Archive for July, 2011

In case any of us, other than Paco, is lucky and gets a trophy buck this fall….

Peterson’s Bowhunting






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August—next week. Time to start thinking game trail cams and deer hunting setups. The picture of “Shooter” and the “Buck” reminds us of what we love about hunting. Here is the story – from Greg’s recollection.

“As we all know, the traditional 9 day deer hunt in Wisconsin begins on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It is a time when the Brambleberry Farm deer hunt group gets together, just like many others across the State. This group happily expanded a few years ago with the addition of Castro family members, father in law Art, brothers in law Doug and Al and Al’s oldest son Paco—“Shooter”—who turned 13 last year.

On opening day 2010 Brandon was in the Governor’s Stand. He was aware of a deer to his east, hidden by brush, so he could not get a good look at him. Something caused this deer to bolt into the prairie field west of the stand and that was when Brandon got a good look at the horns. They were too big to ignore. He rightly decided to get down and go after it. He radioed for help in walking the prairie, the idea being to see if the deer had lain down in the grass and if we could flush him out. A mini drive. Jon and I walked over from our stands and for over an hour, drove the field. No luck. The grass is so tall and thick that you have to step on a buck like that to get him to move.

At 10:00 the group adjourned for lunch. It was decided that Art should hunt with his son Al and his grandson Paco. That is what deer hunting is all about. And so I put them in Robert’s Stand, a large ground stand located at the wood’s edge between the Governor’s Stand and the prairie field where the Buck disappeared into. Noon rolls around. We all know that noon time is a good time to see deer on the move, particularly opening day. I assume the Buck wanted to go back to its safe place, because it walked out of the field and into the woods to the north of Robert’s stand. Art saw it first, but Paco shot first*. Just once. As he told his grandpa, “I hit it.” He did. The Buck ran 50 yards or so back into the field but no further. Radio communication of a big deer down brought the group together. The Buck was found and dragged into the lane for whooping, hollering and pictures. It was remarked that Paco had taken 2 deer, a doe in 2009 and the Buck, each with one shot—at that rate, he would not have to buy another box of shells until he reached his twenties! We named him Shooter. It made the season.

Guys, let’s do it again this year.”

*Editor’s Note: I believe, upon seeing the deer, Art said something to the effect. “Shoot it before Rick gets it” as Dead Eye Dick was in the Governor’s Stand waiting for the monster to come his way. DED

Another Note! As if Paco needs any additional accolades for his deer – well, he got one anyway. On August 12, 2011 Paco’s buck was featured as the “Deer of the Day” by North American Whitetail magazine on their website. Quite a fine honor for young Paco! Read it and plan on entering your deer in 2011.

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Timing The Rut










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If you’re looking for a spot when traveling or a change of scenery…check out Fishhound.com


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If you’re looking to tie that 8-pointer to the back of the truck or want to learn a couple of new knots this site is the place to go!




Animated Knots

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She might as well hunt….

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“Grizzly Bear Kills Yellowstone Hiker”That was the headline on page 5 of the Wisconsin State Journal July 7, 2011. The incident occurred on the Wapiti Lake Trail near Canyon Lodge in the central part of Yellowstone.

From Greg’s journal – This hit close to home because son John and I just returned (on July 4th) from a ten-day hiking trip to Yellowstone and Glacier. (I know it is hard to believe but I do travel away from Brambleberry Farm once in a while!) In fact, we stayed at Canyon Lodge while in Yellowstone. We did not hike the Wapiti Trail as others seemed more scenic and attractive, but read about it when considering which trails to hike.

John and I did not run into a bear on our hikes (we averaged over 11 miles a day) until the very last hike of the trip. Our hikes were day hikes, where we went out and then either looped back to the trailhead if there was a loop or returned the way we came if not. I think one way we avoided bear encounters is that we usually started a little later in the morning (9-9:30 on average) and finished well before dark. The latest we were ever on a trail was 8:30.

Our last hike was to Apgar Lookout in Glacier. Glacier is a beautiful place. The mountains are right on top of you and the views, while not as expansive as Yellowstone, are equally majestic and beautiful.

Apgar Lookout trail has a steep and strenuous vertical profile with the last 1.5 miles or so climbing about 2000 feet thru narrow steep mountainside switchbacks before you reach a final elevation of over 5,200 feet. It was a beautiful sunny day, making for a hot and sweaty climb to the summit, so we enjoyed the cold breeze at the top even if it meant a sweatshirt to keep from getting chilled. A young Swiss couple walked the trail in front of us and demonstrated the difference between men and women hikers. We pulled out a lunch of pretzels, two apples and water. She took out of her backpack wine, French bread, cheese, tomato and fruit salad.

But the story really takes place on the way down. After a slow huff and puff up to the top lasting nearly 3 hours and encompassing 5.4 miles, I looked forward to a quicker, easier march down the trail to the car and a cold beer that waited to fulfill its destiny at the bottom of our cooler. Since 2 or 3 other groups had arrived at the summit after us, John convinced me that my bear bell was overkill and we silenced it with the small magnet it comes with, leaving only our talking to alert bears to our presence.

So with bear bell silenced we walked around a corner of the trail about 1 mile down from the summit. There it was, a black bear. It walked on all fours on the trail directly in front of us, some 30 feet away, heading in the same direction we were. John saw him first and we both stopped as instructed in the various warnings put out by the Park service, crouching down somewhat to look smaller and less threatening. The bear heard something and turned towards us. Then it got up on its hind legs and looked at us. 

At this point of the trail and up to the summit, you should know that the trail is no more than 3 feet wide. The uphill side goes more or less straight up thru a tangle of brush and fallen burnt out trees—this area was the sight of a forest fire some years before – while the downhill side is the same, but more precipitous. If it charges the bear comes thru us as we have nowhere to go. 

My hand is on my bear repellant spray while John and I walk in the opposite direction slowly and quietly as the bear peers at us while still on its hind legs. It looks like an adult to me. My only other weapon is a fixed blade six-inch knife I have in my left pocket for reasons I do not even know. If I get into a fight with an animal like this at quarters close enough to put the knife to use I am probably dead.

We walked around the corner until we were out of sight of the bear and the bear was out of sight of us. It was just about at this time that we were joined by the Swiss couple. Their English was good, and I told them what we had seen. The young man took out his bear repellant and we agreed to give the bear time to leave the area. After a ten minute wait, we agreed that there was safety in numbers and that we should walk the trail together.

The first 50 yards or so was an anxious time, not knowing where the bear made off to or if it did. But there was no further sighting, and about a mile down the trail we parted ways with the Swiss couple, and let them go ahead of us.

I understand that grizzlies are more unpredictable than black bears. Carrying a firearm is discouraged by the experts. But I might reconsider that advice. If we had been attacked on that narrow trail I wonder how effective 7.32 seconds of pepper spray (the can’s capacity) would have been. The hiker who was killed probably wishes he had a gun. But at least in the case of this black bear, following the recommended procedures worked.


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