Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

 November 16, 1994, Page 32

 Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 



Good Old Days   

By Dee Zimmerman


An OOPS! The Oldies page on November 2 had an error – the Clark County Booster’s Club was lined up around the Woodland Hotel in Owen, not the Merchant’s hotel.  The Woodland hotel still stands today and was an elegant facility for its guests in the early 1900s.  The rooms and dining accommodations attracted travelers, visitors from miles around.  Built of the finest woods and design it has endured years of time.


Photos in this week’s Oldies were collected by Dawn Weyer, who also gathered and compiled Clark County’s history on deer hunting which appears in this week’s 1994 Hunter’s Guide on pages 4, 5 and 10.


The sport of deer hunting has been enjoyed by hunting enthusiasts for years. Looking back through the newspaper archives, some interesting hunting stories can be found, such as the following:


November of 1894:  Sawyer’s Dam is about 50 miles north of Neillsville, on the Black River.  It was at this place that three jolly nimrods recently spent a week, hunting deer.  We had heard glowing reports of the abundance of the game in that region and went thither expecting the deer in droves, and tame as hedgehogs.


During our trip we visited three logging camp, Wiesner’s, Lowry’s and Gibson No. 2, sampled the grub at each and finally settled down at the latter camp.


At Lowry’s camp we fell in with Archie Day, a character met once in a lifetime.  Day is about three score years and ten, build is still as spry as a game rooster, bubbles over with wit and good humor, and as a storyteller can hardly be surpassed.  He came out of the cabin and stood on the woodpile, yelled to us to get down and come in, in tones that would have astonished Gabriel.


At Mr. Gibson’s camp we found a very good natured gang, about 45 in all.  Murray Irish of Greenwood is foreman and A. H. Eagan of Black River Falls is cook.  The table was well furnished and Eagan is a good cook.


Saturday evening was a great occasion.  The fiddler was on hand and the dancers did their level best.  Old Monie Musk, Fischer’s Hornpipe and the Devil’s Dream were done in fine shape.  There wasn’t a girl within three miles of the camp but some of the boys played girl, talked, giggled and danced like girls.


Sunday was a day of washing, patching, swing on buttons, filing saws, cleaning guns, repairing of goods, greasing shoes, etc.  Sunday evening was given to smoking and singing.  Irish led off with a solo to be followed others who sang “with the spirit.”


We brought back two fine deer, one a large buck.  These ran so close to two of our party they could have thrown salt on their tails.  We also shot us a partridge.


After many, many years a five day antlerless deer season was held in Clark County during 1949.  The purpose of the special season was to reduce the deer herd.  Game warden Carl Frick estimated a large legal deer kill for the season.  Many hunters questioned the decision but were reassured an ample deer herd would survive to warrant a hunting season, the next year.


A record was set in the number of licenses sold throughout the state, some 280,000.  Before final figures, the estimate was made to be from 140,000 to 175,000 deer taken in the five days, with hunter success ratio at 50 percent.


George Frantz, 84 years old, was the only one of his hunting party to come home with his deer on opening day.


John Christie of Neillsville believed he shot two bucks with one shot.  Hunting in the Columbia area, he spotted a big buck going by.  Hesitating, he saw a young buck following.  He shot hitting the animal just behind the front thigh.  When the rest of his hunting party arrived, they found a second deer a short distance from John’s downed buck, with a bullet hole also just behind the front leg – two deer in one shot.  In the party besides John were his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Sly, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Christie and a friend from Oshkosh.  Free Christie joined the group on Monday and by that evening seven of the eight had filled their deer tags.


Another story was told about Bill Krause, of Withee, who took home venison the first day of hunting – that is, what was left of it.  He stood on what so-called “a firing line” in the Town of Foster, hunters lined up about 60 feet apart for some distance.  A doe ran by, Krause plugged it with his 12 gauge slug.  The doe dropped within a short distance, but before Krause could get to it another hunter had put his tag on it.  That action was repeated three more times, with Krause losing the race to the dropped doe each time. 


Finally, along came the fifth deer.  Krause was anxious to drop it as quickly as possible, so he shot five slugs into the doe.  Drop it did and Krause won the race that time.


However, the five slugs had shredded the animal so that there wasn’t much left other than hamburger.


H. H. Van Gorden’s Big Deer Contest winner was Fred Pretsch, Town of Washburn, whose entry weighed 130 pounds.  The second place winner was Melvin Mech, Greenwood, with a 128 pound deer.


All the makings of a good hunt!  This photo taken north of Ladysmith, around 1930, sports the trophies of a fine hunt: one good car, three good rifles, two fine bucks and two Christmas trees.  Hunters of the time were Herb Asplin, Greenwood; Clinton Asplin, Christie area; and Ben Schwellenbach, Neillsville.  Note, the “30” on the license plate and the radiator temperature gauge, between the deer heads.


Camping out in the woods approximately 20 miles north of Phillips, were (left to right) Ben Schwellenbach, Neillsville; Sylvester Barton, Greenwood; and Hugo Klauer, Globe.


Deer Camp – the Old-Fashioned way.  Deer hunting years ago was truly a test of endurance.  The tent had to be set up, along with a pot-bellied stove; and fire wood had to be cut, not to mention cooking the meals.  These hunters had the luxury of a Model-T to get to their destination.  Others not quite so lucky drove a team and wagon through-out the cold night to their hunting sites.  This camp site was located approximately 20 miles north of Phillips, Wis.


A different kind of buck-pole!  Buck-bunnies?  Years ago snowshoe rabbit hunting was quite popular.  Shown in this photo taken in 1919 are Wm. Joyce Sr., Greenwood, and John Mulligan, Pine Island, Minnesota. 


Back in the late 1960s, people lined up waiting for party permits in Clark County.  Some brought lawn chairs to make the “wait” a little more comfortable, as they were in line for the party permit deer tags issued at the Court-house.  The above scene was captured on East 6th Street at the Sixth Street intersection which means the end of the line was at least one and a half blocks, nearly two blocks from the office.


Berger's Clothing Ad, Nov. 1949



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