Late October bow hunt

This week my 15-year-old daughter, Selina, and I did something that we both enjoy very much. We camped in the Meadow Valley Wildlife Area and hunted for whitetail deer with a bow and arrow.

Friday, Oct. 28

High 63, Low 38

Meadow Valley, the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and adjoining county lands make up well over 200 square miles of forest and marsh. This fall is my 45th year that I have been exploring this piece of paradise that is in northern Juneau County and some of Wood and Monroe counties.

Last fall, Selina and I were hunting an area that was a good half-mile trek into hip boot country and this year that area is not an option for us. Selina’s knee injury has made any kind of walking a challenge, and the area I am talking about is under water.

So two days this week I scouted the surrounding lands and discovered something that I already knew but kind of hoped would not be an issue. There are a lot of wolves in the area and not so many deer. I did find a spot where I hoped we would see some deer and that is where Selina and I would hunt on Friday afternoon.

Our first job was to build a camp and for Selina and I that is a very simple task. We did have one minor setback when I realized that I had forgot to bring a tent. Selina was all about sleeping under the stars but the problem with that in late October is that dew soaks your sleeping bag and it can be very difficult to sleep.

I had an 18-by-24-foot tarp in my truck and a ratchet strap. I secured the ratchet strap to two trees that were about 20 feet apart, put the tarp over the top, two cots inside and we had us a cabin in the forest.

Our deer hunt was good and bad. The weather was perfect for sitting and watching the forest. The bad part was that Selina’s knee told dad that I had to find her a spot very close to the road to hunt.

When our hunt started a pack of wolves started howling very close to our stands. No deer were spotted on this hunt.

Saturday, Oct. 28

High 65, Low 40

Selina and I were sitting in our trees a half-hour before daylight and this would be our last hunt in this spot, as I literally had to find a location that would be no more then 100 yards from the gravel road.

I got down from my stand before Selina and went scouting and while I was doing that Selina saw what she thought was a very large 10-point buck chasing a doe. I found what I thought would be a good area to hunt that was very close to the road and I put a stand out for the afternoon hunt.

We were just finishing our job when we saw Kevin Harmeling and his 17-year-old son Andrew of Waldo (near Plymouth). We have spoken to this father-andson team other years and they are good people and would be our neighbors in the forest for the rest of the weekend.

So, this afternoon all four of us are hunting and life is good except it became very windy and at prime time Selina texted me that she thought the aspen tree that she was in was going to blow over. Selina climbed down to assess her situation and what would be an eightpoint buck came by (out of range) chasing a doe.

At dark we had a good talk with Kevin and Andrew, and Andrew had put an arrow in that buck after it passed by Selina. I climbed up Selina’s tree and deemed it safe for the morning hunt.

So Selina and I get back to camp well after dark and it is raining, so we sat in my truck and listened to the Badgers beat Nebraska.

Sunday, Oct. 30

High 68, Low 43

What a crazy fall – so warm you don’t even need gloves while sitting in a tree in late October at 5:30 in the morning. Selina sat in our trees and did not see a deer but it was very comfortable.

The entire hunt I am thinking what am I going to do to get this girl back to deer-and-no-people country for the nine-day deer gun season. I am thinking wheel barrel and I mean it.

We were coming out of the woods and at the same time Kevin and Andrew came out dragging an eight-point buck. We had a great conversation, took some photos, went back to camp and had venison steak from one of the deer Selina harvested during the Youth Hunt and that was our weekend.

Take those kids hunting!


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