SOME HISTORY OF THE RANGERS OF THE WOODS
When the French in the early 1600’s
established a system of fur fairs at Montreal, Indians brought the
product of their trap lines for sale or barter. Samuel de Champlain,
founder and governor of New France, originated the idea of sending
young Frenchmen home with the Indians to study their language,
customs and the geography of the region. Thus it was that Etienne
Brule, in 1618, became the first white man to see the greatest of
fresh water lakes and paddle a bark canoe along the shores of Lake
|A new and
anomalous class of men gradually grew out of this trade. These
were called Coureurs des Bois, in French or Rangers of the
Woods; They were men who had accompanied the Indians in their
hunting expeditions, and made themselves acquainted with
remote tracts and tribes; and who now became, as it were,
peddlers of the wilderness. These hardy pioneers,
inured to hardship, were a strong and sturdy set, tireless and
fearless, resourceful in emergencies. With muscles of steel
they guided their frail canoes through the waves of the big
lake when in storm and ran the perilous rapids of fast moving
streams. They roamed the trackless wilderness in search of
furs, helped the missionary on his way and for 200 years were
lords of the vast northwest wilderness. In the early 1800’s these Rangers traveled a large river
from Lac Vieux Desert in the Michigan territory to Prairie de
Chien on the Mississippi river.
They named this river and the region around it
“Ouicosee” or Wisconsin.
|In the early 1900’s, Stanley Raflik, a
woods ranger of Polish descent, hunted, fished and trapped
along a tributary of the Wisconsin river that the Indians
called “Webita Seba” or Tooth River.
This stream is more commonly know as Mill Creek.
Stanley 1903-1995, the patriarch of the Raflik clan
along with his sons, Richard, Ray, Dennis and Marv, soon
answered the call and lure of monster whitetail bucks and
headed to the wilderness areas of Oneida county.
The Raflik deer camp soon became the birthplace of the
Rangers of the Woods conservation club in 1965.
The Rangers of the Woods soon became incorporated as a
non-stock, non-profit, charitable and educational conservation
club. As it’s
object and purpose, the Rangers became involved in teaching
hunter safety and the clean-up of area lakes and streams.
To accomplish these goals, they joined the Milwaukee
County Conservation Alliance, the Wisconsin Wildlife
Federation and the National Rifle Association.
In the mid 1970’s the Rangers of the Woods
conservation club was named the Conservation Club of the year,
by the Milwaukee County Conservation Alliance.
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation also awarded them the
Hunter Safety Organization of the year for their having taught
hundreds of students in the state of Wisconsin.
Another credit the Rangers achieved, was getting the
state of Wisconsin to change the back side of deer hunters
back tags. The
back of these tags had always been white.
Then one windy opening day in Waupaca county, a 16 year
old girl was shot in the back being mistaken for a white
tailed deer. Ranger
delegates to the legislature convinced the state to change the