After decades of deer hunting in Wisconsin – hunting in every condition from sunshine to snow – I can say I have never had a bad day hunting. Each hunt is unique, special and memorable.
As the days get cooler and shorter, the anticipation and excitement grows for hunters of all ages. Most of us have already sighted in our guns, purchased our licenses, readied our gear and are again eager to answer the annual questions.
Will, as expected this year, the rut still be on? Will the weather cooperate? Will a majestic, trophy buck emerge from the woods? Who will be at the hunting shack and what memories will we make together this year? Will turkey – and venison – be on the Thanksgiving table?
For many of us in the Northwoods, deer hunting is part of our DNA. It is more than a tradition. It is woven into the fabric of our culture. It is an individual, yet a shared experience. It unites us, and, in the days ahead, reunites many families and friends.
My wife, Cheryl, and our three grown sons will be back and our home will again serve as a deer camp. And one of the first things we will do is get out the photo album that chronicles the many special moments, and many smiles, of deer seasons past. Each photo has a story, each photo stirs a memory, and I look forward to adding another page or two to the album.
There are so many life lessons to be learned in a deer camp or a tree stand. Yes, it is about the hunt, about the pursuit of a deer, but so much more.
Let’s share that Northwoods’ tradition, the camaraderie of a deer camp and the smiles with those who may not have had the mentors we had in many of our homes and extended families.
It’s easier than ever to introduce someone new to hunting in Wisconsin. Anyone 10 or older can now obtain a hunting license and hunt without first completing a hunter education course. He or she must be accompanied by a licensed hunter, hunt within arm’s reach of the mentor, and follow other rules. Such mentored hunts remove barriers to hunting yet still allow people to safely experience hunting in a highly controlled manner.
My dad didn’t hunt when I was a kid growing up in Milwaukee. I was introduced to the sport by a good friend and fellow Boy Scout. He and his father took me – and my dad – on our first hunt north of Rhinelander when I was 14.
I was hooked. And so are my three sons.
Please consider introducing more women and families to the sport and becoming a mentor to a boy or girl. Share your joy, your wisdom, your skills. Pass them on to the next generation.
To learn more about these and many other DNR programs, give our Customer Service Center a call at 1-888-936-7463, or go online to our easy to search website at dnr.wi.gov.
The coming nine-days are special. Enjoy them. Be careful, courteous and stay safe.
John Gozdzialski, DNR Northern Region director, can be reached by calling 715-635-4002, or emailing John.Gozdzialski@Wisconsin.gov.