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Whitetales Building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy









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ROVs can be hazardous to operate. Improper use can cause severe injury or death. Each rider must wear a seat belt, approved helmet, eye protection and protective gear. Each rider must use handholds/steering wheel and stay completely inside the vehicle. Each rider must be able to sit with their back against the seat, feet fl at on fl oor and hands on handholds/steering wheel and must read and understand the operator’s manual before riding. Follow all instructions and warnings. Avoid abrupt maneuvers, hard acceleration when turning, and sidehilling. Avoid paved surfaces. Slow down before entering a turn. Don’t operate on public roads unless designated for off-highway vehicle access — collisions with cars and trucks can occur. Never engage in stunt driving. Never drive or ride under influence of alcohol or drugs. Avoid excessive speeds and be particularly careful on difficult terrain. All ROV operators must have a valid driver’s license. No operators under age 16. Never carry a passenger in the cargo box or exceed seating capacity. Do not shoot from or lean firearms or bows against the ROV. Arctic Cat recommends that all riders take a training course. For safety and training information, go to Along with concerned conservationists everywhere, Arctic Cat urges you to “Tread Lightly” on public and private lands. Ride only on designated areas or trails. Preserve your future riding opportunities by showing respect for the environment, local laws and the rights of others when riding. FOX FLOAT® is a registered trademark of FOX Racing Shox. Arctic Cat,® HDX,™ Share Our Passion™ and XT™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Arctic Cat Inc. ©2016 Arctic Cat Sales Inc., Thief River Falls, MN 56701. Arctic Cat ATVs and Side by Sides (ROVs) are world-class products from Arctic Cat Inc.

About this


Strength, Partners and a Common Goal

This title sounds like Superman’s, “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” doesn’t it� Well, it actually is the condensed version of MDHA Executive Director Craig Engwall’s “Outlook” title, “We are Much Stronger When we Work as Partners Toward a Common Goal.” How true, how true. Have you ever noticed how sometimes the keys to happiness, living a good ethical and moral life can be defined in simple words and concepts� Take, for example, “The Golden Rule,” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” eleven words that could reshape the world. Or consider Robert Fulghum’s essay, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” where he lists 16 things he learned in Kindergarten that would be as beneficial as all the education he received afterwards. Included in his list are “share everything,” “play fair” and “don’t hit people." If we had to pick one that would symbolize this issue, it would be #4, “Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.” That is what MDHA President, Denis Quarberg, writes in his “From the President’s Stand” column as he suggests, “Plant the idea seed” regarding new members and MDHA growth. When he reminds us at the end of his column, “Remember, YOU are MDHA and without YOU we are nothing,” we understand Craig’s words, “strength, partners, and a common goal.” That is what MDHA is all about. To demonstrate this belief this issue is a veritable buffet of information and stories, of glimpses into the past to how we are partnering for the future. Included in this buffet are the histories of bow hunting and archery and canoes, deformation vs. furious fragmentation in muzzleloader rounds, biological explanations of EHD-free water holes and managing buckthorn, as well as hunting oriented pieces on “getting ready,” “thinking small while deer scouting and land prepping,” and “prowling public land” for whitetails. We will leave you with another quote from Robert Fulghum”s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”: “Without realizing it, we fill important places in each other’s lives. It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery, the mechanic at the local garage, the family doctor, teachers, neighbors, coworkers. Good people who are always “there,” who can be relied upon in small, important ways. People who teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the dailiness of life. We never tell them. I don’t know why, but we don’t. “And, of course, we fill that role ourselves. There are those who depend on us, watch us, learn from us, take from us. And we never know. You may never have proof of your importance, but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who.” Whitetails Forever, Co-Editors and Founders, Rod Dimich and Ed Schmidt Whitetales is the official magazine of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving Minnesota’s whitetail deer population. The MDHA is exempt under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Whitetales effectively communicates MDHA’s chief purpose “building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.” Articles and photographs portray the beauty, value and importance of whitetail deer while relating to the thrill of hunting the species. If you have a service or a product that appeals to deer hunters and enthusiasts, Whitetales is the best advertising medium available. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is pleased to present a variety of views in Whitetales magazine. The intent is to inform readers and encourage healthy discussion of important wildlife and conservation issues. The statements and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the view of Whitetales or MDHA. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers or their identification as members of MDHA does not constitute an endorsement. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association welcomes suggestions and contributions from readers. All materials: manuscripts, artwork and photography must be electronically sent. Send all material to bri@ Letters should be a maximum of 150 words, articles a maximum of 500 – 800 words. If a reprint from a newspaper is submitted, permission must be obtained and an electronic copy must be sent. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.

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REGION FOUR John Edinger >

REGION FIVE Peter Lodermeier >

REGION SIX Stephen Ranallo >


REGION EIGHT Dustin Shourds >

REGION NINE Mark Burley >

REGION TEN Mark Lueck >

REGION ELEVEN Gary Thompson >


REGION THIRTEEN Michael Burley >


MERCHANDISE/ MARKETING COORDINATOR Josh Salisbury > PROGRAM COORDINATOR Gabe Gropp > ACCOUNTING COORDINATOR Jean Frank > MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR Kim Washburn > WAREHOUSE COORDINATOR Rita Harthan > GRANT COORDINATOR Jenny Foley > OPERATIONS MANAGER Kim Nelson > CHAPTER COORDINATOR Becca Kent > PUBLISHER > Minnesota Deer Hunters Association 460 Peterson Road | Grand Rapids, MN 55744 800.450.DEER (MN) / p: 218.327.1103 / f: 218.327.1349 CO-EDITORS > Ed Schmidt and Rod Dimich LAYOUT, DESIGN & PRINTING > Brainerd Dispatch, A Forum Communications company | Brainerd, MN ADVERTISING > Josh Salisbury / 218.327.1103 x 17

Whitetales Building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy







ABOUT THE COVER Photo by: John Erikson / Images on the Wildside

Departments IN EVERY ISSUE

From the President’s Stand .... 4 The Outlook................................ 5 Minnesota Bucksense .............. 6 Capitol Comments .................... 8 Around the State ..................... 20 MDHA Marketplace ................ 28 What’s Cookin’? ....................... 52 Hidden Object Contest .......... 54 Daylight in the Swamp ........... 56 IN THIS ISSUE

Decent Deformation vs. Furious Fragmentation........... 18 John W. Hayes

The Power of Preparation ...... 38 Jeff Batula, Hoyt/Easton Pro-Staff

7 Qs with Melissa Bachman ... 40 Biologically Speaking: EHD-Free Water Holes ........... 42 Marc Schwabenlander of Lethal Insight

Tips & Treasures ...................... 48 Rod Dimich, Ed Schmidt

Member Story: A Huge Thank You To OAKS... 50 Emy Marier

Tale of The American Gun .... 51 Cain Pence

10 14 30 34 44



The Evolution of Archery Deer Hunting in Minnesota By Joe Albert

Deer Hunting Optics By Roy Welch

Forget the Big Picture: Think Small While Deer Scouting and Land Prepping By Bruce Ingram

MDHA, DNR and Wildlife Conservation Organizations Partner to Manage Buckthorn in the Cloquet Wildlife Area By Bruce D. Anderson

On the Prowl for Public Land Whitetails By Joe Albert

MDHA affiliates:

Gizmos, Gadgets, Garments & Gear ........................ 53


From the President’s Denis Quarberg / MDHA PRESIDENT

PLANT THE IDEA SEED Looking off to the north in the bean field I see a couple of deer. I grab the spotting scope and confirm it is the “bachelor group.” One even has antlers in velvet. Yes, it is early summer. I have had my trace mineral licks out for some time, the early food plots are in, and the mid-summer plantings will not be happening until late July. It is nice to split the planting to allow for some green plots. Late soybeans are a great addition to give your deer some green forage in the fall. There also is another alternative you may want to look into. Try over-seeding winter wheat (or rye) into your standing soybeans. This is an easy task as you can just hand-seed over your standing beans. Do this just as the leaves are turning yellow. The seed will fall to the ground and sprout. The falling leaves will cover and make good ground contact for the seeds. The leaves also hold moisture to promote good growth. Now you have mature beans and some green so the deer will use both the green wheat and mature beans. Do this near your stand. The deer seem to want some greens prior to eating the beans. I refer to this as their dinner salad before meat and potatoes. Remember, however, to check the regulations regarding public versus private land. Yes, doing those little things makes a difference. This is so true in all aspects of life and especially true in our chapters. The chapter leaders need to make continuous changes to meet the needs of their community and members. Some chapters are growing and very progressive. Humm, how do they do it� Well, it is not from doing the same thing all of the time. Yes, we all have things that work and work well. These we do not change. But, what about areas where a chapter struggles� To resolve these issues, get a few chapter friends together and have a little brainstorming event. This doesn’t need

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to be a big group. It does not even require all of the chapter officers. Think about your chapter’s needs. Then simply start jotting down some thoughts and detail one or two items. Take these to the chapter meeting for discussion. Trust me, it works. The moral of the story is do not rely on a few to guide you forever. We all need new ideas and thoughts. Plant the idea seed and watch it sprout into a new crop of objectives. If you are a chapter leader, remember, it is important to listen. Getting new people involved is not easy and if you get one or two give them some responsibilities so they feel they have some ownership. When we own or commit to something we want it to survive. MDHA is not alone in facing dwindling volunteers. I hear this from most groups. Still, we do have younger people who want to get into something other than video games. It is our responsibility to be the ones providing them a challenge and getting them out of the house and involved. This requires persistence, so if one thing is not exciting to them, maybe something else is. Invite them to come and help pull your camera cards. Most times they will see lots of different things. The pictures also create another level of excitement and kids love technology. They will be looking forward to seeing what is on the camera, how can they get more pictures, is there another location where they can get more pictures� Teach them there is much more to hunting than just pulling the trigger or releasing the arrow. In conclusion, I would like to thank all of you who are planting food plots and trees-shrubs for cover. It is something on which we need to stay focused. Down here in the southwest Minnesota we need a lot of food plots to support our wildlife over the winter. Recently there have been many

discussions on the use of row crops and single source crops. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is no longer allowing any row crops to be planted on their lands. There also has been discussion of the LSOHC supporting this plan. This is very concerning to me, as without these we have a very limited amount of food to support the wildlife through the winter months. Back to the bachelors. Will the one buck that has the beginnings of a very nice rack be my target this fall� Or is the big one that got away last fall in another group� I did not hear he had been harvested. Sometimes those older big boys are rather isolated. There are four deer now in the field. All have racks that are starting to become visible. I will have to pull my camera cards soon. This should give me some more information on what is in my area. The excitement for the upcoming enjoyment of being afield and trying to outwit the big guy is growing daily. Remember, YOU are MDHA and without YOU we are nothing. Did you sign up a new member this month�

“Lost the key to the trail camera! How could you possibly lose the key?”


“WE ARE MUCH STRONGER WHEN WE WORK AS PARTNERS TOWARD A COMMON GOAL” For 36 years, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) has passionately sought to protect and enhance deer and other wildlife habitat across Minnesota. Our origin, in fact, goes back to northern Minnesota’s brutal winter of 1968-69. That winter and its devastating effect on the deer population prompted a group, which subsequently named itself Save Minnesota Deer, to seek the Minnesota Legislature’s attention and assistance to save the starving deer in Minnesota and then create better deer habitat. Eleven years later, remembering this group’s success, some original and new members made the decision to expand SMD’s original mission and create MDHA. MDHA’s habitat accomplishments are many and as we look forward to some exciting opportunities to expand our efforts, it is appropriate to first recognize and celebrate some of our previous and ongoing successes. This year marked a milestone for MDHA’s Hides-for-Habitat program. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, Hidesfor-Habitat is designed to take donated deer hides, provided by deer hunters like you and market those hides. Proceeds raised by the sale of the hides are earmarked by MDHA for habitat projects throughout Minnesota. In 2015, MDHA collected nearly 20,000 hides from hunters across the state. This increased the total number of hides collected since 1985 to 840,000 and enabled MDHA to surpass the $5 million mark in funds raised for habitat in Minnesota! Many thanks are due to our member volunteers who clean and process these hides so they can be sold to create habitat dollars. A more recent habitat effort by MDHA was to actively seek grant funding through the Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) program. The CPL program, which stems from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, enables conservation groups like MDHA to apply for grants up to $400,000 to restore, protect and

enhance habitat in Minnesota. Applicants are required to provide a 10% match when seeking a grant. MDHA and its chapters have done remarkable work through the CPL program, having funded habitat projects totaling nearly $4.0 million in just a few short years. MDHA has done more work through the CPL program than any other conservation organization in Minnesota. We will highlight some of the specific project achievements in future issues of Whitetales. MDHA has also engaged in large-scale habitat projects by obtaining grants through the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, another component of the Outdoor Heritage Fund. MDHA has secured nearly $3 million in funding to increase and enhance moose habitat in northeastern Minnesota and continues to work with its partners to complete this important work. MDHA has also been recommended for a grant of more than $5.5 million by Lessard-Sams to acquire forest habitat lands in Cass, Hubbard and Wadena Counties that are threatened with being converted to non-forest uses. The close partnerships MDHA established with each of the counties were instrumental in MDHA being recommended for funding. While MDHA has the ability to accomplish great things with respect to habitat in its own right, it can achieve so much more by forging strong partnerships like those we have with the counties. In recognition of the power of partnerships, MDHA is now embarking upon a tremendous opportunity to boost its habitat efforts by forging a Forest Habitat Partnership with the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS). The partnership will enhance habitat protection by combining the expertise of RGS’s biologists and habitat professionals with MDHA’s project management experience and its strong relationships with local governments and communities. It is a logical partnership as deer and ruffed grouse share similar habitat needs.

So who is RGS� RGS is a national organization of 20,000 members founded in 1961. It works to improve woodland habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and many other kinds of forest wildlife. To achieve its goals, RGS bases its work on scientific research into the needs of ruffed grouse and woodcock. In addition, RGS-supported research exploring the dynamics of forest growth has been the key to developing effective methods of forest wildlife habitat improvement. There are similarities between MDHA and RGS that go beyond the size of each organization. RGS traditionally works in three interrelated areas: research, education and habitat development; MDHA focuses on habitat, education and advocacy. Thus, both organizations have a strong emphasis on habitat and education and each also brings something unique to the partnership that enriches the overall strength of the partnership. MDHA brings the ability to advocate at the legislature and work with local governments, while RGS carries with it a team of biologists who are habitat specialists. This new Forest Habitat Partnership is a clear example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. MDHA and RGS each have long track records of protecting habitat for which they can be proud. But we are much stronger when we work as partners toward a common goal. By combining the strengths of each organization into a partnership, new and greater opportunities to protect habitat are on the horizon. These opportunities range from MDHA and RGS chapters working together to co-apply for important habitat grants through the CPL program and the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. This is truly an exciting time to be a member of MDHA as we fulfill our mission helping Minnesota’s deer herd and its deer hunters!


