We all know that in life much of our existence is wrapped around family and friends. This week’s adventure changed a month before it happened, and everything turned out just fine.
So, I was going to take 13-year-old Johnny Andes on his first deer hunt, which in this case was a pretty big deal. Johnny, the son of Michelle Chiaro and Ron Andes, had never shot a gun until two weeks before this hunt and our original plan was to do a canoe deer hunt/camping trip on the Chippewa River. That plan changed when my daughter Selina, who is a junior at UW-Stevens Point, asked me to attend the Pointers’ Homecoming football game and a lot of fun activities after the game with her five roommates and their parents.
Long story short, Johnny’s hunt became a Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon adventure to my food plot.
Saturday, Oct. 9
High 75, low 53
All credit for Johnny’s shooting lessons goes to his mother Michelle Chiaro. She fast tracked him with a semi-automatic Savage 22 and finished the job with her Remington 742 “30:06,” and let me tell you, this kid can hit the target. The training took place on the ground and in a tree stand.
This morning I got Johnny out of bed at 5:00 am and we were in two tree stands that were placed next to each other, and has been the case all fall, it was very warm. We did not see a deer and when I got home, I had 30 minutes to get ready for the other part of my day and just like that I was bound for Stevens Point.
Selina lives with five girls that are all seniors in a very nice house and in all honesty they are like sisters. They get along well, know how to peg out the fun meter, and are very successful.
Three of the gals are on UWSP’s dance team and all six gals had their parents here today for the game, a dance performance at halftime, and lots of fun afterwards. Raegan Babcock, Julia Perock, and Natalie Kuhaupt are on the dance team along with a bunch of other gals. It was very cool to feel and see the honor and respect they have for what has been up to 18 years of dance for one of them. Not to mention listening about the grueling practice schedule of four times a week of two-and-a-half hours of practice each time, and the national awards they have earned for their effort. I sat in the stands with Selina, Isabel Negaard, Kaylee Huberty, all the parents and a lot of this group’s friends. The dance team’s performance was flawless and the look on all the parents’ faces told it all, as they watched their daughters in what is probably the last year of their dancing careers.
After the game we went to another celebration in a large tent that was set up by Partners Pub and Grill, which is a very popular watering hole in Stevens Point.
I met dozens of really impressive people, laughed my head off, danced my feet off, and later the whole herd of us walked a mile-and-a-half back to the gals’ house; it seemed like every yard had festivities taking place.
The next morning, I was awake at 5 a.m. and soon after started wandering the streets looking for my truck. That was a long journey in itself which was followed by a drive home where I stopped at a farm as I am looking for some calves to buy. That stop paid off, except I got bit by a dog and this worn-out redneck got home in time to take Johnny on an afternoon hunt. Michelle sat in a tree next to us as she wanted to be a part of this experience. We saw three deer but did not get a shot.
I have to tell you, the kids at UWSP are extremely impressive. The Pointer football team is not having a real good year so I am thinking of enrolling next fall as a freshman, becoming the quarterback and bringing a national championship to UWSP.
I have always said that if you do things with your kids in the outdoors that your kids will be your friends when they are adults.
Contact freelance journalist Mark Walters at email@example.com