Updated: 11/25/06; 9:26:16 PM.
Dan Small Outdoors
... all the news about Outdoors in Wisconsin and Beyond

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I decided to stay home for gun deer season, rather than head for Bayfield County where I used to hunt with son Jon. From the looks of things, I mjight have done better up north.

Sat. 11/18 Spent opening morning in a tree stand about 150 yards north of my house, watching a trail deer use to cross my little patch of woods. Light north wind in my face was perfect. Sat until 10:00 a.m., heard a bunch of shots but saw nothing. Spent midday running errands - went to Dominion Valley Farm over in Allenton to pick up some free-range turkeys & chickens. Showed Brandon & Tammera Dykema my new Turkey Cannon from Camp Chef. A totally cool way to cook anything from a 4-pound chicken to a 20-pound turkey. They were impressed. Som impressed, that they entered the drawing for one on my radio show and actually won it (fair & square, in a drawing pulled by our engineer Tony Skerbec). Now they can try out their own Turkey Cannon!

Back in my tree for the last 2 hours of daylight. About 2 minutes before the end of shooting hours, a doe came along from the west. She spotted me as I was zipping up my fanny pack and preparing to head down. I didn't have a doe tag for this unit (DMU 69, the only "regular" unit in an area surrounded by "herd-control" units, so I didn't try for her as she wheeled and trotted back west.

You would think that someone who writes about deer hunting for three publications and broadcasts a radio AND TV show about deer hunting would have the foresight to buy an antlerless carcass tag for the unit where he hunts, now wouldn't you? Well, I didn't.

Sun. 11/19. Brother Mike's birthday, and the 43rd anniversary of the first deer I ever shot, way back in 1963, three days before JFK was assassinated by that conspiracy in Dallas. Back in the tree for the morning. A brisk north wind made it pretty chilly, but the sun helped warm me a bit. Around 7:15 or so, a bunch of hunters were making a drive in the woods north of me. I heard some shooting, then a doe ran across the field right toward me. She stopped at the edge of the woods, then walked past me at 15 yards. I could have hit her with a brick. That's when I decided to buy a carcass tag.

Our regs have changed this year. With your gun license, you get two antlerless tags for herd-control or CWD zones along with your buck tag. With your bow license, you get one buck & one antlerless tag good for any unit. So I had a pocket full of carcass tags, but still needed another one for DMU 69.

Bought it Tuesday afternoon. There were 15,000 available for DMU 69 and over 7,000 left when I bought mine. If I shoot a doe, I'll buy another one for muzzleloader season.

Wed. 11/22. Didn't hunt today. Went fishing with guide John Matenaer and flyfishing writer Chris Halla on the Sheboygan River instead. We fished nonstop from 8:00 to 4:00 and caught several browns and even a couple spawned-out chinooks, which surprised us this late in the season. We were after steelhead, but the browns saved the day. John said he saw lots of browns moving upriver last weekend. We saw a few spawning, but most must have dropped back down into deeper water.

Thu. 11/23 Thanksgiving Day. Always a good day to hunt in the morning, as most hunters give it a half day and then go eat turkey. Sat in my tree again. Same group of guys made a couple drives north and west of me. I heard thre shots to the west, then saw 4 does run north across the field in front of me. The drive moved that way and must have run into those deer, as there were 15 shots in rapid succession. One doe raced back SW across the field. Never saw the rest of them. The boys must have got at least one out of that group. Hunted the last half hour again, but saw nothing.

Fri. 11/24. Morning in the tree again. Very mild, south wind. Saw nothing. Late afternoon, saw only a raccoon and squirrels.

Sat. 11/25. Even warmer than yesterday. Sat in my tree until 8:30 because I had to go to the Grafton Christmas parade. At 7:30, the same group of guys staged a drive through the woods to the north. "Bring 'em on!" I thought, but all they pushed out of there were three turkeys. One big tom flew practically over my head!

Parade was fun, as always. Wore my sturgeon hat from Jeff Kahlow & could have sold it seveal times! You can buy your own from Big Guy Hats. If you watch the Packers on CBS, you sometimes see Jeff in the stands wearing one of his creations. The cameras find him often. Fox cameramen don't seem to pick him out, but the CBS guys do. He even got invited into the tunnel at one game, where he walked out with Brett himself. "I figured I'd never get another chance, Jeff told me, "So I reached over and patted him on the behind." I wear Jeff's hats on TV and at parades, but he's never patted me on the behind!