MINNESOTA Bu THE VERSATILE HISTORICAL WATERCRAFT - THE CANOE Over the past seven decades, I have really become attached to the history of sporting goods and gear. Be it knives, guns, pictures, books, outdoor related TV shows or just listening to camp stories. Each spins its own love of the out of doors. My latest venture is restoring an old wooden canoe purchased from a family who had purchased the watercraft in 1951. The love of canoes and canoeing stems back to my teen years when a neighbor let me use his concave shaped cedar strip eighteen footer. This canoe was stealthfully quiet and sliced through the water like a hot knife through butter. Portaging the beast was not a pleasurable experience. Over the rocky terrain it took two of us working in tandem to complete the portages. Our teenage ventures took us to Ely for a four-day island hopping trip in the area now called the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness). Our group called the Voyageurs, was made up of six students of which some had wilderness experience. It was gorgeous and rocky country where we hung our food packs high in pine trees to prevent curious bruins from ransacking the camp’s cache. Remember this was preregistration days where anything would be okay to pack and carry from island to island. We dead reckoned our route by reading parchment maps purchased at Cliff Wold’s Outfitters. Being screwed up just added to the adventure. Weather was a problem, especially the high wind. To secure our canoes we lashed the three together with ten foot poles from thwart to thwart with the square stern craft in the middle. The air-cooled four horse Clinton engine worked well for going into the white caps. The only draw back was the noise from the roaring engine. Survival was just part of being a teenager without any cares in the world. Dave

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Gardenier fell victim to pneumonia after a late night torrential downpour. Not realizing his tent and sleeping bag were set up in a mossy hollow it allowed rainwater to accumulate as if in a wash basin. Hypothermia did set in and building a fire was a challenge in itself. His illness did shorten our trip by a day. It was this trip that inspired me to write an eighteen stanza poem in iambic pentameter while sitting in a British Literature Class at Itasca Community College. This poem was based upon Rudyard Kipling’s Charge of the Light Brigade which had an opening line… “Boots, saddle, horse away…” My paraphrase read “Booze, paddle, canoe aweigh…” It was memories and adventures such as these that added to my passion for canoes. Once employed, I knew I needed to purchase a canoe of my own. After saving a few bucks for months, I had enough money to by an aluminum Grumman 17 foot lightweight canoe. I, of course, painted it dead grass green for duck hunting purposes. I was so proud of this craft because of its lightness, maneuverability, functionality and ease of handling. It was a sad day when coming home from work while crossing the Pokegama causeway, a wind shear ripped the topper from its moorings on the bed of my pick-up truck. The canoe was strapped to the topper very well so both went airborne and landed upside down on the rocky shoreline of the lake. My heart sank as I observed the flattened canoe and mangled topper. Insurance would not cover this act of nature because it happened off my property. I inquired, “Where should I use the canoe – in my bathtub�” My sarcasm did not help but now I proudly owned a squashed piece of aluminum. My dad introduced me to a shirt-tailed relative who specialized in

aluminum welding. It was John Fredricks, Jr. to the rescue. All he asked was “Is the keel straight�” It was! He hammered the aluminum as if he were a sculptor. When finished, all I could detect from the original damage was a few metallic wrinkles.

The author�s dream boat – 17 foot Grumman light-weight canoe It was this canoe I used for deer hunting rivers, small lakes and getting to remote islands. Duck hunting rivers and small bodies of water in the fall was one of my favorite past times. Canoes are well known for the instability when shooting ringnecks and bluebills. To solve that problem I bought four ten foot conduit pipes and painted them dead grass green. When in the marsh or cattails you simply push each conduit down in the muck and secure them with twine to each thwart. If the conduits are too long, no problem, just use them to fasten your blind material with pinch clothespins. If you are lucky enough to harvest a duck and have to retrieve it, just untie the four posts and slide the canoe out of the blind. As a very young lad, I loved to read my dad’s outdoor magazines. Especially those which portrayed hunters hunting from a canoe. Back in the 1940s and �50s Field & Stream, Sports Afield or even Outdoor Life



Minnesota is canoe country – enjoy and take care of it. Currier and Ives rendition of the deer hunt used art prints portraying guys cruising lakes and rivers hunting bear or deer. I recall an art piece where a solo canoeist while tackling a swirling rapids was confronted by a bear as he rounded a bend. I guess I was very impressionable at that age and now the fascination of canoeing still exists. Fortunately, the Grumman lightweight is still being used at the deer shack site for fishing, photography and just enjoying Ma Nature’s finest waterways. With the onset of retirement, I have had more time to research and refurbish canoes. I purchased a canvas covered cedar strip at a yard sale last summer. Restoring this 1943 vintage17 foot Old Town is a challenge. Many of the wood parts are decayed or missing. Thanks to the internet, I was able to research out how to restore or rebuild old canoes. During my search, the WCHA kept popping up and whetting my curiosity. Being from the State of Hockey, Minnesota, I thought they were referring to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Wrong! In the realm of canoes, WCHA is the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association with over 10,000 canoe enthusiasts as members. This organization, much like MDHA, serves its members by providing literature, history and support. This organization is unique because it provides background information on old canoes by checking its history using the crafts serial number. I found that my Old Town

was built in 1943 and laid idle during WWII and was completed in 1949. It was sold at the Dayton’s store in Minneapolis in 1951 to a forester in northern Minnesota. Due to its age and extensive use this canoe had wood decay. The gunwales, keel and stems (decks) were rotten. The WCHA recommended a canoe business in Maine which provides replacement parts. Five hundred dollars later I had all the parts necessary to complete my dream boat – the 1943 Old Town OTCA. A work still in progress.

homemade wooden canoes through a process he learned from a local Native American in the traditional fashion: using sheets of birch bark, cedar strips for the ribs and frame, and black spruce roots to bind it all together. Many of Bill’s canoes are now museum pieces or a décor of restaurants and hotels.

Hafeman Boat works outside and inside near Bigfork, Minnesota

Note: gunwales and stems rotten from turning canoe upside down on grass Just a few miles north of the MDHA state office, is the ultimate canoe factory specializing in birch bark canoes. Bill Hafeman started by Bill Hafeman Boat Works back in the 1920s. He and his wife homesteaded in the area and needed a better way to traverse the 7-mile trek into the town of Bigfork each week. He began making the

The romance of the canoe is still alive and well be it birch bark, cedar strip, aluminum, fiberglass or Kevlar allowing you to experience the whisper of the pines and sloshing of the water while dipping the paddle doing a feather stroke. Individually there is a canoe, or kayak, for all those who trek and paddle the many lakes and streams of Minnesota and beyond. Web pages such as or are special links into the canoeing world or books like John Arnold Bolz’s Portage into the Past or even Cliff Jacobson’s series on canoe techniques and family camping. For me it’s the serene hunting, fishing, trapping, or gathering things like photos or wild rice. Whatever your interest, there is a canoe type for you to start your own heritage.



The Division of Fish and Wildlife in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for managing Minnesota’s deer population. This is accomplished by estimating deer population trends, setting population goals, and regulating hunting for each of the state’s 128 deer permit areas. Those permit areas service nearly 500,000 Minnesota firearms deer hunters. To manage competing interests, the DNR annually sets deer population goals using input from public surveys, public meetings, and advisory teams representing different stakeholder groups. This input is then compared with their own data on current deer populations in order to set regulations for the upcoming hunting season. Deer population data comes from the DNR’s deer population statistical model, deer harvest data, and aerial and land surveys. The DNR’s primary tool for manipulating deer populations is setting a limit on antlerless deer permits. From 1970 through 2000, deer population strategies were generally aimed to increase populations in the state’s deer permit areas. This resulted in a greater number of deer as well as increased concern by some over the negative impacts. Because of those opinions, goals since the early 2000s often sought to reduce deer populations. Since then, the annual number of deer harvested has followed a decreasing trend with a high

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of 290,525 in 2003 and a low of 139,442 in 2014. Deer hunters have raised concerns over the low number of deer harvested in recent years and the accuracy of the DNR’s deer population estimates. They have also expressed dissatisfaction with the availability of information on the DNR’s deer management activities. To address these concerns, the DNR set hunting regulations for the 2014 and 2015 seasons that were meant to increase deer populations in many regions of the state. In 2015, reacting to concerns raised by legislators and deer audit advocates, the Legislative Audit Commission directed the Office of the Legislature Auditor (OLA) to conduct an audit of the Department of Natural Resources deer population management processes. According to the OLA, the evaluation will focus on three areas: 1. How much does the DNR spend on deer population management� How are these activities funded� 2. How does the DNR estimate and monitor Minnesota’s deer population� How do these methods compare with recommended practices� 3. How does the DNR establish the state’s deer population goals and hunting permit strategies� To what extent do the DNR’s deer population goals reflect various stakeholders’ interests�


In their study, the OLA will examine the extent to which the DNR uses appropriate data, tools, and techniques for monitoring and estimating deer populations, based on recommended practices in research literature and methods implemented in other states. This includes testing the integrity and accuracy of data used by the DNR. Assessing the DNR’s deer population estimates also requires technical expertise to test the sensitivity of DNR’s statistical model. To conduct this work, OLA will hire a consultant familiar with factors and methods for estimating and forecasting deer populations. The report findings will describe how deer management is funded and the costs associated with the DNR’s activities and will examine the DNR’s processes for setting deer population goals and hunting permit strategies for harvesting deer, including how the DNR addresses stakeholder interests and concerns when setting population goals around the state. In addition, the report will provide insight on how well these goals align with the DNR’s responsibilities to conserve and manage all of the state’s natural resources. This evaluation was expected to be completed by spring 2016.


The Evolution Photo by Roger Hill

of Archery Deer Hunting

In Minnesota

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For as long as man has hunted for food, he’s utilized a weapon to do it. References to bows and arrows used for hunting and warfare go back thousands of years; highly skilled archers such as Robin Hood are an important part of popular folklore. Ancient Egyptians are known to have used bows and arrows, and here in America, Native Americans can be considered the country’s first bowhunters. As European settlement of the United States occurred, there were improvements to bows and arrows, and by 1879 the sport had grown to the point the National Archery Association was founded. In the years since, there’s really been no slowing down when it comes to improvements that make bowhunters more effective and efficient at hitting their targets. At the same time, bowhunting remains a popular pursuit at least in part due to the difficulty of the task. “It is a very difficult endeavor,” said Brooks Johnson, president of Minnesota Bowhunters, Inc. “It’s hard to punch that tag with a bow and arrow. I think the main draw of archery is you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re setting yourself up for a very difficult situation, and to try to (get within 20 or 30 yards of a deer, and then make a successful shot), that’s a heck of a task when you’re in their bedroom. That proximity to the animal – it’s just a primal thing that excites guys.” To illustrate the difficulty of killing a whitetail with a bow, look no further than hunter success rates. In general in Minnesota, between about 15 percent and 18 percent of archery hunters are successful in killing a deer during any particular season. Success rates for firearms hunters, by contrast, are nearly always higher than 30 percent, and in some seasons are higher than 40 percent. That’s despite the fact gun hunters have a matter of days to hunt, while bowhunters have months to hunt. The archery season in Minnesota begins in the middle of September and runs through the end of the year, and there’s not been any real push to change that, according to Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations and regulations manager. “We’ve tried to make opportunities for archers abundant, and certainly I think we’ve done that and have a record of doing that,” he said. “If we got to the point where archery hunting – with or without crossbows – had gotten so efficient, we may have to regulate antlerless harvest more than we already do. But right now, we don’t feel like we have to take that step.” That’s despite the rapid advancements in equipment. Early bows were known as longbows, and some traditionalists today still use them. Then came recurve bows, which propelled arrows faster and with more energy than do longbows. Compound bows, which use cables and pulleys and shoot faster and more accurately than earlier bows, marked another archery advancement. Improvements in compound bows continue, and archers never have had at their disposal more advanced gear, including light, strong arrows and lethal broadheads. And it’s unlikely the advancements will stop. “It’s crazy. At Game Fair every year, there is a 100-yard shoot. Guys are popping 4- and 6-inch balloons (from that distance). Imagine that 20 years ago. It wasn’t happening,” Johnson said. “I don’t know where it’s going to end, but the number of guys who have the ability now to hold groups at 100 yards is unbelievable. When you can make a nickel in America, guys are going to find a way to make that nickel. I don’t know what could possibly slow it down.” Every season between 2010 and 2014, the DNR sold a total of more than 100,000 archery licenses. Sales were just shy of that mark in 2008 and 2009, and were well below it in the early to mid-2000s (though

Photo by Gord Nutal

that’s when the DNR offered an all-season deer-hunting license). From 1994 through 2001, archery license sales ranged between about 80,000 and 93,000. “Certainly, the equipment has changed over time, and that allows more people to participate in the sport,” Merchant said, while also mentioning regulation changes to lower the required draw weight. And during the modern era, discounting the past few years of relatively low deer abundance, “That combination of equipment improvements coupled with generally abundant deer herds, has resulted in today’s high level of participation among archers.” Between 1994 and 2002, archery deer harvest ranged between 12,306 and 15,884 animals. In 2003, bowhunters in Minnesota killed 21,691 whitetails, the first of nine seasons in a row during which the annual archery harvest exceeded 20,000. The bow kill has dropped off some during the past three years, though it’s remained above historical averages. Though some metrics indicate continued and growing interest in archery – nearly 200,000 students in the state participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program – it’s not clear what the future holds. Bowhunting requires a healthy time commitment, and it’s not necessarily easy for everyone to just head out into the woods for an hour or two after work. Johnson wonders, too, if low deer numbers will keep some people from taking up the sport. At the same time, advancements in equipment could continue to make bowhunting even more attractive. “Nobody can say” what the future of bowhunting holds, Johnson said. “The number of people who are really hardcore (about bowhunting) – about 30,000 people buy only an archery tag. So you have those guys who are passionate and dedicated and they really care about it. Their life revolves around it. But the guys who were shooting


Physical Education instructor Vance Kaupang poses with Mike Weik and Bruce Roed of the Pine-to-Prairie Chapter of the MDHA and grant writer Juancarlos Giese of the Rydell National Wildlife Refuge along with three enthusiastic students eager to take advantage of the new equipment provided by the Archery in the Schools Program. recurves in the 1960s and ’70s, if you’d asked them what they thought it would be like in the future, they would never have said it would be like it is today.” Given the low success rates of archery hunters, Johnson doesn’t figure on seeing drastic regulation changes in Minnesota – whether to restrict opportunities, or expand them by, for example, allowing hunters to kill a buck with a bow and with a firearm – aimed specifically at bowhunters. And for the most part, bowhunters aren’t looking for anything else. “We’re not looking for more opportunity,” Johnson said. “The guys are pretty happy with the season.” Read Joe Albert�s blog at

Photo by Roger Hill


























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Rifle scopes have come a long way in the past 70 years. As a boy, I recall my father searching the basement for spider webs that might prove suitable for scope reticles, and having problems with dim optics and scope adjustments that displaced the reticle from the center of the field of view (FOV). Modern scopes, by contrast, have reticles of fine wire or etched in glass, internal adjustments that keep the reticle centered, and bright optics (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Variable-power scopes. Top to bottom: Redfield Revolution 3-9x40; Nikon Coyote Special 4-12x40; Leupold Vari-X III 1.5-5x20 on Steyr-Mannlicher; Leupold Mark AR 3-9x40. Deer hunters seeking to equip their rifle, muzzleloader, or shotgun with a scope must weigh many available options, including magnification, type of reticle, diameter of the objective lens, lens coatings, focus/parallax, elevation and windage adjustments in mils or minutes of angle ( MOA), tube diameter, weight, and cost. These options should be

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evaluated in relation to the type of terrain, target size, likely maximum distance for a shot, and firearm/cartridge parameters – particularly the zero distance and exterior ballistics of the cartridge. Let’s take a look at these latter considerations before attempting to deal with specifics about scopes. In forested terrain, the average distance for shots at deer is well under 100 yards. Given that the vital heart-lung area of a deer can be covered by an 8½ x 11-inch letter-sized sheet of paper centered on the chest, centerfire rifles, in-line muzzleloaders, and shotgun slug guns with rifled barrels all provide sufficient accuracy for shots at the distances at which it is possible to “hold on fur” to compensate for bullet drop. For example, popular centerfire rifle cartridges such as the 243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, 308 Winchester, and 30-06 Springfield, to name a few, produce muzzle velocities between 2,700 and 3,000 feet per second with typical deer loads. When zeroed for 200 yards, trajectories out to approximately 300 yards are almost identical – resulting in bullet drops below the line of sight of about 7 to 10 inches at that distance. Drops of this magnitude are easily compensated by holding on fur between the center of the chest and the top of the deer's back. Out to roughly 250 yards, a centerchest hold on a mature deer will result in a fatal shot. Traditional deer cartridges such as the 3030 Winchester, 32 Winchester Special, and 35 Remington exhibit a 7- to 10-inch bullet drop below the line of sight at approximately 220 to 240 yards when modern loads such as

the Hornady LEVERevolution cartridges that generate muzzle velocities of approximately 2,200 to 2,400 fps are zeroed for 150 yards. In-line muzzleloaders and shotguns with rifled barrels driving bullets or slugs at approximately 2,000 fps muzzle velocity, when zeroed for 150 yards, show a bulletdrop of 7 to 10 inches below the line of sight at distances of 190 to 220 yards. Out to approximately 175 to 200 yards, a center chest hold with a traditional deer rifle, an inline muzzleloader, or a rifled slug gun should produce a fatal shot. Taking the above into consideration, it is evident that scopes of high magnification with complex ballistic reticles designed to compensate for bullet drop at extended ranges are not required for most deer hunting situations in Minnesota. Desirable characteristics of scopes for deer hunters operating in forested terrain are discussed below.

