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An Outdoorsman's Journal

Thin ice...


December 23, 2020

Poor ice conditions eliminated ice fishing from this hunt.

Hello friends,

The day rifle season ended November 29th, was the end of my busy season. It starts when you can plant potatoes and ends each fall on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This was the 32nd year in row that I have worn myself down to literally the last of what I can take, and I can honestly say, I am now in my easy season. Almost zero hobby farming, no bear baiting, and the food plot is put to sleep.

My first trip in the "easy season" is one I was looking forward to for months, if it could happen and that is what you are about to read about

Monday, December 7

High 34, low 22

The last few days people have been ice fishing on the back waters of the Yellow River near Necedah, so that guaranteed my plan could go forward. My trip would have me heading over to Durand and living on the ice. I was going to fish with tip ups for northern pike in the middle of the day and hunt with my muzzle loader in the mornings and late afternoon.

I would be on backwaters of the Chippewa river and with both a buck and doe tag I was well aware that this was going to be a meat and fish creating adventure.

This is the same area that I canoe into in the fall. Because of a steep ridgeline and private access, the only way to get to my destination which is about a mile from the landing is by watercraft or walking on the ice.

Last fall and the year before I had slight difficulties with a hunter who has private access and claimed that due to his trail cameras being on this public land, he has first dibs, today I figured he would be long gone.

I pull up to the landing with a truck full of gear and a cart to haul it and low and behold the shore ice is not going to hold me, my balloon was burst! I went for a hike and did come across an active buck scrape on public land and when I tried to go further the steep ridgeline told me there was no way I was going to make it to the promised land.

Long story short, I found a place to put up a stand, built camp on land and went hunting. First hunt, it is like hunting in the fall, perfectly comfortable conditions, no snow, no deer.

Tuesday, December 9

High 41, low 27

On my hike to my stand there is a skinned out beaver carcass, I start thinking fisher trapping bait. My morning hunt does not include me seeing any deer, but I have incredibly high hopes that I will harvest an adult deer on the afternoon hunt. I go back to camp and take a first-rate nap.

Afternoon hunt, I cannot tell you how bad I want to go back to the promised land, but I can't and to seal the deal the ice is melting. In my life, venison is a regular part of the diet and there are five of us eating it. At this point I have 100-pounds of boneless venison in the freezer, I need 180.

No deer came by in my view. Tonight, at camp I cooked venison steak, drank two cans of Pabst, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Wednesday, December 10

High 48, low 29

I had plenty of time both in the tree and at camp. There was an abundance of woodpeckers and I kept thinking, who the heck wants to pound on a tree with their beak for an entire lifetime to hopefully find very tiny insects, does the beak and skull age?

Also, something I think that a lot of people do not think about is the affect that falling trees sometimes have in the forest. When a tree falls it changes the direction of deer trails and it really wreaks havoc with neighboring trees.

This redneck ended up hauling that beaver carcass out of the woods and did not see a deer.

After breaking camp, I had an idea and I acted on it. I spoke with three landowners that have property near where my hunt was supposed to take place. All I wanted was access for the times I get iced out and though the deal is not sealed, I think it will happen. No matter how adverse your situation, the sun always comes up in the morning!



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