Gun deer season kicks off with a bang

Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 8:06 PM CST
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MARIBEL, Wis. (WBAY) - Generations of hunters hope to secure a big buck across Wisconsin.

Melinda Kapinos carried on the hunting tradition by bringing her daughter along for this year’s gun deer season in Manitowoc County.

“I’ve always told my kids there’s nothing better than sitting back in a tree stand exposed to the elements,” Melinda said. “It’s the camaraderie. It’s the swapping of stories. It’s the razzing of each other for deer missed and enjoying the trophies everybody has to share.”

Her daughter, 13-year-old Lily, quickly learned the ropes from her hunting family.

“It’s just a bunch of fun. They’re all laughing. That’s all they’re doing and they’re just having a blast and it just makes me want to come sit out here and have a blast with them,” Lily said.

Lily passed hunter’s safety and shortly after shot a five-point buck during youth hunt. Now, she has her sights set on growing her tally.

“I’m just hoping to at least get a doe just to add on with the little buck that I got. Then hopefully my mom, my dad or my older sister can also get a buck.”

Stacks of photo albums showcasing decades of memories sit around the group’s Maribel deer camp.

One captured a moment from years ago when the women of the group shot deer before anyone else.

“We’re standing there, a little bit gore, but blood up to our elbows and our nails done underneath. You can bring a little glitter and glam to hunting too,” Melinda recalled. “You have a lot of amazing females who stand in front of you and can do that thing absolutely. [Hunting] is for everybody and it really needs to be that way.”

71-year-old Ron Benhke from Maribel already scored during gun season... shooting a doe Saturday morning.

“It came by surprise. Total surprise. I was looking in the other direction. I turned around and there they come. They stopped and looked at me and said ‘shoot me’,” Behnke explained.

He’s hunted at least four decades now, watching the tradition grow with each year that passes.

“My son and I started hunting when he was 12 years old. Now his oldest son is 22. He’s got two younger sons that are just starting out hunting. One is 9 and one is 12,” Behnke continued. “It’s just great to get up in the morning. You anticipate it like a child anticipates Christmas.”

Gun deer season ends Nov. 27, followed by muzzleloader season.

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