Mark Walters, Contributor
Follow along each week on the adventures of Mark Walters, a syndicated outdoor adventure columnist who lives in Necedah, Wisconsin. He began writing his column, An Outdoorsman’s Journal, in 1989. It includes hunting, fishing, lots of canoeing and backpacking. He currently writes for around 60 newspapers on a weekly basis. He hopes you enjoy reading about his adventures!
This past week I spent six days either turkey hunting at my food plot in northern Juneau County or crappie fishing on backwaters of the Wisconsin River in Columbia County.
Thursday, April 29
High 53, Low 32
My food plot is almost a half a mile behind my house in what in reality is a forest that runs from Mauston to just north of Neilsville. I created it last spring with a chainsaw, ATV and a rototiller and I absolutely love spending time there.
This winter I cleared some more land and this weekend I put in a couple of long days with a rototiller and planted some alfalfa mixed with pasture grass which will give me close to a year round food source. Last year I planted radishes and turnips in late July and though they looked real pretty I had almost zero yield from them which was not good at all come November and December. The common opinion is that I may have planted them too close.
Last weekend I also planted some peas and then an experimental crop of radishes in a 5×40 foot area.
I have had trail cameras on the plot for about a month and deer and turkey are frequent visitors. That is until I just spent 20-hours working in it. In the last four days I have not got a single pic other than crows.
Yesterday was day one of my season and I did not see a turkey and I did not care. I might add that I am using my compound bow and today I took some practice shots at a target that I have on the plot and my rest came apart and I lost one of my arrows.
An allen wrench and practice fixed that problem. Last year my daughter Selina harvested a massive tom and I saved the wings and tail. I put the wings on my Jake decoy and last night even though I had the decoy laying down near my blind, something carried it off and ate the wings.
Saturday, May 1st
High 88, Low 42
My stepson Travis is 28 and lives near Portage and is a carpenter. Anyone that knows Travis is well aware that what Travis actually is, is a man that is 100-percent addicted to the outdoors. Two days ago I texted Trav and told him that he needed to take me fishing.
Today we fished backwaters of the Wisconsin River in his 18-foot Pro Drive boat that is pushed by a 40 hsp shallow drive motor. An example of Trav would be just yesterday Trav and a buddy shot 9 barrels of carp and buffalo with their bows.
Anyways, back to the fishing, Trav’s first crappie was 13.5 inches and we just kept catching bluegill and crappie until midday when it was time to go home.
At one point Trav made the mistake of telling me I had to start catching some fish. I did and caught the biggest “14 inches” and did real good on the numbers. I think Trav would rather give up a hand than his boat.
Tuesday May 4th
High 52, Low 33
Today was the last day of my turkey season and I have put 31 hours in my blind and seen three turkey so far and two coyote of which one was very large. I cut the eyes out of what is now 280 hills of Yukon Golds and Norland Reds in the blind. I did at least 8 hours of paperwork and Sunday I filleted 25 crappie and gills in the blind which I carried out to it in the dark. I guess you could call me a multitasking redneck.
This morning two positive things happened, I got permission to take Selina to a very good spot for her hunt and a jake made the mistake of wandering into my plot. I have to be honest, the compound bow has been replaced with a 12-gauge and I wasted no time putting a whacking on the jake.
I love my food plot, I seriously do!
Check out previous weeks’ columns at: www.outdoorsmansjournal.com