Back to the tree for the last half hour. Heard one shot just to the west. I don't like hearing single shots [^] that usually means somebody got one. Multiple shots usually mean one or more hunters shooting at running deer, so it pays to get ready in case they come your way.

One more day of the gun season, then it's 10 days of muzzleloader season, with essentially the same rules. Full report when something interesting happens.


6:57:06 PM    comment []

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hey, gang. This week, I'm on the road in Baudette (pronounced B'dette), MN. I'm up here with Tim Lesmeister, Adam Johnson, KC O'Dea and Casey Dingels, all of Adam Johnson Outdoors. We're doing a little grouse hunting tomorrow and possibly some duck hunting on Thursday.

This place is a L-O-N-G drive from anywhere, but once you get here, the folks are very hospitable and the outdoor opportunities are boundless. Rainy River is still ice-free, and a number of boats were fishing right in front of Sportsman's Lodge, where we're staying.

I'll have more to report tomorrow after our hunt. That and other reports will appear on my "On the road" page. Just click on On the Road over to the right ---->

this week on Outdoors with Dan Small & Judy Nugent, hear a report on some big bucks taken during the Wisconsin early bow season in southern Wisconsin and in Barron County. Dominic Collar reports on fantastic walleye action on Bay de Noc. Dan & Judy talk about their surprise-filled Halloween pheasant hunt at the Exclusive Hunting Club, near Edgerton, Wisconsin. Big Al, the Wild Game Gourmet, shares a delicious recipe for Venison Meat Loaf.

And, you can enter to win a Turkey Cannon from our sponsor, Camp Chef, The Way to Cook Outdoors. To enter, simply go to our Web page on Lake-Link, click on "Contact Dan & Judy" and send us an email with your address. Do this by Monday, November 20, at 9:00 a.m. Central Time and we'll put your name in the drawing for a Turkey Cannon. Check out the Turkey Cannon online at www.campchef.com.

Our page on Lake-Link lists our 13 broadcast stations, or you can listen online via streaming audio or download current and archived shows to an MP3 player. We're always looking for new topics, so let us know what you'd like to hear on the show!


11:26:38 PM    comment []

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hey, gang! I've been negligent in my blogging and I apologize for that. My excuse is that I've been busy working on my radio show. If you haven't caught it yet, you can listen or download it 24/7 on Lake-Link.

But I thought I'd weigh in again tonight to report that I will be in Green Bay tomorrow night for the First Annual Buck Fever Night to benefit the Hunt for the Hungry program and Paul's Pantry in Green Bay. It's a free event, held at the Stadium View on Holmgren Way. Just bring a can of non-perishable food and you'll get in!  For more info, click here.

Hope to see you there tomorrow night!


8:30:53 PM    comment []

Sunday, August 6, 2006

While I'm on the subject of wilderness adventure and growth through testing oneself in the wild, I recently met another outfitter who leads wilderness trips, Chris Heeter. I met Chris at the Midwest Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair in Custer, Wisconsin. She had a booth there to promote her adventure travel business.

Chris runs The Wild Institute, which, according to her Web site, "brings women closer to the deep wisdom of nature." For more than 20 years, she has taken women sea kayaking, whitewater canoeing and dogsledding in wilderness areas in Minnesota, Canada, Utah and beyond. She also offers custom trips, so if there's an adventure you've been dreaming about but don't know how to make it happen, contact Chris.


4:29:12 PM    comment []

Hey, gang, in case you missed the one comment I got on a recent blog post, check out this website. Commenter Cliff Hodges runs Adventure Out, an outdoor adventure school in northern California. He commented on my post about the Wheelin' Sportsmen event coming up next weekend here in Wisconsin.

I checked out his website and found it quite interesting. On his Media page, I found this article by my friend Tom Stienstra, who writes for the San Francisco Chronicle and also has outdoor shows on radio and TV in the SF Bay Area.