Magnification and Field of View

A scope intended for woods use should provide a FOV of approximately 30 feet at 100 yards, which is typically obtained at a magnification of about 3x. Higher magnifications of 4, 6, and 9x narrow the 100-yard FOV to approximately 25, 18, and 14 feet, respectively. Although magnifications of 6 to 9x can aid targeting a buck, the reduced FOV makes it difficult at close range to quickly acquire a partially concealed deer or track a deer moving through cover. Over the years, I have found

fixed-power scopes with magnifications of 1.5 to 3x well-suited for use in forest environments and quite satisfactory for shots at deer out to 150 to 200 yards. Given the choice, today, most hunters will opt for modern, variable-power scopes of moderate cost with representative magnifications of 1.5-5x, 2-7x, 3-9x, and 2.5-10x that can be set at low power when still hunting or at a higher power when occupying a stand. If sufficient magnification to view bullet holes in paper sight-in targets at 100 yards is a requirement, scopes of 4-12x or 4.5-14x are an option. If cost is not an issue and a multi-purpose scope is desired, recent 3-15x and 3-18x additions to the Leupold, Swarovski, and Zeiss line ups may warrant consideration.

Objective Lens and Exit Pupil

Figure 2. Exit pupils for a 3-9x variablepower scope set at 3x (left) and 9x (right). The larger exit pupil at 3x magnification makes positioning the eye less critical.


Scope lenses should be fully multicoated to ensure maximum light transmission and scene brightness. The column of light that reaches the eye and determines the perceived brightness of the scene is controlled by the diameter of the scope's exit pupil, which is equal to the effective diameter of the scope's objective lens divided by the magnification. For example, a 3-9x variable-power scope with an objective lens of 40 mm will have an exit pupil of about 13 mm at 3x and 4.5 mm at 9x magnification (Figure 2). In order to avoid a perception of reduced scene brightness when looking through the scope in the early morning or late evening hours, the scope’s exit pupil must equal the diameter of the eye’s pupil, which is about 5 to 7 mm in dim light. Thus, with a variable-power hunting scope having an objective lens diameter of 40 to 44 mm, magnifications

greater than 6 to 8x will reduce the apparent scene brightness in the early- morning or late-evening hours. A scope with an objective lens of 50 mm or larger may offer a slight gain in brightness at higher magnifications. However, it will be heavier, more expensive, and likely require high rings to obtain clearance between the objective bell and rifle barrel. Lower magnifications that maximize the diameter of the scope's exit pupil offer an added advantage in that the position of the viewing eye becomes less critical, making it easier to quickly acquire targets from difficult or stressed field positions. Older hunters with limited flexibility or vision difficulties, and juniors or women using a rifle with a stock that is an awkward fit, will appreciate the ease of use.

Figure 3A. Zeiss Z-Plex


With a multitude of reticles available from diverse scope manufacturers, it is easy to become overwhelmed by advertisements that feature complex reticles designed to measure range and compensate for both bullet drop and wind deflection at extended range. Be conservative! There are three types of reticles that deserve serious consideration. These include: 1) Plex reticles offered by virtually all scope manufacturers; 2) a Plex with 1- to 4-ladder steps such as the Burris Ballistic Plex; and 3) a bullet drop compensation (BDC) reticle keyed to a specific cartridge or load---particularly useful for shots undertaken with in-line muzzleloading rifles and rifled-barrel slug guns (Figure 3). Graphic presentations of reticle hold points for any target distance and scope magnification can be determined and displayed for Burris, Nikon, and Zeiss reticles on their respective websites. As shown in Figure 3, the Strelok and Strelok Pro programs accessible on smart phones and Apple iPads allow you to compute exterior ballistics and display hold points on game targets for a wide selection of cartridges and reticles. Additional reticle options include a choice of first or second focal-plane reticles or, possibly, an illuminated reticle. The vast majority of variable-power hunting scopes with top magnifications of less than 15x have the reticle in the second focal plane.

Figure 3. Strelok Pro displays of reticles superimposed on a deer target at 200 yards illustrate the hold point necessary to compensate for the 7-inch drop of an in-line muzzleloader bullet or rifled-barrel shotgun slug zeroed for 150 yards. A similar hold point is required for a deer at approximately 230 yards when using a 30-30 Winchester zeroed for 150 yards, or for a deer at 300 yards when using a 308 Winchester zeroed for 200 yards.

Figure 3B. Burris Ballistic Plex

Figure 3C. Nikon BDC 200

Figure 3C. Leupold Sabot Ballistic Reticle


The apparent size and thickness of the reticle remains constant, but the subtension between reticle elements changes with magnification. A first focal-plane reticle maintains a constant subtension at all magnifications, but size and thickness are reduced as the magnification is decreased. In dim light and at low magnifications, a second focal-plane reticle provides superior visibility. An illuminated reticle improves the visibility of the reticle against a dark background and/or target. Although nonilluminated reticles are generally satisfactory for legal hunting hours, individuals with vision problems may find an illuminated reticle helpful. A scope with an illuminated reticle requires a battery, which adds to the cost and weight of the scope.

Eye Relief and Focus

With variable-power scopes, the eye relief tends to become slightly shorter as the magnification is increased. In order to avoid a bruised eye when the rifle recoils, check that the eye relief at maximum magnification is at least 3 inches— and 3½ to 4 inches is better. Most hunting scopes with magnifications of less than 10 power are focused at the factory to provide maximum sharpness and minimum parallax at 100 to 150 yards. Clarity at shorter distances can be improved by reducing the magnification on variablepower scopes and/or turning the eyepiece until both the reticle and target are in focus. A European-style fast-focus eyepiece, now available for some American scopes, has a rear rim that can be quickly rotated to change focus. It is an excellent choice. Parallax will be present at close distances. Normally, however, the parallax is too small to affect shot placement on deer-sized targets. Adjustable focus objective lens or side-focus knobs that are used to establish focus and remove parallax at any distance are generally reserved for scopes with magnifications greater than 10X.

Adjustments and Main Tube Diameter Elevation and windage adjustments are offered in mils or MOA. Both are angular units. If you have a military background, mils may be preferred. One mil subtends 3.6 inches at 100 yards and an 0.1 mil click moves the point of impact 0.36 inches. Most hunters will prefer MOA, where 1 MOA subtends 1.047 inches at 100 yards, but is often rounded off to establish a

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"shooter's MOA," equal to 1 inch at 100 yards, 2 inches at 200 yards, 3 inches at 300 yards, and so forth. Scopes come with 1/8-, 1/4-, or 1/2-MOA click adjustments, which move the bullet impact 1/8-, 1/4-, or 1/2-inch per click at 100 yards. Deer hunters should opt for scopes with 1/4- or 1/2-MOA click adjustments. A minimum of 50 MOA in both the elevation and windage adjustments will ensure an adequate adjustment range when zeroing the rifle/ scope combination. Adjustment dials should be low profile and capped to minimize the chance of inadvertent movement and provide protection from hostile weather conditions. Most major scope companies now offer made-to-order laser-inscribed calibrated elevation dials based on exterior ballistics information provided by the customer. These allow the hunter to turn the elevation dial directly to a known distance measured with a laser rangefinder or ballistic reticle. Calibrated elevation dials are advantageous in areas where long-range shots are the rule, but are not required for shots at close to medium range. In the past couple of years there has been a trend away from traditional 1-inch (25.4 mm) diameter scope tubes toward the 30- and 34-mm diameter tubes favored for long-range or tactical applications. A larger diameter tube is slightly stronger, but more importantly allows the range of click adjustments necessary for shooting at long distances to be increased. Deer hunters suffer no disadvantage by using lighter scopes with 1-inch tubes. Before purchasing any scope, check that there is sufficient tube space on either side of the adjustment dials to slide the scope in the rings in order to adjust for eye relief.


If you hunt from a tree stand or elevated platform, the weight of the scope is unlikely to be a serious consideration. However, if you still hunt, want a fast-handling rifle, must hike long distances, or are a junior or lady hunter, then a sleek, slim scope of light weight is a definite advantage. There are a number of excellent 1-inch tube scopes of moderate cost that weigh between 10 and 16 ounces.


A few words about the cost of current models of scopes are appropriate. Hunters will note that scope prices range from under $100.00 to over $2,000.00. You need not mortgage the house! Some variable-power scopes with excellent optics and reliable adjustments sell for less than $500.00, including the Burris Fullfield II, Bushnell Elite 3500, Leupold VX-1 and VX-2, Nikon ProStaff, Redfield Revolution, Vortex Diamondback, Weaver Classic V, and Zeiss Terra models. A brief search on the web will provide comparative details. In conclusion, hunters using centerfire rifles , muzzleloading rifles, or shotguns with rifled barrels in forested terrain are most likely to have shot opportunities at close to medium range. Scopes of relatively low magnification having a wide FOV and a Plex or BDC reticle, in combination with your basic knowledge of the bullet path out to 200 to 300 yards, will enhance the chances for a successful shot when a trophy buck steps into view.



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DECENT DEFORMATION vs. FURIOUS FRAGMENTATION Expansion and Reasonable Velocities BY JOHN W. HAYES For several centuries soft, all-lead bullets have performed admirably to bring down game and meat animals. Soft lead bullets used for meat hunting do not require any sort of poly-tip, or hollow point or anything else to begin the expansion process and though the expansion is limited, these projectiles do not possess the tendency to fragment. Rather, they exhibit the high propensity to stay en-mass an elastic tension, if you will. It is a great quality for meat hunting. These all-lead projectiles still kill by shock and damage. Large ML projectiles do not need to be hyper fast to be effective. There is no need to push velocities of a 250-grain chunk of lead, from a muzzleloader, up into the 2300 feet per second range; 1350 to 1650 fps is just fine. This is part one of an article about frangibility and deformation of any bullets but especially muzzleloading bullets. I would like to start with a statement by the author, Peter Sahr, in his article The Lead Issue published in Whitetales’ (Spring 2015) in which hunters were invited to shoot their own lead ammo from their rifles into water jugs to test frangibility of a number of different, hyper-velocity, necked-cartridges. Sahr reported that upon impact with jugs of water, the bullets did not simply expand but rather disintegrated into tiny bits of lead. In the article he referred to a number of different high-powered rifle rounds, and further grouped lead slugs together the hyper-velocity, necked-cartridges. He also stated that: ...higher velocity lead slugs (no copper jacket) fragmented more than similar lower velocity soft lead slugs, confirming that bullet velocity also plays a major role in the amount of fragmentation This makes it sound as though lead slugs will also fracture and disintegrate, similarly to high-powered rifle rounds, when shot at water jugs. However, what I have found is

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that, yes, velocity does make a significant difference, but the soft, pure lead resists breaking apart; unlike the harder doped lead used in some of the modern jacketed cartridge ammunition. I also tested ammunition using one-gallon milk jugs lined up in a row. I also tried juice bottles, bleach jugs, detergent jugs; just about any plastic bottle capable of holding about a gallon of water. My shots were from 35 to 50 yards. My tests included the use of polycarbonate tipped modern ammunition (the subject of Part Two) both cartridge and muzzleloader. The only rounds that disintegrated or had explosive performance were the poly-tipped rounds, the rest of the bullets faired much, much better.

THE TESTS I began with my own .58 caliber flintlock rifle using various charges. The round ball velocities were as follows: 1350 fps (80 grs FFg), 1440 fps (90 grs FFg) to 1530 fps (100 grs FFg) I refer to these as reasonable velocities for my ammunition. I fired eighteen different shots with .570 round balls, which average 284 grains of pure lead. After two shots at 40 yards, I found I needed six jugs to bring the all-lead round balls to a rest. I recovered slightly flattened round balls, but found absolutely NO lead fragments. All the water was carefully poured out and there were no tiny pieces of lead in any of the jugs. I weighed each round ball before and after the shots and there was NO loss of mass. I performed additional tests shooting .58 caliber lead round balls at deer bones suspended in water jugs. No lead was lost upon impact with the bones; but, it begged the query, perhaps the bones could move within the water. Therefore, I taped bones to the outside of the jugs using several layers of duct tape to make quite sure the bones could not “move out of the way.� I used several leg

bones and rib bones and found that the balls flattened out and lost a minimal 6.6 percent (ave. 284 before, 265+ after). The remaining lead was in one piece. These shots were taken at 26 yards using 85+grains of FFg. velocities were 1370 to 1410 fps on average. I also went a bit farther by shooting through six layers of plywood and recovered the round balls to find that the lead lost amounted to about 2 percent, thus instead of 284 grains of lead I recovered a mass of 279 grains. But in all those shots the deformed chunk of lead was in one whole mass not twenty or Fifty or One-Hundred fragments. I next tested the T/C Maxi-Hunter, a 350-grain all-lead conical bullet with a shallow hollow point. I shot five sets using Pyrodex R, measured at 75 grains, (1300 fps), 80 grains (1341 fps) 90 grains (1405), 100 grains (1489 fps), 110 grains, and 120 grains (1546 fps). In all the sets from which I was able to recover the bullets from inside the water jugs there was NO lead lost. In some instances the bullets penetrated through five or six jugs and then also penetrated three and four pieces of plywood. Never the less the all-lead projectiles had only lost from 4.3 to 9 percent of mass. At the highest velocities the Maxi-Hunter bullet passed through seven jugs, flattened out to double its original diameter upon reaching the plywood and still retained from ninety-six to one hundred percent of its mass. I even tested the all-lead 40 grain .22 caliber bullet, which did not lose any mass when fired at the water jug.

