The 2018 blizzard/youth turkey hunt

This past weekend, like many other mentors and turkey hunters under the age of 16, I was in the woods, sitting in a turkey blind with 13-year-old Allie Schuster who is an eighth-grader at DeForest Middle School.

What most hunters will remember about this year’s two-day hunt is the blizzard that dumped ice and up to 28 inches of snow across Wisconsin.

Saturday, April 14

High 32, Low 24

Because I am really smart I put three raincoats on top of my turkey blind yesterday and netting on top of the jackets to keep them in place. The raincoats’ job was to keep my blind from being full of rain when Allie and I got into it this morning for a day of hunting.

Because I am not so smart the weight of the very frozen netting and jackets from a night of the worst ice storm that I have ever witnessed collapsed my blind and froze it to the ground.

Allie and I tore the mess apart, set the blind back up, lit my Mr. Heater and soon were enjoying what would be two days of watching the biggest blizzard to hit Wisconsin in many years.

I think most of you realize this but before the snow started 3 inches of ice/sleet fell and it was really cool to watch that happen from a turkey blind.

So here is the scenario for Allie and myself. I am her great uncle. We have a relationship that is centered around almost constantly attacking each other and we both thrive on it.

Allie is the daughter of Shane and Sandy Schuster, and until she was 10 wanted nothing to do with deer camp or hunting. Allie came to deer camp for camp setup back in November 2015 and could not believe how super cool her great uncle Mark is.

Now she is attempting to become a hunter and last October I took her on a camping trip by Stevens Point during the Youth Deer Hunt and she whacked a seven-point buck after sitting in a tree for 12 hours in a pouring rain.

So, meanwhile, among the many good adults taking kids out in the blizzard, 14 mentors and the same amount of kids for The Lemonweir Long Beards are in the woods. My good buddy Dan Berry, the president of this chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is mentoring 10-year-old Sean Fowler of Oak Dale.

Dan worked his calling magic and brought a beautiful gobbler in for Sean who did his job and harvested his first tom.

In our blind, Allie and I are eating lots of donuts, at times Allie is doing her homework (which I 100-percent did not know how to do) and we are both verbally jabbing each other and sometimes even wrestling in the blind.

The land that Allie and I are hunting is the same place that Selina has harvested many birds on as well as myself but I have to admit that I did not have a good feeling about this weekend.

About 3:00 this afternoon the sleet that was being being pushed by a 25-mph wind switched over to snow and I loved watching it.

Meanwhile, my other good buddy Bob Nicksic, who like Dan Berry is a KAMO (Kids and Mentors Outdoors) mentor and member of NWTF is hunting with his KAMO Kid, Keenan Josett. Keenan, 12, and Bob have become a regular part of each other’s lives and today Bob helped Keenan harvest his first turkey.

Allie and I watched day become night and the next morning we watched night become day and it was still snowing. Our big excitement besides her creating some beautiful songs about her great uncle was when we actually heard a tom gobble off in the distance this morning.

Hunting as we all know is not about always harvesting. I have always said to mentors in KAMO bring good snacks, laugh, have conversations, teach the kids about the outdoors and most of all just make sure they have fun.

Great uncle Mark


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