Cottage Grove hunter, 91, bags buck with help from daughter
COTTAGE GROVE — Wilbur Klahn bagged his first buck when he was 15. In the more than three-quarters of a century since he’s missed a couple of hunts, but not many.
“You get addicted to it,” he said. “Once you get one, then you never forget it.”
Klahn began hunting with his high school classmates in Columbus, about a half-hour northeast of Madison.
“Deer hunting is kind of in my blood,” Klahn said, before adding, “My dad never hunted.”
For most of his life, he hunted with a group of friends around Washburn, but he stopped going about 10 years ago.
“I didn’t want to be a burden,” he said.
Unable to walk through the woods, Klahn sat in a blind near his house every afternoon of the gun season last year. But he didn’t see a single deer wander through his 40-acre farm.
This fall, the 91-year-old retired mail carrier asked his daughter, Cresent L’Sai, if anyone in the family wanted his Browning .306
“I said, ‘I’m quitting,’” Klahn said. “She said, ‘No you’re not.’”
L’Sai, who inherited the hunting bug from her father, set up a stand in a tool shop attached to an old tobacco barn behind their home.
Klahn had a stool, a gun rest and a tabletop space heater to keep him comfortable. His cane was nearby.
On opening day, Klahn sat and watched the prairie outside the little window.
Late Saturday afternoon, just when he was getting ready to head inside, Klahn noticed something moving along the ridgeline.
“I put the scope on him,” Klahn said. “By God, it’s a deer.”
He shot and the deer fell.
L’Sai heard the shot and came to check it out. As she hiked up the ridge, Klahn kept motioning for her to go farther, until she finally found the deer, a six-point buck.
“It was like 150 yards,” L’Sai said. “He shot it right through the heart.”
L’Sai, 59, started hunting with her dad as a teenager, but after he made her clean her first kill she didn’t hunt for about 25 years.
“It bothered me,” she said of having her hands inside the warm carcass.
Not anymore. She retrieved and cleaned her father’s kill and is still hoping to bag one of her own.
Klahn took the carcass to a butcher for processing, but he kept the small rack as a souvenir.
“He’s enthused now,” said L’Sai, who’s still in search of her own kill this year.
“I was pretty lucky,” Klahn said. “Now I guess I gotta go out again next year.”