-By Brandon Wikman
Blazes of simmering sunshine cast upon my face as the soothing echo of clapping waves applaud my presence. The grainy beach sand toasts my backside, while the sun burns my front. The sounds of people laughing, seagulls calling, and shouts from hippy-merchants selling necklace beads reassure me that Spring Break is finally here. A time to relax and enjoy the essence of what some call, ‘living the life.’
I woke up to the drumbeat ring tone of Bob Marley on my cell phone. Reality seems to always find ways to shatter my heart and wildest dreams. It was a call from my roomies. They couldn’t help but rub in how much I am missing out on. They endlessly explained the summer-like weather, paradise beaches, and entertaining nightlife of Panama City Beach, Florida; a place where hundreds of thousand crazy college kids splurge into a vacation of dreams.
I may not be experiencing intense volleyball matches or seafood buffets, but I’ve been keeping occupied with all that the Midwest during March has to offer. Last week I spent the entire weekend with my great hunting partner, Butch Fox, who owns Bluff Bucks Outfitters. We decided to take a mini road trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a trade show. The annual Minnesota Deer Classic opened during the coming weekend.
Butch and I weren’t exhibiting and had no booth space to attend. We enjoyed walking around the show taking a look at the products and services being represented. There were a few neat hunting and outdoor companies that caught our attention. From the versatile tree stand that can safely hang in the most twisted timber to a new hunting blind that just looked deadly. After two long days spent breezing through products, it was time to head back home.
We arrived back to Butch’s Sunday night. I still had another 2 ½ hour trek to my home in central Wisconsin. I anticipated seeing my family and the friends that didn’t migrate south for the week.
The last couple days I’ve been laying countless footprints in the muddy forest and fields. The shed-antler search has been awfully slow. I have yet to find any behind the house this year. My cousin struck gold when he found an antler that measured into the mid 80-inch range. It was by far one of the best shed antlers I’ve ever witnessed in this part of the state. The most depressing thing for me was to realize he’d never even stepped foot into an agriculture field or woodlot to find the solid chunk of bone. He spotted the antler while driving back home. It lay untouched in the middle of backcountry ditch. He was simply at the right place during the right time. Sometimes pure luck is involved in hunting; this was definitely one of those occasions.
The next two days I’ll be preparing for my next trade show as my weeklong break dwindles and the college population of the state regains its density. Next week I will be making a special visit to the Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. The National Archers in the School Program (NASP) will be hosting their national youth archery competition. The event draws hundreds of kids from across the nation for a Friday and Saturday of competitive archery shooting. It will be an absolute blast.
Even though Florida was dancing, rattling, and rolling in the back of my mind the last few days, I still managed to have fun with what the Midwest has to offer during this time of the year.