‘The Joe’ a great experience

I am a couple of weeks ahead with my field work, so that I can be home for the holidays as I have done for the last 28 years. I hope each and every one of you had a great Christmas and a healthy new year.

This week’s column will be told a bit different than usual but I feel I can tell the most by piece-mealing a very incredible weekend.

Friday, Dec. 8

High 34, Low 17

His name is Jason Day and is a sixth-grader at the New Lisbon Elementary School. Jason’s mom is Jasmin Denter. Jasmin is a single mother who is doing her very best to make sure her son has the option of becoming a young outdoorsman.

Jasmin works at Leer Inc. in New Lisbon which has been very good to the Meadow Valley Chapter of KAMO (Kids and Mentors Outdoors).

I am Jason’s mentor for “The Joe” which is a unique 48-hour experience where 24 kids, 24 mentors and at least 10 helpers spend the weekend at the MacKenzie Education Center in Poynette at “The State Game Farm” and they all hunt deer with most of the hunting taking place on private property with their mentor.

Rick Miotke is the longtime president of The Baraboo River Chapter of KAMO and the original host of this hunt which is now in its ninth year. Rick is the heart and soul of this hunt – the person that runs all the meetings, does the never-ending paperwork and also holds a mandatory three-hour “Learn to Hunt” class where each kid has to prove that he or she can comfortably shoot a firearm.

There were three young hunters who I had a chance to get to know and will not name – their ages ranging from 10-13. Each of them lost a father or grandfather in the last year that was going to take them hunting this fall.

I give you my word that each of these young adventurers and the parent that set them up were wonderfully happy for this experience when we all said good-bye on Sunday afternoon.

Bob Brodeur has been a friend of mine ever since high school. Bob is the president of The Lake Wisconsin Chapter “Poynette/Lodi” of KAMO. No one can match Bob’s work ethic and his ability to find land to hunt and good people to give donations. Thank-you to every landowner and everyone that helped with a gift of some sort.

Luke Anderson is a KAMO Kid whose older brothers, Jack and Joe, have both hunted in “The Joe.” The kids play bingo on Saturday night and the final game is called blackout and is for a 243.

I captured the look on Luke’s face when he won the 243. The average person would be amazed at the gifts these kids get over the course of this very fun night.

Jeff and Patti Rouse are two of my best friends. Patti and I sat next to each other from seventh grade through our senior year as we were in the same homeroom. The Rouses, along with Patti’s sister, Pam Seiple, order food and cook for 60 – twice on Friday, three times on Saturday and twice on Sunday.

They have done this task for nine years and if you see them while you are out and about please thank them for their service.

I have never missed a “Joe.” This experience borders on epic for everyone involved.

If you want to witness kids playing outside. If you want to see kids from all over the state become a pack of 24 good friends. If you want to see hunt- ing taught with respect and kids freely getting up at 4:45 a.m. hoping to put a deer on the pole while observing nature, that is why at least 50 adults worked so hard during the last four months to make sure it happened.

All seven chapters of KAMO could use mentors and if you do not want to mentor there are other things you could do to help. We can use kids to mentor and your donations always help.

To the best of my knowledge this event was 100-percent free to each young hunter and there is not a one of us on the payroll.

I wrote 10 years ago that if we stick with it, KAMO will become a solid way of getting our kids back in the outdoors.


P.S. – The kids harvested

11 deer!

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