Nate Moll

Nate Moll and Ruby are loading up their canoes after an successful deer- and duck-hunting trip in Columbia County.

Hello friends,

Nate Moll is 22, goes to collage at UW-Madison and may be a geologist when he graduates in a year and a half, but like his brother Ryan, he wants to fly jets for the Air National Guard. Nate is currently a crew chief working on F-16s at Truax Field, and my guess is that Nate will fly jets some day.

This week's column is about a go-for-it trip that Nate and I recently went on. The adventure was physical, dangerous and loaded with mud as we hunted deer with a muzzleloader, while also hoping to shoot some ducks while camping and traveling by canoe.

Saturday, Dec. 2

High 39, low 25

It was still dark out when Nate, who came from Madison, and I, from Necedah, met at a boat landing on the Wisconsin River in Columbia County. Our plan was to paddle in the dark to a secret location where there would be lots of ducks.

Our canoes were extremely loaded with camping and hunting gear, and on our way to paradise, we became extremely stuck in mud. It required one hour for each of us, as we became stuck in the mud while pushing our rigs to where we were going to camp.

Unloading our canoes and carrying our gear about 40 yards to shore was a very physical job due to the mud. We actually made a cattail sidewalk that helped a lot. Duck hunting was ruled out as we only saw three in the first hour of daylight.

The biggest part of this adventure would be canoeing up an extremely remote creek, which is so remote because of the mud and a swamp.

Before we left camp, Nate and I secured a bet that was for ducks, a buck and a doe. The stakes were $5 each for the ducks and buck, and $2 for the doe.

All together, our trip up the creek took 50 minutes and we were each in our own canoe. The next part of our adventure was to have each of us scout for deer on opposite sides of the creek. I would be putting up a portable stand if I found a spot that I liked.

I might add that this entire hunt took place in chest waders. It was tough to walk and visibility was very poor.

Fast forward to 3:25 p.m. I had doe urine out and was using a can and grunt call. I was watching about 5 acres of swamp when I received a text from my buddy Dave BeBeau, out of Glidden, who was also deer hunting. I just started to reply when I spotted a deer coming my way. I put the phone down, but the buck hung up 70 yards away. He was looking at me and would not come any closer.

It was my lucky day when the buck looked backwards, gave me a shoulder shot and now I had me a beautiful 6-pointer. Later that night, Nate and I drank some beer by an awesome campfire and as we admired my trophy. I proclaimed the tree that it was hanging as "The Trophy Tree."

Sunday, Dec. 3

High 53, low 24

Though it was a warm day, it was cold last night, and Nate and I were both paddling canoes at 5:10 this morning. I wanted a doe. Nate wanted a 7-pointer and a doe.

At 10:30 a.m. I had not seen a deer and began the paddle back to camp for lunch. Nate decided to hunt all day. I got lucky and jumped a flock of mallards and sent one to heaven, which made Nate very happy, as I was now winning in the duck bet as well.

After a big fat lunch and an awesome nap, I headed upstream with a trophy doe on my mind. I had just climbed into my tree when I heard Nate’s muzzleloader bark, and was I ever happy. Turns out Nate was taking a snooze himself on the forest floor, woke up and saw a doe sneaking through the woods.

Nate was not meant to harvest a deer today, but he sure had fun sitting by the "Trophy Tree" tonight and listening to my stories of how I made the shot on the buck and now the duck.

Nate and I paddled up the creek in the dark the following morning in an incredible lightning and thunderstorm. I never saw a deer other than the buck I harvested and neither of us wanted this trip to end.

It was dangerous, dirty, exhausting and a total challenge!