Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For October 22nd, 2010 Edition.

As I begin work on this column the date is October 5th. My reason for creating a column so far in advance of its publication date is directly related to the piles of “outdoor stuff” that clutters my den where my computer is located. The reason for the clutter is I’m organizing gear and equipment for my 11th annual waterfowl hunt and pilgrimage to the Land of Endless Potholes out on the western prairie area of North Dakota.

My six companions and I, plus four dogs, will depart early on the morning of Oct. 9th and return home on the 17th. The group, billed as “The Not So Magnificent Seven” this year includes four veterans and three rookies. JR DeWitt, a very long time pal of mine, and I are charter members of the group that pioneered the expedition for the first time in Oct. of 2000. Ed Petras, also a very longtime friend, will be making his 10th pilgrimage. Jerry DeWitt is on board for the 5th time and Duke Munger, Steve Dejardine and Andy DeWitt, all rookies, are first time travelers on this annual trek west. A third charter member, Tom Tilkens of Green Bay, has opted out of our western waterfowl hunt this year to join his son, Mark, in quest of elk in Oregon. Mostly we’ll miss his gourmet cooking and inflated tales of his shooting and gun cleaning skills.

I will give my readers a blow-by-blow account of our adventures and miss-adventures in next week’s column.

For me, October is a busy month. I put my boat in winter storage on Oct. 3rd after a final fruitless half-day musky hunt with Ed and John Pelletteiere on October 2nd. After suffering through temperatures in the 40s all morning and fighting a brisk, raw northwest wind, the highlight of the day was stopping for lunch at Michael’s in Manitowish Waters.

Before the fishing season opened I promised myself and wifee poo that I’d reduce my guiding schedule to “about 20 days.” After six decades and over 5000 days on the water my aging body is telling me to retire, but I often don’t listen to that little nagging voice inside me. As Maxwell Smart, the former TV detective used to quip, “I missed it by this much”, as he’d indicate by displaying a small amount by the space between his thumb and forefinger. I ended my 60th season with 42 days on familiar lakes and streams and told Peggy and my little inner voice I’d try harder to downsize in 2011.

Besides putting my boat to bed for the winter I had to round up all my various fishing rods and reels that were scattered around the garage and hang them neatly on the rod rack in the basement. All nineteen of them look lonesome knowing they’ll be laid off for the next seven months. Why do I need nineteen rods and reels you might ask? I have no idea, and will freely admit some of them haven’t made a cast in years. But possibly the reason for so many rods and reels might be somewhat similar to why my wife has a closet full of shoes, many that haven’t been on her feet for years. Just a thought on my part.

My three outboard motors and electric trolling motor also needed to be winterized and stored along with four tackle boxes, life vests, boat cushions and various other necessary and non-necessary fishing equipment.

Another October job is putting all the lawn and garden accessories, tools and ornaments away till next spring. Let’s see – I found four shovels of various sizes designed for special uses - several specialized “diggers” - watering and fertilizing gadgets – clippers, snipers - two football field length hoses - flower pots, thing-a-ma-jigs and what-ya-ma-call-its.

There are a half-dozen glass geese that spend the summer sitting on top of fence posts along the edge of our driveway. We have another half-dozen goofy looking dragonflies and plastic birds atop stout wire supports that line another fence that surrounds one of our five major flowerbeds. When the wind blows their little wings attempt to mimic actual flight. Most folks realize they are fakes when they notice they aren’t actually flying.

Nine plastic buckets may seem like overkill – but I did put nine plastic buckets neatly stacked and in a line on one of the shelves in the garage next to the geese, dragonflies and plastic birds.

Our two huge wheelbarrows are overflowing with various other lawn ornaments, birdbaths, garden signs and etc. The two plaster of Paris statues of a boy and a girl angel need their faces washed – but I’ll leave that till next spring. The fake dripping faucet won’t stop dripping, the ceramic bullfrogs needs a paint job and the solar powered lighthouse needs a new battery.

Then there is a wooden cutout of a Canada goose sitting atop a stake that acts as a guard near the trellis archway and walkway that leads to Peggy’s flower gardens. I was hoping the goose would join a flock of its counterparts heading south, but the goose once again opted to stay for the winter.

A brace of signs at the entrance to the garden walkway remind visitors, “This is Peggy’s Garden of Weedin’” and “Tender Lovin’ Care Does the Job” - both of which need a rest. All this, plus a variety of other minor garden condiments, now resides in peaceful semi-retirement next to my boat in our storage shed.

All kidding aside, my lovely bride of 52 years does a great job of creating a flowery wonderland of beauty for the two of us and our visiting friends to enjoy during the season of summer. I’m just the “go-fer” and semi-handyman who occasionally makes a poor attempt at humor.

Later today I’m going to attack the job I despise most. Thank goodness I only have to do it twice a year and actually, the required task only takes about ten or fifteen minutes. It’s called – “cleaning the filter in the septic tank.” Now if that doesn’t create an instant mental image I don’t know what would!

First I cover my hands with rubber gloves. Next I remove the six long screws that secure the round, green plastic top on the underground tank. Then I take a deeeeep breath and remove the top. A foot or so below me is a handle protruding from what septic tanks are designed to contain. The handle needs to be turned counterclockwise ninety degrees to unlock the two and a half foot long filter. From there the trip to our nearest outside faucets is only about thirty feet, a distance that is covered as quickly as possible. By the time I reach the faucet the deeeeep breath I took not so long ago needs to be replaced. UK!

With the faucet open full bore the filter is quickly cleaned. Within a couple more minutes the filter is returned to its home – the top is secured – and I’m good till April when the bi-annual ordeal will be repeated.

Peggy often asks me if I have any idea why the flowers that grow under and near the outside faucet look so healthy and grow so rapidly. I tell her I have no idea.

Can you keep a secret?

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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