Father, son share buck harvest

I always enjoyed watching tag team "pro" wrestling on TV when I was a kid in the fifties and early sixties.
Well, I'm happy to say our youngest son, Evan, and I "tag-teamed" a 7-point buck on the second day of the Wisconsin gun-deer season.
It was a hunt I will take to my grave, and I hope that's a long way down the road.
It all began about 9:30 Sunday morning. I was in my comfortable 20-foot high "condo" deer stand. Warming my hands in front of a propane heater with worn carpet below my feet, I was looking for deer. That's what you're supposed to do when you're in a deer stand... right?
Evan, 27, was in his stand deep in the brush on a sidehill. The plan was for him to walk through a major bedding area at 10 a.m. to hopefully, roust a deer toward me.
"Dad. My feet are super cold," he radioed me at 9:30.
"Can you wait another 15 minutes?" I replied.
"Nope. I'm too cold," he said.
The moment I put down my two-way radio, I heard "BLAAAAAAAT."
"What the heck. That was a buck bleat?" I thought.
Looking out the window below my stand was a buck with its antlers glistening in the morning sun.
"Oh, boy," I thought.
The buck was no more than 5 yards below me.
I knew I had to move slowly to reach my .223 rifle, but I also had to avoid the hot heater in front of me. I also knew I had to get a good kneeling shot with the barrel rested against the window frame.
The buck couldn't have cared less about me. He was looking north, up the logging road.
As I maneuvered into shooting position, he moved out of the small meadow toward the edge of a hill... still no more than 30 yards away. For some reason, he kept looking toward his left.
I had a pretty good shot, but the second I fired, he bolted. I knew I hit him. He ran only about 10 yards and stopped, looking all around. I watched him stumble through some brush as I tried to get off another shot, but couldn't.
Before I could radio Ev and tell him the deer was coming his way, I looked up the logging road and saw Evan standing by "the big oak tree." Then, I saw the deer doing the military "low crawl" on the logging road in front of Evan.
"It's down, but I'm going to shoot it again," he said on his walkie talkie.
"Do it," I replied.
Ev pointed his 30-06 toward the deer. I thought for sure the deer was dead meat.
Ev didn't fire. He brought down his rifle and fumbled with it. He raised it again and repeated the same motion.
"Why doesn't he fire?" I muttered under my breath.
Later, Ev told me his rifle jammed and a bullet wouldn't chamber. It happened not once, but twice in those few hectic seconds.
The deer crawled off the logging road with Ev in pursuit. I saw him point his rifle again. This time he fired as the deer crawled up the other side of the ravine. A few seconds later, he fired again.
"It's down," he blared on the radio."
"Are you sure," I replied.
"Yup. For sure this time," he said.
As I walked up to the 3 1/2-year-old buck, Ev said," Nice goin'. Dad, it's your deer. You hit it first."
"No, it wasn't a killing shot. It would have gotten away. It's your deer," I said.
Ev sort of agreed, but knowing my physical condition, Ev understood there was no way I could have trailed that deer.
We checked the entry and exit holes in the deer. It was easy to see that I hit it just in front of the hind quarter. Evan's killing shot was right through the heart from 100 yards away. His other shot was through the neck.
"This deer was an ironman. I can't believe it. Actually, I think I missed it the second shot," Ev said, rolling up his sleeves and preparing to field-dress it.
"Remember, the doctors said I can't gut it or drag it," I reminded Ev, as I watched him field-dress the buck.
I called the "Friendly Farmer's son-in law who brought the Gator to transport the deer to our Jeep after Evan dragged it downhill about 200 yards.
"It's your deer, Dad," Ev repeated, shaking my hand. "You drew first blood."
I told him, "No, as I told you, it's your deer. You made the killing shot because I would have never been able to keep up with it."
We finally agreed we tag-teamed it.
That's what hunting is all about. Not so much the kill, but the enjoyment you get by going with family and friends.
Personally, I think 2017 is my best hunt ever, knowing my son and I shared in the harvest.

