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Hunting Lodge Adds Income, Recreation for Farm Family
In the famed Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin, crops hug the contours of high bluffs and low valleys in storybook fashion. The bulging bluffs and winding draws of the Driftless are unique to the Upper Midwest. It’s an area of geologic wonder that escaped many of the glacial deposits and flattening effects of glacial activity that mark the rest of the continent.
Near the town of Mineral Point lies a farm known as the Tanglewood Ranch and Hunt Club. Strange name for a farm.
It’s more than a farm.
Kurt Wedig wraps an arm around a support beam of the big rough-hewn porch of his hilltop hunting lodge and leans to peer out over a river of corn that flows through the valley. “I’ve been into farming my whole life,” he explains. “I just can’t get away from it.”
Return to agriculture
After college, Wedig left his family’s dairy in the Driftless region to take a corporate job in southern Minnesota. “I ended up overseeing the production of 40,000 acres of sweet corn and peas for Green Giant,” he says. “After many years of that work, Tammy and I really wanted to get back home.”
They came back and bought their 450-acre piece of heaven, adding a couple other small farms along the way. Wedig looked toward other venues to optimize their Tanglewood acres.
Naturally, his love for the outdoors and things wild led to the next step. Maximizing the potential of the farm for outdoor pursuits, a lodge was built and Tanglewood Ranch and Hunt Club was born. “We built the lodge about 10 years back,” Wedig says.
Today, that lodge is accompanied by house bunks, a kitchen area, and showers for overflow guests.
“We can handle up to 40 people at a time here in the fall for pheasant hunting,” Wedig says. “One of our best days we put out 400 pheasants for a group of 40, and that was just a half-day hunt. We hire guides to help keep it all running smoothly, and those guys have over 100 years of experience in hunting. It’s a lot of fun.”
In comments on their website (tanglewoodranch andhuntclub.com), guests sing praises for jobs well done, probably, in no small part, due to Tammy’s efforts. She runs the lodge.
“Tanglewood Ranch is really remote,” Wedig says, “but it sits just a few miles from the four-lane highway. We’re only 35 miles from Galena, Illinois, and 2½ hours from downtown Chicago.”
During spring months, Tanglewood offers wild turkey hunting and has also offered deer hunting for guests. “We kind of temper that a bit now and only allow a few bow hunters to come in. My son and his friends are 18 years old, so we really want family to take the front seat for that kind of quality experience,” Wedig says.
“We get most of our clients from our website and through word of mouth,” he says. The Wedigs host large corporate groups in their lodge for team building, hunting activities, year-end planning, and more.
People rent the lodge for romantic getaways, family group outings, and general recreation. Guests can fish for bluegills, crappies, and catfish in the pond below the lodge. Canoes and kayaks are there for guest use, as well. The lodge is within sight of the Wisconsin cheese trail, an 80-mile-long hiking, biking, snowmobile, ATV, and general-purpose trail that runs from Belmont to Monroe, Wisconsin.
A cottontail rabbit skitters across the field road as Wedig walks alongside a food plot near what soon will be 250-bushel corn. The plot holds a mixture of native grasses and wildflowers – all in full bloom. Cow parsnip and thistle blooms bend with the wind.
“I just love this valley,” Wedig says. “This is my homeplace. It’s good to be back.”