Here's what Cliff said in Tom's article about his business:

"We want to make a difference with people," he said. "Women, men, kids. We can help all of them. We can help people achieve their wildest adventures where they challenge their limits." He said the company's safety record was perfect, that is, "no accidents."

Among the events Adventure Out is doing or has done this summer are a Billabong Surf Camp and a Wilderness Survival Skills program, which offers one-day clinics and week-long excursions. In his survival skills workshops, Hodges says he's trying to recreate what it might have been like to live among native Californians.

Sounds something like Tom Brown's Tracker School survival skills program. Friends of mine are graduates of Tom's school and speak very highly of his programs.

I wish Cliff the best in his endeavors. Sounds like he's doing worthwhile work!


3:49:37 PM    comment []

When I made my weekly trip to our town recycling center recently, manager Harry Michaels asked me if I still had the rope he had given me. I pulled it out of the plastic milk crate that serves as a catch-all in the back of my Explorer and held it up.

"Want it back?" I asked.

"No, no, I just wondered if you still have it," he said with a smile, as he grabbed a bag of newspapers from my truck.

I never know what Harry is going to do, but it's usually something funny. The week before, as I was leaving the center after unloading my trash and recyclables, he handed me a 2-foot length of 3/8-inch diameter rope.

"What's this for?" I asked.

"For your turkey," he replied.

I must have looked puzzled, as I had no clue what he was talking about.

"Last week on your TV show, you shot a turkey but you didn't have a piece of string to tie the tag on with," he explained. "Now you'll have one next time!"

The rope he gave me was stout enough to hang a turkey and much too thick for tying a carcass tag on its leg. I got the joke and thanked him. Now I've got to find a way to work that piece of rope into a TV segment. I might even say where I got it.

On second thought, that's probably a bad idea. No telling what Harry would give me after he saw that show!


2:29:35 PM    comment []

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Hey, gang. This info arrived too late to use on Outdoor Wisconsin or Outdoors with Dan & Judy, but there's time for a quick blog post about it, so read on...

The New Berlin Gobblin' Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Lakeview Rod & Gun Club are hosting a Wheelin' Sportsmen event, sponsored by Sportsmen's Warehouse of New Berlin, Aug. 13, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Lakeview Rod & Gun Club on Big Muskego Lake.

This event for people with disabilities will offer trap shooting, fishing and boating, along with a picnic, music and games. To get there, take I-43 south to Moorland Road, then head south on Moorland about four miles. Moorland becomes Durham Drive [^] just keep going and watch for the "Hunters Nest" sign on the right.

Wheelin' Sportsmen NWTF is a national no-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors. The event pairs disabled participants with able-bodied volunteers for a day of adventure and a lifetime of friendship.

Shotguns and ammo will be provided for trap shooting, if needed.

To register, contact Jim Lutzen, 262-786-4793.

If you know someone who would benefit from this outing, or if you'd like to volunteer to help out, give Jim a call.


9:04:09 PM    comment []

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A couple weeks ago, Shivani and I attended a seminar at the Aldo Leopold Shack presented by University of Wisconsin Prof. Jon Foley, who made a very strong case for the inevitability of global warming. I will post Shivani's notes soon, but for now, I want to mention another chance meeting that night.

In the small crowd attending the seminar (held, BTW, in the "front yard" of the "Shack," which served the Aldo Leopold family as a weekend retreat in the 1930s and 40s), I noticed a familiar-looking man with a German Shorthair on a long lead. Afterward, when others were chatting with Prof. Foley or scarfing down the remains of the potluck dishes folks had brought to share, I heard Aldo Leopold Foundation executive director Buddy Huffaker say "Good-bye, Ken," to the man with the GSP.

"Is that Ken Blomberg?" I asked, suddenly recognizing him.

"Yes," Buddy said.

I excused myself to go say hello. As we talked, I asked him about his dog and learned that Rocky is a direct descendant, 14 generations removed, of Aldo Leopold's shorthair, Gus!

Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. Ken had brought Rocky along so he could take some photos of him in front of the shack.

