Hunters take to the woods
The reasons are many that pull people to the woods in search of the abundant whitetail deer. More than 600,000 deer hunters registered to hunt this fall. What is it about deer hunting that attracts so many in a way that can only be described as r...
The reasons are many that pull people to the woods in search of the abundant whitetail deer.
More than 600,000 deer hunters registered to hunt this fall. What is it about deer hunting that attracts so many in a way that can only be described as religious fervor?
"It roots back to the times when there wasn't a supermarket on every corner teeming with every kind of food that you could want," said Ted Sellers, sporting goods manager at Northwest Outlet in Superior. "It goes back to a substance thing but it's evolved into a traditional thing where people get together. It's right around Thanksgiving so it brings families together. It's not just the act of going out and killing a deer. It's getting together as a group and having a good time."
The Douglas County Fish and Game League has a shooting range just south of Superior. This time of year it's abuzz with hunters.
Bill Lippitt and his son Brent came to check the accuracy of their hunting rifle sights.
"I've been hunting down in Solon Springs for 32 years. It seems like my dad and I -- that was the only time we got together," Bill Lippitt said. "My dad even ... I don't think he even cared to shoot a deer the last number of years. It was just going out and eating and spending time together."
Lippitt now shares the same type of relationship with his son and says bonding together is the best part of the hunt.
Bill Drallmeier is a hunter education instructor. He raised his daughter in the hunting tradition.
"We're seeing an influx of female hunters, 20 years and older coming through that are hunting with their boyfriends and hunting with the husbands," Drallmeier said. "I think the ladies are getting more and more involved with it as a family affair. I enjoy hunting. I enjoy the woods. I enjoy the time I can spend in the woods. It's not a matter of the kill; it's a matter of getting out to enjoy the woods. It's get together, go have good food and good stories after."
Drallmeier's sentiment is shared by many hunters.
Travis Erickson says his family has been hunting the Brule River area for 60 years.
"Our deer season falls over that Thanksgiving week," Erickson said. "So you know there's a lot of businesses, a lot of guys who shut down noon on Friday and they don't open up 'til a week from Monday. The whole week's kind of a holiday for them. I'm actually driving up to our deer shack right now. I can't wait. All the guys are up there, sit around and tell stories. I just love the whole atmosphere of it." Erickson says the tradition, coupled with the camaraderie of his fellow hunters is the reason he goes back year after year. DNR Spokesman Jim Bishop agrees. He's been hunting with the same gang since he was 10 years old.
"My grandfathers and my uncles and great uncles all built us a shack," Bishop said. "Now we're older guys, I'll hunt with my son this year and the tradition kind of maintains itself; just one big social gathering. Occasionally we'll get out and do some hunting, but a lot of it's playing cards and it's just a lot of fun."
This month marks the 156th gun deer season in Wisconsin, more than a century and a half of finding good reasons to hunt.
Ben Ranallo is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.