Hilarious Moments inside a Deer Camp

by Joseph L. Groessel, Port Washington



(Click to enlarge)


Deer Hunters--Adolph Meyers, Joe Groessel, Butch Gerold, Harry "Abie" Wasserberger, Al Covell, Bill Whaley, Hunz Schiesel, Freddy Draft


The Windy Run Gang consisted of AdoIph Myers, Joe Groessel, Harry “Able” Wasserburger, Bill Whaley, Fred Daft, Butch Gerald; Al Covell; Hunz Schiesel and Louis Bra dbury. These are excerpts taken from a hook written by Joseph Groessel about tile adventures of camp in the woods of Rock Darn.


This collection of humorous episodes in a Wisconsin deer camp will remind seasoned hunters of similar incidents they haven’t thought about in years — and give those who always wanted to go deer hunting but never did; the feeling at least of having been there. Who knows but these true tales will motivate some non-hunters to venture forth on their first safari into deer country!

Another fellow in camp... the key guy for them all... was Covell; Al Covell! He was the originator of Windy Run Camp years before when the area was untrammeled, unseen, unknown except by himself because he was the Clark County Forester and got around. An experienced woodsman and crack shot too! You couldn’t find him equal in all the Northwood's! I’ll always remember him as a husky, roughly dressed woodsman and hunter who could trudge all day in knee-deep snow and sub-zero weather, carrying an ice-cold 30.30 caliber deer rifle in hare hands - - - wearing nothing more than a fight weight jacket half open and flappin' in the wind. His shirt, usually open at the throat, was often ringed by a red handkerchief unless it was hanging out of his back pocket. In those days that was about the only red he wore except for the red color of his plaid shirt.

Butch Gerald; an attorney in Port Washington, which is just north of Milwaukee on the west side of Lake Michigan, was Covell's best friend. Late one afternoon during a deer season Butch barged into camp, face flushed; sort of wild eyed like what you associate with a greenhorn hunter the first time he gets “buck fever”. “What d’yu think!” he demanded “What d’yu think I did?” All faces around him had to reflect consternation because after all Butch wasn’t a greenhorn hunter, he was a good shot, and if he were excited about something it must have been something pretty unusual. “I was lying on my stomach out there in the plantation, just restin' and’ not givin’a damn If a buck showed up or not, when outta nowhere one popped up right in front of me. I knew right then and there there wasn’t gonna be another chance like this again in a lifetime so I leveled and fired. The buck crumpled up an’ hit the dirt! It kicked a couple times, rolled a little, the,, - - -was back on its feet an’ moving away! I was so sure I’d killed it with that first shot I didn't even bother to get up. But when I saw the damn thing headin’ for cover I raised my rifle again.., still Lyin’on my stomach., an’ fired again, an’again’ an’ again! The damn buck wouldn’t drop! Now it looked like the son-of-a-gun was gonna stumble clear out of sight - - yu’ know how thick the plantation is - - so I said to myself, “Unless I knock that devil down right now I might as well forget about if I”. So I reloaded- - still on my belly - - an ‘pumped eight more shells into that critter! Still it kept hobblin’away! By this time I was on my feet loading again! An’ believe me, I shot three more times before that damn buck decided to lay down and die!” On Butch’s way home after season he dropped his deer off at his dad’s tavern in a village near his home. His dad had been a butcher in Milwaukee for many years and always skinned out and cut up Butch's venison. Next morning before Butch was even awake his phone rang. It was his dad. ‘Say, Butch,” the voice on the other end of the line asked; “What the Hell were yu’ tryin’ to do with that deer - - - make a screen door outta it!” Butch’s decision to hunt deer in the Neillsville area grew out of his courtship and subsequent marriage to Mar,’ who was a close friend of Covell's wife.

Two other members of Windy Run Lodge, little Bill Whaley, a telephone exchange manager, and Louie Bradbury, a traveling salesman. Despite his slight stature Whaley was an expert tracker. These six fellows: A Butch, Huntz, Abie, Louie and little Bill were together one sunny autumn morning sitting on the bank of Hay Creek in the Clark county wilderness, making plans for the coming deer season. Al had been commissioned just that morning by his county Board to engineer construction of a dam at this very location. “We’re gonna carve the damn outta those rock formations up ahead there, “he was explaining to the fellows. “We’ll keep th’ rocky sides as buttresses. Soon as th’ dam’s finished we’ll top th’ trees down here along the creek an’ divert the stream toward the dam an’ let ‘er fill up. I estimate it should flood to a lake of seventy or eighty acres. The lake will only be a small part of the Board’s overall plan, “Al went on to explain. “After the lake is in I’ve been commissioned to reforest the entire area - - - probably the entire county!’’

“Holy Nellie!” yowled Butch “What a helI’uv a job that’s gonna be!” “Naw, it won’t be so big” Covell assured. “We’ll have CCC workers in on it - - - maybe eight or a dozen crews throughout the county. And we’ll likely use County lire fighting equipment and a couple of specialized units as well to do the job.” This man-made lake was thereafter to be known as Rock Darn Lake, and the community around it Rock Dam. Reforestation in this instance consisted of planting millions of Jackpine seedlings that soon grew into expansive plantations miles around the lake, replacing thousands of acres of burned out;, cutover forest land that had been unproductive and a fax liability for years. The CCC crew assigned to Rock Dam built its camp facilities on high ground just above the shoreline of the lake. These facilities included a bunkhouse, cook shack and sleeping shack. All were half-log construction. When reforestation was completed the CCC boys transferred to another area and their buildings were abandoned. Covell decided his fellow hunters needed a shack of their own so he acquired the CCC sleeping shack, selecting it over the other buildings because of its size and potential. Selection of a site for the shack was elementary for Covell knew the woods for miles around like he knew the back of his own hand. Way back in the thirties Covell made the original survey of this entire territory for the federal government with a friend; Beryl Emerson of Madison, associated now with the State Welfare Department as an engineer, who later was also to become a member of Windy Run Lodge. Having at his disposal in the vicinity some heavy building equipment one day Covell and the boys hooked a couple logging chains to the supporting tameracs under the sleeping shack and "snacked" it a way behind a big bulldozer to the sandy road nearby, then along the south bank of Windy Run Creek It was Covell's original plan to drag the cabin downstream to a point of land jutting into the creek bed but they barely got it three hundred feet off the road when 1Iic bulldozer broke down! The fellows did everything they could to get it started again, but no luck! After exhausting hours they threw up their hands in disgust. ‘A w, Hell! Let ‘er stand where she is!” they agreed. And that’s where the’ cabin stands today. The fellows unhooked tile chains and moved in, christening the cabin Windy Run Hunting and Pleasure Club.

These notations are from the original “Hilarious Moments” book written to capture the comedy, camaraderie, friendship, and memories of the 1950’s hunting camp in the wilds of Rock DaIT1. Thank you to the memory of those men before us and to Joseph Groessel for capturing these times and for Bill Covell and others for keeping this book (even through Covell's house fire).


Source: Foster Township's "75th Diamond Jubilee".



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