Weasel Hank 1913 - 2003

On December 15 2003, we lost a good weasel. Hank was a great husband, father, grandfather and most important to me, father-in-law and friend. Hank was co-founder of Camp Weasel and his contributions will never be forgotten. It all started back in 1967. Hank and I were staying at a hunting camp near Chequamegon National Forest. I mentioned to Hank that I was looking for some land so that my boys could someday enjoy the experience of the Northern Wisconsin Deer Hunting Camps. He said, "Find it and I'll help you," and he kept his word. Hank wasn't much to look at as far as weasels go, but then I guess none of us weasels are much to look at on the hoof. He was short and stocky with sort of beady little eyes, but he had a heart as big as the tanks he drove in WWII and a love for life unequaled by anyone. He loved the outdoors, Labs.,little children and Red White & Blue Beer. He hated cats, mice, flies and also was highly suspicious of the DNR. Upon arrival at camp during the summer months, you would find him with a beer in his left hand and a fly swatter in his right hand as he tried to do away with every fly in Polk County. He was also very hard on any mouse that made the mistake of entering the cabin. When the boys were younger, they and grandpa spent many a night in pursuit of any unfortunate mouse that happened to find his way into camp. I remember one night in particular when they were being outsmarted by a highly intelligent little mouse. Before they went to bed they filled a bucket half full of water and rigged a stick out over the bucket. They put some cheese on the end of the stick, and when the mouse crawled out to get the cheese, he fell in the water and drowned. We awoke in the morning to find Hank standing next to the bucket with a big grin on his face saying, "We got the little bastard." Hank was a hunter, not a killer. In his 25 or so years that he hunted at Camp Weasel he only shot one buck, and I think that was mainly because he yielded to peer pressure. He preferred to sling his rifle over his shoulder and walk the woods in an attempt to drive something on to one of the other weasels. On opening morning he would say, "You guys go out and get on your stands. About 9:00 I'll swing down to the big marsh and bring something by you." I shot many a buck as a result of his little walks through the woods. Much of the mystique surrounding the deer camps of the north centers around camp lore which evolves from the friendly kidding and ribbing that takes place around the campfire and the dinner table. Weasel Hank gave us stories that will hopefully live on for many generations to come. Every time a light plane would fly over, Hank would look up and say "Damn DNR again." One time as we were driving out of our driveway past the Gresch Camp, Hank spotted a grouse under a large pine tree. From that day on, everytime we went by that pine, Hank would say, "There's always a grouse sitting under that tree." One time after doing dishes we mistakenly threw out a fork with the dish water. Hank caught us doing it and raised hell because we were already short on silverware. From that day on, whenever someone went to throw out the dishwater, you could count on a weasel saying, "Don't throw out any silverware." And another would respond, "It's not the first time, we've hardly got any left." Weasels are supposed to be tough little critters, but I've cried a lot this past week and I know its not over yet. Every time a light plane flys over, or I drive past that big pine, or I throw out the dish water, I'll have a tear in my eye. As I'm sitting in my deer stand and a big buck comes sneaking thru from the west, I'll wonder if Hank is making one of his drives. We all loved you and miss you, Hank. Good hunting.


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