WHITETALES Building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MINNESOTA DEER HUNTERS ASSOCIATION
FIVE THINGS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FOOD PLOTS FOR ATTRACTING DEER BY BRUCE INGRAM
FORKHORN FUN FACTS A PASSION FOR TRAIL CAMS BY JEFF SCHLACHTER
THE STAND PLACEMENT PUZZLE BY MARK HERWIG
Not Yet Hunters Albert Einstein once said, "The leader is one who, out of the clutter, brings simplicity… out of discord, harmony… and out of difficulty, opportunity." Since our inception in 1980, MDHA has been blessed to have wonderfully dedicated leaders. Ask any chapter and you will have a list of MDHA giants rattled off as fast as a whitetail buck disappears into a thicket. Words cannot express the gratitude owed to you for your dedication to deer and deer hunting. When MDHA was founded, our four main tenets were (and still are) hunting, habitat, education and legislation. Recently, we have changed legislation to "advocacy." Throughout our first three decades, MDHA turned the pages of our deer and deer hunting playbook with a very strategic mission: “To build our hunting and conservation mission” via the abovementioned principles. Sadly, in the last few years the cold winds of anti-hunting, apathy and a slew of modern technological advancements have blown the pages of our playbook faster than we could keep up. So fast, in fact, many veteran hunters compared the rushing sounds of our playbook pages turning to the yesteryear clothes-pin clipping of baseball cards on bike wheel spokes. When statistics began to show hunting licenses and interest declining, many quickly blamed technology as the culpable culprit. It only stood to reason, our kids were becoming lazy and their minds were turning to mush from tech trash. This summer issue of Whitetales offers a new perspective—like anything else, technology is merely a tool. How we use it is the key. Sure, kids like to text and email and receive the same. Rather than cast dispersions on this, however, perhaps we should encourage future young hunters to take a picture of that chickadee on the gun/bow or a selfie when all camo face-painted up and share them? Hunting is more than the take and every true hunter knows that. No one can question the dedication of pre-tech hunters, their quest for family food or their toughness. Nor should we not try to. But, rather than cling to the past and bemoan “what has happened” to today’s youth, we should embrace that which we didn’t have in 1980 and before. Four of our feature articles, in fact, deal with things that make the hunt more well-rounded and enjoyable: attracting deer via food plots and other innovations, drones as tools for habitat management, trail cams, portable stand placement and getting ready. In addition, we have several pieces highlighting “new” developments that are for sure impacting hunter recruitment in a very positive way: the fastest high school sports in America, trap shooting and archery in the schools, our incredible and life-changing Forkhorn camps, fantastic Forkhorn Fun Facts, a savory mouth-watering recipe and awesome deer hunting tips. In his column, “From the President’s Stand,” MDHA State President Doug Appelgren, who is always forward-looking and willing to “think outside the box,” used a reference from the “Backcountry Hunters & Anglers” regarding “non-hunters” to make his point concerning hunter recruitment. Instead of “non-hunters,” Doug wrote, they call them “not yet hunters.” So should we all. 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, non-profit 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 contributions from readers. All materials: manuscripts, artwork and photography must be electronically sent. Send all material to firstname.lastname@example.org. Material 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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EXECUTIVE OFFICERS PRESIDENT Doug Appelgren > email@example.com VICE PRESIDENT Gary Thompson > firstname.lastname@example.org SECRETARY Robin Vogen > email@example.com TREASURER Denece Dreger > firstname.lastname@example.org AT-LARGE DIRECTOR Dennis Quarberg > email@example.com REGIONAL DIRECTORS REGION ONE Stu Weston >
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MDHA STAFF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Craig Engwall > firstname.lastname@example.org EVENT & PUBLICATION COORDINATOR Bri Stacklie > email@example.com �Independent Contractor
MERCHANDISE/ MARKETING COORDINATOR Josh Salisbury > firstname.lastname@example.org FINANCE COORDINATOR Renee Thompson > email@example.com MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR Kim Washburn > firstname.lastname@example.org GRANT COORDINATOR Jenny Foley > email@example.com OFFICE MANAGER Kim Nelson > firstname.lastname@example.org ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES COORDINATOR Leah Braford > email@example.com
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 www.brainerddispatch.com | Brainerd, MN ADVERTISING > Josh Salisbury firstname.lastname@example.org / 218.327.1103 x 17
Whitetales Building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MINNESOTA DEER HUNTERS ASSOCIATION
FIVE THINGS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FOOD PLOTS FOR ATTRACTING DEER BY BRUCE INGRAM
FORKHORN FUN FACTS A PASSION FOR TRAIL CAMS BY JEFF SCHLACHTER
THE STAND PLACEMENT PUZZLE BY MARK HERWIG
ABOUT THE COVER Whitetail buck in velvet standing in the woods.
IN EVERY ISSUE
From the President’s Stand .... 4 The Outlook................................ 5 Minnesota Buck Sense ............ 6
Capitol Comments .................... 8 Around the State ..................... 20 Forkhorn Fun Facts................. 26 MDHA Marketplace ................ 28 Deer Hunting Memories ........ 42 What’s Cookin’? ....................... 52
Gizmos, Gadgets, Garments & Gear..................... 53 Hidden Object Contest .......... 54 Daylight in the Swamp ........... 56 IN THIS ISSUE
Get Ready! ................................ 18 Sam Hosler
ALL-IN –The story behind the fastest-growing high-school sport in America. ..................... 38 Aaron Paitich
Your Ears Rock ......................... 40 Ted Madison
Tips & Treasures ...................... 48
Five Things More Important than Food Plots for Attracting Deer
Drones as Tools for Habitat Management
A Passion for Trail Cams
By Bruce Ingram
By Shelly Carroll, SC Recon
A New Way to Rank the Top Bowhunting States: The Whitetail Archery Scale By Darren Warner
By Jeff Schlachter
The Stand Placement Puzzle – Follow the Habitat By Mark Herwig
Rod Dimich, Ed Schmidt
Member Story: The Cherry on top of Really Good Ice Cream ...................... 50
From the President’s Doug Appelgren / MDHA PRESIDENT
CONSERVATION AS WE KNOW IT HINGES ON WHAT WE DO IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS
The 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation Report issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is an interesting read. This survey has been conducted every five years since 1955. It includes all things outdoors, including fishing, hunting, birdwatching, outdoor photography and other wildlife associated recreation. Lumped together, the data looks promising as 101 million Americans (40% of the population) participated in some form of these activities. More on this later. In 2016, 11.5 million people, (only 5% of the U.S population) 16 years old and older went hunting. Big game hunters were the largest segment of this group. Overall, hunting participation decreased by 16% from 2011 to 2016. The number of big game hunters fell by 20% and other hunters decreased by 39%. Hunting expenditures in 2016 totaled $25.6 billion. That’s significant! However, overall hunting-related spending decreased by 29% between 2011 and 2016. Make no mistake about the significance of these trends, the decline in hunting and hunting-related expenditures threatens how our country will pay for conservation in the future. We all know hunters are the real conservationists! While what we do is great and our message is true, too often we are preaching to the choir and the rest is not being heard by others. In the November 2017 issue of the American Hunter, Pete R. Brownell, President of the NRA, indicated our increasingly urbanized society moves on about their busy lives disconnected from the world we live in and we can no longer
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afford to spend our time focused on just the hunting community. The battle will be won or lost in the world of the non-hunters (or as I have heard the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers refer to them as “not yet hunters”). We continue to debate passionately on different hunting practices and our “individual back yard issues” while other forces close in on eliminating our lifestyle. State wildlife agencies and indeed the entire conservation system is heavily dependent on hunters for funding. The Pittman-Robertson tax alone generates about 60% of this funding. The growing age of our membership and hunters in general will drop off the bell curve which now makes up the majority of license sales. Some refer to this phenomenon as the demographic wall that is approaching rapidly. This will be the largest influence to less money for conservation and less wildlife in the future. The way we keep our conservation programs and places (public lands) strong and healthy needs to evolve. The mechanisms used in the past will not suffice in the future. The National Wildlife Federation says current funding for national wildlife conservation is less than 5% of what is needed now. What will the future hold? So as not to sound too much like Chicken Little (“The sky is falling!”), let me focus on some things we can do. According to the Pew Research Center, 74% of Americans believe the country should “do whatever it takes to protect the environment.” There is great public support for the preservation of public lands as well. And given that 40% of the population
participates in outdoor recreation (see above), we have a window of opportunity! Some groups are looking at what appeals to the millennial age group (where it has been said hunting doesn’t make the top ten on outdoor interests). Millennials, believe it or not, are very interested in other outdoor activities. Things outdoors can become a pathway to hunting. The three adult hunters I mentored last fall came to hunting in just that way. They were initially very interested in forest stewardship and camping and then made the natural transition. Eating wild foods (locavore movement) is also an excellent draw. We must think outside the box and begin to partner with others to promote the larger issues. It becomes increasingly critical for all of us to come together and agree to move forward with solidarity. Please call your legislators and advocate for our issues, public lands and all things outdoors. We all must get engaged legislatively, keep inviting new hunters into our camps and focus on the tenets of R-3-Recriutment, Retention and Reactivation! Let’s focus on the general public and work together for the future of conservation and hunting! Wildlife recreation is not only an important leisure past time, it is also an incredible economic engine that supports our local communities as well as the future of hunting and conservation. When our message reaches a broader cross-section of our population, we will attract more enthusiasts who will become tomorrow’s conservationists. Keep the positive in your passion! Reach out!
Craig Engwall / MDHA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
THOUGHTS ON MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES’ FIRST DEER PLAN The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began the process of developing a statewide deer management plan in 2016. To complete the plan, 20 individuals were selected to a Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee, which was authorized by the DNR commissioner to provide input and make advisory recommendations on plan content. Public input was also collected to inform plan development. MDHA Past President Denis Quarberg and I were fortunate to be invited to participate as members of the Committee. The Committee met monthly for more than a year to work on eight goals agreed to by the Committee and DNR staff. Agreement did not always come easy as DNR selected a broad group of interests for the Committee that went beyond deer hunters to include representatives from agriculture, forestry, environmental groups and more. Ultimately, the Committee came to agreement of setting the following eight goals (the language for each of these is from DNR; I will offer my description and opinion key parts of the Plan below): Goal A: COMMUNICATION, INFORMATION SHARING AND PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT: Foster trusting, respectful and effective twoway communication between DNR and the public regarding deer management. Goal B: DEER STAKEHOLDER SATISFACTION: Consider social dimensions of deer management decisions. Goal C: POPULATION MANAGEMENT, MONITORING AND RESEARCH: Manage deer adaptively, considering both biological and social information in decisionmaking. Goal D: HEALTHY DEER: Support deer herd health by monitoring and addressing disease. Goal E: HEALTHY HABITAT: Maintain natural wildlife habitat by protecting, enhancing, and restoring habitat and by managing for an appropriate number of deer.
Goal F: IMPACT OF DEER ON OTHER RESOURCES: Reduce negative impacts of deer to the land, resources, and other species, including people. Goal G: DEER MANAGEMENT FUNDING: Seek sufficient funding and promote costeffective deer management. Goal H: DNR DEER MANAGEMENT: Practice and ensure continuous improvement within DNR’s deer management program and supporting activities. These eight goals standing alone don’t really provide the “meat and potatoes” of the Deer Plan with respect to issues of importance to deer hunters. I encourage you to read the entire Plan to see how it addresses the issues that are most important to you. It is not the easiest read – there is a lot of jargon and language that sometimes makes it hard to find the key points. I will address some of the points I believe are most important to deer hunters. Statewide Annual Harvest Objective MDHA passed a resolution in 2015 supporting an annual deer harvest objective of 225,000. This number represented the approximate average harvest for the previous 15 years. MDHA was compelled to put forth a proposed harvest number because deer harvests under DNR’s management had been dropping for years. DNR, somewhat reluctantly, agreed to have a statewide annual harvest objective in the Plan. There was significant debate at the Committee meetings as to the appropriate number for the goal. DNR staff proposed a goal of 190,000 which MDHA, and the other deer groups, felt was completely inadequate. When DNR released the Draft Deer Plan in April, it contained a proposed annual harvest objective of 200,000. MDHA remains steadfast in our view DNR should manage for more deer on the landscape to support a harvest objective of 225,000. Ultimately, the DNR Commissioner will make the final determination as to the Plan’s annual harvest objective and we hope it is
closer to MDHA’s proposed number. Goal Setting and Annual Hunter Input DNR last conducted goal setting in a number of Deer Permit Areas (DPA) in 2015. This occurred following two terrible winters that had devastated deer populations in a number of northern DPAs. Despite the fact MDHA and others wanted to recommend increasing deer populations as much as possible in some DPAs, or at least 100%, DNRs rules for goal setting only allowed for a maximum increase of 50% and DNR would not allow for any exceptions. Changing this restriction during the Deer Planning process was a priority for MDHA. At the November 2017 meeting, MDHA made a motion to eliminate the goal setting cap of a 50% increase in deer population. Fortunately, the Committee unanimously supported the MDHA motion and that position is now a formal recommendation in the Plan. Also of great importance is the Plan’s stated goal to provide annual hunter input on DNR decision-making with respect to setting DPA classifications and number of antlerless permits. Up until now, the only meaningful opportunity deer hunters had to influence DNR decisionmaking was to participate in the goal setting process. Unfortunately, that occurs only every five years, so hunters have been left in the dark most of the time. Now, DNR has committed to take input annually before key local decisions are made at the DPA level. This will provide hunters the opportunity to advocate for bucks only, hunters choice or whatever classification they feel is appropriate. Hunters will also be able to opine on how many antlerless permits should be issued if the DPA is lottery. I have barely scratched the surface in discussing provisions of the Deer Plan. There is so much more to digest including recommendations to strengthen regulations of captive cervid farms and other important provisions. I encourage you to thoroughly review and see whether you feel this sets an appropriate strategic plan for managing Minnesota’s deer for the next ten years.