WHY IS LEAD LOSS SO LITTLE? The reason I lost no lead from the alllead bullets and round balls in these tests (of water jugs) is due to the fact that there are no devices on the round balls or MaxiHunter bullets, to create volatile expansion

of the projectile, nor cause it to split apart. Furthermore, the velocities, generally under 1650 fps, are what I would call “reasonable.” Another shooter, Chris Cheney of Angora Minnesota, uses soft lead in a number of his cartridge guns as well as muzzleloaders. Chris does a lot of shooting! When asked the question about fragmentation he concurred on use of soft lead. He replied, The softer the lead, the MORE it resists fragmentation. Lead doped with antimony will break up easier or shatter, because it is a harder bullet. Instead of mushrooming, the harder lead cracks and breaks apart. The softer lead is more malleable and will bend without breaking. Interestingly, in the last several years of hunting Chris has used a trade gun to take two deer with the same .60 caliber soft lead round ball. He recovered the round ball against the hide of deer number one, after it passed nearly through the deer. He hammered it back into a sphere and shot it again, and recovered it as one mass from deer number two. The significant matter is there was NO lead lost. His conclusion about the soft lead round ball is, it has the tendency to transfer its energy into the game animal and make one wound channel with little blood shock and stay together. The soft lead round balls that we traditional shooters use, do not leave behind a “comet’s tail” of lead, copper and plastic fragments. We can, as the saying goes “eat right up to the bullet hole.” My tests showed that the all-lead projectiles, fired at reasonable velocities, resist fracturing and thus tend to remain in one piece, showing that all-lead projectiles will work just fine without any poly-tips or hollow point design. The author’s earlier conclusions (that the pure lead projectiles were more frangible than copper jacketed lead projectiles) I found to be on the whole… backwards. It seems that the lead in the semijacketed bullets tends to be slightly doped and harder. Soft lead, on the other hand has a high resistance to frangibility in the water tests. The best performing projectiles were the all-lead round balls and the all-lead T/C Maxi-Hunter. In Part Two I will review polycarbonate tips and their role as a plunger/detonator on bullets. The poly-tips in ML’s cause bullets to expand erratically as well as explode upon impact resulting in substantial loss of bullet mass, and at velocities less than 1700 fps. For more on those tests, look for the 2016 fall issue of Whitetales. Here’s to a blessed hunt.

Recovered 350 gr T/C Maxi Hunter all-lead bullets. Top left, shot with 75 grains of Pyrodex, no lead lost, Top right, shot with 90 grs Pyrodex 324 grs, recovered� weight, bottom left, shot with 100 grs Pyrodex, 318 grs recovered� weight, bottom right, shot with 120 grs of Pyrodex, 350 grs recovered weight. �penetrated through plywood.

Two .570 round balls recovered as typical. Right ball fired at bones in the water; left ball fired at water only, using 90 grains FFg. front is typical of 40 grain .22 cal bullets fired at water.

Unfired .570 round ball on left. On the right a round ball shot through bones taped to the water jug using 90 grs FFg, this ball has 93.7 retention of mass.


AROUND THE State Minnesota Deer Hunters Association


What? No chapter in your area? MDHA is always interested in forming new chapters. If you live in an area without a chapter and would like more information on forming one, please call 800.450.DEER.

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Region 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6

Chapter Min-Dak Border Roseau River North Red River Thief River Falls Riceland Whitetails Bemidji Area Itasca County Hibbing/Chisholm Woodland Trails End Carlton County Sturgeon River Arrowhead Wilderness Drop Tine Lake Superior Chapter Lake Vermilion Chapter Smokey Hills Fergus Falls Clay Wilkin Park Rapids East Ottertail Wadena Brainerd Cuyuna Range Whitetails Morrison County Lakes and Pines Bluewater Wahoo Valley Isanti County Wild River Rum River North Suburban


Region 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 12 13 13 13

Chapter Alexandria Chippewa Valley Sauk River Phantom Buck Pomme De Terre Crow River Two Rivers Tri-County River Bottom Bucks Central Minnesota Sherburne County Swampbucks Wright County/ West Metro Whitetails East Central Minnesota Minnesota River Valley Blue Earth River Valley Sunrisers Bend of the River Sioux Trails Deer Hunters Des Moines Valley Jim Jordan McGregor Area Quad Rivers Snake River Southern Gateway Southeast Minnesota Bluff Country South Central Minnesota South Metro Capitol Sportsmen’s St. Croix Valley


Did you know... there are three deer calls: grunt, bleat and snort?


The 2016 Predators on the Prairie Varmint Hunt had 72 participants who hunted hard in efforts to reduce the coyote population. The hunters were successful in their efforts


While representing MDHA, State Chapter Coordinator Becca Kent and her fiancée, MDHA volunteer and Whitetales� contributor, Nik Dimich, had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with perhaps the most famous hunting couple in America, Tiffany and Lee Lakosky. Tiffany and Lee host the very popular hunting show Crush with Lee and Tiffany on The Outdoor Channel. Last year the “Crush” couple made it �Tiffany, Lee and baby makes three,� with the birth of their baby, a boy they named Cameron. When asked how the famous duo would raise their boy regarding hunting, Tiffany replied, “We want him to appreciate all it means to be a hunter and experience both the successes and failures that come with the sport.” At the show, the couples spent time together talking about how times have changed and because “Moms” are now hunting and fishing more, families are spending more time together outdoors. We look forward to seeing Lee and Tiffany at the 2017 Outdoor News Deer and Turkey Show, where MDHA will be an exhibitor. Did you know... whitetails have seven scent glands?

despite challenging conditions and took 32 coyotes. The varmint reduction effort definitely helps in the rebuilding of the deer herd. Attached is a picture of the predator hunters with some of the coyotes taken. The largest coyote taken was 37.10 lbs. After payment of expenses to run the varmint shoot entry fees are awarded back to the participants through bounty, cash and prize drawings. The lucky winner of the Howa Snow King Rifle/Scope package donated by

the North Red River Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association was Justin Turner of Hallock, Minn. Thank you to the area businesses that made donations to the hunt. Hats off to Mike Docken, Marc Langen, John Langen, and Dale Hanson and the North Red River MDHA members for organizing and hosting the Predators on the Prairie Hunt!


A mix of NPR news, regional arts, culture & public affairs programs, and a great variety of music

Aut henti c Lo c a l R a d io (800)662-5799 |



Since its inception in 1985, MDHA’s Hides for Habitat Program has gained not only funds from an incredible amount of dedicated fundraisers, but national acclaim for its objective: habitat. MDHA felt collection potentially discarded deer hides and selling them would be a great way to not only enhance, but also create deer habitat. By recycling these hides around the state, MDHA’s Hides for Habitat Program is designed to take donated deer hides, provided by deer hunters like you, and market those hides. Proceeds raised by the sale of the hides are earmarked for use by MDHA for habitat projects throughout Minnesota. Since 1985, the program has collected over 842,000 hides and from them nearly $5.08 million has been generated to help fund statewide habitat projects. Thanks to your help, this program has not only maintained, but enhanced our deer herd. Here’s how it works: MDHA Chapters collect hides and process them to be sold to fur buying companies. This can bring in up to $8 per hide. MDHA Chapters use these funds, paired with the MDHA State Habitat Committee funds, for special projects in their local communities. The $8 collected for hides can be leveraged as much as ten times, increasing the $8 collected amount to $80. Hide collection boxes are found throughout the state in the fall. When the hides are collected they are processed and salted by members of local MDHA Chapters. Hunters only need to fold them up and place them in the collection box and walk away knowing they helped ensure the future of deer hunting. Donating your hides to MDHA’s Hides for Habitat Program will not only help provide habitat for generations to come, it will keep our deer hunting heritage alive for the future. A complete list of drop box locations can be found at or by calling the MDHA State Office. Chapters are always looking for volunteers to help with their local hides program. If you are interested, please contact your local chapter officers.

22 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016






Arrowhead 74 0 Bemidji 409 0 Bend of the River 586 430 Blue Earth River Valley 92 74 Bluewater 773 550 Bluff Country 85 0 Brainerd 671 494 Capitol Sportsmens 256 0 Carlton County 479 100 Central Minnesota 422 385 Chippewa Valley 139 0 Clay Wilkin 311 0 Crow River 273 50 Des Moines Valley 163 115 East Central 315 0 East Ottertail 696 550 Isanti County 607 0 Itasca County 710 560 Jim Jordon 244 0 Lake Superior 342 0 Lake Vermilion 207 125 McGregor 105 0 Minnesota River Valley 473 364 Morrison County 294 188 North Suburban 787 559 Park Rapids 674 490 Quad Rivers 350 0 Riceland Whitetails 214 110 Sherburne County Swampbucks 341 254 Sioux Trails 224 161 Smokey Hills 695 525 Snake River 269 216 South Central Praireland 57 6 Southeast Minnesota 152 0 Southern Gateway 444 307 South Metro 852 675 St. Croix 245 131 Sunrisers 222 114 Thief River Falls 2412 1950 Trails End 202 192 Tri-County River Bottom Bucks 463 403 Wadena 971 489 Wild River 334 0 Wright County 1013 775 TOTAL HIDES COLLECTED 19,647 11,342 TOTAL GROSS (INCLUDES TAILS) $185,754.75

Did you know... Ithaca introduced the first slug gun in 1959 called the �Deer Slayer�?

2016 Distinguished Service Award Winners: Bluewater Chapter - Marvin Fiemeyer; Bluff Country Chapter - Perry Fitch; Blue Earth River Valley Chapter - Rob Wolf; Isanti County Chapter - Cory and Jenny Carlson; Jim Jordan Chapter - John Pappenfuhs II and Don Carlier


The 2016 29th Annual State Habitat Banquet was a sold out crowd with a packed banquet center reverberating with laughter, auctioneers echoing bids, slide shows depicting chapter and member highlights through the years and games being played. Designed specifically to raise matching grant dollars for state-wide wildlife habitat projects the 29th Annual Banquet was a huge success!

With your support over $36,000 net profit was raised for Minnesota’s habitat. Save the date and join us in raising more funds for Minnesota’s habitat at the 30th Annual State Habitat Banquet on February 25, 2017 at the Timberlake Lodge in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Distinguished Service Award Winners

Each year the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association proudly highlights a handful of select volunteers who have been nominated by their peers to receive MDHA’s Distinguished Service Award. MDHA’s Distinguished Service Award is presented to these select few for their dedication and volunteerism on behalf of their local MDHA chapter and on behalf of the MDHA state organization. These individuals are some of MDHA’s finest leaders and volunteers. Individually, they have each been nominated for their outstanding achievements and contributions to MDHA. MDHA has thousands of volunteers state-wide involved within our 63 chapters. Without them, there is no way that we could do even a small percentage of what actually gets accomplished. Recognizing these outstanding members within our organization each year is just a small way that MDHA attempts to express our gratitude for all of our volunteers whose generous dedication makes MDHA a positive force for Minnesota’s outdoor future.

The new MN DNR Big Game Program Leader, Adam Murkowski, addressed the croud regarding DNR�s management plans. Did you know... the term �flash in the pan� originated from the original flintlock�s ignition?


AROUND THE State MDHA TRADITIONS AWARD PROGRAM As an annual tradition, the MDHA Traditions Award Program honors chapters and members for their outstanding work in developing membership, youth involvement and chapter projects and promoting the mission of MDHA. This year’s award recipients were:

Achieved Baseline Requirements: Alexandria Bluewater Bluff Country Brainerd Carlton County Crow River Des Moines Valley East Ottertail Hibbing/Chisholm Isanti County Itasca County Jim Jordan Lake Superior Lakes and Pines Morrison County North Red River Park Rapids Riceland Whitetails Roseau River Rum River St. Croix River Valley Sherburne Co. Swampbucks Snake River Southeast Minnesota Southern Gateway Sturgeon River Sunrisers Thief River Falls Trails End Tri-County River Bottom Bucks Wadena Wahoo Valley Wild River

Growth Incentive Level: Alexandria Brainerd Crow River Hibbing/Chisholm Isanti County Itasca County

24 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

Jim Jordan Lakes and Pines Riceland Whitetails Roseau River Rum River Sherburne Co. Swampbucks Snake River Southeast Minnesota Sturgeon River Sunrisers Tri-County River Bottom Bucks Bluff Country Lake Superior North Red River

Recruitment & Retention Level: NEW Members Alexandria + 17 Crow River + 25 Isanti County + 86 Jim Jordan + 209 Lakes and Pines + 25 North Red River + 80 Riceland Whitetails + 32 Rum River + 16 St. Croix River Valley + 14 Snake River + 40 Southern Gateway + 16 Sturgeon River + 68 Sunrisers + 12 Trails End + 37

Wadena Bluff Country Brainerd Lake Superior Park Rapids Tri-County River Bottom Bucks

+ 22 + 3� + 3� + 4� + 9� + 3�

� Chapters that maintained or increased their membership

Promotion Level:

Bluff Country Brainerd Isanti County Itasca County St. Croix River Valley Sherburne Co. Swampbucks Snake River

Triple Crown Award: Bluff Country Brainerd Isanti County Snake River

ENDOWMENTS & DONATIONS: Feb 1, 2016 - April 29, 2016 ENDOWMENT FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Beverly Hagen Loren Abel Mark Nohre Vicki Dykstra MDHA Min-Dak Chapter MDHA Wright County/W Metro Chapter MDHA Sioux Trails Chapter Rob & Denise Wolf MDHA Des Moines Valley Chapter MDHA Southeast MN Chapter MDHA Thief River Falls Chapter MDHA Thief River Falls Chapter Jim & Robin Vogen Darwin Vicker

HONOREE’S NAME Greg Burley Earl Lee Gerald Garrelts Harold Thompson Earl Lee Dave Fiedler Rich Ruch Tony Bauer Jim Dunse & other Des Moines Valley Chapter Members who have passed away Ron Nordland Harold Thompson Delvin Potucek Ron Nordland Ron Nordland

EDUCATION & GENERAL DONATIONS CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Henry Schreifels David & Meghan Rapp MN Outdoor Heritage Alliance-Stillwater Harold Bolinger Thrivent Financial Todd Arndt Jeff Eliason Jon Hawkinson Dean Hansen Galen Bayer David Blattner Jr. Adrain Erhard UPS - Truist James McLeod Arnold Smith If we inadvertently left you off the list or any corrections to the above list are needed, please contact us and we will make the appropriate corrections. Thank you.

Did you know... when shooting down hill or from an elevated stand your trajectory should be adjusted?


MEMORIAL COMPASS FUND The Itasca Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association recently made another donation to the Jamie Tennison Memorial Compass Fund. The fund, established by Jim and Mary Tennison after the tragic disappearance of their son Jamie in 1992 while grouse hunting, provides each student that attends a firearms safety class in Itasca County with their own compass. Since the establishment of the program in 1995 over 8300 compasses have been given to Itasca County firearms safety students. The Itasca Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has donated over $20,000 to this program.

Jim Tennison is pictured above along with Itasca Chapter members Kim Nelson, Rita Harthan, Kim Washburn , Gabe Gropp and Ken Olson.


Specializing in building and maintaining FOOD PLOTS and

TRAIL SYSTEMS on your property.

Jim Sobolik - Deer River, MN

Office: (218) 246-9895 Cellular: (218) 244-3365 Did you know... when mounting a scope on a firearm you must adjust for �parallax� error?



The Minnesota’s Deer Hunters Association and the Department of Natural Resources’ Becoming an Outdoors Woman program are collaborating to host a new Learn to Firearms Deer Hunt program for women. The program was piloted in 2015 with great success.  This year’s program is open to 10 women new to deer hunting.  To qualify, women must possess a firearms safety certificate before the hunt and have access to a deer hunting firearm.  Women will attend three learning sessions in the metro area before going on a one-onone weekend mentored hunt at Itasca State Park October 15 - 16.  We will be needing female volunteers who are willing to help assist in the hunt by being a mentor. For more information please contact BOW coordinator Linda Bylander at linda. or 218-203-4347.

The women who took part of the 2015 Learn to Firearms Deer Hunt.

