-By Brandon Wikman
The state of Wisconsin is only a mere three days away from turning completely blaze orange. Thousands of diehard deer hunters from across the nation make their way north to participate in the annual nine-day deer firearm season. A time when families gather, jokes are passed and the sweet smell of chili lingers in the kitchen.
I’ve always been passionate about strictly archery deer hunting, but chasing big bucks with a firearm isn’t so bad either. I remember my very first opening day like it was yesterday. I was far too young to shoot a gun, but I tagged along with my uncle snacking on beef jerky and anxiously waiting to watch him clobber a deer. I would layer myself until I could barely move my arms and always made sure I stuffed my pockets with hand-warmers. I’d bring a few magazines, a handful of candy and something to drink. During the evening our hunting group would enjoy a hot meal, tell stories about each of our day’s highlights and kick back to watch a good hunting video. It’s times like those that never seem slip the mind. It’s always a pleasure to recollect and realize hunting isn’t all about shooting deer, but rather enjoying one’s company and kindling the hunting fire within. I have my uncle to thank for inviting me to experience a lifestyle enriched in deep-hearted memory.
It seems as if my hunting habits haven’t changed a whole lot since then. I always pack myself a lunch full of goodies, thermos brim full of hot cocoa, and a hunting magazine or two to keep me occupied. I still harbor the excitement of opening day and never regret the late night early morning transitions. It’s just all a part of the deer hunting experience.
This year, as always, I will be hunting with my good friends at Bluff Bucks Outfitters in Buffalo County, WI. Today I had spare time between classes and managed to escape college life, but only briefly. I spent the afternoon in a marsh I know all to well. The time was spent double-checking my gun stand, re-clearing shooting lanes and putting my Moultrie cams to work.
I’ve been capturing photographs of a few dandy bucks in the area, but all were taken during the wee hours of the morning. I am hoping with enough luck, one of those bone-headed beastly critters will wander by my tree stand during shooting hours. One thing I’ve learned is that there isn’t any telling when the moment of truth will come. I learned that last year as I climbed out of my stand at noon only to shimmy back up it to fire a bullet into my largest whitetail to date. During firearm season, anything goes. A neighbor may spook a deer your way to or from his lofty perch or perhaps a hot doe crosses with buck-baggage following.
If I were to shed any advice that I’ve learned over the years from great hunters, I’d simply say sit all day. Firearm season only last a couple weeks. It’s not like you can run wild through the woods with a loaded firearm everyday.
When it all boils down to it, firearm season in the great state of Wisconsin or anywhere for that matter has a positive rippling effect that has kept hunting traditions alive and families tightly-knit. I hope all of you have a successful hunting adventure and as always, hunt safe.