A KAMO kind of story

KAMO (Kids And Mentors Outdoors) is an organization that was started through this column in 2007 and has since grown to seven chapters throughout Wisconsin.

Our goal is to help introduce and continue with follow-up experiences with kids into the outdoors. We do this with one on one mentoring and group events.

This week’s column is about a recent outing where two freshmen from Auburndale High – Breanna Brandl and Dylan Hart – went on their first duck hunt with two members of our newest chapter which is the Marsh/Point Chapter of KAMO (the region of Marshfield and Stevens Point). The Marsh/ Point Chapter’s meetings are held at the visitors center at the Meade Wildlife Area.

Saturday, Sept. 16

High 85, Low 63

Ben Gruber is a paramedic who works in Nekoosa, and Marlon Marks is a fire fighter/ paramedic for the City of Wausau. Today would be Marlon’s first waterfowl hunt just like Dylan and Breanna’s but Marlon would strictly be a helper and observer.

We met at 5 a.m. on a marsh in Wood County where I have a bear bait and have been watching lots of ducks for the last two months.

My golden retrievers, Fire and her pup “Ruby,” would be fetching the kids’ ducks if they should be fortunate enough to harvest one.

On Thursday evening Ben, who is the president of the Marsh/Point Chapter of KAMO, taught Dylan and Breanna how to operate and shoot a shotgun. These two kids have been classmates for most of their lives and they did not know they would be hunting together until Thursday.

In KAMO we try to make everything fun and educational and this morning would be both as we took two canoes on a short journey in the dark and then set out our decoys. Everyone had chest waders and was an active participant, not just an observer.

After our decoys were set we had about 20 minutes before night became day and we talked about dogs, fishing, ducks and the quiet and peace before daybreak.

I learned that Breanna loves to fish walleye on Lake Nekoosa and that both Dylan and Breanna have Rottweilers.

Ben is a very skilled duck hunter and like myself is well aware that first-time duck hunters generally are not quick enough to shoot at, much less hit a duck on their first hunt.

Ruby is a year now and is as crazy as she is full of love and seemed to want to sit on Dylan’s lap a lot.

There were lots of woodies that would fly by us frequently and in almost every case the kids did not shoot because the experience happened so fast but it was obvious that everyone was having a very good time.

Let me tell you about KAMO! We are trying to make a difference in Wisconsin’s outdoor experiences for kids and thankfully we are getting the job done. Everything from insurance to a board of directors to a 501 C to bylaws and a background-check policy have been taken care of.

Like so many volunteer organizations what we could really use is more mentors and in some cases more kids and as crazy as this sounds KAMO is eager to start more chapters.

The sky is the limit and by that I mean KAMO is not just about hunting and fishing, so if you want to join or know a kid that could use some outdoor expe- riences check us out at www.kamokids.org

So, we are all sitting and hiding next to two canoes and three woodies buzz us from out of nowhere. Dylan gets his gun up quick enough this time, fires his first shot ever at a duck, and low and behold it drops out of the sky.

Ruby explodes like a field-trial champion, swims to the duck and brings it to my hand, and Dylan Hart has just bagged a beautiful drake wood duck.

Folks, throughout Wisconsin (Ladysmith, Poynette, La Crosse, Marshfield, New Lisbon, Wisconsin Dells and Florence) we have established chapters. Please checkout our web site and become a part of KAMO.


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