Deer Hunting in Wisconsin

Do you remember tearing up the driveway on a particular November Friday afternoon just to make sure you got to hug your dad and wish him luck before he left? I do! He was going deer hunting.

Deer Hunting
1971 St Germaine, WI

The Deer Hunting Planning Meeting

The deer hunting meeting was always a few weeks earlier. As kids it was a big deal. All the adults would gather upstairs over cannibal sandwiches and old fashioned’s. The wives would make endless lists while the guys played Sheepshead. Who was going to bring what? Who was in charge of this or that?

As a child we would get a bottle of soda, homemade popcorn, and line up our sleeping bags in the basement to watch Wizard of Oz with friends. It was a big deal. I remember it vividly. I feel I could just reach out my hand and touch it.

My Deer Hunting Weekend

We would run like hell up the driveway just to catch them before they left. Luggage pouring out of the house and a sea of red and orange suits laying on top of the stuffed trunk before they shut the top. I remember a sea of boxes and coolers with goodies and most of all the caramel bars. They were everyone’s favorite.

They would pull out the Friday before opening day. Shortly thereafter my grandmother would pull in. She always came for Widow’s Weekend. We would shop, have lunch, clean, wash dishes, and make cookies, Most importantly it was just “us girls!” We would hang out in our pajamas all day. Truthfully, we enjoyed being alone together but we were always anxiously waiting for the phone to ring. We wanted to know if dad got the BIG ONE!

Amy and Al
My father and I. I was three years old, November 1976.

Fall in Wisconsin and Gus

November smells different! It smells like soft anticipation of the holidays. Cool and crisp but also sweet. It smells like leaves, apples and fresh mud. You can still faintly smell the grass. The sun is a different color in the country in November in Wisconsin. It’s very orange and yellow. It sets so early. Tonight I was coming home from town while the sun was setting. You could literally watch it drop below the horizon. You anxiously watch the ditches and fields for deer. They are everywhere and they are so beautiful. One day I know Gus will step out on the road and bow to me.

Gus is my magical stag. I have yet to see him but I imagine what he would look like in my head. I look for him everywhere. I’ve yet to see him but I know he’s there. He has walked with me throughout my life in every season just watching and protecting me. Let me tell you what he looks like. Gus has a massive rack of antlers that any hunter would dream of. His coat is longer than a whitetail and he has a magnificently huge white chest. His breath can be seen from yards away as he walks along in harmony with the world. He is all that is good in the world. Gus is king of the forest. He is wise and good and only shows himself to those that believe.

Closing Thoughts

People who believe in the magic of the forest. I believe that there is a special peace found within the forest. It’s a place of sweetness and power. It’s a place to revisit your soul and find balance. It’s a place of harmony. We forget these things when we walk in the concrete jungle man created. I long for it as an adult. There is a peace and smell of renewed energy only found within the leaves.

Autumn in St Germaine, WI

I don’t think I could ever shoot an animal unless I needed it survive. Still, I find the beginning of hunting season and the month of November intoxicating. It brings me back to a simpler time. A time of anticipation for the holidays and snow. Anticipation for writing lists to Santa and opening doors on my advent calendar. Each day builds upon the anticipation of the previous. Soon it will be the most special time of year. The house will be filled with with my grandparents, singing carols, lit candles, amazing candies, and a pile of gifts to tear open. A time of joy and a time of peace.

Each Wisconsin tradition brings back their own unique memories. To honor those traditions and to remember what makes us Sconnies is to be blessed!


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Deer Hunting in Wisconsin

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