GM Stearns has Brewers on right track

I am really starting to believe in David Stearns.
The young Milwaukee Brewers' general manager seems to be pushing all the right buttons.
Let's be clear. None of us were too happy when the Brewers cleaned house, trading away several talented starters - minus Ryan Braun - in 2015 and 2016 for draft picks and young farm club players from other organizations. However, the Brewers now have the best farm organization in the Major Leagues.
The Brewers took on a new look with all their young talent in 2017. While most sports writers and talking heads predicted a fourth or fifth place finish in the Central Division, the Brewers surprised everyone with their runnerup finish in front of my beloved St. Louis Cardinals. And lest we forget they were in a chase for the final wild card going into the last weekend of the season.
Credit goes to Manager Craig Counsell and his coaching staff.
They moved players around all season, finding the best position to display their budding talent.
The Brewers also watched their young pitching staff mature. From their starting rotation to the bullpen, they grew into one of the best young staffs in the big leagues.
The Brewers made Stearns the youngest GM in the Major Leagues when they signed him away from the Houston Astros in September of 2015. The data-driven Stearns started with Houston in November 2012 with the rebuilding Astros coming off consecutive 100-loss seasons. They lost 111 games in 2013, but were postseason bound by 2015 when Stearns departed for the Brewers' top job.
This year's Astros' team is one game away from winning the World Series.
Stearns is relying on the same blueprint that carried the Astros to where they are today. He's also a firm believer in analytics in today's modern world of baseball. He also believes in acquiring, drafting, developing and keeping talent as proven by the recent signing of starting pitcher Chase Anderson and utility man Eric Sogard.
The Brewers recently signed Anderson to a two-year contract through the 2019 season with club options for 2020 and 2021.
"Signing Chase to a multi-year contract furthers our strategy to acquire, develop and retain talent throughout our organization," said Stearns. "Chase's 2017 performance elevated his stature in the game and demonstrated that he has the capability to lead a rotation. Since he arrived in Milwaukee, Chase has been a model contributor to our community both on and off the field. We are happy for him and his family, and look forward to Chase's contributions for years to come."
Anderson, 29, who was eligible for arbitration, went 12-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 25 starts for the Brewers in 2017. He set career highs for victories and strikeouts (133) and tied his career high with 13 quality starts. Anderson has gone 17-5 with a 2.69 ERA over his last 37 starts dating back to July 25, 2016. His ERA since that date ranks fourth in the Major Leagues among starting pitchers (minimum 35 starts).
Anderson was acquired from Arizona as part of a five-player trade on Jan. 30, 2016. He owns a career record of 36-28 with a 3.87 ERA in 104 games (103 starts) with Arizona (2014-15) and Milwaukee (2016-current). He is 21-15 with a 3.59 ERA in 56 games (55 starts) as a Brewer.
The Brewers also signed Sogard to a one-year contract shortly after signing Anderson.
"Eric brings to the team a veteran presence who possesses the ability to play multiple positions and reach base at a high rate," Stearns said. "We are pleased to welcome Eric and his family back to Milwaukee for the 2018 season."
Sogard, 31, batted .273 with 3 HR and 18 RBI in 94 games during his first season with Milwaukee after missing all of 2016 with a left knee injury. He made 60 starts at four positions (37g at 2B, 20g at SS, 2g at 3B, 1g in LF). He posted a .393 on-base percentage, which would have led the team if he had enough plate appearances, as he walked 45 times compared to just 37 strikeouts.
Sogard, who was eligible to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2017 postseason, was originally signed last December 15 as a non-roster invitee to spring training. He owns a career batting average of .245 with 11 HR and 123 RBI during seven Major League seasons with Oakland (2010-15) and Milwaukee (2017).
Are the Brewers on the right track? Thanks to Stearns, YES!


ShoeTips helps golfers with swing thoughts

Do you think too much on a golf course?
I do. It's only natural. As golfers, we are exposed to so many swing thoughts through TV, videos, social media and even our playing partners.
Now I found a product that helps me narrow my swing thoughts down to a pair of things each time I walk onto the first tee. If you haven't tried ShoeTips, you should! I like them.
ShoeTips is simply a swing thought reminder system designed to help golfers of all skill levels master their mental game while they play. Oh, by the way, it was considered on of the hottest new products introduced at the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show in January.
Using ShoeTips is easy. Before you play, select two swing thoughts you want to remember from the 18 tips provided. Insert the labels securely into the two base clips and slide the clips easily, and snugly, over your shoelaces. The reminders will be in full view on your shoes as you address the ball. I prefer to use them on my on my golf bag instead. A BagTag comes with the set of tips and clips. You simply select your two most important thoughts for the round and insert the base clips through the slots on the BagTag. Every time I select a club, I look at the BagTag for an instant reminder about what I'm trying to accomplish.
According to company literature, "ShoeTips' 18 familiar swing thoughts were chosen based on input from golf pros and sports psychologists. The labels are easy to change and organized into three categories - focus, relating to your mind, feel, to your body, and technique, to your swing mechanics."
The six tips under each category are:
Back and Thru.
Stay Down.
Soft Hands.
Ball Position.
Hit Down.
Swing Plane.
If you prefer a different tip from the 18 most popular, you can jot your own custom tips on the reverse side of the labels with an indelible marker.
Incidentally, notified ShoeTips Golf received formal notification from the USGA recently that their revolutionary, new swing thought reminder system is now "permitted under the Rules of Golf.
"We couldn't be more excited by the USGA's decision," said Steve Lewis, Founder & CEO of ShoeTips. "We felt from the start that using ShoeTips would help golfers maintain their focus so they could achieve peak performance, lower their scores and enjoy the game more. This decision allows any amateur or pro golfer, including those posting scores for handicap purposes or competing in a USGA sanctioned tournament, to use ShoeTips during any round. That's huge, and great news for golfers worldwide!"
ShoeTips retails for $19.99 and is available on Amazon.com.
For more information on ShoeTips visit www.ShoeTips.com.  

