarten together at the then new Red Brick School in St. Germain. After another eight years in grade school we spent four memorable years as classmates and best buddies at Eagle River High. So it was natural for us to continue as roommates at college.
In our freshman year during the fall of 1955 Tom bagged a deer with a bow and his mom canned much of the meat to help sustain us in school. We'd heat the jars of smoked venison by taking them to the rest room and placing them in a sink filled with hot water. After which we'd make venison sandwiches in our room, despite the fact that was a no-no.
We also bagged lots of ducks during October, which we consumed after they were cooked at one of our buddy's apartment. By driving home occasionally on weekends we were able to restock our food supplies through the generosity of our parents.
At the beginning of our sophomore year Tom and I rented a downstairs apartment from a minister and his wife, which allowed us to really do some gourmet cooking! (If one greatly stretches the definition of gourmet!)
During the November rifle season in 1956 Tom and I drove back to St. Germain in Tom's 1948 Studebaker and hunted with my uncle's gang at the Anderson-Jorgensen Deer Camp. Tom bagged a huge 200-pound plus twelve-point piebald (brown and white spots) buck opening morning and I added a six-pointer on Sunday. So, the two college kids had lots of meat for the rest of our sophomore year!
We hung Tom's monster buck in my folks woodshed and butchered my buck and took the meat back to Superior, where we stored the chops, steaks and burger in a rented deep freezer that already contained numerous ducks, grouse and rabbits.
Disappointingly for me, Tom dropped out of school at mid-term and joined the historic 101st Airborne Paratroopers. I was forced to give up our rented basement apartment and moved in with two other college kids in a sleazy apartment on the second floor of a downtown cockroach hotel. That arrangement didn't last too long before Gene Olson and I found a bedroom apartment less than a block from school.
Mr. & Mrs. Lee were both wonderfully kind to Gene and I. Mrs. Lee worked in the college cafeteria and her hubby was retired. Gene and I were allowed to use their kitchen, which allowed us to continue to eat economically. However, we ran out of venison in late February.
The vision of Tom's buck hanging in my folks woodshed appeared in my mind quite often and I wondered if the local mice had left any of the choice cuts still intact. Mom and dad were working in Chicago that winter so our resort was completely snowed shut from the outside world. Gene and I decided we'd risk a trip to St. Germain and bring what might be left of Tom's buck back to Superior to re-supply our stash of venison.
In early March I made a phone call to the town chairman of St. Germain, Bill Franke, and asked if he could get the snowplow driver to open the road to my folks resort. Mr. Franke asked why I needed the road opened and when I told him he got a good laugh concerning my intent. He said he'd get right on it and I thanked him for his help.
Very early the following Saturday I fired up my 1949 well used Buick and Gene and I headed east on U.S. 2. The two of us arrived at Kasomo Lodge by mid-morning and trudged through hip deep snow covering the forty plus yards from the plowed area to the woodshed behind the main lodge. Through the open doorway we were relieved to see Tom's buck right where I had last viewed it in late November!
Naturally, the huge beast was frozen solid so Gene and I each grabbed an antler and skidded the buck through the snow like a toboggan and tied it across the hood of my Buick. A quick inspection of the body cavity indicated the local mice had indulged in considerable dining on the flanks and ribs of the buck, but we suspected the good stuff in the interior was still fit for human consumption.
The three and a half hour trip back to Superior was memorable. Without exception all the passengers in all the vehicles we met along the way took a "double take" when they viewed a huge deer suspended across the hood of a black Buick three months after the season had closed. Gene and I fully expected to be stopped by every cop between Vilas and Douglas County, but we arrived at the Lee residence safe and sound, and possibly sane.
The buck hung in the Lee's basement for three days before it thawed enough so Gene and I could skin the critter and harvest the steaks and chops the mice had not discovered. We stored the protein rich supplies in a large cardboard box on the front porch of the Lee's home, which provided two poor college kids with many sandwiches and dinners well into late April!
After I finished telling this story to Kelly she said she'd decided to skip lunch. I couldn't figure out why!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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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