Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

November 20, 1996, Page 32

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Oldies" Articles 


Good Old Days  




By Dee Zimmerman



Republican & Press


The sport of deer hunting has prevailed upon this land since it was first settled.  Yearly reports of hunting seasons have been recorded in the local newspapers, starting with its first issue.


1867 – Gamesters report-plenty of deer on the East Fork (Black River).  If every hunter that is here form a distance carries home venison, there won’t be any left for home consumption.  The state pays a bounty of ten dollars on each wolf scalp presented to the clerk of the board of supervisors.  We should suppose this would keep “warming tendency” on the hunters’ pockets. 


The women in this County will do to tie to they have plenty of pluck, can drive horses, feed chickens, cut cordwood, and shoot game of every kind.


All of which is highly commendable.  They are equal to the demands of life in every essential particular.  Only last Tuesday morning, the lady of Charles Wendell killed a large buck deer on their farm, a couple of miles from town. It was very nice we are told.


A good many people hunt on Sunday.  We don’t.  We would feel if we would shoot a finger off accidentally while Sunday hunting that the powers above had sent us a slight warning of our wickedness.  At any rate we should never own that the accident occurred while hunting on the Sabbath.  We have our holidays, let the game have theirs.


Hon. Js. O’Neill, Member of Assembly elect, has received the appointment of general agent of this part of Wisconsin for the purpose of all kinds of furs, for an extensive manufacturing company in New York.  Mr. O’Neill is ready to negotiate for all kinds, from muskrat to the otter, for which he will pay the highest cash price.


1876Several hunting parties have gone out from this place of late.  Deer is the object of their search, and dearly do they pay for all the venison they get.  Several hunting parties have passed through town during the past week.  Experienced hunters have met with fair success in getting venison this fall, but it has been “deer meat,” surely for those other fellows.


A Deer Story – The hunting story of the season is the one the boys tell on Sol. Joseph, the Corner Grocery man, of this place.  From the report it appears Sol went out last Monday, as he has done for years past, to lay in a supply of venison.  The showers of these past few months have made traveling rather soft in the woods.  Sol kept to the beaten path until he reached the farm of Peter McGinnis, in the Town of Sherwood Forest, when he struck a wind-fall.  There he found three deer, browsing.  Just at that time, Joe Manes, who had been out looking over some timber, came along, carrying a hatchet. Sol noticed his presence and beckoned him to come and witness the annihilation of the herd of deer he had discovered.  Sol, standing high and dry on a log above and a few rods from the game, turned loose with his Winchester.


After firing fourteen shots without even frightening the usually scary deer, Sol turned to Joe asking him for advice.  Joe swung his hatchet in the air and said, “Give them what’s left, Sol, and when they turn on you, I’ll protect you to the last with my hatchet.”  The deer still live and Sol will appoint another day to devote to securing the needed supply of venison. 


1891 – The game law of 1891 made the open season of deer from Nov. 15 to Dec. 1 and allowed eight days after the close of the open season for disposing of the spoils of the chase.  It placed no limit on the number of deer which could be transported by railroad or otherwise by the hunter.  It thus gave thirty days open season instead of twenty days from Nov. 1 to Nov. 20, as in the acts just declared void by the courts, and eight days instead of three after the season expired for transporting carcasses to the home of the hunter.


1931 – The Clark county board voted 46 to 6 to adopt a resolution offered by Joseph Schmitt-Franz, assembly man from Thorp, petitioning the State Conservation commissions to close Clark County to deer hunters in 1932.


1941 – Nine day season and the deer were reported to be more plentiful.  The state conservation department estimates that from 90,000 to 100,000 hunters would blaze away at forked horn bucks.


Stories of the hunt are an integral part of the deer season. 


Dr. M. C. Rosekrans has come up with a new story.  It seems the good doctor had his sights leveled at a gallant big buck.  It was practically in the bag.  As he was about to squeeze the trigger he caught sight of a sign through the corner of his eye.  It read: “Game Reserve – No Hunting.”  So Doc didn’t get his buck.