26 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016


Rod & Kris Dimich (left) and Ed & Rose Schmidt, were honored with the MDHA Lifetime Achievement Awards recognizing them for their 36 years of service to the MDHA. For more than three and half decades Rod Dimich and Ed Schmidt have served MDHA in various capacities. As two of the original ten founders they worked to create the initial mission and objectives to formulate the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. Rod served as MDHA’s first vice-president for two years and its second state president for two years after Dave Shaw. Ed later served two terms as president, vice president and secretary. MDHA’s Whitetales publication concept originated with Rod Dimich and Jim Lang. Ed

replaced Jim in 1983 when MDHA moved from a newsletter format to a magazine. Both were accepted as active members to the prestigious Outdoor Writers of America Association in 1991 and continue their memberships today. They were also honored by MDHA as Distinguished Service Award recipients in 2010. In 2002 Whitetales magazine was named the Conservation Magazine of the year by the NRA. Rod and Ed continue to co-edit and write columns for the magazine.


This an award geared towards getting the next generation involved with MDHA and recognizing them for their accomplishments. Last year was the inaugural year for the award and it has been well received across the state. With this award there are a couple of requirements such as the Forkhorn is 17 years or younger and is a member in good standing for one or more years. MDHA is proud to recognize those that deserve the recognition and who have been going above and beyond the call of a typical Forkhorn.

TheYouth award recipients were Tyler Niss from the Bend of the River Chapter and Destany Cleland from the Des Moines Valley Chapter. Both recipients were from Region 10.

Did you know... if you hunt alone, be sure to tell someone where are going and when you�ll be back?


Whitetales Puzzler


Minnesota Deer Hunting Quiz >> True or False! << By Mike Roste 1. Some hunters will turn down a six-point buck on opening day because the experience of the hunt is more important to them than the harvest.

Answers on page 54.

2. Most deer are harvested before they reach maturity. 3. The body temperature of a whitetail is the same as humans--98.6º Fahrenheit. 4. An adult deer has 28 teeth. 5. Poaching of deer is not so terrible a crime if it is done only for the meat. 6. The whitetail’s main advantage over humans on extremely windy days is its highly developed sense of smell. 7. Still hunting requires an ultra-slow pace with frequent pauses to survey the area.

MAY 1 Carlton County Chapter Fundraiser at the Four Seasons Sports Complex in Carlton. Contact Mike Fasteland at 218.879.0429. JUNE 10 Sturgeon River Chapter Fundraiser at the Britt Lounge. Contact Brett Haavisto at 218.780.6401.

Did you know... early season hunting can be warm and buggy, so wear netting instead of repellent?

1. True: Most of us couldn’t pass up that opening day buck to experience the “fullness” of the hunt and enjoy as many hours in the woods as possible.

APRIL 1 Sunrisers Chapter Banquet at the Wanda American Legion. Contact Gary Beermann at 507.360.9305. 1 Trails End Chapter Banquet at the Backus Community Center in International Falls. Contact Eugene Putzier at 651.247.3936. 2 East Ottertail Chapter Banquet at Playtime Sports Bar in Perham. Contact Mark Strege at 218.849.7453.


2. True:  A deer’s chances of reaching full growth at 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 years are indeed slim.

APRIL 2 Crow River Chapter Banquet at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. Contact Eugene Putzier at 651.247.3936. 4 Thief River Chapter Banquet at the Eagle’s Club in Thief River Falls. Contact Al Newton at 218.681.1237. 9 Cuyuna Range Whitetails Chapter Banqet at the Hallett Community Center in Crosby. Contact Grant Gibson at 218.820.3142. 9 Bluewater Chapter Banquet at Breezy Point Resort. Contact Brian Evenson at 218.851.4156. 9 Sauk River Chapter Fundraiser at the Greenwald Pub. Contact Gladys Henderson at 320.859.5829. 19 Clay Wilkin Chapter Banquet at the Hawley Community Center. Contact Lisa Lawson at 218.937.5791. 21 Lake Superior Chapter Banquet at the AAD Shriners Facility in Hermantown. Contact Wayne Suronen at 218.389.6246. 28 East Central MN Chapter Fundraiser at the Phoenix Banquet Hall in Milaca. Contact Felix Ramola at 763.262.7395. 30 Smokey Hills Chapter Banquet at the Frazee Event Center. Contact Lowell Bradbury at 218.342.2957. 30 Jim Jordan Chapter Banquet at Grand Casino Hinckley. Contact Scott Peterson at 320.372.0300

10. Deer have gall bladders.

3. False:  Use a thermometer to check the deer’s body temperature, which is about 104 degrees.

MARCH 5 Snake River Chapter Banquet at Fish Lake Resort in Mora. Contact Denny Udean at 320.679.9034. 5 Des Moines Valley Chapter Banquet at the Jackson National Guard Armory. Contact Joe Raia at 507.831.5776. 19 Rum River Chapter Banquet at the Courtyards of Andover Event Center. Contact Ron Schleif at 763.753.5254. 19 Bluff Country Chapter Banquet at the Witoka Tavern in Winona. Contact Jim Panek at 507.643.6591. 19 MN River Valley Chapter Banquet at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan. Contact Barb Breeggemann at 952.445.4396. 19 Sherburne County Chapter Banquet at the Marketplace Banquet Center in Big Lake. Contact Mark Burley at 763.753.2331. 19 Pomme De Terre Chapter Banquet at the Morris National Guard Armory. Contact Rick Carlson at 320.589.3389. 19 Clay Wilkin Chapter Banquet at the Hawley Community Center. Contact Lisa Lawson at 218.937.5791. 26 North Suburban Chapter Banquet at the Kraus-Hartig VFW in Spring Lake Park. Contact Steve Ranallo at 763.574.0195.

9. Every hunter should have a good knowledge of nature.

4. False:  Count the teeth and you will see that adult deer have 32 teeth.

Calendar of EVENTS

8. Deer are all but impossible to drive from their home territories.

5. False:  Poaching is theft, morally reprehensible, and denies law-abiding citizens the opportunity to use the stolen resource.

To Carry Packs From One Location To Another Where Laws Are Made Largest North American Ungulate Toxic Bullet Metal Area Along A Waterway Another Name for Partridge Natural Area Where Deer Reside Mathematics of Bullets Replacement For Lead BB Used For Trap or Hunting Birds Young Deer Hunter Fawn Camouflage A Test of One’s Knowledge

6. False:  Deer are super alert on extremely windy days, but directional scenting is almost impossible for them when the wind is blowing in swirls.


7. True:  Still-hunting is “moving” stand hunting whereby one takes a stand for a half-minute or more, stepping a yard or two to get a fresh view, then going on stand again.

1. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 15. 16. 17. 19. 21.

8. True:  Deer would prefer to evade hunters by hiding rather than running.

9. True:  A person’s full enjoyment of hunting depends a great deal on a genuine understanding of not only of the game one hunts, but also nature in general.

2. Metal Used For Boats and Canoes 9. Test of One’s Balance and Speed 11. Man-Made Material For Canoes 12. Turn In Poachers 13. Process of Learning 14. Remote Natural Area 15. Forkhorn I, II, III 17. To Break Apart, Shatter 18. Double Ended Water Craft 20. Low Sound 22. First Day of Summer 23. Bird Hunting Firearm 24. Deer Meat

10. False:  Deer do not have a gall bladder, which helps most animals neutralize acids and emulsify fats.






$12 $13 This bag features a large front zipper pouch, a large mesh pouch and a trap top. It has room to hold six 12 oz. beverages.

What better way to show your passion for the outdoors than with our newest t-shirt. With an image of an MDHA member dragging out his deer, this “t” is what hunting is all about - sizes: S-3XL.



$15 Perfect for carrying around for everyday tasks. It features a sharp logo blade and belt clip.


$15 $32

$24 Sized at 12”x18” with our MDHA logo on camo, this sign is an eye-catching piece for any hunter’s den, deer shack or man cave.

A wonderful way to show MDHA support and feel comfortable in the process. 80% preshrunk cotton. Sizes M-2XL.



Our deer image knife has a stag type handle and a centered MDHA logo engraved on the blade. The knife is 4” closed and is a lock back.


$13 This classy mug has a full wrap showing our traditional round logo three times. This unique barrel shaped mug is perfect for holding your favorite beverage and showing your MDHA pride.


$5 If you want to hone your longer range shooting skills, this 8” bull’s-eye comes in six targets with 72 posters.



By wearing this camo flag cap, you will show your pride in MDHA and the USA. With a partial US flag on the bill and the MDHA logo on the front center, this adjustable cap is sure to turn some heads.


$1.50 $17 $7 Simple but functional a key chain is a must item to have. It is always handy and displays our MDHA logo.

28 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

Our latest rifle case is made in the USA by Allen Co., fits a scoped rifle, is full camo and has an eye-catching blaze orange MDHA logo on it.

This cutter has a removable blade and our MDHA logo. Its blaze orange color makes it easy to find so you can cut up your pizza fast.

SHIPPING & HANDLING RATES: $1 - $50 = $8; $50.01 - $100 = $9; $100.01 - $150 = $11.00 $150.01 - $200 = $13; $200.01 & UP = PLEASE CALL

When you purchase MDHA merchandise you support MDHA’s programs and mission.




Our thermometer is made of oak with the stylish MDHA logo prominent. The temperature range is minus 60 to 120 degrees.

$7 Our leash has a lock handle at the handler end and a nice brass clasp for attaching to your pet collar. It is 5’ long and blaze orange so you can always find it and also has our MDHA logo, website and phone number. What a perfect way to walk your pet and show some MDHA spirit.

Everyday wear cap comes with an adjustable Velcro back strap in a rich brown color.



$13 $25


$55 What travels or is used more than a cribbage board? Our board is ideal for the wall of your deer shack, home, cabin or camper. Ready for a convenient game anytime it features our MDHA logo and uses .223 cal. rifle shells for pegs. It measures 5” x 32” and is made in Minnesota.


$3 This classy decal will look great no matter where you put it. Camo with orange trim, it works on the side of your truck, ATV, shell box, or the window of your vehicle. Its size is 4”x6” and it is made of a heavy-duty outdoor UV resistant material and shown on a blue background for contrast.

Our stylish, but functional backpack is sure to become your favorite. Made by Fieldline and displaying our MDHA logo, this backpack has multiple large pockets to fit all of your gear for a day in the field. The secondary compartment has three internal pockets and also contains a side water bottle holder.

Become an MDHA member today...

$80 This knife is custom made in the USA by Buck Knives for the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association- a limited offer. Order fast, we only have 150 numbered knives. Buck made these with oak handles specifically for MDHA, with our 35th anniversary lasered into the handle, the traditional round logo on the blade and black leather sheath; this knife is one to last a lifetime.


$5 These koozies come in the popular “bonz” camo pattern showing deer horns/skulls. They also have the MDHA logo and are a nice fit for any function to keep your beverage cool.

*Non-clothing items add 6.875% sales tax

Name: Address: City: State: Phone: Chapter Preference: Email:


Membership Payment Information: ❑ $25 Adult 1 Year Membership ❑ $15 Youth 1 Year Membership ❑ Check ❑ Visa/Mastercard/Discover Card #: Signature: I would also like to make a donation of $ Order Total: $


460 Peterson Road • Grand Rapids, MN 55744 • 800.450.3337 MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 29


Think Small


Come summer when deer hunters start to scout their local deer herds, all too often the typical approach is to glass expansive fields and check numerous trail cameras so as to create the “big picture” concerning whitetail numbers and presence or absence of big bucks. TSI frees up young hardwoods like this oak so that they can produce more mast.

30 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

as apples, crabapples, and pears can also biggest does I have ever killed on our land. This is all well and good of, course, but I draw deer, regardless of whether these trees don’t think following this game plan is time Jim Crumley told me that one of his most are well cared for or are hanging on in long well spent. Neither does Jim Crumley, inventor productive late summer activities is to bush forgotten orchards. For instance, one year of modern day camo with his Trebark line and hog narrow trails around his permanent during pre-season scouting, I came across current owner of Camo for Guns. ladder stands, especially those stands located “In summer, both bucks and does are all in fields or food plots. Deer are attracted to several apple trees that were still producing about food,” he says. “And the foods they are those trails for several reasons. First, they on a farm that had been abandoned during eating now, largely won’t be the ones they’ll like the new, succulent growth that appears the Great Depression. The apples were small be eating come the early part of bow season. and, second, the whitetails take advantage and wormy, but that didn’t stop me from me Scanning fields and agricultural openings and of these paths of least resistance like many arrowing a fine, mature doe there the first checking trail cams may give a rough idea wild animals do. Hunters can also use these hour of opening day of bow season. of what the status of the pathways to more local deer herd is, but, on quickly and quietly enter the other hand, there’s or exit stand sites. no guarantee the deer we Late summer is also a see now will be present prime time to revitalize during the season.” food plots or create new ones, and they don’t have A better plan, to be extremely large in continues Crumley, is to size. Prudent plantings think small. now could include “In late summer, one such items as oats, of the most productive clover, chicory, cereal things I do is check out rye, winter wheat, and individual oak trees and brassicas such as rape, groves where the trees turnips, radishes, and have borne in the past,” kale. I’ve never done this, he says. “It’s about this but I’ve heard of some time that the acorns have landowners planting grown large enough for pumpkins in their plots me to see them with binoculars.” and having the deer visit Crumley suggests them repeatedly. Cutting trees such as pines and cedars will allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor hunters write down in Another late summer and stimulate the growth of many species of forbs deer relish. notebooks (or in their land prepping activity phones or GPS systems), the locations of of mine is to mow a seeded logging road. “More hunters need to consider the role these mast bearing trees, and the precise Several years ago, I had a logger cut down that soft mast foods play in successful deer species of Quercus that is doing so. From diseased pine stands on the eastern and hunting,” says Crumley. “They are another past experience, hunters should have an idea good example of the wisdom of thinking western sides of my land. While the logger of which oak species in their home areas small. One isolated, old apple tree that is and I were discussing the best way to remove drop nuts first and which are most appealing dropping fruit can make a big difference in the trees, I convinced him to carve out a to deer. For example, this past “scouting” whether a season is successful or not.” logging road that would encompass the season, I found a red oak family member that entire property. After the timber cut was was dropping nuts in one woodlot and when complete, I seeded most of the road in either LITTLE THINGS HUNTERS CAN DO TO I drove to a different locale and discovered chicory or clover. SPRUCE UP THEIR STAND SITES the same thing. Several weeks later, I killed The summer is a marvelous time to deer at both properties during the early improve stand sites on land we own or on stages of bow season. property where we have permission to hunt and carry out small-scale projects. One of DON’T FORGET SOFT MAST my favorite summertime projects (after I Acorns are truly the staff of life in have located a food source and placed a tree Minnesota and in deer country overall, stand) is to cut down a tree or two so as to but soft mast producers can really entice better funnel deer toward a site. whitetails during years of hard mast failure For example, seven years ago, I created or spotty production. Plus, deer simply prefer a small plot of clover on the 38-acre parcel a varied diet. Various wild species of grapes, where my wife and I live. One summer, I cherries, dogwoods, and sumacs thrive in leveled the cedars all around the food plot so the North Star State, and they can lure deer as to better “squeeze” deer to come within 20 Spraying invasives can allow beneficial plants either as the main food at times or as animals yards of a ladder stand. The very year I created such as clover to thrive in seeded logging roads that are merely looking for “dessert.” the plot, I was later able to arrow one of the or food plots. Domesticated soft mast menu items such


In late summer every year, I mow the entire road, which results in reinvigorating the clover and chicory. I also make note of where these two plants are a little thin and reseed those postage stamp-sized places. Additionally, I look for invasive plants that have sprung up over the summer and spray them with Roundup or some other glyphosate. In short, I have now what is a dynamic linear food plot encompassing my property. One other food plot activity that can be done now is to design a mini-food plot. For example, on the western side of the property, I have created what I call the “little food plot,” which was made just by widening the road in

one spot. The clover grows very lushly there and both my son-in-law and I have arrowed deer there the past few seasons. All we need for these small time activities are an old lawnmower, a hand-held seed spreader, and a backpack sprayer. Making hinge cuts is another practical late summer endeavor. By definition, this practice involves our cutting part way through a tree (typically 2/3 to ¾ through) so that we can lay the tree horizontally to the ground. It is crucial that we go very slowly during the cutting process, so the part of the tree that falls is still attached to the base and thus continues to receive nutrients. I prefer

Simple tools, like this hand-held seed spreader that the author is using, can improve the food quality on logging roads or plots.

