KAMO helping to create outdoors enthusiasts

Kids And Mentors Outdoors (KAMO) is an organization that is dedicated to helping kids have outdoor experiences through one- on-one mentoring and group events.

KAMO’s (www.kamokids.org) biggest annual event is a deer camp and hunt. “The Joe,” which is held near Poynette, is a threeday event and for many of the volunteers from KAMO’s seven chapters a very time-consuming and rewarding event.

Friday, Dec. 9

High 27, Low 17

So here is the deal: this year 24 boys and girls from the age of 10-15 would spend the weekend at MacKenzie Environmental Education Center and hunt deer, eat well, become very exhausted, make a ton of new friends and be offered the opportunity to see if they enjoy deer hunting.

Before I go any further I want to publicly recognize some of the people that put in the hundreds of hours that it takes to pull this off. Steve Stine is our “Hunt Master” and his wife, Vicki, does a lot of our electronic communication.

Rick Miotke is the president of the Baraboo River Chapter of KAMO and does a lot of the organizing as well.

Bob Brodeur is the president of the Lake Wisconsin Chapter of KAMO and Bob is simply incredible with the work that he does for this hunt and KAMO in general.

Last, but certainly not least, are Jeff and Patti Rouse who order all of our food and cook seven meals for up to 60 people. We would be lost without the Rouses.

Back to the hunt. It is Friday afternoon and I am with 13-yearold Isaiah Herried who is from Necedah, is a first-time hunter and my secretary Leah Herried’s son. Isaiah has been looking forward to this hunt for a very long time.

Isaiah and I are hunting along with Meadow Valley Chapter of KAMO member Bob Nicksic and his 12-year-old first time hunter, Noah Kratochivil.

The four of us are hunting on my good friend Eugene Vangen’s 200-acre farm near Rio. Earlier in the week Bob and I set up two ground blinds on an alfalfa field in areas of the field where we could not see each other.

Isaiah and I are having a blast munching on good snacks and waiting for a deer for Isaiah to shoot when just like that, a nice eight-pointer comes out of nowhere and is chasing a doe.

As quick as the experience happened, the buck and doe were gone and headed in the direction of Bob and Noah. Not long afterwards, Noah took a 125-yard shot and after dark and a search we found Noah’s buck, and life was good.

So we go back to our deer camp and 10-year-old, Morgan Small, who was being mentored by Pete McCormick, had made a 125-yard shot on a spike buck and Nolan Hineman, who was hunting with Rick Mitke, had harvested a doe.

A fine meal was served and classes were given by a biologist and a conservation warden. Bad luck kind of struck when Isaiah became very sick and was literally knocked out of the hunt.

Saturday, Dec. 10

High 26, Low 19

Another snowstorm hit the area and it had the deer moving bigtime. By the time it was dark out, we had 11 deer on our deer pole, including a real nice eight-pointer that was shot by first-time hunter Jocelyn Grandison who also harvested a large doe. Jocelyn was mentored by my good buddy, Jerry Absher.

By dark, I had caught some sort of flu bug and was a walking- dead human being but of course I kept hunting and watching the show back at camp.

All of the deer are taken to Johnson Meats in Rio where Kris Johnson and her staff do an excellent job for the KAMO Kids and all of the meat goes to their families.

In closing out this week’s column, I want to tell you that the kids have a memory of a life- time on this hunt. Our goal is to get them outside and most of the weekend when they are not hunting they are outside playing in the woods.

KAMO has seven chapters. We need more mentors per chapter due to natural attrition and an increasing workload. We can use more kids and would like to start more chapters, and if none of those work for you we can always use donations.

Kids And Mentors Outdoors is making a difference!

Sunset


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