The do's and don'ts to removing golf balls from cups

We were playing golf a couple of weeks ago and happened to be following a foursome of elderly gentlemen.
My playing partner and I became a little frustrated with our putting after rimming the cup on two of the first three holes. And then I discovered why. At least two of the fellows in front of us were removing golf balls from the cup with the heads of their putters.
I understand our knees and back get old and it becomes increasingly difficult to bend and remove a golf ball from a cup in the normal, proper manner using your fingers. However, there are better ways.
One way is to ask one of your playing partners to remove the ball from the cup. Another way is to buy a specially designed suction cup that goes on the end of the putting grip. My late father had one and it worked extremely well.
Ripping the ball out with the head of the putter not only takes the enjoyment away from players following you, it also causes unnecessary work for maintenance crews, who must cut new cups.
Keith Stoll, PGA professional and general manager at Forest Hills Golf Course in La Crosse, provides an insight into this issue in our latest video. Check it out.
Remember, golf is a "gentlemen's game." Let's keep it that way.

Wisconsin unveils turkey donation program

Like you, I enjoy helping others.
I give lots of fish to friends, especially older folks, who can't get out and enjoy the outdoors anymore. I'll even clean and fillet fish for my closest friends, relatives and elderly people, knowing full well that some day I will need a helping hand, too.
Our family is usually fortunate enough to get one deer for the freezer each year, although some years we get skunked. When we are lucky enough to get two deer, we manage to make room in our freezer. We do share venison burger with family, friends and the elderly, but we haven't donated any deer to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Deer Donation Program.

I quit turkey hunting when I retired seven years ago. To this day I really don't now why. I still enjoy calling the critters. Yet, my heart isn't in it anymore.
If I did hunt turkeys, I wouldn't get involved with the new turkey program offered this spring and next fall.  
You see, hunters now have the option of donating their harvested turkey to needy families through the new Turkey Donation Program.
I'm sure it will develop into another worthwhile program to help the needy, and I applaud the DNR for offering it. However, I'm a little selfish. I enjoy wild turkey as much as venison. I shot many wild turkeys through the years and they were always delicious on the grill. Family members agree.
For those of you heading to the turkey woods and fields this spring and fall, have safe, successful hunts. And if you wish to donate your turkey, be sure to follow the instructions below.
Donated turkeys will be processed free of charge and meat will be provided to local food pantries. For the spring 2017 turkey hunt, three pilot counties, Dodge, Fond du Lac and Jefferson, were chosen. This program will be expanded for the fall turkey hunt later this year.
Participating locations are as follows (additional locations may be added after the start of the spring season; a list of participating locations can be found on the DNR’s website: dnr.wi.gov, keyword search Turkey Donation):
* Dodge County: Pernat-Haase Meats, N4202 Hwy M, Juneau, 920-386-3340;
* Fond Du Lac County: Loehr's Meat Service, 523 E Main St, Campbellsport, 920-533-4513; and
* Jefferson County: Pernat’s Premium Meats, 312 Milwaukee St, Johnson Creek, 920-699-6990.
Hunters can follow four simple steps to donate a harvested turkey to a family in need. Turkeys must be taken to a participating location by May 31:
* Prior to donation, field dress the turkey, complete registration, and validate the carcass tag.
* Contact a participating processor before drop-off to verify the processor has space to accept a turkey.
* Donate the entire turkey to receive processing for free (the feet, beard and feathers may be removed prior to donating). A bag of ice placed in the cavity will help preserve the carcass in warm weather.
* Complete the log sheet and indicate desire to donate the turkey. The donated turkey will be processed and the ground turkey will be distributed to charitable organizations to help feed families in need.
Those interested in supporting the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs can voluntarily donate $1 or more to the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs to help cover meat-processing fees. To donate, visit any license sales location or donate online through a Go Wild account at GoWild.Wi.Gov
For more information about the DNR’s turkey donation program and more on how you can help, visit and search keywords “