MINNESOTA BY ED SCHMIDT
THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING Remembering the early brainstorming sessions while developing the mission, goals and objectives of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association the ﬁnal four tenets were Hunting, Habitat, Education and Legislation. It didn’t take much time and initiative to begin to plan events and programs to meet these main objectives. In the fall of 1980, MDHA held its first organizational meeting complete with its first general membership meeting, election of officers and even educational workshops with deer processing techniques, a presentation by a conservation officer and learning some hunting skills. Since MDHA’s inception, education of both adult hunters and youth has been a priority. Mike Naylon, at the time the new director of Deep Portage Conservation Reserve near Hackensack, initiated the concept of a summer camp for kids in the realm of deer hunting, ethics, conservation and management in 1985. Later a course of study was developed by John Kvasnicka , University of Minnesota Extension Specialist, Naylon and Jack Pichotta then director of the Environmental Learning Center near Isabella, Minnesota which now has been relocated and renamed Wolf Ridge ELC. The Forkhorn curriculum was enriched by not only educating the camp’s residents, but also entertaining them to maintain interest and enthusiasm. Jack reflects on how MDHA was instrumental in raising funds for Wolf Ridge and the other two centers. Each was granted $10,000 to assist with the establishment of the Forkhorn Camp concept. The ground work had been accomplished. The current Forkhorn five-day camps have a common curriculum and a unique
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specialty. All camps provide the kids with their MN Firearm Safety Certification, MN Bow Hunting Certification or MN Advanced Hunter Certification.
Forkhorn I The basic camp for ages 11-15 emphasizes wildlife management, education, whitetail deer ecology, survival skills, deer hunting techniques, map and compass usage and safe shooting scenarios. Not only do the kids learn rifle handling and shooting skills but also understanding shotgun and muzzleloader skills. Forkhorn II The archery or bow hunter camp. In this camp the youth (ages 12-16) learn about bow hunting techniques and earn their MN Bow Hunting Certification. The Bow Hunter Education Program covers marksmanship training, equipment types, bow hunting safety, hunter responsibility, ethical hunting practices, big game ecology and game preparation. Forkhorn III The Advanced Hunter camp is designed to expand their knowledge of big and small game hunting, advanced marksmanship and wing shooting. With a focused emphasis on whitetail deer ecology and hunter ethics, this camp
also provides tree stand safety and hunting techniques with optional classes on handgun safety, operation and usage. When the five day camp is completed the youth are awarded their Advanced Hunter Certification. After completion, every level of the Forkhorn Camp program certifies the youth the opportunity to apply and purchase hunting licenses in other states. Note: it is imperative for graduates of the classes to secure their cards in a safe place and record their I.D. number to have available when it is time to apply for an out-of-state license. Here are the sites and focus of the MDHA Forkhorn Camps: Deep Portage Conservation Reserve – Hackensack Deep Portage Conservation Reserve (DPCR) is located on 6,307 acres of beautiful glacial hills, lakes, rivers and bogs. The forest type is predominantly aspen with mixes of red, white and jack pine along with some red and white oak. Wildlife abounds on the reserve. Deer, coyote, bear, fisher and porcupine are just a few of the local resident critters. Big Deep Lake is 100 feet deep and the reserve is located on more than a mile of natural undisturbed shoreline.
Deep Portage Learning Center’s activities include canoeing, fishing, climbing wall, wilderness survival and of course – campfires. DPCR’s focus is on helping campers build life skills, hunting knowledge and self-esteem. During the summer, the center offers two MDHA Forkhorn Camps exclusively for girls. Long Lake Conservation Center – Palisade Long Lake Conservation Center’s purpose is to inspire a deep appreciation of nature so all those who experience Long Lake build skills to respect the natural world and to accomplish lifelong stewardship of the environment. Long Lake CC started working toward this purpose in 1963. Over the years, thousands of learners explored the bogs, lakes and woods of the Conservation Center. MDHA’s camps started under the tutelage of their director Bob Schwaderer.
Eagle Bluﬀ ELC – Lanesboro In 1980 the vision became a reality and was incorporated as the “Southeastern Minnesota Forest Resource Center” with a mission at that time to help landowners manage their forested lands in a responsible, but profitable manner. During this time, adult education programs co-sponsored with University of Minnesota’s College of Natural Resources and the MN DNR were offered. The center is also noted for its shiitake mushroom growth and used as a cash crop to support the camp. Eagle Bluff is also home to a multitude of unique and adventurous overnight summer camps for kids, including MDHA’s Forkhorn camps for grades 3 through 12. Each camp allows the campers to experience the best of the center’s enriching adventures including the opportunity to sleep under the stars and to actually handle raptors, attempt the high ropes courses and archery ranges – each with its own unique outdoor theme. Joe Deden, Executive Director, states the focus of the camp helps each participant to build their self-confidence
and outdoor skills while fostering a personal relationship with the natural world. Laurentian ELC –Britt Laurentian Environmental Learning Center (L.E.C.) is an outdoors camp area located in Britt, Minnesota on Arrowhead Lake in the Superior National Forest. L.E.C. is an educational camp where schools and other organizations go to learn about the outdoors. It is equipped with activities that enhance recreation skills. The hands on activities provide discovery. The center is well known for their wind energy curriculum. The center is owned and operated by Mounds View Public Schools. At L.E.C there are 160 beds for large and small groups. There are also five large classrooms, a main lodge and a dining center. The Laurentian Center’s mission is to inspire learners' awareness of their natural environment. This also includes respect for others through unique outdoor educational experiences. Laurentian’s long-term vision is to be a leader in science-based environmental education that motivates change and demonstrates respect for the Earth and its inhabitants.
Marine on St. Croix – Kiwanis Scout Camp About 10 miles north of Stillwater on the banks of the beautiful St. Croix River, this 104 acre property is an ideal setting. With a mix of woods, open fields, and access to the river, Kiwanis Scout Camp is the perfect place to relax and have fun. Offering plenty of indoor housing, a condensed layout, complete wifi coverage and multiple conference spaces, Kiwanis is a popular choice for both training events and outings for young participants. Though the property has operated as a camp since 1922, the Scouts have only been involved since 1989. In that year a formal partnership was planned with the St. Paul Kiwanis Foundation to lease the property and host a brand new experiment - overnight summer camp for Cub Scouts! Attendance and use of the camp has grown and now operates a full menu of year-round activities.
Prairie Woods ELC – Spicer Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is committed to providing outstanding outdoors and environmental education to people of all ages. Rooted deeply in Kandiyohi County near Spicer, it provides services for Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. The site provides over 500 acres of learning opportunities for all seasons. The education building features five classrooms, a trailhead for hiking and skiing and a 30 foot high indoor climbing wall. Shooting sports are emphasized at the Gary Westby Educational Shooting Sports Range. Baker Near Wilderness – Maple Plain It’s like getting out of town without actually leaving. Just 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis is the Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement–Twin Cities Environmental Learning Center. This rustic learning center is situated within the beautiful Baker Park Reserve. Here, guests can reconnect with nature and explore the outdoors while learning life-skills. Common Curriculum: As mentioned previously, MDHA’s camps have a common curriculum emphasizing whitetail deer ecology, hunting skills, ethics and safety. From the onset of the program in 1985, most of the course of study remains the same with the additions of GPS training in conjunction with map and compass skills and the concept of permanent stands on public land to using portables without affecting trees. Even though the primary focus of MDHA is the whitetail deer, it is important to consider the whole ecological picture through the concept of EBM (Ecosystem Based Management). Here each biome and its network of inhabitants are understood. MDHA’s Forkhorn camps are run by staff members and volunteers from local chapters. Scholarships are available through chapters to sponsor boys and girls to one of the camps. New instructors are always welcome to continue the success of these camps. MDHA is a 501c3 non-profit educational organization with a basic concept that education is the key to understanding and success.
The 2018 Minnesota Legislature convened on February 20 and, as is the case for every session, current factors shaped an assembly that would stand unique. Run February 20 through May 21, short sessions, such as this year’s, function in their own, distinct way. Time was a scarce resource which forced priorities and therefore legislative agendas. First, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of Governor Mark Dayton’s veto of the Legislature’s $130 million operating budget put forth last May which leaves continued funding of state operations to be resolved. In addition, most of the legislative priorities were accomplished in 2017 and therefore, legislators may not feel as much urgency for any major initiatives. One piece that created activity among legislators on both sides was the recently passed Federal Tax Bill and discussion surrounding state tax conformity. With the upcoming general election in November, much was at stake as Governor Dayton announced he would not seek reelection and current candidates for the office are sitting legislators. In addition, all 134 House seats are up for election. Neither party is going to want to provide any leverage that can be used against them during a campaign year. The resignation of U.S. Senator Al Franken and the appointment of his replacement, former Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, resulted in Minnesota Senate President Michelle Fishbach proclaiming herself “acting Lieutenant governor” while still serving her district as a state senator. The constitutionality of this scenario has yet to be determined and it creates the circumstances in which the Minnesota Senate could be in a 33/33 split during session depending on the results of a special election due to additional legislative resignations.
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BY CORY BENNETT, MDHA LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANT
While the governor, legislative leaders and legislators focused on sizable items such as a supplemental budget, bonding bill, and federal tax conformity, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) was actively engaged on several different fronts. The following is a partial, not comprehensive, list of some of those initiatives:
MDHA has advocated for the potential increase of BAH regulation of commercial deer farms, requiring cervidae farms to share the costs related to DNR/CWD activities and supports the OLA audit of the BAH’s power and duties as they relate to cervidae farms. Potential 2018 legislation may result from the OLA audit.
Deer License Fee Increase In 2018, the DNR will be increasing the annual resident deer hunting license fee from $30 to $34. The last time Minnesota raised these user fees was in 2013. Per the DNR, the proposed increases are needed to keep the state's Game and Fish Fund and other dedicated accounts that provide 83 percent of the agency's budget from going into the red in the next few years. MDHA members believe a more rigid expense structure for deer license money would remove any doubts that hunters, and deer, get the management they deserve. Last session, MDHA support of the DNR’s proposed license increase was contingent on DNR’s commitment that $16, rather than the current $2, would be directed to the deer management account. In addition, deer license fees would continue to contribute $1 to the deer and bear management account and 50 cents to the emergency deer feeding/ deer health account. The wolf management account would be eliminated and the general Game and Fish Fund would get $16.50. Legislation was put forward during the 2018 Legislative Session to reflect this agreement.
Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council again appropriated $100 million in recommendations to the 2018 legislature for habitat projects throughout the state. Included in the package was an MDHA initiative called the Minnesota Moose Habitat Collaborative – Phase III for $1,938,000. The Collaborative will improve nearly 10,000 acres of foraging habitat for moose in northeast Minnesota. The project builds on the Collaborative’s previous efforts to enhance forest habitat by increasing stand complexity and production while maintaining thermal components of the landscape with variable enhancement methods.
Chronic Wasting Disease Due to concerns expressed by MDHA and other organizations surrounding chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the wild herd, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is conducting a program evaluation of the Board of Animal Health (BAH). MDHA has grave concerns regarding the detection of CWD in the wild herd. Thus,
Wolf Management Because congress failed to pass a bill, wolves in the Great Lakes Region will remain under Federal Endangered Species Act protections as ordered by a federal judge a few years ago. However, bills were being heard that will once again grant the State of Minnesota the responsibility to manage the state’s wolf population. MDHA continues to work with our federal delegation and others at the federal level to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered List. We also maintain support of Minnesota’s continued hunting and trapping of wolves as part of Minnesota’s overall wolf management program. The constitutional deadline for adjournment of the 2018 Legislative Session was May 21st, 2018.
FIVE THINGS More Important than Food Plots for Attracting Deer BY BRUCE INGRAM
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Last year, I spent a great deal of time hunting a property that has experienced a dramatic makeover. The landowner spent a great deal of time and money creating three massive food plots, which is all well and good as who doesn’t relish the opportunity to take an evening stand over an opening brimming with favorite deer menu items? However, the property now consists mostly of food plots – I would estimate some 75 percent of it involves these openings. Gone are the property’s prime bedding area, most of the hard mast bearing trees, and, unfortunately, the deer were largely absent, too. Trail cameras showed the deer still came to the land, but they mostly did so after dark because they bedded so far away. And when the acorn crop started to fall on surrounding properties, deer sightings became even less common. Over the years, I have seen other landowners and hunters make this same mistake – specifically deciding food plots are the be all and end all of habitat management. Just clear some land, plant some sort of attractant and determine stand sites goes that theory. In reality, though, food plots should serve to supplement other food sources. In fact, here are five things more important than plots:
One of the most relevant elements of a well-managed hunting property are deer refuges. Even on small parcels, a safe haven should exist. For example, on the 38-acre
parcel where my wife and I live, our son-inlaw David and his family share the land with us. David and I have set aside two sanctuaries, both of about five acres on the eastern and western sides of the land. We never enter these sanctuaries during hunting season, unless it is to retrieve a whitetail. These havens consist mostly of cedar and pine trees; these evergreens (when the weather is rainy, cold, snowy or windy) provide the additional benefit of being quality thermal cover. Obviously, these two places also serve as bedding areas and David and I have situated ladder stands in funnels leading out from and to them. Unlike the earlier mentioned property, the deer don’t have far to travel to reach our stands.
western safe haven. The latter two cuts were accomplished in the winter of 2009. The positioning of these latter cuts is no accident. Although they are still in the relatively early stages of regeneration, one day they will increase the size of the two sanctuaries. And for the next 15 to 20 years or so, they will continue to be major food providers on the land. Even if the acorn crop totally fails on our property, the deer will always have a crucial food source – the three regenerating cuts – where they can go to gain sustenance.