Leveling or hinge cutting evergreens can improve existing bedding areas or create new ones. As an added bonus, many other animals from rabbits to songbirds will also benefit.

32 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

Spraying invasive species along or within a seeded logging road can result in more food for wildlife and better hunting for us.

to make hinge cuts at waist level, while other folks prefer the knees. If done correctly, the end result is a living, horizontal tree that can provide browse and cover to deer. I like to carry out hinging near my tree stands, but this practice will benefit the deer anywhere on a property. Red maples thrive throughout most of Minnesota, and they are my favorite tree to hinge cut as well. White and red cedars are also candidates as well as various species of other maples. Some people like to hinge cut wild cherry trees, but I think they have more value as a soft mast provider. Another marvelous small-scale project to carry out is to level various species of evergreens to create mini-bedding areas. This practice can take place adjacent to or within existing bedding areas or near a stand that is best in the morning hours. As an added bonus, these little islands of cover can make a property more hospitable to rabbits and various species of songbirds. Although the wintertime is the best season to carry out Timber Stand Improvement (TSI) projects as we can better visualize what needs to be done then, I do most of my TSI during the summer when I’m off from my job as a school teacher. The basic principle of TSI is that removing certain trees from a stand will benefit the survivor(s) as the latter will now receive more sunlight (and thus be better able to expand their crowns) and have improved access to the soil’s nutrients (which helps them to grow faster). After TSI, a hard or soft mast producer will typically experience a growth spurt and eventually produce more nuts or fruit. For instance, several summers ago, I noticed that quite a few pines and cedars were crowding three fine, young members of the red oak family. I used my chainsaw to level the competing trees, and the oaks have responded accordingly. Sometimes we can find unexpected treasures when doing TSI. For instance, while cutting down some pines in order to benefit s few oaks at another part of my property, I found a young, wild cherry in the tiny grove. Just as was true with the oaks, the cherry tree has flourished since the non-producers were leveled. Everyone enjoys glassing big bucks and lots of does during the summer months and it is exciting to see these deer. But I believe a more productive use of our time now is to micro-manage the land we own or have permission to make improvements from land we don’t own. If the land is public be sure to check your regulations as to what is permissible and what is not.

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MDHA, DNR and Wildlife Conservation Organizations Partner to Manage


National news headlines about natural catastrophes have a way of grabbing our attention because of the scale of the incidents and the seemingly unrecoverable damage left behind. The Mount St. Helens eruption, Hurricane Katrina and the Yellowstone fires garnered national and international attention. Here in Minnesota, natural disasters like the big blowdown in the Superior National Forest and large wildfires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness dominated regional media for months. Images of charred timber and bleak descriptions often led the reader to conclude that the forest was destroyed forever. But such events have influenced forests for millennia. Forests in Minnesota and across the nation, have experienced, adapted to, and to some degree, are sustained by natural events or disturbances. What happens with time-recovery, often it is rapid recovery. Time and time again we have witnessed that nature is resilient and has an amazing capacity to recover. There is, however, another disturbance that affects our forests and prairies which receives very little public attention and rarely appears in the headlines. It is the introduction and expansion of terrestrial non-native invasive species (NNIS). Unlike natural disturbances, once NNIS establish in forests and prairies, these communities do not recover. With time, they continue to deteriorate. Natural vegetation including important wildlife browse and cover becomes displaced, potentially affecting wildlife populations at very large scales. One NNIS species of great concern is Common Buckthorn because of its ability to out-compete the native plants that create

34 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016


Mount Saint Helens, immediately after eruption in 1980.

Twenty years later—the recovery.

Yellowstone fire, immediately after the fire in 1987.

Ten years later—the recovery.

BWCAW wildfires immediately after the fire in 1999.

Five years later—the recovery.

New start of invasive buckthorn.

Several years later, more buckthorn— deterioration. beneficial habitat for wildlife. Existing buckthorn and other NNIS populations are expanding like an explosion in slow motion, and new infestations continue to establish within the Cloquet Wildlife Area via people and wildlife. Currently, the percent of un-infested lands far exceeds infested lands within the Area making the situation manageable. However, aggressive NNIS species can expand at 14% per year and present a “now or never” situation for land managers. Unique areas and habitats such as Wildlife Management Areas and High Conservation Forests are threatened. Once established, invasive species can alter or eliminate ecological conditions and processes. Implementing management strategies early, while current infestations are relatively small, is the most environmentally and economically sound choice. Recognizing this, MDHA in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Ruffed Grouse Society, National

Priority buckthorn treatment sites in the Cloquet Wildlife Area.

CCM crew member cutting stumps and spraying in a WMA.

Wild Turkey Federation, 1854 Treaty Authority and St. Louis County, sought funding for a comprehensive program to manage buckthorn and other aggressive invasive plants within the Cloquet Wildlife Area in 2014. Understanding that the extent of NNIS populations often exceeds available management resources, there is a need to make the most of the available funding, labor and by developing management priorities. The overall theme of the project was to prioritize NNIS management actions to safegaurd areas that encompass unique areas or features. With this in mind State Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s) within the Cloquet Area were designated the highest priority followed by new infestation starts on other public lands. The approach to manage these invasive plants consisted of three primary components: • Prevention • Early Detection • Control

Coordinator, has kept busy administering the funds. Implementation began during the fall of 2014 when the DNR’s Natural Resource Assessment Group officed in Grand Rapids initiated buckthorn aeiral detection surveys throughout the Cloquet WL Area. Concurrently, the Conservaton Corps of Minnesota (CCM) began controlling known buckthorn infestations in the project area. Control methods entailed applying herbicide to the buckthorn foilage during frost free periods and transitioning into cut stump applications later in the fall. Since late 2014 about 150 acres of buckthorn has been controlled, aerial detection flights occurred on approximately 100,000 acres of public land and two public information kiosks have been placed at Wildlife Management Area (WMA) trailheads to help educate the public. A Partner Appreciation Day was also held to acknowledge partners at the Sandstone WMA in August 2015.

A $50,000 Conservation Partners Legacy Grant (CPL) was awarded in the spring of 2014 to MDHA and its partners including the Ruffed Grouse Society, National Wild Turkey Federation, St. Louis County and the 1854 Treaty Authority. Since that time an additional $75,000 of state money was applied for and received in 2015 and 2016. Between 2014 and 2016 these state funds were leveraged by an additional $25,000 by partners, with MDHA and the Ruffed Grouse Society securing the bulk of those additional dollars. MDHA was the grantee for all three grants and Jen Foley, MDHA Grants

Kiosk at a WMA trailhead built by CCM crew.


2015 Partner Appreciation Day. From left to right; Ted Dick and Meadow Koffould Hansen-Ruffed Grouse Society, Rick Horton-National Wild Turkey Federation; Chris Severson-MN Conservation Corps; Jessica Lee-MN DNR Grant Coordinator and Jenny Foley-MDHA. Monitoring to date has shown variability in treatment success. Some infestations were completely controlled, while others showed partial mortality.The primary reason contributing to partial success was underestimating the number of buckthorn strata - or age classes, which ranged from large bushes and trees to seedlings less than 6 inches. Knowing this, treatment crews will re-visit infestations multiple times each year. The four main keys to success when managing invasive species are: • Early detection. Most critical step. Finding infestations when they are small and manageable helps ensure effective control. • Partnerships. We can’t do it alone. This project would not be viable without stakeholder involvement. • Recognize we are in this for the long term. Weigh the project against the alternative of doing nothing. • Attitude (glass is ½ full). Focus on

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controlling the current infestations, but remember how much habitat is being preserved. As mentioned, early detection of buckthorn and other invasive plants is critical. However this is a daunting task that requires people working on the landscape and we could use your help! Fall can be a good time to identify buckthorn infestations. Buckthorn leaves are retained much later in the season and are readily visible in late September through December when other trees and shrubs have shed their leaves. So if you encounter buckthorn or other aggressive invasive species while out in the woods particularly during the fall, mark the location with your GPS device or map and please contact your local DNR office. For more information about how to identify or report invasive species, the DNR website offers a number of helpful resources at http://www.dnr.

Glossy buckthorn leaves and berries.

New start of buckthorn. Note how obvious leaves are during the fall.

The Power of


Almost 30 years later it still haunts me like it was yesterday. The sight of a huge, tall tined buck, slowly trotting down the trail coming right at me, and then disaster! As a first year bow hunter, I was seconds away from taking my first deer with a bow, and what a deer it was. I was as prepared as any bow hunter could possibly be. I had my nice new shiny bow that I bought at Service Merchandise, new arrows, 125 grain lethal broadheads, better than a weeks practice in the backyard, this poor buck didn’t have a chance... or so I thought! Little did I realize at that moment, trotting towards me was probably the safest moment of that deer’s life. As the buck quickly approached I was trying to decide which wall he was going to hang on in my living room, rather than understand that I was probably

38 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

the most unprepared bow hunter in the country at that moment. I won’t get into to many painful details other than to let you know that my 10-yard “shot of a lifetime” ended up in a really nice birch log about a

half-mile from the buck. I still think I saw him laughing as he trotted away even slower than he approached. To make my story even

more painful, less than ½ hour later with the help of my hunting partner, I was given a second chance at this buck, and it was even more ugly than my first encounter. At that moment I did what any level headed bow hunter would do, I walked up to the closest tree, wound up, and smashed my brand new bow into a thousand pieces (true story!). I couldn’t believe what a piece of garbage that bow was, seeing how it just failed me at the moment of truth, or should I say the two moments of truth! In retrospect, it is clearly obvious this was not a failure of the equipment; it was a failure of the jerk behind the string. As painful as that experience was, it ended up being the most important archery lesson of my life. Seeing a huge buck that close two times in one morning and failing to finish the job, I made a promise to myself that the next time

PRESEASON CHECKLIST: Visit your local archery shop for professional consultation and set-up. Visit your local archery shop for professional consultation and set-up (worth repeating!). Shoot an arrow that is the proper spine and weight for your bow. Shoot a realistic draw weight that is comfortable to pull. I would be as prepared as I could possibly be when the moment of truth arrived. Over the next several months archery and bow hunting became a personal obsession, knowing I was going to do everything possible to stack the odds in my favor the next time a big old buck came trotting down the trail. I immediately purchased the best equipment money could buy at the time, a PSE Mach 6, all of the accessories that I could afford and began practicing and shooting 3-D archery at the local, regional as well as national level. Advance 30 years and I am very pleased to report that archery has become the fastest growing outdoor sport in America, with thousands of new men, women and children entering the sport each year. The equipment of today is nothing short of incredible, and presents the opportunity to custom build the perfect archery set-up for every aspect of the sport from competitive shooting, to chasing big game around the world. But never forget…the best equipment in the world does you absolutely no good if you enter the game unprepared. Using a sports analogy, imagine major league baseball without spring training or NFL football without preseason. Even the best athletes in the world require months of preparation to be at the top of their game when the season begins. You should look at archery the same way. Far too many bow hunters begin to prepare for the season a week or two before it opens because they have good equipment. With this article being published in the spring, now is the time to dust off your bow, head off to your local

archery shop, have your bow tuned up or replaced, make sure all of your accessories are the proper match for your bow and set-up and allow your own version of “preseason” to begin. With several months until archery season opens for Whitetails, I have created a basic checklist to help make sure that as you enter the woods and you encounter that nice wide 10- pointer, your results are much more successful than the disaster I discussed above. After getting off to such a “shaky” start some 30+ years ago, I now look back on that dreadful encounter as the most important moment of my outdoor career. By missing that buck and making a commitment to never allow that to happen again, archery and bow hunting quickly became a lifelong passion that have opened many doors into the archery industry, for which I am grateful. There is no price tag I could put on all of the incredible memories, opportunities, and friendships I have established over the years, since taking on the most challenging outdoor sport in the world. In closing, remember, this is not just an equipment sport. The best equipment money can buy is worthless if the person behind the string is unprepared. The bows of today are engineering marvels, but they are also very costly to replace when you shatter one across an oak tree! Take your game to the next level by starting to prepare now; you will be glad you did in September. Remember….“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a little bit of extra!!”

Work on your form for the first week, rather than trying to group arrows. Practice with field points several weeks before switching to broadheads. Practice at unmarked yardages to learn to field judge distance. Broadheads DO NOT fly just like field points! Practice with broadheads. Oil all moving part of the bow with odor free lubricant. Add as many noise reduction options to your bow as possible. A quiet bow is much more important than a fast bow. Tighten all screws on your bow and accessories. Wax your string to protect from weather and extend its life. Establish your yardage limitations and do not shoot beyond them.



As one of the better-known huntresses in outdoor TV, Melissa Bachman spends nearly 300 days in the field filming for her show, “Winchester Deadly Passion,” which currently airs on Sportsman Channel Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET. Since it's summer, Melissa is on a “break” for the time being and we were able to grab her for a few questions. Q: Tell us about the current season of �Winchester Deadly Passion,� why should viewers tune in� A: This season’s show is really one of my best seasons yet. We had so much incredible footage from my travels. Last year, I literally left my home in August and returned in December, so there was no shortage of days in the field. As always I hunted hard and really tried to go over and above to get amazing footage and quality animals. I can only hope the amount of fun I had in the field will come through in each and every episode. Q: What did you do differently this season� How about the same� A: I did more out-of-country travel. This season I went to Argentina, New Zealand and traveled for the first time to Yukon for moose. Unfortunately, I came home empty handed on that trip. Great footage, but not every trip is successful. Some hunts go smoother than others, but regardless of weather or difficulty, I am always giving it my all and putting in a ton of time. Q: You’ve been in outdoor TV for quite sometime now – what piece of advice were you given that was gold� A: The one piece of advice someone gave me was nothing will pay off more than hard work and that is the absolute truth. You can’t wait around for things to happen. Some people may catch a big break, but by

40 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

working hard and never giving up you don’t have to wait on a break, you can create your own opportunities and that’s exactly what I’ve done. It hasn’t been easy and it has been extremely long hours year after year, but if you believe in yourself enough and are willing to work hard, anything is possible. Q: Is there still a show or episode out there that is your “dream” to film� A: Absolutely. I would love to go to Australia and the dream part really comes from swimming with the great white sharks. I absolutely love sharks and would love to film this and add it into a show from Australia but haven’t had the opportunity to make this happen yet, soon though… hopefully within the next year! Q: We know you have a huge impact on your younger audience looking up to your hunts. What is the best way to get young girls interested in hunting� A: The best thing you can do is to start out shooting at a range. Get them comfortable with the noise and all aspects of the gun – from bullets to cleaning all parts. Then, take them shopping! Don’t pick out the clothes for them, but allow them to get excited at the retail store looking at all the options. Have a staffer help you make them feel like a princess for an hour. Lastly, pick a couple hunts that are fun, keeping in mind weather and length of time spent in the field.

