As hunters, one of our most important duties is to bring others into our hunting family.
Sons and daughters are ideal ways for husbands and wives to teach their kids about what the great outdoors has to offer.
As the late Old-Timer often said, "The great outdoors is the biggest classroom in the world."
Wisconsin's recently concluded nine-day gun deer season was a classic example of family hunting ties.
Cartyr Stumlin, 13, and his brother Reid, 7, both shot their first deer. Reid shot a doe on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Cartyr shot a doe on Friday, Nov. 29.
Reid's father, Jeff, was hunting with him. Jeff's wife, Nicole, was hunting with Cartyr.
Jeff sent me photos of the deer with a short message.
"By the way congrats to you and Ev both getting deer and being able to do so together," said Jeff, knowing our youngest son, Evan, and I were also hunting on their farm and shot bucks on the second day of the season.
Nicole is the late "Friendly Farmer's" oldest daughter. I often think about taking Nicole on one of her first turkey hunts on her dad's farm.
Each deer hunt also brings back memories of Evan's first deer kill on the farm. Ev was 16 years old when he shot a small 5-pointer.
The Friendly Farmer and I went all through grade school and high school together. During the summers in the 1960's, Tom and I worked side by side on his dad's farm which occupies much of the Valley View Mall area today.
When I first began hunting on Tom's farm outside of Holmen in the late 1990's, Tom, his son, Jason, his youngest daughter, Carrie, and Nicole all hunted together.
When Tom died, the kids inherited the farm and the family hunts continued with his kids teaching their children.
"I would like to think Tom was watching all of us make these family memories with a big smile on his face," Jeff added in his email.
Overall, many hunters were very disappointed with the traditional nine-day gun deer hunt. Preliminary figures show that 160,769 deer were registered during the nine-day gun deer hunt, compared to 213,972 in 2018, down 24.9%. Of the deer harvested in the 2019 nine-day season, 75,236 were antlered compared to 105,315 in 2018, a 28.6% decline. The nine-day hunt also provided successful hunters with 85,533 antlerless deer, a decrease from 108,657 in 2018, or 21.3%.
Tyler Ramaker, a Minnesota DNR conservation officer stationed in La Crescent, investigated trespassing and trapping complaints.
Ramaker said portions of the Mississippi River opened back up, allowing waterfowl hunters one last opportunity before the season closed. Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tom Hemker, in Winona, was busy with firearms season deer hunter checks and said some hunting groups were having good success. Overall, the number of deer hunters seemed low.
Waterfowl hunters were also checked but fewer birds are being seen on the river. Some large flocks of mallards are still on the river. Minnesota DNR conservation officer Mitch Boyum, in Rushford, checked 3B season deer hunters and muzzleloader hunters. Success was good but the weather was not, keeping hunters inside. Time was also spent checking a few pheasant hunters and small game hunters. Bad weather hampered hunting conditions.
Anglers are still awaiting safe ice before their winter season begins. Birdwatchers in the Greater La Crosse Area are also awaiting more traffic at their feeders.
Until we meet, have a great day outdoors.