Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson
For September 24th, 2010 Edition.
Much of life is about making choices. I've frequently been asked what my favorite types of fishing and hunting are, which of course forces choices to be made. Ever since I was a teenager my answers have always been the same - stream fishing for trout and hunting ducks.
Dad grew up on the banks of the Oconto River in the county of the same name here in Wisconsin and shared his love and enthusiasm for both sports with me, which probably had a great deal to do with what caused me to make the foregoing choices myself. I had the good fortune of being raised just a short distance from a locally famous trout stream plus a five star duck hunting wetlands, which no doubt contributed to my ever-growing love of those two sports during my youth. Add to that the fact dad was a great model and teacher and - presto - his kid followed in his footsteps.
Plum Creek was and is located about three-quarters of a mile -as the crow flies - from where I was raised and still live. My love affair with trout fishing began one day in June of 1948 when I was eleven. Choice black chubs, being in short supply due to the unusually hot weather, prompted dad to drive me over to Plum Creek near Brooker's Bridge to teach me how to catch black chubs with a hook and line. His reason for this was due to the fact dad was a popular fishing guide, booked with clients nearly every day, and he required the finest minnows on earth to use for bait. Besides that, due to the fact Plum Creek was a trout stream using traps to catch minnows was at the time illegal.
The zany tale of what eventually happened to me during my short career as a chub catching kid is recorded in minute detail in my second book, "Growing Up Isn't All Fishing and Hunting."
As I worked my way through my formative years I squeezed time from my busy work schedule at our resort during the summer months to fish for trout in Plum Creek. After mom okayed my request for early dismissal I'd gather my fly rod, creel and a container of worms and ride my bike to paradise. During grasshopper season I'd often walk to my destination cross country catching 'hoppers for bait along the way. The tip section of my South Bend fiberglass fly rod was used as a "grasshopper whacker" to secure a tobacco can full of trout fishing bait.
There were more times than not when good old Plum Creek would supply the Anderson Family with daily limit of ten brook trout. When my creel contained ten tasty brookies- or sometimes less - and my time allotment had expired, I'd sit on the bank and clean my catch, line my creel with cool, wet grass to keep my catch fresh and hightail it for home.
I often wonder how many teenaged kids of the present generation can even imagine what I'm talking about, and personally, I think that's not a good thing.
Trout season officially ends for the season on September 30th, and as of this writing I have two more outings planned before the season closes. Mike Frank and I will pit our skill/luck while canoeing for brookies on a popular U.P. stream and our daughter, Anna, and I will do likewise but add an overnight campout to the trout fishing adventure.
I also caught "duck hunting mania" the same year I was smitten with "trout fishing fever." Dad took me along with him on opening day of duck season, which then always took place on the first Saturday in October. His opening day choice for our hunt was Squaw Creek, a few miles west of Minocqua and north of highway 70. Dad had no trouble "limiting out" on mallard and teal while his young and inexperienced companion blasted holes in the sky. However, by what was certainly "divine intervention" a blue wing teal somehow ran into a load of number six shot from my 20-gauge double barrel shotgun and I instantly caught the non-fatal affliction I alluded to earlier. (This experience is also chronicled in my second book.)
Since my introduction to the sport of waterfowling, 2010 will mark my 62nd season in quest of quackers. And I'm proud to say I have not as yet missed an opening day! From 1948 through 1959 my opening day duck hunting adventures took place at Devine Lake, or Aurora Lake here in Vilas County and Bear Creek in Douglas County during my college days at Superior.
From 1960 through 1965 I opened the season by hunting the flooded marshes along the St. John's River in Central Florida. From 1966 to the present I've enjoyed opening day hunting a wide variety of locations locally.
Besides sharing a duck blind or a canoe while "jump shooting" for ducks with family members or friends, retrievers have played an important role in making my favored type of hunting so enjoyable. I personally have very strong feelings that anyone who hunts any type of waterfowl should have a well-trained retriever on hand to locate and retrieve downed birds. Way too many crippled birds are lost each season, mainly by hunters who do not hunt with a good dog. And yes, even a few birds will elude capture even with the aid of the best retriever, but that is a reasonably rare occurrence.
Pat, a black cocker spaniel was my families first "huntin' dog." Dad called him "a dog for all seasons" as Pat would hunt anything with fur or feathers once he figured out what you were hunting for. He retrieved ducks and geese, worked well on grouse, woodcock and sharptails, plus pheasants in South Dakota. He'd chase hares and rabbits, tree squirrels and kill snakes. "Old Pat" taught me much about hunting!
Since Old Pat left for the Big Dog House in the Sky, just over Rainbow Bridge, I've been privileged to learn a great deal from Duke, Teal, Maggie, Sadie, Siah and presently Belle, all black Labs. Squeezed in between these great retrievers I've hunted hares and rabbits with Bunny, Freckles and Bugsy, all beagles and Piddles, a Lab/beagle mix.
My (our) newest addition to this all-star cast is Buffy, a five-month old yellow female Lab that I intended to introduce to the wonderful world of duck hunting, with the aid of Belle, on tomorrow, which is opening day for ducks. But alas, it was not to be. A freak accident three weeks ago resulted in our young gal breaking her right front leg in two places. After extensive surgery and the insertion of four pins in her leg she is recovering nicely but will miss the entire duck season after being placed on "injured reserve" status. Such is life!
But come tomorrow, our son, Chris and I plus my veteran of seven opening days will work together as a team operating out of the "old family duck blind" marking my 62nd opening day for duck and making memories!
Ah yes - life is good!
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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