Q: Is hunting still fun for you� And how do you handle the stress� A: Hunting will always be fun for me, but there is an added amount of stress that is just a part of my job. I try to use that stress as a positive to put in the hours and make something happen. I typically hunt alone, but more and more I’ve been including my friends and family on my adventures, which really helps on the stress part. Last fall, I hunted with Kelly for the second time, who asked to go on a hunt with me as part of her “wish” in 2014. Kelly has Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare genetic disorder that will progressively worsen and take away her ability to walk among other things. We had so much fun on 2014’s trip, we agreed to do it again in 2015. When you look at Kelly enjoying herself outdoors, all the stress disappears. Q: How do you stay prepped for hunting when you are gone so much� A: Since I hunt around 300 days a year, I try to always be prepared at any given time! I keep one backpack ready with all the essential gear I need. I also have one duffel bag with all of my clothing and body care essentials for any experience. I make sure to always have scent free products with me at all times as well – I recommend Wildlife Research Center’s Scent Killer® Gold® for Her™ kit – it comes with body wash, shampoo & conditioner, clothing spray and a bath puff. I always have a kit in my bag.

Available at these and other ne retailers!


BIOLOGICALLY Example of gently sloping, disturbed muddy pond shore ideal for midge reproduction.

EHD-FREE WATER HOLES With summerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arrival near and spring hunting seasons behind us, you are probably preparing for the upcoming fall hunting seasons. For those who are planning to create a water source on their property or already have a water source that needs some maintenance, this off-season is the perfect time to complete those projects. You might not think the shape, contour, and management of your water hole can affect the health of your local deer, but by creating the right water hole, you can diminish the risk of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) to the deer in your neck of the woods.

What does EHD have to do with water sources?

The key to this is not particularly in the deer or the water source, per se, but in the control of the insect vector that carries the EHD virus and infects the deer through bites. Species of the flying insect genus Culicoides, commonly called gnats, midges, and nosee-ums, are the vehicle that transmits the disease to deer. Reduce the population of these insects and in turn, reduce the incidence of EHD. The very same water sources you create and/or maintain can be used as the breeding grounds for Cullicoides. The edges of ponds are usually ideal places for these midges to carry out their life cycle. Once the eggs

hatch, the larvae live in the mud at the submerged edge of the water source. Edges that are continuously disturbed make for perfect reproductive grounds. The action of animals, such as deer, walking through and defecating and

EHD tends to affect mature bucks, generally near the end of the summer, more often than other animals in the population

Example of a sharp, deep edged pond with vegetated edges. Not a midge breeding ground.

42 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016




Fast moving creek with deep, secure edges. Not a midge breeding ground. urinating in the muddy water’s edge improves the conditions for the larvae. The best conditions are eutrophic or “low quality” water. Eutrophic water is warm, sunlit, high in organic matter, high in nutrients, and low in oxygen. Water with high levels of salt also does not curb Cullicoides reproduction or growth. Many other insects cannot live in the saline environment, so competition is reduced. Salt and mineral sites adjacent to and allowed to leach into water sources can promote the midge’s reproduction. Drought and heat can exponentially increase these conditions. Elevated water temperature, percentage of shallow water, and volume of organic matter, not to mention consolidated deer activity as water sources dry up and the available water in an area decreases, all benefit the reproductive cycle and infectivity of Cullicoides.

How does this play into your water hole construction and management?

If you are going to be constructing a water hole or your current water source sounds like a midge-producing Garden of Eden, you can take steps in reducing the risk of EHD on your property. The pond should be a picture of beauty and health, not a wallowing mud hole. Water edges need to be vegetated, rocky, and/or deep and have the stability to maintain those features. Your best bet is to have a rocky, deep-edged pond that won’t fill in with sediment from rain and snowmelt events. The water source should also be shaded if possible. Placing a water hole on the north side of the tree line or wooded edge will reduce the amount of direct sunlight and keep the water cooler. Cool, clean water produces much fewer midges.

If you have mineral or salt stations on your property, do not place them where they can run off into the pond. Make sure the station is downhill from the water source or far enough away that the minerals will not directly leach into the water. Your well managed, midge “free” water source(s) may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to the vast area of surrounding environment, especially if you manage or hunt on a relatively small parcel. However, every little bit helps. Your well-constructed pond might be the last hole standing during a drought and draw more deer from surrounding areas. If you are reducing the midge population in your direct area, you may be saving the life of that big buck you’ve been chasing for years or save a few more does that will help repopulate the following year. Always take steps to improve your property and you will improve your hunting.


On The Prowl For Public Land Whitetails BY JOE ALBERT

44 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

“Public land is terrible for deer hunting. There are way too many hunters on public land. There’s no deer on public land.” Adam Murkowski has heard variations of this theme on many occasions. In some ways, he wants to agree with the hunters who make such statements, if for nothing else than a selfish desire to have access to more land with fewer hunters. “I’ve had a lot of success hunting deer on public land,” said Murkowski, Big-Game Program Leader for the Minnesota DNR. “It always makes me chuckle when folks say stuff like that.” While it’s tough to determine how many of Minnesota’s half-million deer hunters target whitetails on public land, it certainly isn’t an insignificant number. After all, in most parts of Minnesota parcels of public land are never far away. Among the vast array of public lands deer hunters in the state can access are state forests and wildlife management areas, federal waterfowl production areas and national wildlife refuges, as well as county and industrial forest land. While these areas are generally open, hunters should be aware of any special restrictions. (Portions of some state forests and national wildlife refuges, for example, don’t allow hunting.) “One thing we know is public lands are generally larger, contiguous tracts,” Murkowski said. “One thing that’s really

clear when you look at deer harvest and deer age and (the movements of radio- or GPS-collared deer) is when you get deer in big, contiguous blocks of cover, they are just harder to hunt. This translates to increased survival. Public lands sometimes get a bad rap for being over-pressured, but just by their nature they are conducive to having a really diversified age-structure for bucks, and overall healthy deer numbers.” “Studies at Penn State University have shown that deer survival actually is higher on public land than on private land,” Murkowski said. Then he added, “Part of the reason is due to the size of many public lands – deer

simply have more places to hide and avoid hunting pressure. Additionally, publicland habitat tends to be very good. There’s typically intensive management and early successional habitat, which benefits many wildlife species, including whitetails.” “State lands are some of the most intensively managed pieces of property out there,” Murkowski said.“ Wildlife management areas are the jewels of a state’s wildlife habitat. They represent in almost all scenarios the most unique, productive, and most valuable pieces of property out there. They’re really the crème de la crème of wildlife habitat.”


• 12 total acquisition projects from 2010-2016 $2.37 million • 722 acres acquired for public hunting See map on



Photo courtesy of Carrie Hitchcock, Northwoods Press

46 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

One of the best parts of public land is just that – it’s public and anybody can use it. It’s a double-edged sword, however, because hunters could scout a specific parcel, have a good idea how deer use it and a rock-solid plan for killing one, only to show up opening morning and find someone else hunting. That illustrates the importance of having a Plan B, but it’s also to say nothing of the deer that live there. “I don’t think hunters should underestimate the sneakiness of deer,” Murkowski said. When he was doing his graduate work in Arkansas, Murkowski worked extensively in a trophy buck management unit. There were just one or two ways to access the wildlife management area, and hunters typically would park in the main parking lot and “Walk through this cut to get into the woods,” he said. Murkowski had a collar on a specific deer and could see how it reacted to hunters. Without any of those hunters knowing, “One of our collared deer literally spent almost every day within 50 to 75 yards of the main parking lot,” he said. “He would watch hunters … then the deer would get up in the middle of the night and run all over the place.” While Murkowski is careful not to assign human qualities such as intelligence to deer, the animals are uniquely in tune with their surroundings and adapted for survival. “I think, in general, even guys who hunt these big blocks of public land, tend to overestimate their sneakiness in terms of the deer knowing what they are up to,” he said. Hunters on public land often are essentially competing against one another, too, so it’s a good idea to think about hunting pressure before ever stepping foot onto a piece of public land. “Most folks don’t hunt more than about 400 yards from where they park, or the nearest roads,” Murkowski said. “Public lands may be big and contiguous, but (oftentimes) you get a disproportionate amount of pressure tighter to the edges of the unit, and, no doubt, deer react to that. If you are willing to work a little harder, even during the middle of the rifle season, you can have deer (in the middle of even a heavily hunted piece of land) going about their business.” Hunters also can use the pressure to their advantage. If deer are heavily pressured near the edges of the unit, hunters who are willing to trek farther in – or hunt in thick cover – may find deer trying to escape pressure.

Surveys of hunter effort have shown as the season wears on, it takes more effort to see deer. That’s in part due to the fact deer living near the edges of the property – where pressure is highest – may not make it past the first few days of the season. “As the season progresses, if you want to be successful, you are going to have to work harder – put in more time, but also get beyond the pressure to places where deer aren’t as heavily hunted,” Murkowski said. Scouting is key to a successful hunt, and that’s especially true on public lands. Murkowski recommends hunters first look at topographic maps and aerial photos to see if they can find areas where deer likely will be moving, keeping in mind they’ll typically take the path of least resistance between two points. Such methods of advance scouting also allow hunters to break down large pieces of land into more manageable chunks. In many instances, hunters don’t think about boots-on-the-ground scouting until after the leaves have fallen. But Murkowski prefers to scout during the summer while the leaves are still on the trees. That way, it’s easier to see deer prints and other sign on the ground. When there are a bunch of leaves on the ground, “It’s harder to figure out what deer are up to,” Murkowski said. Summer scouting on public land also gives hunters an indication of whitetails’ home ranges. They generally have a very defined home range. “Deer generally would almost rather die than leave their home range,” Murkowski said. “They are real home bodies.” At the same time, they do respond to hunting pressure, and that’s especially true on public land. So if hunters have effectively scouted a spot, they have a leg up on figuring out where deer may go to evade pressure. This includes both the cover they seek and the food they eat. “I’ve shot deer on public land that have had corn in their stomachs – and the nearest corn field was a mile away,” Murkowski said. For many hunters, public land is a fact of life. But by adapting strategies, understanding how deer relate to their environment and keeping an open mind, hunters can give themselves an advantage over the competition and kill quality deer year after year. Read Joe Albert�s blog at Editors� note: As Mr. Albert mentioned, please research regulations regarding food plots, shooting lanes, brush cutting and deer stands, etc., as they vary from public to private land. Always be sure to carefully check your regulations.

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Forestry Mulching Service

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MDHA TIPS Treasures and




“Share that bounty” Now is the time to downsize your freezer by having a family/friends’ game feed. This will allow you to have room for the fall harvest and make your friends and neighbors happy. Discard outdated meat, fish and freezer burned products.



“I hate those meeses to pieces” The cartoon cat Mr. Jinks has a point, especially for those of us with deer shacks or campers. To avoid “meece” and other rodent issues check for holes allowing them to invade your deer shack and nest with a litter of critters. Metal storage containers also work well to prevent mice from gnawing into your food supply. Set traps or sticky pads to capture mice, but remember a decaying mouse can add a bad odor to your cabin. Commercial fillers (in aerosol cans) work wonders to fill those gaps and already gnawed holes.



“Do a deer census check” To get a good feel of your deer country deer population, walk several transects in a square mile. As you do, count deer pellets along several transects and divide that number by 13. This will give you the number of deer per square mile. Research shows deer defecate 13 times per day averaging 75 pellets per poop job. Just don’t mistake them for spilled M&Ms.

48 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

�Above and Beyond…�

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association truly values our members who are the true treasurers of our organization. Within those “treasurers” are 952 members who have committed to MDHA for life by becoming an MDHA Life Member. Our Spring 1983 newsletter Whitetales featured short articles and a piece on life memberships titled, “Above and Beyond” focusing on their importance. The article mentioned that new life members received a commemorative wood plaque to thank them for their contribution. At that time MDHA had sent out 10 of these plaques. Now, in 2016, MDHA has 952 Life Members, 467 Senior Life Members and 35 Life Supporting Members and many more plaques gracing the walls of members throughout the state. To honor our members, the MDHA Membership Committee and the Jim Jordan Chapter ask you to save the dates of September 16 & 17, 2016 for a membership celebration honoring all members with special recognition of MDHA’s Life Members. For more details, see the ad on this page or visit MDHA’s website. Invitations will be coming shortly. Again we thank all of our “treasurers” for your continued support and dedication.

Save The Dates September 16 & 17, 2016

The MDHA Membership Committee and the Jim Jordan Chapter invite you to attend a Membership Celebration for all members with special recognition to MDHA’s Life Members. There will be a reception on Friday Evening, and a Celebration Dinner on Saturday Evening. Depending on member interest activities may include: ·

Preserve Pheasant Hunting


Trap Shooting and Sporting Clays


Bird Hunting and Archery Deer Hunting


Golf Tournament


Canoeing on the St. Croix River


Spa at the Hinckley Grand Casino

You will not want to miss the opportunity to meet with other members who share your passion for the sport!

Watch for the invitation in the coming weeks!

For questions please contact:

Brent Thompson at Gary Thompson at



Well folks, deer season has come and gone, which means it’s time for me to report back and give a HUGE thank you to an outstanding group of people. My goal was to get in a deer stand at least 10 times. I ended at 12 outings, seeing one deer. That deer was a fork buck at 25 yards. Unfortunately, my range was 20 yards, but boy was he fun to watch come in. My longest sit was three hours on Dec. 31 - I really wanted a deer...cannot wait for bow opener 2016! Other animal sightings, squirrels stupid squirrels - a pheasant, two swans, a

50 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

swarm of chickadees, lots of woodpeckers, 25+ turkeys scratching around for food and more turkeys on a different occasion crash landing into trees (they are not graceful birds), and of course, more squirrels.  My three favorite moments in the stand were: (1) seeing the fork buck (2) watching the setting sun light up the woods, giving away all the spider webs - I was in awe how many there were, and (3) how accomplished I felt going on a solo hunt on public land, even if the day I went was extremely windy and I learned what it felt like to be a leaf on a tree.   During this time, I got to experience Minnesota deer hunting rifle opener for the first time with my boyfriend, Kevin. We saw two deer opening day and harvested one - a doe at last light. Thus, I got to experience my first field dressing! The doe literally dropped dead, about three feet off the path, so blood trailing is still on my list of things to do. BUT...then there was the field dressing, the true meaning of “blood, guts, and glory.” My job was to hold the light, but I see how my Big Game Gut Gloves are going to come in handy when I land my first deer. I also saw I need to invest in a better knife. Additionally, my boyfriend’s family butchers their own deer, so I got to help with that process as well and learned about silverskin. I also learned backstraps are amazing.    In the off-season, my plans are to buy my own bow (thank you so much St. Croix Valley Chapter of MDHA for providing me an awesome bow to help get me hooked on bowhunting) and then work on increasing my range to ideally 25-30 yards. I’ll also need to buy my own portable stand (thank you Jack for letting me borrow your lone wolf!). Thank heavens I didn’t need to buy all that in year one.   In short - THANK YOU ALL! I had a wonderful first season and that is thanks to the OAKs program and friends.