Hard Mast Food Sources
Over the years, numerous deer research projects have found that clear-cuts provide more food per acre to whitetails than do food plots. Many reasons exist for why this is true. The regenerating tree growth, the forbs springing to life because of more sunlight hitting the ground, the wild berries and other soft mast coming into existence and all manner of other deer browse generated, serve as a whitetail buffet table. On our land, we have three separate clearcuts. One, created in 2006, is on the southeast section of the property and consists of about three acres. The second borders the eastern sanctuary and is about five acres. The third contains about three acres and abuts the
Take an inventory of your land and decide what trees you can cut to increase hard and soft mast production.
Your oak trees will produce more acorns if they receive more sunlight. Hunters are well aware of the importance of hard mast foods, especially acorns, as one of the major – and often the most crucial – nutritional sources for whitetails. Oak trees are so important, in fact, that when acorns start to drop, deer often abandon agricultural areas to feed on these nuts that provide solid amounts
Judicious removal of trees can result in better growth for your oaks and soft mast producers.
of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Any act we can undertake to make our oaks bear more nuts is worth much more to our local deer herd than anything we do concerning making food plots. For example, this past winter, I spent hours cutting down pines, cedars, and other non-mast bearing trees that bordered white and red oaks on our land. My first step in accomplishing this task was to select a 75-yard-long and 50-foot-wide strip of forest that borders the southwest side of the land. This was the area I wished to improve, as I had noted over the years that although this section harbors quite a few young oaks, none of them seem to be frequent or heavy mast bearers. Next, I marked the white and red oaks that boasted the most potential as future mast bearers. Then, I made an inventory of the competing trees around these oaks, trying to determine if I could safely cut down the competitors without damaging the oaks. One of the worst and most frustrating mistakes we land managers can make is to cut down, say, a pine and have it crash into a 20-yearold oak that is just about ready to enter its prime producing years. Losing 20 years of tree growth is simply horrible. Finally, I spent four consecutive weekends daylighting the oaks. Most of the time, it was just a simple matter to cut down an offending pine or cedar and have it fall between two oaks or behind them – again, it was simple because of the planning process. On several occasions, intruding pines could not be levelled because they would have slammed into a valued oak. During those times, I girdled the evergreens so they would die slowly, gradually losing their limbs and tops over the years. I know over the next four or five years these young oaks will now steadily increase the size of their crowns and with less competition for water and other nutrients, as well as sunlight, produce ever more nuts. This thinning also offers another advantage – more sunlight will reach the forest floor and more berry vines and forbs will take advantage of that fact. During my survey, I had noted a number of scrawny berry vines which will no doubt thrive because of their liberation.
deer season or the early stages of it, but that should not keep us from encouraging their growth. Ideally, it’s best for we land managers to encourage deer to live on our properties throughout the year.
Wild cherries are but one of the soft mast foods you can encourage on your land. For instance, several years ago I encountered two cherry trees (which bear in late summer) growing on my land. Upon doing so, I cut down several trees that were crowding them, and, predictably, the trees have been more productive ever since. Take an inventory of your soft mast providers in the summer and fall and analyze what you can do to improve their growth.
Other Timber Stand Improvement Projects
I have spent a great deal of time daylighting my hard and soft mast trees, and these Timber Stand Improvement (TSI) projects have certainly increased the hard and soft mast
generated on my land. But, there are other positives that can be accomplished with a chainsaw, too. For example, when I initiated the two 2009 clearcuts on the eastern and western sides of our land, I had the logger make a road joining the two cuts and also run along the perimeter of three/fourths of the property. Afterwards, I turned the lane into a linear food plot, planting clover and chicory in various sections. It didn’t take me long to realize certain sections of the logging road produced better growth than other ones. The key reason was the non-productive sections were typically too shaded for the clover or chicory to thrive. For the past few years, David and I periodically walk the property together, chainsaws in hand, determining which trees along the road need to be levelled so more sunlight can reach the byway. I’ve also performed several hinge-cuts on trees where the goal was to provide additional browse for the deer. Hinge-cutting is sawing a tree so it falls or can be bent parallel to the ground, yet still remains attached to its base so the tree remains alive. I relish hunting over food plots; indeed, we only have two small ones on our 38 acres. Keep in mind, however, food plots are just part of the overall management plan. Providing sanctuaries and a diversity of food sources is, in my opinion, much more important.
Soft Mast Food Sources
Soft mast foods are likewise an integral aspect of our overall habitat management plan. And, they like oaks, will benefit from receiving more sunshine. Minnesota features a number of soft mast providers including three species of cherries (pin, choke and sand) plums, juneberries, elderberries, grapes and many others. Many of these ripen well before
12 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
Son-in-law David Reynolds cutting trees along our seeded logging road so clover and chicory will produce better growth.
as Tools for Habitat Management BY SHELLY CARROLL, SC RECON
A multi-mission rotor drone (note the dual sensors mounted on front--sensors can be swapped out).
14 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, or drones) are becoming common tools in many industries. Drone technology has existed for years, but recent improvements in functionality and affordability have allowed uses to expand beyond simple photos and video. Drones are proving especially useful to manage landscapes. Benefits include: 1. Capture high-resolution images quickly and conveniently 2. Collect data not seen by the naked eye 3. Less dangerous and far more affordable than manned aircraft 4. Instant visualization and analysis of a property 5. Automated flight routes can be saved and re-flown to detect change over time
Deer hunters are using drone services to gain valuable new insight to the lands they enjoy and care for. Detailed intelligence about forest health, habitat composition and landscape changes help hunters invest their time and money where it matters most.
DRONE TECHNOLOGY PRIMER
Most drones sold today are “small UAS” (under 55 pounds) as categorized by the FAA. They sport airframe designs very similar to manned aircraft: Rotor wing (copter), fixed wing, and hybrid (think military Osprey). Small drones run on batteries that provide about 30 minutes of flight time for rotorcraft and 60-90 minutes for fixed wing aircraft. Today’s small UASs can accommodate different types of sensors, rescue aids and other payloads. The most useful payloads for land managers include high-resolution cameras, thermal sensors and multispectral sensors that record energy in wavelengths the naked eye cannot see. Drones are operated with a remote controller, also called a Ground Station. Joysticks provide manual control of the aircraft. Software on the Ground Station screen allows the operator to a) see what the drone sees as it flies, b) control the payload, and c) automate flight patterns. Radio
frequencies transmit information between the drone and the Ground Station in real time. Data collected during a drone flight is stored on memory cards within the drone and the sensors. Most data is processed after flight to transform images and video into final products (frameable photos, photo mosaics, video vignettes, maps, 3D models, etc.).
RULES FOR FLYING
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of all aircraft flying in the U.S. There are rules for flying drones, including how high/far/fast they can be flown, and when and where they can be flown. Some government units have established more stringent rules (for instance, no flying in national parks). Operators must be aware of and follow the rules applicable for where they wish to fly. For additional information about FAA regulations visit https://www.faa.gov/uas.
DRONE SERVICES FOR DEER HABITAT
Deep knowledge of a landscape translates into attracting more deer. Consumer-grade drone technology can capture basic photos and video. But, Drone Service Providers offer
equipment, sensors and final products that paint a more complete picture of a property. The following drone products are proving most useful to deer hunters and land managers.
Photo mosaics, also called orthophotos, are created by a drone flying a pattern over a landscape and collecting hundreds (or thousands) of photos. The photos are colorcorrected and stitched together by computer software into a single mosaic image. Orthophotos are used to identify deer movement patterns. They are an excellent tool to plan improvements like trails and food plots. And orthophotos taken at different points in time illustrate how habitat - and deer use of it - changes. Photo mosaics can be ordered as dry erase wall maps for the hunting shack or as framed art to hang above the fireplace. The example below shows a drone photo mosaic in the foreground and Google Maps mosaic in the background. Each pixel (dot of color) in the drone data represents two inches on the ground. Each pixel in the Google Maps mosaic represents 2-3 feet.
Mixed hardwood forest. SC Recon photo mosaic foreground, Google Maps background.
3D MAPS AND MODELS
The same photographs captured to create photo mosaics can also be processed into elevation maps and models. Deer hunters use elevation data to plan roads and trails, assess sites for food plots, and restore waterways. The image below is a 3D model of a shallow river floodplain. The model is a web map that users can zoom in on, pan around and turn to get a closer look. The middle of model shows a car on the road.
Photomosaic with elevation overlay and plantation delineation. 3D model of a segment of the Straight River, northern Minnesota. 3D drone data is also a quick, accurate way to calculate volumes like stockpiles, timber biomass, and stream flow. The image below illustrates sand and gravel piles beside a landownerâ€™s woodlot.
Sand stockpiles. Blues are lower elevations, reds are highest elevations.
MAPS FROM SPECIALIZED SENSORS
Data from specialized drone sensors can also be stitched into mosaic maps. Two
sensors are very useful for managing habitat: thermal and multispectral. Both collect data the naked eye cannot see. When the data is processed, color palettes are applied and hunters have a new way to see their land. Multispectral maps record how features on the landscape reflect light. Healthier vegetation reflects light differently than stressed vegetation. So multispectral images are used to classify vegetation, monitor food plot health, and identify trees damaged by insects or disease. These maps can clue deer hunters in to forest health problems like bark beetles or oak wilt weeks or months before they might be seen during a walk in the woods. The ability to create a temperature map mosaic is fairly new, but is becoming a tool widely used by land managers. Thermal maps can identify vegetation stress even sooner than a multispectral sensor. They can also map water temperature, soil moisture and be used for wildlife population counts. Thermal sensors can also be used for energy audits of structures.
A final drone product popular with landowners is a short video vignette. Who wouldnâ€™t like to share a professional video of their property with family and friends? Videos are also a great way to market real estate, monitor work like trail brushing and document damage after a storm.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR COLLECTION
Not all drone data is captured or processed equally. Equipment and flight skills vary. The time of year and time of day, cloud cover and humidity also affect image quality. Stitching and color palette techniques vary, as do final product options. As with any service, talk to drone service providers who specialize in the types of work you seek. They may not cost any more than other providers and their expertise will help you get the most for your money.
Lake cabin, part of a 20 acre photo mosaic.
Multispectral map showing a hardwood forest with oak wilt.
16 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
The white-yellow areas of the image identify locations of more heat - less ceiling insulation. Also note the dog on the far right.
SC Recon is a national leader in drone use for habitat management. For flights, web maps/models, printed maps, videography and other services visit www.sc-recon.com or call (218) 290-9056.
GET READY! BY SAM HOSLER
It may be early summer, but for dedicated bow hunters, the coveted opening day of archery season is only a few months away. The dyed-in-the-wool bow hunters prepare for this exciting time all year long. Those that are new to this fascinating season or the sometimes archer, need to start getting ready now. Practice, practice, practice is the most important segment of shooting bow and arrow. Those new to the sport have a few things to keep in mind. Be sure you use the same weight field tip as the hunting head you will be hunting with. Practicing with a target tip, then trying to shoot a 100 grain broadhead will send your arrows low every time. Like anything else, practice improves your proficiency. Try and shoot every day. Some days it may only be half a dozen arrows but that little bit keeps you in tune to hit the ten ring at twenty yards. Twenty yards is an accepted distance for most shooters. Spend some time on the 3 D range. Animal targets at various unmarked ranges are a great way to become familiar with your bow. Plus, they are a lot of fun. In some special urban hunting areas, a shooting test is required to gain permission to hunt. Exact placement of the shaft is absolutely necessary in bow hunting. A rifle bullet expands as it plows through flesh and shatters bone. A broadhead cuts and is dependent on slicing through a vital organ causing the loss of blood. Just remember the old sports adage, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” In actual hunting situations, it is best to pick a point at twenty yards or whatever yardage you are comfortable with. It may be a tree, bush or rock, but it gives you a reference point for distance. From your practice shooting, you will know how much an arrow will drop in a given yardage. If range finders are legal in your area, use them,
18 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
they take the guess work out of the shot. A word of advice when you are on your stand, ground or tree. Most of us have a grunt call, range finder, and maybe a bleat call hanging around our neck. I once spooked a nice buck by drawing my bow and bumping two of these together. That slight noise was enough to send my target high-tailing it over the ridge. The big bucks don’t get trophy-sized by luck alone. So, tuck items not in use inside your shirt or put them in a place you won’t reach in the heat of the moment. Before you head out to your hunting site, make sure you don’t stink. Your clothes should have been washed in an odor-eliminating soap. There are a number different ones on the market geared for the hunter. The same goes for your body and hair. I have a friend that quits eating any spicy foods two weeks before the season. He claims onions, garlic and jalapenos, etc., emit their odors from the pores in your body. I can’t say this is true, but he gets a nice buck every year. On the other hand, there are odors you want the deer to smell. These artificial scents range from food choices, apple, grape, etc., to actual animal urine. The most effective scent I’ve used has been deer pee from a domestic buck. It was intended to draw bucks in, but it also brought in the old matriarch of the herd. I had this happen when I was trying out the pee. Splashing it around the site, it took less than five minutes for a big doe to come charging into my ground blind. I have also used apple scent with some degree of success. Around my tree stand I spread the scent on the tree limbs about five feet off the ground. On one occasion, a slight breeze carried the scent to a crossing I was watching. Two does came out and actually stopped in the open with noses in the air and looked straight at me. It would have been an easy shot if I had been hunting does. Scouting? It’s never too early. A leisurely walk in the woods can bring you valuable information. Make a note where the acorn mast is best, any beds you come across or are the apple trees producing this year will always be a benefit for the hunter. A word of caution, however, don’t repeatedly cover the same area. You could easily change the buck’s pattern by convincing him humans have
moved in. Give the area at least a two-week rest before returning. In addition, always remember, when you go afield this time of year the insects are still active. My suggestion is to fold your pant legs over and secure them shut with a strong commercial duct tape. This will keep those little buggers out. It’s is also best to check your body over when you get back. Tick bite diseases can be catastrophic health issues with severe effects. Once you decide where you will place your stand, either ground or tree, set it up and leave it. If there is a chance it may be stolen, it might be best to carry it in to the site the morning of the hunt. Tree stands left in the area so the deer gets familiar with them are still a red flag when a body suddenly appears in it. I tie an old shirt or jacket to the sitting area. That way something like a hunter, will not be an unusual object to them. I have had a doe and yearling come to my tree stand set up by an apple tree. The young deer would eat while the doe stood and stared at me. She was nervous, but not to the point of bolting. What amazed me was when the yearling finished eating, she took over the watch and the old girl ate. The moment I lifted my bow, a snort emitted and they disappeared over the hill. It was doe season, but I went without venison that day. Shooters new to the sport should consult archery shops or sporting goods stores or departments. They can expertly determine what your draw is, what sights and arrow rests are best for you and perhaps some hints on shooting. Early archery season is a beautiful time of the year to be in the woods. Try it, you’ll like it.