He told me he had acquired that line of GSP years ago, but at the time did not know that Leopold's Gus was an ancestor. In fact, I hunted with Ken's bitch Tina, also from that lineage, back in 1985 or 86 and I have footage of her on my Field to Feast Ruffed Grouse video. Ken raises and trains shorthairs at his Eau Pleine Kennels in central Wisconsin.

Ken told me that Art Hawkins had given Gus to Leopold and that Hawkins had kept meticulous track of the lineage. He also said Rocky was Hawkins' favorite of Gus' descendants and that Rocky looks the most like Gus. From the photos I've seen of Gus, I'd have to agree.

Hawkins passed away in March of this year, at the age of 92. He himself wrote a marvelous piece on the death of his colleague and friend, Frank Belrose, just a month before his own death.

I have not had a chance to get back in touch with Ken to learn how he acquired the lineage, but I'm guessing it was through Hawkins.  At any rate, it was just too much for words to meet a direct descendant of Leopold's own dog, who is featured in A Sand County Almanac, and who led his master on many a journey of discovery as they hunted the sand country of the Wisconsin River bottoms.


6:17:29 PM    comment []

Monday, June 19, 2006

It's always encouraging to read about a young turkey hunter's success, especially one you've hunted with. Here's the account of a successful turkey hunt enjoyed by Mitch Heupel and his dad, Don, of Germantown, Wisconsin. You may recall that Mitch and Don hunted with me last year in the Learn to Hunt program, and Mitch shot his first turkey that year.

Don sent me the following message after Mitch scored on turkey No. 2 last month. Mitch sure looks happy, doesn't he? I hate to break it to a successful young hunter like Mitch that his good-luck string will end sooner or later.

Meanwhile, congrats, Mitch, on your second turkey! Way to go! And thanks, Don, for sharing the story of Mitch's hunt. Looks like you've got a serious turkey hunter there!

Hello Dan,

If there is such a thing as an electronic handshake, I would give you one. Mitch sent his second tom to heaven yesterday (May 21) in what I consider a hunter's dream scenario. In one of your recent articles, you described a morning hunt that every hunter dreams of happening. The only thing that didn't match for us was that we didn't hear the flight out of his roost. As we talked afterward, I was amazed at how much of his actions were guided by what he learned last year from you. Due to work and all the other family activities, we only had yesterday to hunt and I decided to hunt in the morning with Mitch and the afternoon with Wes. We ended up picking a spot in the Kettle Moraine Forest near Kewaskum.

A picture named Mitch2ndturkey copy.jpg
Mitch was about 10 feet in front of me and the $5 decoy 25 yards further. The tom gobbled from what I thought was a quarter mile out and out of our reach. I scratched on the slate and he called back. I asked Mitch if he thought it was an answer or a coincidence. He said it couldn't have been my call. After going back and forth a couple more times I was beside myself because he was answering back. His last gobble seemed further away and headed in the wrong direction. Twenty minutes later about 80 yards to our left the tom was in full strut and dancing his way to the decoy. He reached the decoy 10 minutes later and paced back and forth just about knocking over the decoy. The sun had just peeked through the trees and this turkey just glowed. After what seemed like an hour of this, Mitch finally started to slowly raise his gun and after it hit his shoulder I cut hard and up went his head..... for the last time. I almost wet myself. I used your line, "gun up, safety on" and I had a knee on him in short order.

He showed steel nerves that I never thought he had. Talking afterward, the lessons learned from you showed up, from picking the spot,hiding yourself, the birds behavior, the direction of his eye sight, waiting for the right moment...Once again, my hat is off to you.

I went back with Wes and all we could dig up were 5 hens. He was happy with that and so was I. It is going to be another long year waiting for next spring.

Until then,

10:30:31 AM    comment []

It may seem like an unusual place to find a mention of Joe Schroeder's Ecotargets, but in the current TravelWorldMagazine.com, there's a product review of these innovative substitutes for clay targets.

Check it out!

BTW, I'm still in Louisiana at the OWAA conference. Coming soon to this blog, an interview with Ray Schoenke, who played for Landry and Lombardi in the 60s and 70s; AND photos of the Million-Dollar Lure, unveiled yesterday at this conference!

Stay tuned, but conference details will appear in On the Road --->

(Tease preview: Today I fished with a $10,000 lure!)


12:45:59 AM    comment []

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