-By Brandon Wikman
Months of endless planning, tireless preparation, and continuous perseverance made last weekend’s camp a total success. A classroom full of eager kids and a handful of great volunteers helped create a once in a lifetime experience for the next generation of outdoors people.
This marked the 2nd annual Wik’s World Outdoors Camp experience. Now that I had the first year under my belt and a firm understanding of scheduling, seminars, and interactive sessions, I was able to create an entire day’s worth of outdoors lessons.
I added a few new demonstrations and attractions to this year’s camp. A new addition to the seminar room was the replica of Bob Decker’s giant deer, which was shot last fall in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. The hunting community knew the walking Wisconsin record throughout last summer by its nickname, which was called the legendary Field and Stream Buck. Decker was kind enough to let me showcase his Wisconsin non-typical record whitetail at the camp for hundreds of dazzled eyes to see. The buck scored a whopping 233-¼ inches. Teenagers stood motionless in awe gazing at the famous buck. It gave kids a new meaning to how big whitetail can grow.
This year also benchmarked an assortment of entirely new sessions for participants to engage in. The camp offers a program for people to learn how to photograph their trophy deer or turkey. We give great instructions on how to clean up the expired animal, how to position it for eye-pleasing pictures, and also what to look for in an aesthetic frame of mind.
The importance and understanding of deer calling is another critical topic we unveiled this year. We teach campers the basic fundamentals of calling techniques, vocabulary, and when to use each type of call. Campers are able to grunt, snort, and wheeze their way through the 20-minute demo and learn how to coax a monster buck into range. Deer calling wasn’t the only new tips and techniques section that was added.
We were lucky enough to have a professional game trapper and antique collector brief kids on the sport of trapping. Bob White of Adams, Wisconsin, brought a truckload of different traps that ranged in sizes, shapes, and styles. Many of his traps date back to the late 1800’s. He collects all kinds of fascinating gear and products that the kids absolutely loved.
The day ends with a blast, boom, and bang as we break out the shotguns and bust clay pigeons. Many participants have never had the opportunity of firing bb’s into the fragile orange colored disk gliding through the air. During the first few attempts, the clay pigeons left the thrower untouched. By the time we wrapped the session up, there were clay pigeon fragments scattered everywhere. It only took a little practice before the kids found there mark and became confident behind the shotgun.
As the day came to a close after hours of learning how to scout for deer, minimize human odor, score antler, build food plots, and position stands, the parents arrived to join our pizza party, award ceremony, and shopped at the Wik’s World Gear store. The exclusive camp store offers breathtaking woodcarvings that were custom crafted by the hands of Kurt Mallo, who owns Burnt Elk Log Décor. I also added a Wik’s World line of clothing apparel alongside my good friend, Dan Schafer’s famous Rut Junkie line.
Opening weekend of camp was an absolute blast for instructors, participants, and myself. I will be hosting the event for the next three weekends and anticipate more instructive learning, shared memories, and times well spent in the outdoors with good people.