AROUND THE State Minnesota Deer Hunters Association
REGIONAL BOUNDARY AND CHAPTER LOCATION MAP
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.
Region 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 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 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
Chapter Code MDB RRC NRR TRF RCL BMJ ITS HCC WLC TEC CCC STR AHC WLDN LSC LVC SMH FFL CWC PKR EOC WDN BRD CRW MCC LPC BLW WAH ICC WLD RMR NSC
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
Chapter Code ALX CVC SRP PDT CRC TRC TCR CMC SCS WCWMW ECM MRV BEC SNR BOR STD DMV JJC MCG QRC SRC SGC SEM BLF SCC SMC CSC SCV
Calendar of EVENTS
JUNE 11-19 Alexandria, MN State Trap Shoot
AUGUST 10-12 Game Fair at Armstrong Ranch Kennels in Anoka 17-19 Game Fair at Armstrong Ranch Kennels in Anoka SEPTEMBER 8 Southern Gateway Banquet at Albert Lea American Legion 14 East Central Chapter Banquet at Jack & Jim’s Food & Liquor in Foley 20 Itasca Chapter Banquet 22 South Central Chapter Banquet at Waseca VFW OCTOBER 3 Hibbing/Chisholm Chapter Banquet at the Hibbing Memorial Building 8 Roseau River Chapter Banquet 13 North Suburban Chapter Banquet at Banquets of MN in Fridley 20 Riceland Chapter Banquet 28 North Red River Chapter Banquet
20 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
Did you know... in black powder shooting there are only seven calibers - .36, .40, .45, .50, .54,.58 & .72?
FERGUS FALLS CHAPTER SUPPORTS BOY SCOUTS
The Fergus Falls Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association donated $500.00 to Boy Scout Troop #305 to purchase an enclosed trailer to be used to store and carry all the troop's camping gear to events.
ITASCA COUNTY CHAPTER BUCKS & BREWS EVENT
SHERBURNE COUNTY SWAMPBUCKS CHAPTER BANQUET
With numerous raffles and games, over 60 Forkhorns and unveiling the MDHA/Chevy partnership, there was plenty of excitement at the Sherburne County Swampbucks Chapter banquet.
NORTHERN COMMUNITY RADIO KAXE 91.7 GRAND RAPIDS 89.9 BRAINERD 103.9 ELY KBXE 90.5 BAGLEY/BEMIDJI
A mix of NPR news, regional arts, culture & public affairs programs, and a great variety of music
It was a great night talking deer and hunting at the Itasca County Bucks & Brews event at Klockow Brewing Company in Grand Rapids with around 20 people attending their first ever event of this kind. Members shared hunting stories, photos and enjoyed some snacks and a good brew.
Authent i c Lo c a l R a d io
Did you know... the Pedersoli Kodiak Express .72 caliber black powder is a double-barreled elephant gun?
email@example.com (800)662-5799 | kaxe.org
AROUND THE State 31ST ANNUAL STATE HABITAT BANQUET
The 2018 31st Annual State Habitat Banquet at the Timberlake Lodge in Grand Rapids, designed specifically to raise matching grant dollars for state-wide wildlife habitat projects, was a huge success with a packed banquet center echoing with laughter and games being played. With your support, over $21,000 net profit was raised
for Minnesota’s habitat! A special thank you to all of this year’s banquet volunteers for helping with this great accomplishment! Save the date and join us in raising more funds for Minnesota’s habitat at the 32nd Annual State Habitat Banquet on February 23, 2019 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 is just a small way that each year MDHA attempts to express our gratitude for all of our volunteers whose generous dedication makes MDHA a positive force for Minnesota’s outdoor future.
2018 DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD WINNERS: Isanti Chapter - John Erlandson Sr. North Red River Chapter - Kelly Turgeon Thief River Falls Chapter - Roger Hoﬀmann Sturgeon River Chapter - Roger Metsa Snake River Chapter - Jason Thomson
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FORKHORN ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The Forkhorn Achievement Award was created to recognize and award youth who have discovered the traditions of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association through their volunteer efforts. On Friday February 23rd, Saul Thomson won the Forkhorn Achievement Award from the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. This award goes to two individuals in the state under 18 who show commitment, stewardship, and passion regarding the environment around them. Saul has been a Forkhorn member for several years and has been involved with the Snake River Chapter activities such as cleaning ditches, setting up for annual banquet, handing out awards, helping process hides for the Hides for Habitat program and various other activities. Saul demonstrates a positive understanding of modern conservation efforts and has demonstrated an ability to make good choices when safety and ethics are on the line. He seeks mentors that are positive role models. He is an active outdoor enthusiast, a successful deer and turkey hunter, loves to camp and fish and has attended Forkhorn I and Forkhorn II camps earning Firearms and Bow hunter Education certifications. We congratulate Saul Thompson on his achievements and look forward to many more years of his involvement and leadership in helping MDHA.
Did you know... there are three basic muzzleloader projectiles – round ball, conical and sabot?
FORKHORN ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The Forkhorn Achievement Award was created to recognize and award youth who have discovered the traditions of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association through their volunteer efforts. On Friday February 23rd, Morgan Langhorst won the Forkhorn Achievement Award from the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. This award goes to two individuals in the state under 18 who show commitment, stewardship, and passion regarding the environment around them. As a student for three years learning gun safety, bow safety, and advanced hunters safety, Morgan became a mentor for younger kids at Laurentian Environmental Forkhorn Camp teaching the importance of safety, respecting the environment, respecting others, and building confidence. In addition to that, Morgan offers a youth perspective as a Board Member for the local Quad Rivers Chapter where she is an active member, as well as in various other activities including the trap shooting team, volunteer for road side pick-up, Environthon, WE Day, and the Student Council at her local high school. We congratulate Morgan Langhorst on her achievements and look forward to many more years of her involvement and leadership in helping MDHA.
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 collecting 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 over $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 the local MDHA Chapter. 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 mndeerhunters.com 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.
Did you know... the largest in-line muzzleloader caliber is .50?
2017-18 CHAPTER HIDES FOR HABITAT COLLECTION REPORT
Alexandria Bemidji Bend of the River Bluewater Bluff Country Brainerd Carlton County Central Minnesota Chippewa Valley Clay Wilkin Crow River Des Moines Valley East Central East Ottertail Isanti County Itasca County Jim Jordan Lake Superior McGregor Minnesota River Valley Morrison County North Suburban Park Rapids Quad Rivers Riceland Whitetails Sherburne County Swampbucks Sioux Trails Smokey Hills Snake River South Central Praireland Southern Gateway South Metro St. Croix Valley Sunrisers Thief River Falls Trails End Tri-County River Bottom Bucks Wadena Wild River Wright County
TOTAL 602 412 646 1320 110 1204 902 382 151 455 341 194 500 859 1051 1283 569 485 196 614 280 1263 884 479 426 457 257 1102 489 97 555 597 505 197 3077 286 605 1165 126 1320
TAILS 0 0 540 985 0 850 0 364 0 0 171 137 251 430 258 960 0 0 0 452 221 967 720 0 397 8 167 850 0 0 457 486 300 54 2670 222 515 874 0 1110
TOTAL HIDES COLLECTED 26,643 15,416 TOTAL GROSS (INCLUDES TAILS) $162,737.90
AROUND THE State
MDHA TRADITIONS AWARD PROGRAM
Each year MDHA chapters and members are honored for their outstanding work in developing membership, youth involvement, chapter projects and promoting the mission of MDHA with the Traditions Award Program. An Awards Banquet was held on Friday, the night before the Corporate Board Meeting and Habitat Banquet to honor the recipients. This years award recipients were: Growth Incentive Alexandria Central Minnesota Chippewa Valley Crow River Hibbing/Chisholm Isanti County Lake Vermilion Roseau River Sturgeon River Thief River Falls Wadena
Growth Incentive + 50
BluďŹ€ Country East Ottertail Itasca County Snake River Tri-County River Bottom Bucks
Promotion Level Morrison County
Growth, Growth + 50 & Promotion Jim Jordan
Baseline, Recruitment & Retention and Growth Incentive Brainerd Des Moines Valley Lakes & Pines Sherburne County Sunrisers
Triple Crown Award Trails End North Red River
24 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
Did you know... the first compound bow was developed in 1966 and patented in 1969?Â
REMEMBERING MARK STREGE MDHA STATE SECRETARY
Mark James Strege, 61, of Perham passed away Monday, March 26, 2018. With a servant heart, Mark devoted countless hours to many causes and clubs. Many were related to his love of the outdoors and being a sportsman. For many years he served the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association as an East Ottertail Chapter Board Member and banquet chairman and was serving as MDHA State Secretary at the time of his passing. He was a member of the Perham Sportsmen Club and taught Firearm Safety to local youth. Mark spent a majority of his life employed in Sporting Goods Sales working at Scheels in Fargo and then for CSI Sports where he worked for 27 years. While Mark could often be seen running from one activity to the next, he truly enjoyed spending time with others and telling stories. Mark was often known as the guy who did not act his age and many liked to poke fun at him in public settings as he was equally prone to tease someone in good humor when the opportunity arose. He was quite talented at darts and enjoyed the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Banquet on March 24 as the only bullseye of the night. Mark’s wit, love of hunting and devotion to MDHA will be greatly missed. Thank you for your years of dedication Mark.
MDHA CORPORATE BOARD MEETING
MDHA held their Corporate Board meeting February 23rd at the Eagle�s Club in Grand Rapids. Great discussions were had with a lot of supportive and hardworking volunteers. Thank you all for attending and devoting your time to make MDHA a success across the state.
ENDOWMENTS & DONATIONS: 2/1/18 - 5/8/18 ENDOWMENT FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Denece Dreger South Metro Chapter South Metro Chapter Southeast MN Chapter Denis Quarberg Mark Nohre Joan Gehrls Des Moines Valley Chapter Jim & Robin Vogen Doug Appelgren MDHA Executive Board John Mastery MEMORIAL FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Donald Kozlowski Gregory Bernard Joseph Klatt
HONOREE’S NAME W. Melvin Schramm Daniel Geyen Al Eastlee Alan Gehrls Des Moines Valley Past Members Mark Strege Mark Strege Mark Strege
HONOREE’S NAME Bud Beavens Frank Anderson Mark Strege
GENERAL FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Rick Straw Robert Anderson Marlin Johnson Mark Larson Marv Ott Cargill Truist Dakota Supply Group - Scott Foley Dakota Supply Group - Kyle Runnoe Nicole Botzet Brian J. Keating Sharalyn J. Snavely Benjamin Weerts James McLeod Richard Theis 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.
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... the “father” of the compound bow is Holles Wilbur Allen?
26 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
SCAT IDENTIFICATION ANSWERS 1. Otter 2. Bear 3. Wolf 4. Bobcat 5. Grouse 6. Beaver 7. Red Fox 8. Moose
Did you know... the first bow was developed about 50,000 years ago?
F�R�H�R�S I� T�E F�E�D
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY BRIAN BIRT
Bachelor groups are a common occurrence in the summer months. Groups may consist of as little as two bucks, a common theme for yearlings, to as many as seven. Typically deer of approximately the same age class hang together in these groups; rarely will yearlings group with larger bucks. As a general rule, bucks bed down close to their food source this time of year, often within 100 yards of it. They also have nearly no interaction with does at this time of year, preferring the company of other bucks. As fall approaches and bucks begin seeing an increase in testosterone, these bachelor groups break up, often within the span of a day or two and bucks begin running solo again.
Twelve year old Jesse Eklund, fishing Lake Lida summer 2017.
Bryce's 2017 turkey (6 years old) #23 lbs, 10 inch beard.
Get your MDHA pop socket $9 free shipping
F�R�H�R� F�N�I�S What animal needs to wear a wig?
A gummy Bear A Bald Eagle
Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use a honey comb Why are fish so smart?
Because they live in schools
What is a turkey’s favorite dessert?
Did you know... Fred Bear was the first to use fiberglass to strengthen bows?
