An Outdoorsman's Journal

                                                                                          Pepin County Paradise

Hello friends,

Sometimes what seems like a really good plan does not work out and if we are willing to regroup instead of giving up, a new plan may be created that has strong potential for the future. So here is the deal, I have been looking forward to this adventure since October which was the first time that I ever saw Pepin and Buffalo Counties. “Tiffany State Wildlife Area” which is divided by the Chippewa River.

My plan was to camp on the frozen backwaters of the Chippewa and I would both ice fish and hunt for deer with my muzzleloader. I bow hunted here three times last fall for the first time, and fell in love with the area.

Monday, December 3rd

High 31, low 14

A prior weekend of heavy, wet snow killed my plan and I found out when I went exploring on the ice today. I was going to put my Eskimo shack on the ice, rig it for camping, tell my faithful golden retrievers Fire and her pup Ruby to stay and then go put out a deer stand for an afternoon hunt.

After dark I was going to put out tip ups for walleye and live this way of life for three days.

At best there was two-inches of ice and it was soft. The only possible way to my hunting grounds was on the ice or in a canoe, neither of which was going to work. I traveled for 500-yards with my spud going through on each step before I turned around and headed back to the truck.

Plan B had me heading down the north side of the Chippewa and looking for good ice which was not to be. Plan C had me driving towards Durand and on the south side of the Chippewa, up highway 25, and hiking in to look for sign of deer which I saw very little of. I did pick out an area to hunt for the afternoon, and as I suspected did not see a deer.

Plan D which took place after dark was to head to Ryan’s Sport Shop in Durand and ask for advice. I was impressed as I always am in this shop, and well after dark headed north with a truck load of gear and pups to The Lower Chippewa Natural Area. This is both in Pepin and Dunn Counties and as I would find out over the next two days is an incredible piece of public property.

Believe it or not I did my scouting in the dark, and came up with a plan for a morning hunt. Ruby is due to have her pups on about the 20th of December. Ruby and Fire would sleep in the back seat of my truck, I would sleep on the drivers seat at a secret spot. Ruby always has to have her head on my chest and she makes a lot of noise with her expanding body as she grunts and groans the night away.

The following morning I made about a one mile hike in the dark with my 50 caliber CVA. I did not see a deer on this hunt but went exploring and due to snow on the ground was able to see lots of deer sign.

As is almost always the case in the winter, the deer were where the daylight hits the ground, in this case the draw was young brow’s which feeds probably 80-percent of Wisconsin’s whitetail from December to April.

This afternoon I hunted on a ridge line over looking perhaps 100-acres of deer country and was really surprised when I did not see a deer.

Tonight it was back to the extremely comfortable confines of The Chevy Hotel. Before I forget, the ridge that I hunted has a narrow pass maybe 15-feet, that is where a lot of deer were passing through and I put trail cameras on each side of it literally looking at each other.

Wednesday, December 5th

High 31, low15

As much fun as it is to sleep in the front seat of my truck when it is 15-degrees, I have to admit that I was looking forward to a hot bath and my bed tonight. This morning I hunted a different part of the clear cut and did not see a deer, I think they are nocturnal.

After my hunt I hiked over to my trail cameras and had a great photo of an 8-point buck sniffing/looking at my camera which was taken with the other camera.

Later I found a really cool place to camp on the safer ice that would have been good fishing and I have to admit that Selina and I are really excited for Ruby to have her pups.

In other words, life is good! Sunset