This week I am writing what I feel is a really cool story about Matt Weber and his son Mike, who just happen to be the conservation wardens for Juneau County.
I met these guys on a snowy afternoon this week and we sat around a campfire, shared a meal and I listened to their stories for five hours.
The year was 1984. Matt was a senior at Crandon High School. He was a wrestler on Crandon’s wrestling team, but his real love was running his beagles for cottontail and snowshoe rabbits in Forest County.
In 1989 Matt married Denise Peeters, of Necedah. In 1990 Mike was born and that same year Matt went into training to become a conservation warden. In 1993 Matt was given a permanent station in northern Juneau County.
Northern Juneau County just happens to be where my hunting camp is, and the part of Wisconsin that is the love of my life. I met Matt in the mid-1990s and was impressed every time we spoke. Having lived in that area for much of the 1980s, I have a lot of friends there, and I can honestly say that Matt is a well-liked conservation warden and blends in with the locals whether in uniform or hunting clothes.
In the year 2000, I moved my family to Necedah, which was where the Webers also called home, and young Mike just happened to be in my stepson Travis’ class. When Travis was in 8th grade, Mike joined the football team and both of these kids would become lethal weapons on coach Eric Mach’s Necedah Cardinal football team for the next five years.
Mike and Travis were both standout wrestlers on Necedah’s wrestling team with Mike taking third at the state tournament while wrestling at 215 pounds. Any parent that has raised a wrestler knows you become a part of the team due to all of the Saturdays spent at tournaments. What I remember about Mike is that he was always a gentleman. Win or lose, he showed very little emotion and was always there for his teammates.
In 2002 I did a story on Matt and his love for hunting rabbits with beagles. We hiked through rugged country.Matt got two shots at running snowshoe hares and both died. What was incredible was that he was using a .22 pistol.
After high school Mike went to UW-Stevens Point, majoring in Resource Management-Law Enforcement with a minor in Natural Resouces. He then became a deputy on the Juneau County Sheriffs Department. Mike spoke very highly of his fellow officers on the sheriff’s department and I personally feel the same way.
In 2014 Mike went through training to become a conservation warden and the really cool story of a father-son team of conservation wardens in the same county began when Mike was given southern Juneau County for his station.
Like I said, at the start of this week’s column, we had a great time sitting around a pretty good-sized campfire, shared a meal that was cooked over the fire, while what would be a 6-inch snowfall took place.
I listened to Matt repeatedly go back to speaking about his love for hounds and how after his upcoming retirement in late April, training beagles would be his main pastime.
Yes, Juneau County residents, Matt is retiring in about 45 days. Perhaps there are people out there who do not like him as can happen to anyone in law enforcement, but I can honestly say that I know a lot of people in this neck of the woods, and we are gonna miss you Matt.
Matt and Mike Weber like to hunt, fish and trap, and now one of them is going to have a whole lot of time to do that.
Congrats to a good family!