If the door of the hunting cabin up in Butler had been open, one sociable buck might even have gone in and helped Henry Rahn, genial register of deeds peel potatoes.  As it was, the poor thing was frightened off. 


The buck, said to be a friendly one, came stumbling over the wood pile near the cabin.  Henry was inside peeling spuds at the time.  He had left his gun outside against a tree. But Henry’s uncle, John Miller, of Green Grove was there with nothing to do but get the buck.  He went for his gun; but remembered he had emptied the chamber.  So he ran for Henry’s gun.  The safety catch was on, and he couldn’t release it.


About that time the buck got a little bit suspicious of Mr. Miller’s intentions and started loping off.  Mr. Miller dropped the gun and took off after it.  But the deer was too fast.


Hubert Quicker and John M. Peterson who were in the party, declared that incident, was worth the whole hunting trip.


The beauty of a big buck in his natural habitat was too much for Country School Supt. Louis E. Slock and his brother-in-law, the Rev. P. H. Franzmeier, of Greenwood.  They were hunting together in the Pray country when the Rev. Franzmeier spotted a heavily antlered buck.  It was coming down a hill, not more than a half city block away, and the hill was bare as a billiard ball.


Rev. Franzmeier watched it for awhile.  Then, as it was about to enter the brush again, he called Mr. Slock’s attention to it.  “Look at that,” he said, with his rifle very carefully held in the crook of his arm. “There’s a nice deer.”


Mr. Slock looked and agreed.


And it wasn’t until afterwards that they remembered what they were hunting for.  (How many other hunters have been struck with awe while viewing a big antlered buck?)


The luck of Everett “Butch” Skroch is rapidly becoming legend.  To his “luck” stories of seasons past, he has added another.


It was early Tuesday morning that Butch was hunting in Butler country with John W. Peterson and Dr. M. C. Rosekrans.  They tramped about four miles along a fire lane, and then Butch clumped off into the brush to look over the country.


He had gone no more than 100 yards when he spotted a buck charging down a runway directly at him.  That charge was as fatal for the deer as Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg was for the Confederate soldiers.


And now the luck begins: Butch had dressed out the buck – a nice eight-pointer and dragged him to a fire lane when two game wardens drove along in a pickup truck.  They stopped, helped Butch load the deer into the truck and gave him a lift to the car, four miles away. Butch was back in the city by 10:30 a.m.


It wasn’t so many years ago that Butch became one of the few hunters ever to hitch hike to his hunting ground and hitch hike back to town with a deer.  And he did it in less than two hours.  Last year he took Max Feuerstein out after Sunday Mass and they were back with a buck in time for dinner. 


An enjoyable part of the yearly deer hunting seems to be the experiences.


A “once in-a-lifetime” hunting experience was shared by this deer hunting group in 1953.  They entered the woods on opening day, Nov. 28 with the first of five, eight point bucks being shot at 7:50 a.m., the last at 11:00 a.m.  Each buck had eight points, and a total of 12 shots were fired to get the five.  It took but a little over three hours to shoot them, but required the next five and one-half hours to drag them out of the woods, one being dragged a mile and one-half.  The hunting area south of Neillsville had been closed for a few years and in 1953 was re-opened for that deer season.  The hunters, each with his buck were (l. to r.): Rufus Gotzman of Ellsworth; Clifford Karl, Neillsville; Arnold Karl, Neillsville; Walter Embke, Neillsville; and Richard Gotzman, Ellsworth.



Neillsville Rifle Club –c. 1910-1920

L. to R., Standing: Walt Schultz, Bob Glass, Al Cole, Herb Brooks, Ed Kutchera, Ed Schoengarth, Billy Mundt, Stub Masters, and Geo. Rude. 

Front row not identified.



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