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VISIT WWW.MNDEERHUNTERS.COM OR CALL 800.450.DEER 28 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
A New Way to Rank the Top Bowhunting States:
Whether you still-hunt or pursue deer from a blind or stand, Minnesota archers know that the North Star state holds a lot of big buck. PHOTO BY SCENT-LOK TECHOLOGIES
The Whitetail Archery Scale BY DARREN WARNER 30 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
Just about every year, a magazine publishes rankings of the top whitetail hunting states, proudly declaring one state is the best area for harvesting trophy deer. To determine them, the author looks at just one figure: the total number of Pope and Young (P&Y) or Boone and Crockett (B&C) entries for that year. While such articles generate conversation, ALL of them suffer from two major flaws. First, many factors influence the number of trophies deer hunters harvest. For example, the number of deer hunters a state has influences the likelihood that some of them will bag monster bucks. The same goes for the total number of deer found in each state. Given that just about half of all whitetail deer that reach 1-1/2 years old are bucks, it stands to reason that states with higher deer numbers will have more trophy entries than states with fewer deer. Second, state rankings are usually based on only one year of data. If you know anything about statistics, you know it’s possible for a state to have an unusually good deer harvest year, which would give the false impression that that state is the hottest deer hunting area in the country. It’s better to look at recent trends in harvest data by examining harvest totals from the last three years. This gives us a more accurate picture of which states are the best whitetail bowhunting states. To solve these problems, I will calculate the percentage of bucks harvested by bowhunters that made the record books over a three-year period. Doing so gives us a more accurate picture of the likelihood of bagging a trophy in each state. Yet when deciding where to go to hunt trophy deer, hunters don’t just consider how many trophies other hunters have taken in each state. They consider other factors like bowhunter density, the amount of public land open for bowhunting each state has, and even how “bow-friendly” a state’s hunting regulations are. I’ve included several more measures to determine the top whitetail bowhunting states. Recently, my friends at Petersen’s Bowhunting published my findings, and they shocked a lot of readers. But, due to space considerations, much of my rationale for including each measure was omitted. So, let’s dig deep into the numbers and my methodology to better understand how I designed a more fair and equitable way of ranking the states. My new Whitetail Archery Scale will not only make you proud to be a Minnesotan, but it will buttress your argument the next time you find yourself talking with other hunters about the best
For years Minnesota archers have been bringing home some monster bucks. Now the state is getting the recognition it deserves as a top trophy producing area. PHOTO BY DARREN WARNER NOCK
trophy bowhunting states in the nation.
Measure 1: Percentage of P&Y Bucks
No matter how you slice it, the number of trophy deer taken by archers matters to hunters. Because of this, a state could earn a maximum of two points in both trophy measures (P&Y and B&C) – twice as many as they could earn in each of the other measures. To look at recent trends, I added up the total number of P&Y entries for 2014-2016, and divided by the total number of adult (1-1/2-year-old and older) bucks harvested by bowhunters in that same time period. The top five states were given two points, the bottom five a half a point, and the rest of the whitetail bowhunting states received one point. Percentage of Overall Harvest That Were P&Y Entries (2014 – 2016) Indiana 1.09% S. Dakota .82% Wyoming .80% Minnesota .75% Iowa .73% (Sources: State wildlife agencies and the Pope and Young Club.) As you can see, Indiana tops our list, with a little more than one percent of all adult bucks harvested in a three-year period making the P&Y record book. Interestingly, Illinois and Ohio, two states normally thought of as top trophy-producing locales, did not make our top 10, mainly because bowhunters in both states harvest so many adult bucks.
Measure 2: Percentage of B&C Bucks
To make the B&C record book, typical whitetails must have at least 160 net inches, and non-typical bucks must have at least 185 net inches. Like Measure 1, to determine which states are currently producing the highest proportion of B&C deer, I divided the total number of B&C typical and non-typical whitetails recently taken by bowhunters (2014-2016) by the total number of adult bucks bagged by bowhunters in that three-year period. After studying the distribution, the top seven states received two points, the bottom seven half a point and the rest one point. States that had no B&C whitetails received zeros. Percentage of Overall Harvest That Were B&C Whitetails (2014-2016): 1. Kansas .12% 2. Iowa .11% 3. Indiana .10% 4. Kentucky, Minnesota .09% 5. Ohio .08% (Data Sources: State wildlife agencies and the Boone and Crocket Club (boonecrockett.org) Not surprisingly, Kansas and Iowa have the highest percentage of B&C entries, closely followed by Indiana, Kentucky and Minnesota. Another state with a stellar reputation for producing tons of trophy deer is Illinois, but my analysis revealed the Land of Lincoln has lost significant ground in growing trophy whitetails. Of the more than 74,000 adult bucks killed in our time period
(2014-2016), only 20 of them were entered into the B&C record book. If we were to only look at the total number of B&C entries, Illinois would come in 8th place, giving us a false impression of the likelihood of Illinois bowhunters bringing home a trophy buck.
had the lowest proportion of whitetails taken by bowhunters. Minnesota comes in fourth place with 9 percent. Conversely, Ohio (45 percent), Massachusetts (43.7 percent) and Illinois (38.3 percent) had the greatest percentage of deer bagged by archers. Other notably high states include Michigan (33.7 percent), Kansas (32.3) and Wisconsin, (26.3 percent). Remember that the lower the percentage of deer taken with archery equipment, the lower bowhunter density. I recognize this is an imprecise method for evaluating hunter density, so I implemented a binary scale to rate the states. Those between 1-15 percent earned one point, while those over 15 percent were given half a point.
Measure 4: Percentage of Land Open to the Public for Deer Hunting
Larry Jesinoski arrowed this 200-2/8-inch nontypical monster in Morrison County in 2015. PHOTO BY BOONE AND CROCKETT CLUB
Measure 3: Bowhunter Density
Bowhunter density gives us an estimate on how many other archers you’ll have to compete against to take home a trophy buck. While all state wildlife agencies don’t keep data on bowhunter density, we can develop a proxy for each state by looking at the average percentage of whitetails harvested with archery equipment (crossbows included). Here I assume that the higher the percentage of deer taken with archery equipment, the higher the number of bowhunters in each state, and the more competition there will be among hunters for trophy bucks. Conversely, the lower the number of deer harvested with archery equipment, the lower the number of archery hunters you’ll have to battle for a chance at Mr. Big. Each year the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA – www.qdma.com) publishes a Whitetail Report that provides valuable information about deer and deer hunting in the U.S. The report includes data on the percentage of deer harvested by weapon type. I used data for 2013-2015 to calculate the average percentage of deer recently harvested with archery equipment in every state as a proxy for bowhunter density. Louisiana (7 percent), Wyoming (7.6 percent) and North Carolina (8.7 percent)
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Bowhunters are famous for being do-ityourself hunters, often foregoing shelling out thousands of dollars to an outfitter in favor of pursuing whitetail giants on public land. Many archers annually hunt out-of-state, testing their skills against mature bucks in unfamiliar territory. Again, the QDMA’s Whitetail Report provides us the ideal data source to determine the percentage of each state that is open to public bowhunting. I used data from the 2016 Whitetail Report, supplemented by contacting states wildlife agencies of states with missing data. It should come as no shock that western states like Idaho (60 percent), Wyoming (50 percent) and Washington (30 percent) have the greatest percentage of land open to the public for hunting. On the other hand, top big-buck meccas like Illinois, Iowa and Kansas have almost no public hunting land (less than one percent each). After studying the distribution, I scored all states using the following scale: 20 percent or greater, 1 point; 7-19 percent, half a point; 3-6 percent, one-quarter of a point; and 0-2 percent, zero points. Minnesota received one point, with 8 percent of the state open for public deer hunting. Greatest Percentage of Land Open for Public Deer Hunting (2016): Idaho 60% Wyoming 50% Washington 30% Wisconsin 20% Pennsylvania 14% (Sources: Quality Deer Management Association and state wildlife agencies)
Measure 5: Bow Friendliness Here I have an interesting measure to
assess how restrictive each state’s archery deer hunting regulations are on bowhunters. The reason for this is that you wouldn’t want to travel to another state to bow hunt, only to find out that the lighted sight you’ve been using for years is illegal in the non-resident state. For example, only recently (2017) has Montana allowed the use of lighted arrow noks, and the Big Sky State still prohibits the use of lighted sights. Recently, Arkansas, Vermont and Virginia banned the use of natural deer urine scents, with the rationale being that using them may inadvertently spread chronic wasting disease. Such bans also prohibit the use of glandular secretions like tarsal gland scents. Minnesota and Pennsylvania prohibit the use of natural deer urine in CWD areas. While prohibiting natural deer urine scents to prevent the spread of CWD sounds like a sound management strategy, the scientific rationale for it is lacking. If you don’t believe me, read what a prominent scientist whose research has been used by state wildlife agencies to justify natural deer urine bans has to say about the issue. “There just aren’t enough prions [the infectious agents believed to cause CWD] in a 4- or 8-ounce bottle of urine to infect deer with CWD,” said Dr. Davin Henderson, a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology at Colorado State University. “It’s just about impossible for a healthy deer to contract CWD from a small bottle of urine.” I gave states that prohibit deer urine scents and/or have unusually restrictive archery equipment regulations zeros. All other states received one point.
And the Winner Is….
Scores for all six measures were tallied to determine the top whitetail bowhunting state. Interestingly, the top two states were tied with 6 points, so I broke the tie by taking the state that had the highest overall combined percentage of B&C and P&Y entries. As you can see, Minnesota comes out on top, closely followed by South Dakota. Indiana, Iowa and Kentucky round out our top five. Top Whitetail Bowhunting States State Total Score 1. Minnesota 6* 2. South Dakota 6* 3. Indiana 5.8 4. Iowa 5.5 5. Kentucky 5* 6. Wyoming 5* 7. Ohio 4.8
States Not Included States that do not have whitetail deer were excluded from the study. In addition, states that could not provide comprehensive whitetail buck archery harvest data were also excluded. For example, some states don’t report harvest data by weapon type. The 10 states that have whitetail deer but could not be included because they can’t provide complete harvest data include:
Hunting brings us together to celebrate not only the spirit of hunting, but a successful hunting adventure. PHOTO BY SCENT-LOK TECHNOLOGIES
8. Wisconsin 4.5 9. Kansas 4.5 10. North Carolina 4 *Ties were broken by taking the state having the highest combined percentage of B&C and P&Y entries. Recently (2014-2016), Minnesota
bowhunters have bagged more B&C deer (24) than Illinois hunters (20), and more P&Y bucks (194) than Kentucky (156). The North Star State is producing a ton of stellar deer, and it’s high-time it be considered a top bowhunting destination. After all, the numbers don’t lie!
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ONE MILE OF INSTANT GRATIFICATION
A Passion for Trail Cams BY JEFF SCHLACHTER
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Okay, I confess, I am fascinated with trail cameras. I just can’t resist them. Over the past number of years, my obsession has grown to the point of it being completely out of control, starting out with a handful of cameras and growing right up to having over 40 cameras to keep tabs on. Now as you can only imagine, this isn’t an easy feat and I’ve learned a number of things to share with you from my years of wandering the bush aimlessly with a pocket full of memory cards and a backpack jammed with batteries. Here are some things I hope will help you learn from my many mistakes, as these cameras can be the most incredible tool in your arsenal, but can also quite easily be the most infuriating as I’ve had many moments of banging my head against a tree to the point of having bark stuck in my head. Because there are so many great trail cameras on today’s market and the technology is constantly evolving, the entrylevel trail cameras have come down in price, with many brands starting out under the $100 mark. These cameras are perfect for the beginner and great to get your feet wet with. I’ve tried a majority of the brands on the market, many which perform perfectly, but when it comes right down to it, my favorite brand is Spypoint. They perform flawlessly in the coldest conditions and believe me when I say I’ve put these cams through the wringer. From being chewed on by bears, to being drug and bounced around, they have taken millions of photos in the harshest environments and still keep going. Most of the cameras these days have infrared for night-time pics, as they aren’t supposed to spook the animals, but I always enjoyed the flash cameras night-time pics better as they were clearer and in color, but some of the new cameras are now featuring color infrared pics so I will be interested to see how they work. From early cameras that had a battery life of a week, to the new cameras with six month battery life and even longer, which is awesome as I go through enough batteries every year to choke an ox. I’ve had the blank stare from the cashier on many occasions pulling up to the checkout with a shopping cart full of batteries. I wish I could’ve read the minds of some of these cashiers over the years as they looked at me like I was from outer space. Absolutely priceless. I run many of my cameras throughout the year, with some of them never having a break, strapped in a tree for what seems like eternity. These cameras are in my go-to spots, areas that have constant deer movement, so I always keep them up, watching the patterns
from early summer, into the fall months, then after hunting season to see what bucks escaped unscathed. I can then follow them to see when they are shedding their antlers, so I know when and where to look, then back to their growth season and into the velvet splendor once again. Other cams get a break for a couple short months. They are taken down after the shedding season and eventually moved to cover bear baits in the spring hunt (editors’ note: Canada allows spring bear hunts). So, my cameras earn their keep to say the least.
Placing a Camera
I like to spend a little time scouting an area, paying close attention to travel corridors, heavily used trails and natural funnels, then try to pick the best locations possible for my cameras. When you find that perfect spot, make sure to pick a solid, larger tree if possible because you have to remember, these cameras work off motion, so if you pick a scrawny tree, you’ll be likely to get a ton of blank pics as the tree will sway back and forth more in the wind than a big tree. I like to put my camera about waist-high, as that seems to give me the best angle and the most accurate photos. Too high or too low and you can miss many pictures and it might take a couple of times checking to get it just right. Most trees, of course, grow a little crooked, so I like to break a small branch off to use as a shim to get it set just right. If you’re placing a camera in a more open area and can’t find a suitable perch for your camera, don’t be afraid to pound in a post or whatever you have to place your camera on.
