Deer camp is perhaps the best place in my world, other than home. Read on to find out why.
Saturday, Nov. 18
High 27, low 18
We are The Red Brush Gang. We were established in the 1950s by my father, the late Robert Walters.
We have a blast hunting deer in the wild country of northern Juneau County and we have just as much fun in our deer shack when we get back to camp well after dark.
Last night I cooked for our group of 17, and now I will have all of my meals served to me for the rest of the nine-day deer gun season.
This morning, I hiked into the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge with my daughter Selina. Her stand is 1.7 miles from the truck, while mine is a 2.5-mile jaunt. Today it was windy and cold, and my body was worn down from a very busy fall.
Selina and I communicate by text, and by 11 a.m., neither of us had seen a deer. We decided to meet and have some lunch and take a snooze. That was a great break.
Meanwhile, it was the usual mixed results for the rest of the gang with most of us having not seen a deer, but my buddy Jeff Moll put a bullet in a 5-pointer and was now in the lead for the coveted Red Brush Gang’s big-buck contest.
At about noon, I received a text from longtime red brush hunter Doug Cibulka, that said while hunting with his son Derek, he shot a spike and a 5-pointer. In our big-buck contest, your first buck is the only one you can enter, and because most of the deer here are not “Booners” we shoot spikes. The spiker knocked Doug out of the contest.
I had a really fun afternoon and saw nine deer, including two bucks. I was not going to shoot a spike because everyone wants me to win the big-buck contest. At 2:10 p.m. I saw two deer running across the marsh from a good 700 yards away. They were headed my way. As they got closer I could see the second deer was a super spiker.
The super spiker came flying by within 30 yards. I could not resist, aimed and fired. Actually, there was no firing, as my 300-BAR would not fire, and to make matters worse, I could not get the shell out.
I knew this was an act of God, and that now the gang was truly praying for me to win the big-buck contest.
Sunday, Nov. 19
High 26, low 14
I froze several parts of my body off in my tree this morning and did not see a deer all day, nor did Selina. On the good news front, my 16-year-old nephew Austin Schuster, who has never shot a deer, got his first buck, which was a spike, and than an hour later, he put a hole in a fork horn. Austin, like his younger sister Allie, loves giving me a hard time and spent much of the Sunday night party showing me disrespect for not having a buck on the pole.
Monday, Nov. 20
High 47, low 24
My nephew Trent Schuster shot a 6-pointer yesterday, which has him in the lead for our big-buck contest, which ends today.
As of today, most of our hunting is done by driving deer in 1-square-mile areas. We did not have a ton of daylight left, there were 16 of us and I was a stander. I saw a massive monster buck that was running at break-neck speed that no human could hit.
Though he was wearing a bullet-proof vest, I managed to put him down with my borrowed rifle. I let all my friends in the gang know that I got a big buck — a 13-inch 8-pointer — down. All 16 of my comrades were happy, but not for me!
Not 10 minutes into my supreme victory, my stepson Joey kicked up a big deer, which ran to my brother Mike, who saw that it had really big horns. Mike put a yet-to-be-determined amount of rounds into the 19-inch, 8-pointer, and even though the buck was lost in a river for a while, we had a new winner for the coveted buck cup, and bragging rights for 2017.
If you cannot have fun at this camp, you can’t have fun.