Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For December 12th, 2008 Edition.

I doubt if anything concerning outdoor sports produces more opinions and commentary than does the sport of deer hunting, and it looks as though the season of 2008 will spawn a considerable amount of both. So - I might as well get my licks in along with the rest of the Monday Morning Quarterbacks.

Having been part of the past sixty-two deer seasons in Wisconsin, I can honesty say the season of 2008 personally ranks somewhere in the ten worst seasons and possibly the worst five. I've basically hunted the same general area for all of the seasons past and have fared probably as well as most deer hunters who take the sport seriously and spend lots of quality time in the woods. But the last two seasons have been real bummers.

As usual I spent in excess of forty hours watching and waiting for venison to appear in my scope. During the season of 2007 I viewed exactly three deer, and didn't fire a shot. As of this date, December 1st as I work on this column, I have viewed one deer in 42 hours of waiting and watching and haven't fired a shot in Wisconsin. (I did bag a doe in Michigan.).

But still I hold out some hope in putting a few more chops, steaks, roasts, burger and sausage in our freezer as the muzzle loader season and the late season antlerless season offers me an additional 14 days to bag some protein for winter feasting.

Preliminary results of the nine-day gun season are already coming in, and the numbers are down. They are down somewhere around 50% in the north woods and down 25% statewide. This drastic drop in the kill causes one to ponder the real reason(s) and ask some very pointed questions of the "x-purts" who crunch the deer population numbers by what they claim are "scientific" methods.

I for one can't wait to hear the excuses. Generally the tried and true post-season excuses from Madison are somewhat similar to those anglers use when the stringers are empty. (a.) It was too warm with no tracking snow. (b.) It was too cold and the snow depth prevented hunters from getting into the backcountry where the big herds are. (c.) The rut was over. (d.) The rut hadn't started. (e.) The season coincided with the full moon phase. Etc. - etc.

I can't speak for the rest of the state, but hunters in the northern tier of counties had ideal hunting conditions for the entire nine days! It wasn't too cold, except for a few hours opening morning, we had excellent snow cover, the back roads were drivable, the rut was in full swing and the full moon was long gone.

So, what are we to conclude except the DNR population estimates were way off. But with the current budget shortfall that bureaucracy is experiencing it's easy to suggest, which I am suggesting, they attempt to paint a picture that there are deer lurking behind every tree.

And how about those thousand and thousands of $12.00 antlerless deer tags! In recent years, because of the professed over abundance of deer, hunters here in the north received two tags, one for a buck and one for an antlerless deer. But this year the antlerless tag that was included in our packet of licenses was voided and hunters had to cough up an additional twelve bucks to legally bag a doe. Of course that means more dough for the DNR.

The cries I hear from most deer hunters is "Where's the venison?"

Next subject.

I just returned from my annual visit to historic Lambeau Field. My good friends, Tom Tilkens and Don Capoccia and I watched a really good football game up until the final minute and fifty seven seconds. The Packers blew a three-point lead and fell to the Carolina Panthers 35-31 in what amounted to an early Christmas Present for the visitors.

But the three of us had a great time, especially the country bumpkin from Vilas County who generally likes going to large metropolitan areas about as much as a root canal.

Don is an Italian Chicago kid, and a die-hard Bears fan, although I don't hold either of those two factors against him. Don and I have bummed around together since our first meeting back in 1972 when I guided him to his first legal musky. Since then we've fished for and caught just about every species of finny critters that call the lakes and streams of Northern Wisconsin and Michigan's U.P home, shared space in the Anderson/Jorgensen Deer Camp, a variety of duck blinds, stumped the thickets for grouse and woodcock and hunted caribou in Quebec, to name a few of our shared activities.

Tom is a relatively "new" pal, as our paths first crossed in the mid 80s. The two of us have also caught our share of fish, shot some ducks and grouse, combed the Rocky Mountains for elk, Iowa for pheasants, chased deer in Wisconsin, and Michigan, plus trout, mule deer and antelope in Wyoming.

Tom is my "Green Bay Connection" who annually pays my way into the frozen tundra in Titletown, USA, and introduces me to some of the finer things in life that are lacking in St. Germain. This past November 29th it was a visit to a new eating-place in Green Bay, the "Hu-Hot Mongolian Grill." And let me tell you this was a unique dining experience!

Diners begin by selecting a large plastic bowl, which they then fill from dozens of choices. Meats include chicken, beef, pork, fish and buffalo. Next comes a buffet assortment of pasta, veggies, and strange looking stuff I couldn't identify. Lastly one chooses any number of sauces that range from mild to belching volcano, which are poured over the aforementioned selections.

Your final selection is "cooked" on a circular stainless steel grill, some eight feet in diameter, by a half-dozen young chefs wielding dual spatulas. These cooks are highly entertaining as they gyrate around the grill tossing your dinner hither and yon without dropping one tidbit. After about three minutes your personal steaming selection is served up on a colorful platter, which is then taken to your table and consumed. (And washed down with gallons of ice water!)

It's an all you can eat experience that you'll remember all the way to the following morning and possibly beyond. How hot is it? Hu-Hot!

Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin.   Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean,  both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide.   Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email:  or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.

Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here

Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger

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