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'It's just something about that tradition': Diner opens early for hunters on first day of gun deer season

Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 18, 2023
  • Video shows hunters visting Popp's Ballpark Diner in Shawano.
  • November 18th is the first day of gun deer season.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Part of the success of gun deer hunting season comes from getting an early start. I’m Katlyn Holt and we stopped at a diner in Shawano that opened their doors early to feed some of those eager hunters.

"When you come in here and you listen to their stories, it just makes you feel like you're part of the family," said Britney Bessett, who works at Popp's Ballpark Diner.

Bessett worked alongside her own family to welcome in hunters to Popp’s Ballpark Diner at 4:30 am.

Bessett and her grandmother have been working at the diner for 20 years and they say the beginning of gun deer hunting season always brings a lot of people to town.

"Over a dozen tables, so probably 30 people early this morning," said Bessett.

Steven Kaluzny says he has been hunting since he was 12. He makes the trip from Port Washington.

"We come up here every year... I'd say for the last 10 years," said Kaluzny.

Although they hadn't had any luck yet, he says there are other aspects that make the experience worth it.

"Definitely not for everyone because it is cold sometimes but once you get past that it's [quite] magical. You know, all the sounds of nature. Just a good time even if you don't get one," said Kaluzny.

For Bessett, it's a time to hear the stories from hunters of all ages and be a part of the moment.

"I think it's really nice to like still have those traditions that you pass down. It's just something about that tradition," said Bessett.

The gun deer hunting season goes until November 26th. The D.N.R. has more information on their website.