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Jerry Davis’ DeerTrails: Warden’s work never seems to be done

November 22, 2018

Editor’s note: Jerry Davis writes daily DeerTrails 11 times during the nine-day, gun deer season. This is the eighth column.

Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer seasons are extremely busy, so much so that field wardens are often assigned a partner to make squad trucks a two-person patrol.

The additional wardens come from administrators in the Department’s law enforcement bureau, deputy wardens, warden recruits who have not been assigned a station, and wardens who have been working in the state parks.

David Youngquist has gone through 22 gun deer seasons, most of them in Iowa County. He continues to use a routine he developed years ago to help make it through the nine days.

“I begin by making sure I’m presentable, wash the blaze orange coat and cap so I can make put on a good face for the department and the warden force,” he said. “My truck is cleaned and equipped with the gear I might use for the season and so there’s room if I’m working with someone.”

Youngquist is usually out the door of his rural residence by 4 a.m., but before that he eats a big breakfast, gets ready in his house’s lower level so as not to wake his wife, son, and daughter.

He doesn’t expect his partner to start that early and will meet up with him or her about 6 a.m.

Youngquist is looking for early deer shinners, checking past complaints, but not usually walking in on hunters who are setting up for the opening hour.

“It’s nice to have a partner to help interview and check licenses,” he said. “While in the truck one of us can write notes, check licenses on the computer, and take calls while the other drives.”

Driving is one of the most dangerous things wardens do, according to Youngquist.

“We put so many miles on and often those are obscure roads and we have all these other things going on in the truck, too. Some agencies have gone to computer lockups while the vehicle is moving. We haven’t done that yet.”

As the week rolls on, this warden may take a day off during midweek or take some time off after season. Youngquist, a hunter, too, likes to use the muzzleloader season to relax a bit, but after the regular season, there are cases to follow up, paperwork, and reports, so that’s not always possible.

Dave and Rose’s 17-year-old son, Connor, asked his father if it might be possible for the two of them to go hunting opening Saturday.

“I sort of avoided the question,” Youngquist said. “He’ll have to hunt with my father and other relatives, as he always has during opening weekend.”

Then there’s Thanksgiving. This warden starts his Thursday earlier than usual and works his way toward Verona where his wife, son and daughter will wait at David’s father’s home for a meal. He either heads home after the meal or may have calls to check on, too.

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