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Are registered bucks just a drop in the bucket?/Jim Junttila

Woods, water & worse

December 10, 2010
By Jim Junttila

"They are if you ask me," responded WW&W whitetail pundit John Deer, texting his final hunting report from his blind at the White House.

"I also think they oughta call it Blackpowdeer season," he suggested. "It's a cooler, catchier, name than blackpowder deer season. Or how about Slackpowdeer season, since they'll be slacking off, cutting back on the carnage?"

I can split an infinitive, like firewood, with the best of them. No matter what you call it, muzzleloading season gets muzzled Sunday, Dec. 12; Bow and winter partridge seasons run through January 1.

"Since the firearm season ended, it's gone so quiet in da bush you can hear a doe bleat and a buck snort," WW&W hunting correspondent Buck Snortinen reported from his stand near the Drift in Copper City. "Now I'm driftin' for does."

It's been quite the season on the Yooper deer camp circuit. My research travels and those of your intrepid, not tepid, WW&W correspondents took us hither and yon, including discreet border crossings, zigging and zagging our way in and outta northern Wisconsin.

"You can't help it, that's how they drew the maps," said WW&W border reporter Florence Wisconsin, "especially down around Iron Mountain, Watermeet and backa Wakefield."

"During deer season, backroads border clubs cater to hunters from Hurley to Spread Eagle, Marenisco to Marinette, another way the U.P. is losing revenue to Wisconsin," she wagged her finger, "and look who's going to the Rose Bowl!"

I've personally researched what goes on in those Yooper/ Cheesehead border towns after the sun goes down, and I know one thing for sure: Wherever you see pickups with bucks sticking out the back, you'll find happy-go-lucky deer hunters inside celebrating. It's a venue made in heaven for hunter intercept surveys, barstool interviews, casual observation, hearsay, gossip, and hot anecdotal action.

You'll never see Fox News go this far afield.

"Yooper trophy buck records were broken more than the 10 Commandments this season," said WW&W religion correspondent Amazing Grace, "So much so that I am amazed myself," she added in wide-eyed amazement.

An estimated 83 Keweenaw bucks registered at our venerable venison venues, Phoenix Store, Vansville and the Cliff View totaled more than 410 points and 12,500 pounds of high-speed beef, a probable drop in the bucket compared to unregistered bucks. That's what I call good hunting. Another pretty good measure of a season is how busy area butchers and meat processors are, and they are up to their backstraps at about 60 bucks a buck, a little more if you want makara.

"Nothing succeeds like success and nothing exceeds like excess," Grace added. "Speaking of trophy racks, rumor has it that the Yooper moose population is growing enough to sustain a limited hunt in the foreseeable future. According to recent DNRE aerial surveys, an estimated 420 of the beasts roam the western U.P."

We may be culturally deprived of gentleman's clubs, but Yoopers and visiting hunters enjoy a U.P.-wide life support system, an awesome social network of backwoods bars strategically located from Ironwood to Iron Mountain, Lac la Belle to Lake Gogebic, and from Estivant Pines to Escanaba. Just follow the snowmobile trails; It's hard to get lost, let alone go hungry or thirsty.

The diligent yeoman effort to eat like kings and fight off heart disease isn't just palatable, it's palpable; Some camps keepa kegga cold complex carbohydrates in the snowbank, on the porch, or just outside the sauna for medicinal purposes, to aid in digesting the high LDL and saturated fat consumption at the nightly banquets. They don't call it beer camp for nothing.

I desperately wanna believe the theory that beer works like chelation therapy to help dissolve pesky plaque build-up in coronary arteries (Take Coors against clots?). Then there are the well-known, documented emotional, sociological, psychological and relaxation benefits; lubricating laughter and conversation, and elevating storytelling to an art form.

While WW&W recognizes more successful hunters than any other column, I visited a lotta camps where hunters preferred not to register and publicize their bucks, and some of them were true trophies. But that didn't keep me from jotting down enough field notes to massage into columns so those of you who may not make it to deer camp might do so vicariously.

Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at



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