That way you don’t have to rely on an iffy tree and can put up your cam wherever you feel best. When placing cameras in the summer months, high grass and weeds are always a problem. In fact, on occasion I’ve come back to check cams only to find hundreds of waving grass pics more often than I care to admit, wasting a ton of memory card space and battery life and leaving me hopping around like a Mexican jumping bean trying my best to tromp down and flatten everything in my camera’s way. Now, this only works for a bit and those pesky weeds will pop back up almost the instant you walk away, so I’ve found the best fix for that is to pack my cordless weed whip and a pair of pruning shears into these spots. This gets rid of the problem quickly and your pictures will be clear and full of animals, not waving weeds and little branches. You will, however, have to whip them down every couple of weeks, but this will help having a memory card full of critter pics instead of nothing but a pesky thistle. But remember, one KEY piece of advice when doing this is be sure to do so very inconspicuously, doing your best to sneak the weed-whip out undetected as any sightings from the better half, will most likely result in a pile more work and will definitely cut into your quality camera set-up time, so make sure to watch your back at all times. Sunlight can for sure be an issue for camera placement, so I always try my best to avoid putting my cameras up so they point directly into the sun, whether it is to the east for sunrises or the west for sunsets. The sun has a funny way of triggering the sensors to take pics of absolutely nothing and there is nothing more frustrating than that. Of course, the best pictures will come from placing a camera over bait, although this isn’t legal in all areas, so make sure to check out your local laws before doing this. If you aren’t able to use bait, you have to think a little more outside the box. I’ve had great luck placing a camera over a mock-scrape or a real scrape if you find one in your area. Even pouring some doe-in-heat scent on the ground or hanging it in a tree in front of your camera will most likely stop the bucks dead in their tracks long enough for your trail cam to capture that perfect picture. If you aren’t able to do that, find a good game trail and place the camera looking down the trail so you will be more likely to capture a head-on pic and your camera will have more time to even catch a running animal coming by. Of course, the new cameras feature incredible trigger speeds, but
it is still nice to have an entire animal in your picture versus a head shot or the worst, the butt shot.
When you check your cameras, make sure you pay close attention to their lenses, cleaning them every time you change memory cards. I’ve had spiders make lovely nests in the lens pocket of the camera or deer give them a lick with a tongue full of grass, muffing up your pictures. Remember, these are just simple things to watch for that can mess up a picture in an instant. During the spring, summer and early fall, these cameras will seemingly last forever on a single set of batteries, but as our northern winters set in, these same batteries won’t last near as long. There is nothing worse than getting into the prime-time of the season, heading in to check your camera anxious to see what new bucks have shown up in the pre-rut, only to find your batteries have been dead for a week and you’ve missed a key time for new buck activity. I like to change out my batteries to lithiums once the cold temps hit, changing them often. Even though your cam can show oodles of battery life left, the cold can drain them in an instant. Pick up a battery tester as there will be lots of life left in these batteries, but a change-out will help ensure you won’t miss a single buck walking through your honey-hole. These changed-out batteries will still have plenty of life left in them, so whether you keep them
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tucked away for summer or swap them back in on your next camera check, little things like this will give you that upper edge and you will have a far less chance of missing that once-in-a-lifetime buck when he strolls by.
Keeping Track of your Cams
When you’re running as many cameras as I do, believe it or not it is very easy to lose track of them, so I’ve been using my GPS to pin their location in new places as I’ve walked around in circles, dazed and confused for hours over the years, knowing my camera was right under my nose but unable to find it! The changing seasons can make a spot look completely different and you will be surprised how easily a camera can be lost. Believe it or not, I’ve also lost a couple cams to the beavers in the past few years with the high-water levels, having those pesky buggers expand their territories into some of my best hunting areas. The first time it happened I headed into one of my best spots to check my camera and when I got to my tree I had it on, all that was left was a chewed stump! The tree was gone! Talk about having a dumbfounded look on my face. My jaw dropped to the ground and I would’ve looked like a fool turning in circles with a look of complete confusion on my face. Now I bird-dogged the trail to the water’s edge and couldn’t believe when I saw my camera mere inches from the water still strapped to my very tree! So now I’m extra careful in picking
spots in beaver country as those rodents can knock down a tree faster than a Stihl chainsaw! A beaver, of course, isn’t the only animal that has stolen my trail cameras. There are too many thieves wandering the woods these days and trail cameras aren’t apparently off-limit. At least with some of the new cameras there are preventative measures to help protect our treasures. Some of the new cameras such as Spypoint offer a separate wireless hub that holds your memory card and can be stored up to 75’ away, leaving the thief caught on cam. Better yet are the new live cameras, some which feature amazing GPS Tracking capabilities, so you can track down your cam and whoever takes it! In addition, you can always use a lock-box or a cable lock to secure your camera to the tree, but that will only stop some of these low-lifes, the others will do whatever it takes to steal your cam. Today’s electronic wizards are knocking it out of the park, taking things to the next level with trail cameras that have these GPS tracking devices, built-in solar panels for added battery life, incredibly fast shutter speeds, amazing video capabilities and even cameras that can email or text you the pics the camera takes instantly. The sky is the limit. It’s hard to fathom how far trail cameras have come in recent years and I can only imagine what is in store for us in the future, but just heed my warning and be extra careful, it’s a very compelling hobby and if you’re not careful, you will end up just like me—over the top infatuated with trail cams.
THE STORY BEHIND THE FASTEST-GROWING HIGH-SCHOOL SPORT IN AMERICA. BY AARON PAITICH, EDITED BY ANDREW TRI
Driving up I-94 to Alexandria, Minnesota, a vast colony of tents peer over the horizon on the west side of the highway. There’s not a parking lot, per se, but a bustling campground filled with RVs, tents, grills and lawn chairs. Vans, cars and trucks are strewn about, embroidered with school colors. Welcome to Alexandria Shooting Park, home of the world’s largest trap shooting event and proof the renaissance of shooting sports in America has truly arrived. Last spring, over 7,500 kids—all from the state of Minnesota alone—journeyed to Alexandria throughout the span of nine days for year-end competitions. “It is bigger than my wildest dreams,” said Jim Sable, founder of the USA High School Clay Target League, the fastestgrowing high school sport in the nation.
A STARK REALIZATION
Jim’s vision to create a high school league began at the Plymouth Gun Club in 2001. One day, a semitrailer load of targets arrived. The truck driver came into the clubhouse and said he needed “a couple of you younger guys” to help him move the pallets. “He was looking at me, and I thought, �Jeez, I’m retired, and I’m one of the younger guys?’” he said. Jim contacted the Minnesota DNR to try and find out how other gun clubs were
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faring. The former marketing executive convinced them to conduct a survey—and the results reinforced his fears: ten percent of the state’s gun clubs had closed and another 10 percent were hanging on by just a thread.
“And I suspect the same was happening nationwide,” said Jim. Jim, a firearms safety instructor for more than 48 years, began putting a plan in place for the Plymouth Gun Club. The club president asked where he would even begin. “You start where the kids are—and the kids are in school,” Jim responded. “If we can find a way to make trap shooting a high school sport, that’s where we should start.”
With his newfound vision, Jim spotted an ad in his church bulletin. Orono High School was calling for mentors who have a special hobby and an hour or two per week to share
with a student. Jim dialed up the counselor and said he’d like to take five kids under his wing. Well aware of the stigma associated with the words “guns, kids and schools,” Jim cautiously tempered the counselor’s excitement. “I said, �Now just wait until I tell you what I want to do,’” Jim recalled. “I’d like to teach them trapshooting.” The counselor paused, then said: “The Lord really does work in mysterious ways.” Just one minute prior to Jim’s phone call, a 14-year-old girl had come into the counselor’s office and said she wanted to learn how to shoot, but didn’t want to kill anything. The counselor had no idea where to start—and then the phone rang. Jim took the girl, her brother and four friends to the Plymouth Gun Club and the adventure began. That gave Jim the opportunity to meet with Wayzata High School’s principal and activities director. He said Orono had a trapshooting team, but they had nobody to compete with. So, a handful of Wayzata students gave it a shot.
THE LEAGUE IS BORN
Kids began sharing their excitement on social media about this new sport they were learning. Soon, nearby schools Minnetonka and Hopkins joined the program. Then it jumped to six schools, the next year, 13, and the following year, 29. “And at that point, everybody that had
been kind of resisting the idea started to believe it probably was doable. The number of schools nearly quadrupled,” Jim said. Meanwhile, Jim worked with Dave Stead, the executive director of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), to formalize a relationship. Finally, after breaking down several barriers, the Minnesota High School Clay Target League was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit and a presenting partnership was formed with the MSHSL. Minnesota became the prototype for other states to start leagues and the USA High School Clay Target League was created to oversee national operations and growth. Students in grades 6 through 12, who have earned their state-issued hunter education/ firearms safety certification, are now finding more and more opportunities to compete in clay target leagues across the country. In 2018, there are 804 teams and 21,917 participating student athletes competing in 20 states, from Minnesota to Kansas and New York to Oregon.
Michigan, which is also the home of the Michigan State High School Clay Target League’s State Tournament in June. Mason is just 20 miles outside of Lansing, MI, and the facility features over 40 trap fields, along with a clubhouse, camping and beautiful natural scenery.
they’re doing,” he said. School administrators took a survey to find out what the student athletes like about the league so much. Jim, the former marketing guru and founder of the league, strongly believed it was the excitement of trying a new sport, acquiring new skills and improving rather quickly. Nope. The No. 1 answer from kids? “The new friends I made,” Jim said. “I didn’t expect that.”
JOIN THE CLUB
This year the League is undertaking a long-held dream – a National Championship where the League’s best student athletes and teams compete for national bragging rights. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do since we first started expanding into other states.” Jim said. “Now that we are the largest youth clay target shooting program in the world, it makes sense to host a National Championship where the best athletes in the League can qualify to participate. The National Championships will be hosted by the MTA Homegrounds in Mason,
What’s unique about the USA High School Clay Target League is it’s all-inclusive. Boys, girls, physically challenged—as long as you’re in grades 6-12 and have your firearms safety certificate, you’re in. “That’s definitely one of my favorite parts,” Stephanie said. “As a girl, I was still able to shoot with the boys. It wasn’t like volleyball. I could still do something the boys could do. I think it’s really cool all kids can do it. People who use wheelchairs can shoot from their chairs. That’s just awesome.” One principal told Jim some of the schools were getting so big kids were passing each other in the halls eight times a day and they don’t even know each-others’ names. And now? “These kids are practically rock stars around the school now because of what
Editors� note: The USA State High School Clay Target League is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and the independent provider of shooting sports as an extracurricular co-ed activity to high schools for students in grades six through 12 who have earned their firearms safety certification. The League has three priorities - safety, fun and marksmanship - in that order. (Portions of this article first appeared in the League�s Official Magazine, PullUSA)
YOUR EARS ROCK BY TED MADISON, M.A., CCC-A AUDIOLOGIST 3M PERSONAL SAFETY DIVISION What’s your favorite sound? Is it the crunch of the leaves as that perfect buck walks by your stand? Or is the ruffle of feathers as a beautiful bird comes into view? To help you boost your odds of hearing these great sounds for many years to come, wear hearing protection. Without hearing protection, the very loud blast of gunfire wears out and eventually destroys the tiny sensory cells deep within your ears that make it possible for you to hear. Once these cells, known as Hair Cells, are destroyed, they can’t be restored. Hearing loss from repeated exposure to loud gunfire is permanent. The good news is that advanced hearing protectors can protect your ears while still allowing you to hear what’s going on around you. You can be protected without losing your ability to detect and locate game and other important sounds. When properly selected and worn according to the user instructions, hearing protection devices (HPDs) help reduce exposure to both continuous noises, such as a chainsaw, as well as very short, very loud �impulse’ noises like gunfire. However, it is difficult to predict the required and/or actual hearing protection obtained during exposure to impulse noises. For gunfire, the weapon type, number of rounds fired, proper selection, fit and use of hearing protection, the proper care and condition of the hearing protectors, and other variables will impact hearing protector performance. Traditional Hearing Protectors Traditional hearing protectors such as disposable foam earplugs, push-to-fit foam earplugs and earmuffs, create a physical barrier that reduces the level of sounds that reach your ears by a certain number of decibels (dB) regardless of how loud the sound is. For example, someone who selects and wears traditional foam earplugs correctly and obtains 30 dB of noise reduction (attenuation) overall would be expected to obtain the same amount of noise reduction for a 90 dB sound (lawn mower) as for a 150 dB sound (small rifle). Advanced Hearing Protectors Passive (NonElectronic) Level-Dependent HPDs that feature specialized sound filters are called Level-Dependent because, at low sound levels, below 110 dB SPL for example, these devices provide little or no noise reduction, allowing you to maintain better hearing ability*. However, when you shoot your gun, the sound filters instantaneously restrict the transmission of sound into the ear. These earplugs provide
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more protection for very loud blasts (larger caliber weapons) than for moderately loud blasts (smaller caliber weapons). Active (Electronic) Level-Dependent These HPDs use electronic technology to maintain hearing ability when sound levels are low. Environmental microphones pick up the low-level (non-hazardous) sounds in the area around you and reproduce them inside the hearing protector. The amount of sound that is electronically reproduced inside the HPD decreases proportionally as the sound level outside the device increases. Electronic compression helps keep the reproduced sound inside the headset below hazardous levels.
