Editor's note: This week's An Outdoorsman's Journal is written by Mark Walters' daughter Selina Walters, who is a freshman student at UW-Stevens Point.
This week, I am writing to you instead of my dad, to fill you in on the rest of our trip in Mississippi, and my time at UW-Stevens Point so far.
I wish I could tell you that we had some incredibly exciting hunts where we saw all kinds of hogs and big deer. Unfortunately, if I were to tell you that, I would be lying.
As my dad wrote in last week’s column, there was extreme flooding last year where we were in Mississippi, which caused almost all the hogs to either be shot, or they moved to areas that weren’t flooded. This meant no hogs.
On the other hand, the deer in our area were a mystery. When we first arrived at our spot, we were amazed by all the sign we saw. There were scrapes, tracks and buck rubs all over the place. I was extremely excited to begin hunting, as I have never hunted somewhere with so much sign before.
Apparently, all this sign did not mean much, considering we hunted close to 40 hours each, and between the three of us, only saw two bucks. I was the lucky one and saw both bucks, but couldn’t shoot at either one, because neither were the legal size. My dad and uncle Tommy saw nothing but birds and squirrels.
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Although it was not ideal, none of us let it get us down, as we all know that it happens. We were trying our hardest and there really wasn’t much else we could have done, as we all sat from dawn to dusk.
Despite the slow hunting, I still had a great time on the trip and learned a lot while I was down there. It was great to see my uncle Tommy and aunt Laurie, who live in Louisiana. I rarely get to see them, and they are both always a riot.
My favorite part of this trip was seeing a different type of ecosystem, and how different the habitat is there compared to Wisconsin. Since I started college and have been learning more about how important habitat is, and the science behind wildlife ecology, rather than just being interested in hunting and fishing, I have started to pick up on a lot more things during these trips.
As many of you know, I just finished my first semester at UW-Stevens Point and I am currently on winter break. My time at UWSP so far has been great and I couldn’t ask to be at a better college for me.
My major is wildlife ecology and management, so I spend most of my time within the College of Natural Resources. The professors and staff there are all very supportive and seem like they really do care about the student’s success, and that they get hands-on experience while in school, rather than shipping them off with only classroom knowledge after they graduate.
Even though I have only been there for one semester, I feel like I have already learned so much and grown as a person in many ways. I often get asked if the transition was hard, or if I struggled my first semester, and although it wasn’t easy, I can honestly say that I am incredibly happy and love where I am in my life right now, and where I am headed.
I have high hopes of being a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I know it is a very competitive field to get into, but I have a great support system behind me, and if I continue to push myself and work hard, it is a very attainable goal.