Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For September 10th, 2010 Edition.

For truly dedicated outdoors persons Ma Nature provides a nearly unlimited number of opportunities for those who partake in enjoying outdoor sports. A recent excursion I shared with our oldest sibling sparked a multitude of cherished memories I've stored concerning past outdoor outings with our four children and four grandchildren. I'm sure my rambling recollections will spark similar memories in many of my reader's minds - especially those who are in or nearing their Golden Years!

Our two oldest kids, Chris and Cherie, (now both just through the doorway of their fifth decade,) as youngsters spent many, many hours with their dad learning all sorts of neat stuff about the out of doors. While they were recently out of diapers we explored vast expanses of the mighty St.John's River in Central Florida while catching bass and the two rug rats tagged along to watch dad shoot a few ducks. There was also some overnight tent camping on the open prairie lands, which included target shooting with .22s, keeping a lookout for water moccasins and dodging semi-wild Brahma bulls and wild pigs.

Son Chris also acted as a retriever on dove, quail and squirrel hunts, plus took part in the cleaning of the game prior to handing it over to Wifee Poo to be cooked and served for dinner.

The Anderson family moved back to St. Germain on a permanent basis in June of 1966, which allowed our two oldest kids to experience a whole new set of outdoor adventures and skills.

Besides fishing for all species grouse hunting was added to duck hunting, followed by hands on instruction in deer and hare hunting, plus trapping 101. The mental vision of Cherie getting bowled over off a stump she was sitting on when she accidentally pulled both triggers on her twenty-gauge double barrel shotgun is still vivid in my mind. The blue-wing teal that was bagged with the double blast is a minor part of the memory!

Chris bagged his first deer at age 14 using his dad's little .30-carbine. Cherie followed suit a year later when she was 14 using the same weapon.

Cherie's first deer was taken on Thanksgiving Day. It was snowing hard when her brother and I put Cherie on a stand at the east end of Weber's Ravine. Chris and I made a drive through the jack pine thicket and kicked out a group of deer that had sought refuge there from the storm. A single shot was followed by a pause and then three more rounds echoed through the snowy forest. After another thirty seconds of silence a faint female voice drifted through the snow towards Chris and I. "DAD - I GOT ONE!"

My daughter was standing over her first deer quivering slightly with a wide grin on her face. That image is still vividly etched in my memory. I took out my knife and attempted to hand it to her while saying, "Well, get to work and finish the job." The smile turned to a look of horror and the juvenile hunter did a poor imitation of a rapid Michael Jackson moonwalk. Dad finished the job.

Anna and Wendy were added to our family in 1966 and 1968 respectively. Anna never took up the sport of hunting and Wendy's career in the sport amounted to one day of hare hunting and bagging one hare. But both of them did well in the sport of fishing.

Both girls received basic instruction in bass and brook trout fishing. Later they learned how to do battle with the monsters of Lake Michigan. Wendy captured a 23-pound king salmon, along with a number of lesser models and Anna subdued an 18-pound king and smaller members of the clan when they were teenagers.

When Wendy was a pre-schooler I took a year off from my teaching career to contemplate whether or not I would continue in the profession. I cut pulp and trapped extensively. Wendy was my assistant all fall and into the winter when I checked and re-set traps. She often speaks fondly of our time together in the woods and on the water "trapping with dad."

As the years passed the family took part in overnight tent camping at the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage as well as numerous cross-country ski trips on the Escanaba, Razorback Ridges, Shannon Lake, Clear Lake and Anvil Lake trail systems. We developed our own trails around our property and maintained a rustic trail from our home to Clear View Lodge on Big St. Germain. We frequently used this trail to dine at the supper club and returned home with the aid of a full or nearly full winter moon or a sky filled with twinkling stars.

Anna still annually fishes for trout with her dad.. This includes at least one overnight campout, canoeing for brookies on a pristine stream in the U.P and cooking and eating our catch.

Cherie only occasionally gets out to do a bit of fishing as running Sister's Saloon is pretty much a full time job.

Wendy now lives in Texas, which could possibly mean our days of sharing the outdoors in the northwoods is limited to reminiscing via memory.

Chris and I still get to spend quality time together fishing and hunting as we only live a quarter mile apart. Such was the case on the weekend of August 28 & 29.

My tales of canoeing, camping and trout fishing on a highly remote stretch of the White River in Bayfield County has intrigued and stimulated Chris' interest in such an adventure for years. Both of our calendars were clear for the last weekend in August and I "guided" my son on a two-day wilderness adventure through 22 miles of the fabled Bibon Swamp.

Saturday was hot, humid and very windy. On a scale of one to ten as a trout fishing day the 28th rated a minus five! During a relaxing five hours on our downstream float we boated but six trout, two being legal. We reached our campsite about 2:00 p.m. and after setting up our tent and organizing our equipment we simply relaxed in our folding canvas lawn chairs and watched the slow moving water head east towards it's eventual arrival in Lake Superior while verbally re-living former outdoor outings we've shared.

A brace of internal body stimulants preceded 12-ounce New York Strip steaks grilled over the glowing coals of an alder fire while giant Idaho potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil baked to perfection.

After Old Sol slowly dropped behind a stand of giant ash and elm trees the wind subsided and native wildlife began to make their presence known. Dragonflies by the dozens devoured mosquitoes. Nighthawks swooped and darted doing likewise. A variety of ducks followed the twisting course of the river in quest of the perfect location to spend the night. Various songbirds flitted forth and back from bank to bank singing wilderness songs.

As darkness began to settle in Chris made a comment that perfectly sums up why humans enjoy an outdoor experience such as the one we were sharing. "Dad, I can't recall the last time I could sit by a crackling fire and not hear a car, a phone ring, a dog bark, or any other foreign sounds of civilization!"

The sound of buzzing mosquitoes finally drove us into our tent about 8:30. We slept in total peace and quiet for ten hours and then enjoyed scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, American fries and fresh guide's coffee prior to enjoying a second day in paradise!

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:  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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