Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

Nov. 12, 2001

Deer abound for a successful hunting season

When we stopped to register the last two deer our party took over the opening weekend of Minnesota's firearms deer hunting season, the registration station in Merryfield, Minn., north of Brainerd said they had already registered about 300 deer, a whopping number.

In that area of the state, I guess best described as the Brainerd Lakes area, the deer hunting was good.

I didn't bag a deer this season in two full days of hunting, but I did see more than 20 whitetails, and our party of nine hunters harvested five deer. According to the registration numbers, other parties of hunters in the area, and throughout the central forested areas of the state, also did very well.

The deer we harvested weren't huge and there were no trophies. The harvest included three doe and two small bucks. We headed for home with two antlerless tags unfilled.

Locally, the hunt wasn't quite as good. Several hunters in the area reported slow hunting and fewer deer than they expected, while other hunters lead me to believe there were deer everywhere.

The main complaint of those who had poor hunting centered around the full moon. They felt, and are probably right, that the full moon and bright night sky caused deer to move much more during the night and less during the day over the first weekend of hunting then they normally would.

For the first weekend of the hunt, Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake registered 80 deer compared to 84 last year. First year registration stations, the Treasure Hunt, between Lester Prairie and Winsted, and the Depot in Lester Prairie registered 16 deer and 21 deer, respectively.

The Treasure Hunt noted an 11-point buck registered and two six-pointers.

At Joe's Sport Shop the largest deer registered was a dandy 12 point, 225 pound buck taken by Mark Walter of Howard Lake. Take a look at the photos from Joe's in this weeks column and you can see there were a few other very nice deer harvested.

The firearms deer hunting season in our area Zone 4B ends Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Outdoor notes

­ Remember to wear blaze orange during the deer hunting season. All persons in the outdoors, not just deer hunters, are required to wear blaze orange during the firearms and muzzleloader deer hunting seasons.

For more information on blaze orange requirements please refer to the 2001 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regualtions handbook.

­ Sorry, no Canada photos this week. I didn't get all of them developed in time, and a buck like the one Mark Walters took is a little more deserving of a photo.

­ The warm weather has been a boost to local hunters, and especially to anglers. Although the fishing has slowed on the Crow River, lakes like Howard have been giving up sunfish and some dandy northern pike. When the weather does cool off, look for the fall fishing to really pick up just before freeze up.

­ According to local reports, and although the weather has been warm, the duck hunting on area sloughs and lakes as been poor to nonexistent. There may be one more push of northern ducks when the next storm hits.

­ Pay special attention to the storage of your firearms and ammunition at this time of year. Make sure they are not left out, in the truck, or a closet. Properly store and lock them in separate locations.

­ The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet tonight, at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.

­ Take a kid hunting or fishing, he or she will have fun and so will you.

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