Father, son bond over deer hunting
Hunters check out Hartman Creek
By Greg Seubert
Tony Lorenz could have taken his son deer hunting near their Galesville home in some of Wisconsin’s prime whitetail habitat.
Instead, the pair spent opening day of Wisconsin’s annual gun deer hunt about 150 miles away in Hartman Creek State Park,
Lorenz and 12-year-old Rowan showed up at the park’s boat landing on Knight Lane shortly before noon Nov. 19 before heading out on their first-ever hunting trip to the park.
“We have friends that live around the area,” Tony said. “They’re out hunting today, a whole bunch of them.”
The duo had never been to the park before, but Tony had hunted on private land in the area in the past.
“My friends go here quite often and they found (the hunting is) pretty good,” he said. “We decided it was a good spot.”
While a handful of other hunters opted to stay overnight in the park’s campground, Lorenz and his son camped in a hut in his friend’s backyard.
Hartman Creek is one of several state properties that allow hunting during certain times of the year. The park, located seven miles west of Waupaca on the Waupaca/Portage county line, is open to hunting from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.
According to figures from the state Department of Natural Resources, Waupaca County reported the second-highest deer harvest this year as of Nov. 15.
Marathon County led the state with a harvest total of 3,263 animals, followed by Waupaca County at 2,951.
Tony said he likes to hunt on public land.
“I found that the people who hunt on public land are really cool,” he said. “There are guys with private land that don’t care about anything else.”
Tony also hunts near his home in Buffalo County.
“There’s a little bit of public land there that I go on once in a while, but it’s so hard to get to and that’s why nobody goes on it,” he said. “You can find some monsters in there.”
Tony started hunting as a kid and now wants to pass the tradition to his son.
“I’ve hunted my whole life,” he said. “The whole family would be out there, but now it’s kind of a dying thing for families. We’re trying to continue it with my friends and me and getting our kids into it. I teach my son everything he needs to know like tracking and all that kind of stuff. We clean our guns and get all of our warm gear ready.”
This isn’t the first time Rowan has deer hunted with his dad.
“I like spending time with my family,” he said. “It’s super-exciting because it’s always new each year. You never know what’s going to happen. You could see a monster buck.”
The Lorenzes weren’t after that buck of a lifetime, however.
“I’ll bet there are a lot of smaller does here,” Tony said. “We’re not really rack hunters. We’re meat hunters. We usually get one or two every year.”
Rowan came into this year’s gun deer season, which ends Nov. 27, hoping to harvest his first deer. He also hunts small game around Galesville and at a farm in Minnesota.
Hunting has turned into an expensive activity, but Tony doesn’t mind.
“I spend hundreds – maybe thousands – of dollars just to stay warm,” he said. “My dad quit deer hunting just because of all the hype. We got a big, huge buck in Buffalo County a few years ago and people were digging in the back of his truck looking for it. It had become too much of a high-priced deal. There are people charging $1,500 to hunt on their land. It gets to be a circus.”
If Tony has his way, Rowan will pass the hunting tradition to his own kids down the road.
“Before he was even born, I didn’t care if he was a boy or a girl, I was going to take him hunting and fishing,” he said. “It’s everything to me.”
Although opening day temperatures hovered around 20 with a brisk wind, Tony couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day with his son.
“Not really, unless it’s on a nice, warm beach somewhere,” he said.