Hearing Protector Guidelines A variety of factors affect the hazardousness of the impulse noises and the degree of hearing protection required, especially the number of exposures and overall decibel level of each impulse. For example, the sound made by a weapon fired in an indoor firing range may have a greater intensity due to reverberation than the same weapon fired at an outdoor range where there is rapid sound decay. The caliber and type of weapon (handgun versus rifle) can also have a significant effect on sound level. These guidelines are general in nature since the protection obtained when hearing protectors are worn is influenced by the variables described above. For highest noise reduction: wear dual protection (earmuffs worn over high attenuation earplugs fit deeply in the ear). This configuration will significantly boost the noise reduction but will reduce your hearing ability. For high noise reduction: wear a good quality single hearing protector, such as
foam earplugs fit deeply in the ear or high attenuation earmuffs. This approach may also reduce hearing ability. For better hearing ability: consider advanced hearing protectors. Possible configurations include the following, with the dual-protection option being the more protective. • Dual hearing protection • Passive level-dependent earplugs worn together with electronic leveldependent earmuffs, or • Electronic level-dependent earplugs worn together with traditional passive earmuffs, or • Traditional passive earplugs worn together with electronic leveldependent earmuffs • Single hearing protection • Electronic level-dependent earplugs such as the 3M™ PELTOR™ LEP 20, or • Electronic level-dependent earmuffs such as 3M™ PELTOR™ Tactical Sport, or • Passive level-dependent earplugs such as the 3M™ Combat Arms™ Earplugs Proper fit is critical Always use earplugs according to the manufacturer’s instructions with special emphasis on inserting the earplugs deep into the ears. If using disposable foam earplugs, it’s important to use the proper technique for rolling and compressing the plug to avoid creating a crease along the length of the earplug that can allow sound to leak in. For best noise reduction with earmuffs, select eyeglasses or goggles that have thin, flat temples or straps that will minimize interference with the seal of the earmuff cushions. Pull long hair back to the extent possible and remove other items that may degrade the earmuff seal such as pencils, hats, jewelry or earbuds. Do not bend and reshape the headband as this will cause a loose fit and allow sound leakage. Proper care and maintenance of hearing protectors is critical in ensuring the device’s protective capabilities can be maximized. To learn more about fitting, care and use of hearing protectors visit 3M online at www.3M. com/Hearing. �Hearing ability is a general term to describe various factors related to auditory situational awareness such as sound detection, recognition, identification, localization and communication.
42 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
The Stand Placement
PU ZZ LE ... Stand placement is always a moving target, but especially so when hunting an unknown, deer-challenged area (we may have more of that this fall given the long, hard winter we just had). 44 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
HABITAT BY MARK HERWIG
while grouse hunting. The trail ran northlandowners and their cabins, stands and trails. south between the aspen cut and a tag alder Then I built a deer shack and placed it on Nearly six years ago, I purchased 44 acres of swamp, thus preventing the deer from an electric highline clearing where I’ve seen aspen forest in north central Carlton County scenting me on the usual west-to-east winds. deer quite a few times in person and on a trail where the deer herd is small, food sources The cover was real thick and the young, new cam. I once had a shot at a doe there from are spread out and good cover is everywhere. aspen and other fresh growth provided good a tree stand that has since blown down, but There were deer trails around, but not like deer browse. missed. My neighbor Chic told me he shot his you’d see running between a bedding area and “This looks good,” I corn field feeding site in thought. So, I put up a farm country where the stand. deer are plentiful and As deer season the wolves aren’t (too approached, I set up a trail bad we didn’t get that cam and soon noticed wolf season, but thanks a small-racked buck to Rep. Collin Peterson appearing regularly. My for trying!). hopes grew! I put one stand up That November, I where there was an wasn’t able to hunt the active trail, but the deer opener, but gave my always bedded east of neighbor Chic permission me in some doghair to hunt it (Chic lets me aspen and, with the hunt his land for grouse/ normally westerly woodcock). He put his winds, when they came granddaughter in that out to feed I always stand and, sure enough, got winded when they opening day she got that came my way. six-point buck! Another stand was I was glad a young in a section of thin, A nice Carlton County buck grazes on new growth that sprouted following a clear cut. person new to hunting 35-year-old aspen, got a buck, but also just as pleased my forest biggest buck ever from that old stand when he and I was seeing a few deer on the trail cam management, scouting and stand placement leased the land from Potlatch. pretty regularly. I had a big-bodied buck come paid off! This was the first deer harvested off through once, but couldn’t get a shot through my land in four years of hunting. the trees. I’ve since cut the aspen there and its Scouting For years I hunted an area near Pequot Lake thickening up real nice… more on this later. Then, two autumns ago after some cut and Forest Lake with lots of deer. Pretty much Another stand along a swamp edge that aspen had grown thick enough to provide all I had to do to shoot two deer/season was funneled the deer looked good, but I think good deer cover, I noticed a new deer trail use some scent control, walk in quiet, stay I’ve been short stopped by new, neighboring
A large whitetail buck and a doe stand at the edge of the woods in summer. quiet and alert, shoot straight and drag �em out! But northern Carlton County is much less developed and less deer friendly than those two areas. Carlton has less edge, less agriculture, many more wolves and a much smaller, warier deer herd. I truly believe deer in big-time wolf country are much more
careful when and where they travel. But, even given that, my land still lacked a very important type of deer habitat, a forester once told me: secure bedding cover. “Your aspen forest is too old and therefore too thin to hold deer. They’ll pass through, but they aren’t going to stay here. That will hurt your deer hunting,” the forester said.
What does cutting down old aspen have to do with deer stand placement� Plenty.
46 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
Logging creates secure cover
The forester was right, so that winter I worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service out of Duluth to plan and implement with a private logger four small clear cuts totaling 10.5 acres. A winter cut is much better than summer because frozen ground protects most of the aspen roots from being destroyed by the logging equipment. This is important because new aspen trees sprout from the roots of cut trees. Winter cutting allows aspen shoots to come up thick come spring, and when they are a few years old, this doghair aspen provides secure bedding cover for deer, but also good habitat for grouse, turkey, woodcock, bear and non-game wildlife such as declining golden winged-warblers. The next good move was paying attention to what the deer were doing by finding that north-south trail and then placing a stand near, but not on, the trail. So, improve your deer habitat, spend some time wandering around your hunting spots looking for where the deer are traveling and get that stand up. Come November, you may get lucky.
BY ROD DIMICH AND ED SCHMIDT
“With a Check, Check Here”
Okay, a long stretch what with the use of the nursery song, “Old MacDonald,” but you get the point. Instead of “A chick, chick here,” substitute “A check, check here,” and prepare a checklist for your fall hunts, including footwear, hunting accessories, equipment, optics, calls, scents, casual clothing, luggage (gear bags) and archery/firearms equipment. Add also to your prep list what you will need if you are successful in your whitetail pursuit by tossing in gutting gloves, hoist, ropes and knives, etc. Remember, survival gear is always essential. The Sportsman’s Guide has an excellent printable checklist on their web site. Keep in mind, however, by the time you include all you need or think you need, you might need a burro like in the classic 1949 movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
“Get some Learnin’”
Yes, we went to the hills for this tip, but that’s where people still hunt and fish for sustenance. Learnin’ is important for older folk and youngins’ alike. To be a complete hunter, you need to get some ed’cation. Believe it or not, readin’ is as important to hunting as scouting, shooting and gear prep. In fact, reading is to hunting what “ciphering” is to arithmetic—essential. Where to look? Even if you have passed it, the Advanced Hunter Education Certification Program is a good place to start as it covers hunter responsibility, safety, wildlife ways, survival skills, maps and compass and other vital issues concerning hunting. This course also meets all other states’ hunter education requirements. Plan on taking time to share your hunting skills and talents with others during the class and sign up early because the AHECP fill up fast. Moreover, there are many sites available to do some learnin’, just be careful as to what is legal in the state you hunt.
“Rub a Dub Tub”
Once again with the nursery songs/rhymes? Got it. Sorry. We are not, however, encouraging three men in a tub (sauna maybe), but we are definitely urging you to utilize tub containers for your fall hunts’ clean hunting clothing. Include your camo or blaze orange shirts, pants, coats, caps, vests and gloves. Simply place a cover scent pad in the enclosed container to prevent human odor from entering and snap. Also, make sure you label the contents to avoid having to tear through the bins to find what you are looking for before heading to the woods. In this regard, transparent tubs are a boon. Doing the “tub” thing will also help teach kids important organizational skills. How many of us have torn apart our houses in a rage searching, searching for missing gear? If you prefer natural scents, use balsam/cedar boughs (watch out for balsam pitch), acorns, etc. For obvious reasons, avoid the rancid odiferous buck scents. Yer hound may commence to rollin’ on ya!
48 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
& TREASURES The History of MDHA’s Forkhorn Camp Program
Educational programs to enhance and enrich the understanding of the whitetail deer’s world have been and still are MDHA primary objectives. Since our inception in 1980, the association’s foundation was to educate our membership base. In 1984, the concept to prepare young hunters for deer hunting was developed. Activities included interaction with other young hunters in a deer camp setting and training in safety, whitetail ecology, ethics and skills. The Deep Portage Conservation Reserve initiated the first camp entitled Forkhorn Camp I. Through our 1985 art contest and sales MDHA raised over $40,000 which was matched by a grant from the Blandin Foundation to build a whitetail deer resource center at Deep Portage. To this day, the large classroom in the Heritage Hall is named the “Whitetail Deer Resource Center” and is dedicated to young deer hunters and MDHA. Since the first encampment of 25 attendees, the number of camps has increased to seven located in a variety of settings around the state. The Forkhorn Camp concept has been recognized nationally as a model program providing positive conservation, hunting and safety images. The number of youth involved has dramatically increased, averaging over 800 deer hunter campers each summer. A major force for Forkhorn Camps, early on and still, are the MDHA Chapter Scholarships funded via banquets, raffles and other such fundraisers. Each camp also has an incredible volunteer base trained in the Forkhorn Curriculum and DNR Education programs ranging from Firearms Safety, Bow Hunter Safety to the Advance Hunter Education Program. Forkhorn Camps are definitely an MDHA Treasure! What better proof is the glowing testimony of many, many former attendees who are now either volunteers or have their own families who are attending one of the camps? Education is the key. Dedication, volunteerism and funding, however, turn that key, opening the door for young hunters to carry on deer hunting’s grand traditions.
Story BY EMILY YANG
THE CHERRY ON TOP OF REALLY GOOD ICE CREAM I grew up around hunters and early on I had an interest in eventually learning to shoot and hunt with my father and uncles. It didn’t dawn on me then that I’d be interested in competition archery. In fact, I may never have gotten involved with NASP archery if not for a series of unfortunate events that took me out of my old school and to Open World Learning Community (OWL), a school in Saint Paul. It was at OWL that I met Coach Mark Scioli and the OWL archery team. OWL is the only inner city NASP team in the Twin Cities. It’s a small and underfunded team, but we have strong leadership and support from parents. After the first practice, I was hooked and I’ve been at it since. It’s been five years since I picked up my first Genesis bow and with every practice and every tournament I learn something new about myself, improving my technique, being patient and especially about persistence. They say that behind every great man is a great woman. In my case, behind my successes are some really great men and a great mom. My parents are inspirational and always my champions. Rain or shine they’re always right there with me, especially my father, usually fresh out of the office at 5:00 in his dress pants and shoes he is at the archery range holding his bow, challenging me to a shoot off. The two OWL Coaches, Mark Scioli and Tom Totushek, always see the best potential in all of us. Whether we’re shooting well
50 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
or having a tough day, they smile and encourage us. Team members put in a lot of time, but Coach Scioli and Coach Totushek especially put in long hours strategizing to make archery practice challenging and fun, coordinating tournaments, being at every tournament before the archers arrive and staying until the last archer leaves. Our great coaches could be out golfing, but instead they spend their time with us.
Shortly after I joined the OWL NASP team, Coach Scioli introduced me to the OAKS mentoring program sponsored by MDHA –St. Croix Valley Chapter. I can’t say enough positive things about the OAKS mentors, Jack, Craig, Larry, Greg, Scott, Kim and Mark. If there was to ever be a zombie apocalypse I’d want these mentors around because they can shoot, climb trees and know how to blood trail their quarry. I’ve been with OAKS the last four years and these mentors taught me everything I know about hunting with a bow, always stressing proper form and practice. It is this combination of excellent coaching
at OWL and awesome mentoring at OAKS that made me the archer I am today. There are many talented archers in NASP and many have outscored me in the tournaments leading up to the State Tournament this year. The State Tournament is where all NASP archers want to peak. I had been steadily improving and I hoped to set a personal best score at State. I wanted to do well to contribute to our overall team score, but I didn’t anticipate I’d win the tournament. Some say winning isn’t everything, and that’s generally true, but it sure feels nice when you do win though. Reflecting back to how I reached this point, I have to say it’s been nothing short of an incredible experience. Archery brought my family and I closer together. We’ve visited some parts of Minnesota and met people we would otherwise never have met. It’s been great fun learning to climb trees and go whitetail hunting with the OAKS mentors in the fall and stopping into small town restaurants along the way to have burgers and fries while listening to Taylor Swift on the radio. I’ve made friends, learned valuable leadership skills and learned a lot about myself. Winning the NASP 2017/2018 State Championship was an unanticipated and incredible experience, but it was everything that happened along the way and all the great people I met along the way that gave winning the State Championship greater meaning. It was the cherry on top of really good ice cream.
