Brute’s Bleat November 23, 2016

A Howard Lake gentleman, Jim Wackler, who I got to know while I was working for the Howard Lake Herald years ago, as a town team baseball fan, and a Rock Lake winter angler, had the experience of a lifetime deer hunting this year. He bagged a huge 36-point buck (above) Friday while he was hunting near the end of a corn field and woods. He was armed with a 20 ga. Winchester pump shotgun and slugs. As the story goes Jim said he heard the deer in the corn field from his lawn chair several times and it sounded like a freight train. He waited until the deer stuck his head out of the corn and seeing its size, thought “O’ boy this is a big feller”. When the deer got near enough to shoot he hollered. The buck stopped and that’s when he pulled the trigger. Jim felt the buck had 32 points in its rack, but a closer count was 36. He said he isn’t very steady on his feet and consequently shot the deer through the chest from his lawn chair. Jim found the deer in the woods after finding blood on the corn stalks and on some brambles on the edge of the woods. He used his cane to help navigate into the woods and saw what he thought was a large white birch log, which actually was the belly of the huge buck. We don’t have any birch trees, he said. Jim poked the buck in the rear several times to make sure it was dead. He commented about taking a couple of breaks to compose himself and then started to call for help, but had some difficulty finding anyone available. He shot the deer around 4 p.m. and it was after 6 p.m. before his son-in-law, Mike Young (Ruth’s husband), and two high school senior boys, Chris Ahrens and Dakota Duenow, both outdoorsmen, got the deer out of the woods. The deer was weighed at Joe’s Sport Shop in Howard Lake, 260 lbs. field-dressed, and the points were verified at 36.
Jim said he’s been hunting deer since 1957 and nine points were the most on previous bucks. He said he’s more of a meat hunter than a buck hunter and none of the meat is wasted. This year his son, Paul, shot a deer in the Cromwell area.
Commenting about the Friday he shot the huge buck, Jim said he first took a drive scouting and was set up by 11 a.m. He took a lunch break, returning about 2:30 p.m. He said it was a beautiful day to be hunting with lots of birds, chickadees, nuthatches and blue jays keeping him company. He didn’t think he’ll be able to improve on this year’s buck!
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Gene Wadman said he and a grandson gave trolling for Northerns a try on Bass Lake last week where they caught a couple of smaller Northerns. He was impressed with the clarity of that lake which he felt was about 10 feet. The weather change may bring smiles to those waiting for hard-water angling and the spearing season which opened Nov. 15th.
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Despite reports of heavy snow in the western pheasant range, Daryl Hennen and I had to see for ourselves what had happened and, hopefully, come across some birds. We found Hwy. 7 had substantial snow and ice pack on the west-bound lane, but it got better when we hit Hwy. 23 in Clara City. The snow was a good foot deep and had drifted into the ditches and edges of the cattails and cornfield food plots. We found some hens in the corn, but no roosters. Later in the afternoon two roosters flew across the road and landed in a WMA area’s sweet clover and grass which was filled with snow. We knew it would be tough going, but also figured it was our best opportunity. Vanna found a scent which took me off to the right. It was slow going in the heavy cover and the rooster busted out to my left and behind me. My two 12 ga. volleys missed their mark and left me stomping around disgustedly. We figured the other rooster was one of the birds we saw flush from a distance. . . Our thoughts on pheasant hunting is to look for an area with less snow and more birds. if that is possible. That could take us out of state, but that’s not a sure thing either at this time of the year.