The annual “drive about”: The last day of pheasant hunting for 2017
By Ken M. Blomberg
The temperature on my truck’s thermometer read minus 11 degrees. The odometer read 186,392. It was the last day pheasant hunting for 2017 and my sidekick field bred English cocker spaniel Buster and I had cabin fever. So, we grabbed a shotgun and a few shells and headed out for our annual “drive about” around the Paul J. Olson Wildlife Area in western Portage and eastern Wood Counties.
It’s a tradition that spans nearly a decade – a period in which No. 1 son left the nest and returned each year for the winter holidays. This year, I was on my own. Extreme cold weather and the flu bug kept us indoors during his brief visit. I decided to go it alone after his departure.
Pheasant hunting was only an excuse to traverse this 2,995-acre property. There are in fact, few pheasants on the property, which contains scattered parcels ranging from 40 to 860 contiguous acres. Managed for grassland for Greater Prairie Chickens and other grassland-dependent species, the property is named after Olson, a founding father of the Dane County Conservation League (DCCL). Beginning in 1958, he worked for years with other private citizens to generate public interest and private funds to purchase this property and other lands across central Wisconsin in the name of prairie chickens.
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