BY LEGENDARY WHITETAILS
CORNED VENISON REUBEN ROLLS If you have never tried corned venison, these Reuben rolls will blow your mind. The brine is quick and simple and the rolls are simply delicious when dipped into Thousand Island dressing. Ingredients: The Brine: • 2 cups water • 6 tablespoons Morton® Tender Quick® • 1/2 cup brown sugar • 4 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice • 1 tablespoon garlic powder • 6 cups cold water • 3 – 5 pounds boneless venison roast
The Rolls: • Corned Venison • Egg roll wrappers • Sauerkraut • Swiss Cheese (we used sandwich slices) • Vegetable oil (for frying) • Thousand Island dressing (dipping sauce)
Corned Venison Directions: 1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the curing mixture (Morton Tender Quick), brown sugar, pickling spice, and garlic powder; stir until dissolved then remove from the heat. Pour 6 cups of cold water into a 2-gallon container, and stir in the spice mixture. Place the boneless venison into the brine, cover and refrigerate. 2. Leave the venison in the refrigerator to brine for 5 days, turning the meat over every day. 3. To cook, rinse the meat well, place into a slow cooker, and cover with water. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7. Remove the venison from the crock pot, and allow to rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Reuben Roll Directions: 1. Slice the corned venison into thin bits or crumbles and place in a bowl. 2. Layout an egg roll wrap with a corner pointing towards you so it’s in the shape of a diamond and place a piece of deli Swiss cheese in the corner nearest you. Leave about 1/2 inch of wrap showing between the cheese and the corner of the wrap. 3. Place a spoonful of the corned venison onto the center of the cheese and top with a spoonful of sauerkraut. Wrap and seal egg roll with water on the edges. 4. In a frying pan, heat up enough vegetable oil to cover half of the egg roll or drop into a deep fryer. 5. Fry each side until golden brown. 6. Once golden brown, set onto paper towel and serve hot with a side of Thousand Island dipping sauce.
52 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
Gizmos, GADGETS, Garments & GEAR
Sawyer Permethrin products not only repel insects, they actually kill ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, mites and more than 55 other kinds of insects on contact, making it ideal to use on clothing, tents and other gear. Permethrin binds to the fabric, eliminating the risk of overexposure to the skin. It’s odorless when dry and will not stain or damage clothing, fabrics, plastics, finished surfaces or any outdoor gear. A single application lasts six washings or 42 days of outdoor exposure. MSRP $12, www.sawyer.com
Bow Trainer’s versatility allows compound, traditional and competitive archers to simulate drawing a bow with variable draw weights up to 130 pounds. Bow Trainer’s three-step training program promotes gradual improvement in archery-specific muscle development while improving form and accuracy. It’s lightweight and can be used virtually anywhere, and it’s made in the USA. MSRP $45, www.bowtrainer.com
Minnesota Deer Hunting Quiz >> True or False! << By Mike Roste
1. It is a good idea to take allyl methyl sulﬁde (garlic) about two days before going deer hunting. 2. There are more deer in Minnesota than deer hunters. 3. The whitetail deer is an ungulate.
I have authored scores of articles on shooting and hunting with muzzleloaders, backed up by 33+ years of experience using rifles, pistols, and smoothbores, utilizing matchlock, flintlock, caplock and in-line ignitions. I would like to identify some safety concerns, regarding the article entitled, Muzzleloading 101, in Whitetales (Dec) 2017 issue. On page 11, LOADING YOUR MUZZLELOADER, the author directs the reader to start with “…double the caliber and experiment from there…” For safety reasons, I strongly disagree with that advice. Loading a traditional cap lock in this fashion will most likely create “blow-back;” an unsafe occurrence wherein ignition gasses blow forcefully back through the nipple to re-cock the hammer. The proper rule for traditional muzzleloaders is the “grain per caliber.” Work-up a .50 caliber (rifle) load by starting at 50 grains of FFg by volume; for a .54 caliber rifle start at 55 grains of FFg by volume. Upward deviation is no more than
54 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
55%. A (big game load) maximum for .50 caliber is 77 grains FFg by volume, and, for .54 is 84 grains FFg by volume. It appears the author is confusing the loads for in-line rifles with the loads for traditional black powder rifles. Loading information should be clearly distinguished; whether intended for inlines OR traditional cap locks and flintlocks. DO NOT mix the two. Secondly, Pyrodex contains potassium perchlorate. Upon Ignition, potassium chloride, a type of table salt, is created in the fouling. It WILL corrode a barrel. Respectfully submitted, John W. Hayes, Muzzleloading shooter, hunter, writer
Editors� note: In reference to the photo of John W. Hayes appearing with the article entitled, "Muzzleloading 101," in the Whitetales (Dec) 2017 issue, we apologize for the oversight in using this photo without permission.
1. False: Garlic contains allyl methyl sulﬁde and you should stop taking garlic tablets 2-3 days before going hunting so the garlic is sweated out through the pores in one’s skin.
Dear MDHA Whitetales Editors:
2. True: About 500,000 deer hunters in Minnesota and approximately 1,000,000 deer.
Questions, concerns, thoughts� Address letters to: Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Attention: Letter to the Editor • 460 Peterson Rd. • Grand Rapids, MN 55744 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. True: Ungulate means a hoofed animal.
• 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.
10. Quiet mornings on a deer stand are exciting even when no deer are present.
4. False: Bucks (and all deer) are aged by checking the amount of wear on their molars.
9. Most hunters ﬁnd shooting at a buck with a bow at ten yards is like hitting a large practice target.
5. True: Many deer and big bucks are harvested by hunters taking a stroll, going in to warm up, or coming back into the woods from their lunch hours.
• 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.
8. Sometimes a sharp whistle or shout will stop a running whitetail.
6. False: A deer might taste gamey only if you gut shoot it, wrap blood stained meat, don’t transport it properly, taint the meat when gutting the deer or don’t cool the meat.
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?
7. It is necessary to cut the throat of a deer to bleed it out.
7. False: Why cut the throat, as almost all the blood will be gone when you gut the deer?
PLEASE REVIEW Your Membership Information Today.
6. Deer taste gamey to most people.
8. True: It is true, but don’t use the whistle or shout if the deer has stopped or is walking very slowly.
Colton Lang of the Tri-County Chapter found the hidden snowman on page 46 of the spring issue and was the lucky winner of an MDHA Camo Mesh Back Truckers Cap. Congrats Colton!
5. The best deer pushers are half-time hunters.
9. False: Practice targets don’t get nervous and move. Also, a hunter doesn’t break out in a cold sweat when target practicing or go into cardiac arrest.
Winner of the Spring “Hunt It Down”
4. Bucks are aged by counting the points on their antlers.
10. True: Quiet mornings on a deer stand are exciting, but a deer walking down the trail toward your stand always makes it more exciting.
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 email@example.com. Submission deadline: July 1, 2018
BY ROD DIMICH AND ED SCHMIDT
WHITETALES Word Search
Daylight IN THE Swamp white antler day when his father simply said, “See you at sunset.” With those words, young Mac headed south, a 12-year old boy on a mission. Once on the east shore, the sun was in his face and the wind was a hard west, ripping the tops off of waves, pushing them into swells and tossing them on shore white and foaming like an inadvertently tipped over vanilla malt on a serving tray. When he reached the little point that marked the northern boundary of Butterball Bay, civilization had pretty much disappeared. Around the point, near the eagle roost craggy pine, as Mac sat on the big rock, warmed by the sun and cooled by the wind, he did the Sherlock Holmes’ deduction thing and surmised his dad must have hidden an antler down by the crick. His mission, then, would be to simply treasure hunt that prized white antler. With his expert sleuthing skills (he always won the family Easter Egg Hunts), Mac figured it to be a cinch, getting back before sunset would be no “prob.” The walk down the beach after the point was a “Huck Finn” adventure. He was at the high sand banks now, the banks that had been so wind and wave ravaged no vegetation grew on them. These were the hills his family called the “grab” hills because the kids had to crawl on all fours, clutching the pure sand like a badger to get to the top. Their reward for “topping” was they got to slide back down the hills and run into the cool lake water and wash off the sand. When Mac left the big sand banks, the shoreline became more “ducky” as the land dropped into marsh and wild rice. Driftwood was everywhere. Some were large stumps anchored by a heavy clay-like sand. Others were much traveled logs and dock sections pushed by strong winds. Occasional faded cans scattered on the brown-green shore were punctuated by odiferous fish skeletons, crayfish claws and opened clams that reminded Mac of his grandpa’s pocket watch. Ahead of him, perhaps a half-mile or so, Mac saw an island of white just off the pencil reeds. Pelicans, he thought. He was right. They were, indeed, pellies, big-billed, jowly, with enormous wing spans, little bodies (for some reason, they always reminded Mac of
the old history book pictures of dirigibles like the 1937 ill-fated “Hindenburg”) and gliding abilities to match their voracious appetites. As Mac neared the white hoard, he realized they were there for a reason—food. He had found the crick. Upon reaching it, he was a bit disappointed it was so small. It was, however, fascinating. When he waded into the tannic-stained water, Mac followed the warm root beer water until it dissipated into the big lake’s cool “sky-blue waters.” Once back on shore, Mac devised his treasure-finding plan. He would pretend he was deer hunting and had wounded a buck, a trophy buck with white antlers. His mission would be to find the buck. He looked for the obvious first, strutting the shoreline, stopping here and there to skip a rock or rifle one off a driftwood stump. Thinking his dad would not be diabolical, he took his time. He really didn’t think his father would put it right at the crick’s mouth so he only did a cursory check there. Now the real search began. Mac then followed the amber water back toward its source. Just twenty yards in he found an old duck blind and crawled inside. Even though weathered and unused for a quite a while, it was still a good blind. Built of driftwood and brush, it featured a smooth plank as a bench. Old lead empties were caught in the woven-tapestry like flies in a gossamer and scattered on the hard sand like pine cones under a pine tree. Mac sat thusly and visualized snowybacked bluebills pitching out of the snow smother down the “cheaters’” “J” set and belly-upping into pooming Browning Auto Fives and Remington 870s. But, back to the search for the illusive white antler. After all, he concluded, this was a duck blind, not a deer stand. Mac anxiously left the blind and searched the scrub brush between the sand shore and marsh. Again, nothing. He then went across the crick and covered more terrain. Still nothing. He began to worry. He had frittered away lots of time sitting, exploring, hunting ducks, etc., and the sun had now begun its slow hazy burned-orange sink. As most twelve-year old boys are akin to doing, Mac began playing the blame game, mostly aimed at his dad. How could he have
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done this to him? What a cruel joke. His thoughts raced from frustration to anger to anxiety to who cares to panic and then the ultimate dejection: letting his dad down. Finally, with just barely enough time to get back to the resort by sunset, he returned to the blind, defeated, empty. What had started out as a great adventure had now turned into what his grandpa always called a fiasco, “an exercise in futility.” The wind had died down now and the smells of a summer evening were afoot. The only sounds were from the night flight birds and the soft drone of distant motors heading in. At the blind, Mac sat on the plank bench thinking of what high duck hunting expectations had been dashed by a day of no ducks. He knew the feeling. Perhaps this was the lesson his dad wanted him to learn? On the other hand, maybe he was merely rationalizing defeat. At any rate, it was time to go. He would accept defeat graciously and spend the rest of this summer not running the boat alone and once again in the fall be a tag-along deer hunter with no firearm. As Mac dejectedly left the blind, he picked up a final rock to skip. Too bad, he thought, too bad he could just not bring back one of those driftwood pieces that “looked” like an antler. Then he threw the rock he was going to skip as far as he could into the lake. He understood! The driftwood was the white antler! His dad had wanted him to learn how to be alone and responsible, to experience the richness of imagination and of finding beauty in simplicity. Then, in the fading light of day, in the magic hour when the evening star watches the sun set, Mac ran the shoreline north, the “white antler” clasped firmly in his hand, his strong young legs churning sand. He had seen nature in a driftwood antler and learned independence in an afternoon. I will leave you with an incredible stanza from one of my favorite poets, William Blake, who wrote in his poem, “To See a World”: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And Heaven in a Wild Flower, / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour.” Whitetails forever, my friends.
Daylight IN THE Swamp
BY ROD DIMICH
THE WHITE ANTLER
“The white antler.” Like bluebills into a raft, the words ﬂashed out of the wind and into Mac’s head as he rested against a century and a half old white pine and looked at the lake. Those were his dad’s words those many years ago when his family had come to the resort for one of their many beloved Father’s Day vacations. Mac laughed to himself as the current reference to “vacation” is a “vacay.” Mac was twelve at the time and had been begging his dad all year to do two things: run the boat by himself and go deer hunting in the fall. The answers actually came during this vacation two decades prior, on a day much like this one when white-tipped waves crashed the shore as quickly as the June milkweed clouds tumble-weeded in a high summer sky. It was then his dad told him, “Son, it is too rough to fish. Mom and your sisters are going to town to shop and I know you do not want to go. Today is the day you
can prove to me you are ready to run the boat by yourself and hunt deer this fall.” Mac fondly remembered the surge of pride that filled him when first he heard those words. He smiled and shook his head, however, recalling his dad’s test: “All you have to do is walk south from the resort, staying on the shore and in �Butterball Bay’; where the lowland crick runs swamp-brown into lake-blue, find the white antler and bring it back. If you can do that, I’ll know you are ready.” Warmed by the memory, Mac studied the lake. Its size still impressed him. Not the ocean, he thought, better. As he looked, a quick gust of wind swept him back to his first ocean visit. It had been on his first free weekend during Army Basic Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, when he and two buddies from the southern Minnesota farm country had taken the bus to Atlantic City. You have to see the ocean and get some
fresh seafood those who had been there had told him. Considering that Mac and many other's only forays into seafood had been fish sticks and the little frozen shrimp (both eaten with ketchup, by the way) ocean fishermen used for bait, that seemed like a good idea to him. Well, they saw the ocean. The boardwalk, too. They even sang The Drifters’ classic song, “Under the Boardwalk,” on the boardwalk as tourists and locals stared in disbelief. But the seafood escaped them. They were so overwhelmed by cravings for favorite foods they had been deprived of during boot camp, they ordered an assortment of malts, doughnuts and bratwurst. Mac’s trip back to his Army days ended as the wind-pine harmony rocked him gently back to the hammock at his grandparents’ farm when he was a mere pup in the eyes of time. As he swayed in that memory hammock, Mac’s thoughts drifted back to the CONTINUED ON PAGE 55
56 Whitetales | SUMMER 2018
Minnesota Deer Hunters Association 460 Peterson Rd. Grand Rapids, MN 55744-8413