Settled the East and Won the West Rifle, shotgun, handgun, hunting vest Winchester, Springfield, Colt, Remington Normandy, Gettysburg, The Alamo and Lexington Protector of home, hearth and family Food for hunter, Defender of Liberty Right of free men, Guardian of democracy Despised by communists, Hated by tyranny Feared by Mao, Detested by Stalin Defeated Hitler, Deposed Hussein Washington led men who carried them Lincoln kept a country United by using them Teddy Roosevelt hunted with them Reagan threatened bad men with them From the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights It has guarded America through day and protected at night When telling the story how freedom was won Tell the grand tale of The American Gun Editors� note: Cain M. Pence is a Minneapolis based writer. Mr. Pence is a graduate of Georgetown University. In his twenties Mr. Pence worked a number of jobs and traveled throughout all 435 congressional districts in the United States. Mr. Pence�s travels and reading of history gave him a deep appreciation for the importance of the American Gun. He can be reached at


What�s Cookin��

By Tom Claycomb

AGING MEAT Why do people age meat� By far and away the #1 reason is that it increases the tenderness of the meat and a distant second is because some people favor the flavor of aged meat versus fresh. But first off, what is aging� Aging is basically controlled rotting. In the old days all the good steak houses would hang rib primals (whole segment, ribs 6-12 rib) on a hook in their cooler and let it hang for a period of time. This was called dry aging and was done in a walk-in type cooler. There are very few joints left in America that actually dry age meat properly like they did in the old days. One is Creekstone Farms Premium Beef. They kill all Angus and have some super good beef. To properly dry age meat you’re supposed to hold it at 32-36 degrees, a certain level of humidity and for a certain time period. Not many people have that capability, much less us hunters. Now I bet over 99% of the meat is wet-aged in a Cryovac bag. If you’ve been to a supermarket and seen a primal displayed in a bag that’s what a Cryovac bag is. What does that mean� If it’s aged in a bag, that changes the total environment of the meat. A whole different culture of bacteria is present. The bag creates an anaerobic condition (lack of oxygen) so of course a different flora of bacteria grows. Compared to beef hung in the open (where aerobicoxygen is present) it will age differently. There are different kinds of bacteria. Pathogens are bacteria that make you sick or kill you. There are also good bacteria that don’t hurt you (ones added to make yogurt). Many years ago I worked for a company that was experimenting to obtain a shelf life

of 100 days in a Cryovac bag. The Australians said they could do it so, of course, we had to. If I remember correctly it had up to 22,000,000 TPC (total plate counts). It looked fine and I ate plenty of it. So how does this all fit into the hunting scene� Aging can be a touchy subject so let’s make some disclaimers right off. You can get by with aging beef longer for a couple of reasons. 1. Usually you’re doing so in a cooler that has a controlled temp. 2. Beef will usually start out much cleaner than your wild game due to the environment. So the initial bacteria load is lower on beef. When you age your game it’s usually in your garage or shed and the temperature varies according to the weather. Too warm is not good but if it is frozen then it is not aging. Equally important will be how clean your carcass is. If it has hair/dirt on it there will be a higher load of bacteria present. The dirtier it is, the less time you have to age. At a bare minimum you want to at least let it go through rigor mortis before you bone it. If it’s boned out before going through RM (rigor mortis) it will be a lot tougher. Think about it. It is going to shrink up anyway but if it is still held to the bone by the ligaments, it can only shrink so much. If you bone it hot it will shrink up twice as much. In the backcountry sometimes you don’t have a choice but given the opportunity, let it hang at least one day. Or if you can just quarter it out so it’s still attached to the bone that would be the next best option. One good thing is that most bacterias will give you indicators (NOT ALL WILL

THOUGH). If it starts to get a slight off odor or turns a slight off color, don’t panic, just cut it up and freeze it. I know it sounds complicated. That’s because it is. So how have people survived� Because sometimes we worry way too much. I remember my nutrition professor from South Dakota said when they had a horse die they’d tell the Indians. They’d always wait three days to come get it. They lived. It’s just that I am giving you rules of thumb to go by. One of my past bosses would age his Cryovaced Beef Ribeyes in the fridge for at least 6-8 wks. I won’t even cut up a ribeye unless I’ve aged it for a minimum of 45 days. I’ve even held them up to 90 days old. Now bear in mind that was beef in a Cryovac bag in a cold fridge. One last note, don’t age your meat loose in the fridge. It will pick up odors. Here’s what I would recommend for you to do. Start off cautiously. Age a few days and progress on from there. Now there’s no doubt that I’ll hear from both extremes. One camp will tell me they got sick once from some venison that was two days old and another will tell me how they buried goose eggs in the sand in Vietnam for 40 days. I was on a radio show the other day talking about this subject and the host told me he had a buddy that only cleans his birds one day a week. They’d set and age the other six. Hopefully, I’ve sparked your interest to experiment with aging your meat. It will surprise you as to how much more tender it is. Let’s end on a quote from Ben Franklin, “After three days fish and company both start to stink!” Don’t age fish.

Stages of aging – fresh cut, dry aging cuts and final aged meat.

52 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

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• Five things make your meat more tender: letting it go through rigor mortis before boning, letting it age, young animals are more tender, using tenderizers before cooking, and cook your meat more slowly. • Remove the hide. It acts as a blanket in warmer weather and spoils your meat. But if it’s super cold you can leave it on and it won’t dry out as badly. • Game does not have a fat cover like beef and will dry out faster. • A hanging carcass derives most of the benefits of aging within the first nine days. • The end of a cut, for instance the ribeye, will dry out and look almost like jerky. Before you cut your steaks, slice off this layer of tough, dried up meat. • Don’t cut your meat into steaks to age. Either hang the whole carcass or as primals. By primal I mean a whole shoulder, hindquarter or whatever. Cut steaks deteriorate much faster. This is due to oxygen and bacteria hitting all sides of the meat. • As we’ve said, there are different criteria if you’re hanging your deer carcass or if you’ve boned it out and are letting it age. • If it’s hot then you have no choice but to bone it out and get it in the freezer fast but if it’s cool, you’re in luck.




Whitetales Puzzler

it down!


Look for an icon shaped like the one above in this issue of Whitetales and, when you find it, send us the page number, along with your name and address. If you are correct, your name will be entered in a prize drawing from MDHA. Email Submission deadline: July 1, 2016

Winner of the Spring “Hunt It Down”

Daniel Wenker of the Wild River Chapter found the hidden butterfly on page 45 of the spring issue and was the lucky winner of an MDHA LED Larry Light. Congrats Daniel!

PLEASE REVIEW Your Membership Information Today.

The magazine label indicates your membership status. Please check it to see if your address is correct and when your membership expires. To renew your membership or make corrections, call the MDHA State Office at 800.450.DEER. Address changes are a major concern and we need your help to correct them. On occasion, the office gets calls because a household is getting duplicate magazines or shouldn’t be getting a magazine at all. What may be the reason for this?

54 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

Across Answers 2. 9. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 17. 18. 20. 22. 23. 24.


• Renewal forms or banquet tickets are illegible and get entered incorrectly. • J.J. Jones is Jerry Jones, same person with multiple memberships. • A life member passes away and the state office is not notified.


• Call the office to inquire at 800.450.DEER. • Check with your chapter officers or regional director. • Check your magazine’s mailing label to see if it is accurate.

Aluminum Agility Fiberglass Tip Education Wilderness Camp Fragmentation Canoe Whisper Solstice Shotgun Venison

Down Answers 1. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 15. 16. 17. 19. 21.

Portage Legislature Moose Lead Riparian Grouse Habitat Ballistics Copper Pellets Forkhorn Spots Quiz

Questions, concerns, thoughts� Address letters to: Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Attention: Letter to the Editor 460 Peterson Rd. Grand Rapids, MN 55744 or email:

Daylight IN THE Swamp In this regard I will always recall, less fondly to be sure, having my Dad tell me to check the rungs on my deer stand before season. I didn’t, of course, then broke the first two on opening morning and had to shimmy up the ladder like a ring-tailed lemur. As the boat cut the waves and a fluffy sky topped off the day like whipping cream on a sundae, I thought of the ants that marched one by one in the children’s song, “The Ants Go Marching One by One” (based on the Civil War song, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”) and how the little one stopped to suck his thumb as they all went marching down to the ground to get out of the rain. Almost at the same time, as a huge rogue wave slammed my bow, I heard the progressive “Boom, boom, boom, boom” of the chorus. The booms swept me back to my many Memorial Days and the tearful remembrances of those friends and relatives who paid the supreme sacrifice. When the “little one stops to climb a tree,” I remember climbing in my tree stand in the Big Swamp that 1967 November firearms deer opening morning. As I chambered a 30.06 shell, some of my boyhood buddies also chambered rounds, but in their M16s in a far off land called Vietnam. Each of us were trembling, but for different reasons. When the little one stops to shut the door, I heard doors open as WWII paratroopers jumped from planes while 65,000 GIs stormed the beach from landing crafts and then I felt the horrible winter cold of the Korean War. And as the little ants marched five by five and the little ant takes a dive, I saw and felt not only the incredible horror that followed on June 6, 1944 D-Day, but the whole war. And when the ants marched seven by seven, I understood why the little ant stopped and prayed to heaven…there aren’t enough patriotic “hurrahs” in the song to overshadow the reality of the horrific “booms.” As the boat cut the waves and the wind was as fresh as a baby’s breath, I knew why the little one stopped to check the time as the ants marched nine by nine. It is the “one” thing Curly talked about. Suddenly, in a Twilight Zone moment, my

nine-inch screen went dark. Bad stuff for a modern fisherman for whom yesteryear’s luxuries had become necessities. After a harrowing few seconds it came back on in a flourish and staring up at me from the Lowrance monitor were the words, “Seize the Day.” It was a Freaky Friday experience, indeed. Even though Robin Williams made this phrase famous in his 1989 movie Dead Poets Society by portraying an unconventional 1959 English teacher, the phrase originally came from carpe diem, a line used in a Latin poem by the poet Horace which meant live the day, for tomorrow is uncertain. On this day, however, it wasn’t the poet Horace who came to mind, but two of my favorite philosophers. The first was Dr. Suess who asked, “How did it get so late so soon�” The second was Bill Waterson in his cartoon strip Calvin & Hobbes when he has Hobbes so cleverly say, “There is never enough time to do all the nothing you want!” My favorite, however, is probably Dr. Suess when he wrote, “We wait for the fish to bite or for wind to fly a kite; everyone is just waiting. Time is the great evener; we all have it.” At the “Big Pine,” near the “Duck Pass,” spend it we did. We were fortunate. The bite was on. The walleyes were not huge, but they were fighters and abundant. It was a good day on the water. I am sure by now you are wondering where are the deer in this deer-hunting column� For this I apologize. I have no excuse, just a reason. The reason is the more I hunt and fish and spend time outdoors, the more I value our four seasons. Because I have been blessed to be able to experience many, many splendid seasons, I now appreciate time and health as the most valuable commodities I have. There are people who never got to eat a cheeseburger or taste a chocolate malt or are unable to walk or run or see a sunset or sunrise or hear a bird sing. For some reason, most of us were gifted a privileged normal life. Others were not. Who knows why� When I questioned people who would listen or had to listen, especially clergy and strong people of faith, the answer I most often got was, “To everything there


is a season and a time and purpose under heaven.” Those aren’t their original words, of course. They aren’t even, as some think, the rock group The Byrds’ words, either. In fact, even though The Byrds made them famous among young rockers in 1965 with their hit song, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” the song was actually originally written by Pete Seeger in 1959. And even Mr. Seeger didn’t write the lyrics, he only wrote the music. The lyrics came almost verbatim from Ecclesiastes. The passage and song are about life itself. They both explore the simplicity and complexity of how we spend our time as the pages in our life books turn. They let us know it is okay to weep and laugh, to mourn and dance, to cast away stones and gather others. The message is, in our time under heaven, we all experience the highs and lows, the ups and downs. It tells us to embrace diversity and realize winter will never be like summer and spring will not be like fall, nor should a day on the ice be like a day on the lake or a day in spring deer country be like the fall hunt. Like humans, each is special in its own way. Always remember my MDHA friends, old and new, throughout our hallowed seasons, everything and everybody needs a caretaker. When you do something positive showing you care, the person you see in the mirror every morning will bless you. If you don’t, well, you’ll just have to live with whomever or whatever you see in that mirror. If you add more pain to those already suffering, the person in the mirror will haunt you with guilt; if you ease that pain, the person in the mirror will bless you with joy. And when one season becomes another, remember the wonderful words of Dr. Suess, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”…


Daylight IN THE Swamp


As we reached the second to last green buoy coming out of the “Gap” from Big Cut Foot Sioux into Big Winnie, the “Big Pond” was refusing to be a good host. Even though the weatherman had promised winds at five to ten from the west/southwest, tops, “Winnie,” short for Winnibigoshish, took a deep breath from its 58,000 acre vastness and blew an “I don’t think so” in the form of a 10-15 mile an hour howl from the south, a stretch of nearly a 10k marathon (around six miles). My fishing customers for the day were a boss and two of his younger employees. The boss called them his two “young guns.” They called him the “fearless leader.” At their resort cabin while having coffee, to a man, they all liked the promise of this good “walleye chop.” I didn’t. My plans were for “North Humps” and their promise of multiple depth finder arcs. I knew, however, this protected resort wind “chop” had already created “rollers,” making hovering over the small humps an exercise in futility. At the last green buoy, well into Winnie, after leaving the protection of the highly odiferous Sugar Bush point with its sea gulls and pelican and cormorant loafers acting as fertilizing agents, I had a decision to make. What to do� West to the “humps” or south into a bunch of “sheep” (white-caps)� When I slowed down to ask the guys if they needed more rain gear, I was secretly hoping they wouldn’t realize I was simply buying time. That was settled quickly, however, when the fearless leader leaned over to me and said reassuringly, “It doesn’t make any difference where we go or even if the walleyes are biting. I have been coming to “Winnie’ for 25 years and know if they bite, they bite. All I

56 Whitetales | SUMMER 2016

want is a good day on the water.” Suddenly it hit me. I had been given a “free pass” to a bad “catching” day. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “no stress.” But when he once again leaned over and said with a sly grin, “That doesn’t mean I don’t want to catch fish. I do, all I ask is we give it our all,” I felt the free pass fading away like smoke in the wind. And when he added with a wink as he held up one finger, “I just want to learn one new thing today,” I felt the free pass waft freely into the “wooly” waterscape and headed south to Muskie Bay. I like cutting into big waves. When done properly and safely, each is split in an almost Biblical sense like in the parting of the Red Sea. If you are careful, there will be no bone jarring, only the thrill bluebills must feel when rafting in high rollers. In addition, at the bottom of the swell there is the soothing of a swaying hammock and the serenity of a toddler’s swing. We are quiet as we cut the surf, each to our own thoughts. The only sounds are the whir of the motor, the whoosh of the wind and the crash of water on water and water on boat. As much as I enjoyed the setting, I couldn’t get the image of the fearless leader holding up his index finger and the phrase “one thing” out of my mind. It was like (pre-smart phone) being driven crazy trying to think of something we know, like a song name, title, verse, or movie line and not being able to come up with it. Then, suddenly, like giving up on a lost golf ball and then stepping on it, it came to me - Curly. It was the scene in the 1991 movie, City Slickers where Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, with Curly (Jack Palance of 1953

Shane fame). Curly asks Mitch if he knows what the meaning of life is. When Curly holds up one finger and says, “This.” Mitch responds with, “Your finger�” Curly cocks his head and snarls, “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean nothin’.” When Mitch asks what that “one thing” is, Curly breathes out, “That’s what you have to find out.” As is the case when we can’t get something out of our minds, such as the melody of a song, the number “one” kept rattling around in my head like a marble in a jar. As the boat cut the waves, I heard the nursery rhyme “One two, buckle my shoe” and thought of not only when I was a child and having my shoes or boots or skates put on, but the warmth of having someone being your caregiver. In this regard I will always fondly remember the red-hooded hunting sweatshirt and gloves my mother bought me that wonderful gray November day a week before my first deer hunt. As the boat cut the waves and the shoreline passed like a carousel, I remembered the nonsensical but enlightening rhyme of the five monkeys jumping on the bed and having one fall off and bump his head. When he was brought to the doctor, the doctor simply said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” But when another monkey fell off the bed and bumped his head and mama called the doctor, the doctor said, “Put those monkeys to bed!” The monkeys learned one thing: whether it be rules in school or the law of the land or basic ethics, there are guidelines to follow and if they are not, there are consequences. CONTINUED ON PAGE 55




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2016 Summer Whitetales  
2016 Summer Whitetales