Hunting with UW’s Badger Hunting Club

I spent the last day of southern Wisconsin’s duck hunting season on Madison’s Lake Waubesa with Bryce Kies and Aron Schilsky. Bryce and Aron are sophomores who attend the UW-Madison, majoring in geology and business and are the co-presidents of the Badger Hunting Club.

The Badger Hunting Club is an organization (they are on Facebook) that was formed in 2006 and is a way for UW-Madison hunters to get to know each other as well as introduce other students to hunting.

Sunday, Dec. 6

High 44, Low 34

I met Bryce and Aron at Lake Farm County Park. It was dark and we would be traveling by canoe and kayak, and hunting until dark. My golden retriever Fire would be rounding out our crew.

The first thoughts that I had were these guys were driving an old Ford pickup and paddling instead of being pushed by a motor – very cool.

I was at the landing a bit before my comrades and spoke with other hunters. The common word was not many ducks around but quite a few geese.

We paddled maybe a half-mile and set out three dozen diver decoys, a dozen mallard and a few geese. We then became comfortable on shore where we hid our watercraft and waited for night to become day. At this time both Bryce and I realized that our chest waders leak.

This past year the members of this club hunted deer with a bow and hunted turkey in the spring. The club did a lot of duck hunts which seems to be their main energy.

Each semester the club holds a trapshoot at The Waunakee Gun Club which is social as much as shooting event. This past fall a young lady in the club shot a gun at this event for the first time and hit 11 out of 50 clay pigeons.

This past duck season Matt Davis, the former president of Badger Hunting Club and about to graduate with a degree in wildlife ecology, introduced UW-Madison students from Denmark and Germany to duck hunting as well.

So our hunt is rather unique in its own way. One, it is quite foggy and that fog would last until early afternoon. Two, on a day when most fishermen should be on the ice or the ice should be getting thicker so that men, women and children could be on the ice, we were watching several boats.

I think that the boats’ occupants were catching fish. I told Bryce and Aron that Wisconsin’s climate seems like that of Tennessee and I do not think that I am too far off.

To be honest, there were not a lot of ducks and very few geese. The first two hours we had some random shooting and a couple of ducks live to see another day. One time Aron, who is from Plymouth (a very cool town), went for a walk out of boredom.

Our best action of the day happened at that time when four mallards flew over and I sailed one that landed a long ways from shore. Bryce and I paddled out to it and had a good laugh when Bryce went to put a final volley of steel shot into what was a fourcurl greenhead and missed it by a long shot.

Bryce is from Necedah, and another member of Badger Hunting Club is Nate Moll, who has been traveling in the same pack as me since he was born. Nate is from Niagara and is going to be the president of UW-Madison’s chapter of Ducks Unlimited next year.

These guys text me, we share experiences at various hunting and fishing camps in a year’s time and what is really cool is to see that they are hard-core outdoorsmen who are giving back to the outdoor world while basically living in the state capital that does not have a strong emphasis on hunting.

We pulled the decoys when the legal hunting hours ended on the last day of the season. I challenge interested people to checkout this club and help our hunting heritage to stay strong.


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