Passing on a Wisconsin Tradition

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 3:08 PM CDT
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GLENMORE, Wis. (WBAY) - Thousands of young hunters took to the woods this past weekend for Wisconsin’s annual two-day youth deer hunt.

And for one local conservation organization, it marked the 15th year of introducing youth to deer hunting.

As the sun rose over the farmland of southern Brown County Saturday morning, the Northeast chapter of Wings Over Wisconsin prepares for another year of connecting boys and girls with the outdoors.

“We started this 15 years ago, them kids still send me pictures, now that they’re shooting their own bucks on their own and they became friends, I mean that’s the biggest part, the camaraderie and friendship,” says Don Corrigan, Wings Over Wisconsin Northeast Chapter Board Member.

To qualify for the Wings hunt, kids must submit an essay, and this year, nine hunters were chosen, five girls and four boys.

“Wings has done a great job of taking kids that don’t have access or necessarily a mentor and pairing them up with somebody that has experience and gets them outdoors and hunting and on the right track so they can have a great experience doing it,” says Charles Rabitz from Manitowoc who has two daughters in the youth hunt this year.

Before the afternoon hunt, the kids are treated to lunch, and then do some trap-shooting.

The anticipation is building.

“I’m kind of excited if I get one and I want my dad to teach me how to gut it so when I get one again I can gut it myself,” says 11-year old Emily Rabitz.

“That million dollar smile, these kids go out, tonight will be fun, you guys are tagging along, we go retrieve these and these kids with these big smiles on their face because it’s their first time,” says Corrigan.

Our photographer Michael Bergman follows along with Charles Rabitz and his daughter Olivia.

They’re on property of one of nine area landowners who support the Wings mission.

“If it wasn’t for our landowners being so gracious, to give you their land for two days that they did food plots and everything to get the deer to stay there is unbelievable, but they’re the same way, they want to help,” says Corrigan.

It turns out to be a beautiful, but slow evening, until the walk out.

Olivia spots a doe in the distance and takes aim.

No luck this time, but that wasn’t the case Sunday morning when she bagged a dandy buck.

Back at deer camp meanwhile, Caden Kersten is all smiles and well aware of what this experience means to kids like him.

“By getting them into hunting they get to explore the outdoors and hopefully take that with them as they go on through life,” says the 12-year old Kersten.

The weekend tally for the Wings hunt, six deer and a lifetime worth of memories.

“Thank the good Lord that we can do this and pass it on,” says Corrigan with a smile.

CLICK HERE to submit a photo of your deer.

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