WHITETALES Building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MINNESOTA DEER HUNTERS ASSOCIATION
BIG DEER IN LITTLE PLACES BY WAYNE VAN ZWOLL
BRINGING UP GIRLS AS HUNTERS BY JOE CANNELLA
FORKHORN FUN FACTS SUMMERTIME WHITETAILS BY TOMMY KIRKLAND
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Caring A Whole Awful Lot In his regular column, “The Outlook,” MDHA Executive Director Craig Engwall addresses the basis of non-profit organizations such as MDHA when he writes: “In recent years, a common refrain among volunteer organizations, including MDHA, is it is getting more difficult to find member volunteers to perform the duties necessary for an organization to fully achieve its mission.” Even the venerable Dr. Seuss agreed, saying, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” And, who can argue with Dr. Seuss� Fortunately, MDHA is among the more fortunate. We have an extremely dedicated foundation of volunteers that has made us the deer and deer hunting force we are today. For your dedication, MDHA Nation, we salute all of our incredible members who help further MDHA’s mission of, “building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.” You are the proof that what one of America’s first naturalists, Henry David Thoreau, said is absolutely true: “Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.” We know, of course, we are preaching to the choir because we also well know how much you dedicated members have done and are still doing. Our point is it is time to recruit new dedicated volunteering members to help MDHA so, quoting Star Trek�s venerable Dr. Spock, MDHA can “live long and prosper.” To do so, we must not dwell on the “gloom and doom” as Craig pointed out, of declining volunteerism, but as Craig wisely suggests, be committed to doing our best to implement the value of devoting time, energy and caring to whatever cause we feel worthy of furthering. Moreover, we should also, as MDHA State President, Doug Appelgren, always maintains, “Keep the positive in your passion!” In that regard, although we are now entering what legendary crooner Nat King Cole sang of in 1963, “the lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer,” it is incumbent on us to, as Doug emphasizes, “continue our involvement.” So, as we follow Nat King Cole’s lyrical directions and, “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” and “Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer,” let’s read and relish what this summer issue of Whitetales serves up and we just don’t mean the tasty recipes we have in our “What’s Cookin’” piece on page 52. We hope you appreciate the virtual smorgasbord of writings this edition features. In fact, to help recruit new members, share this and past issues of Whitetales with them. Once they see how far beyond the “hook and bullet” syndrome MDHA is, how we are dedicated to not only recruiting new hunters, but enhancing existing ones by showing how the “good” in good hunting is more than just the take, they will also help support and enhance our essential mission to lend a hand to ably abet deer and deer hunting. As always, MDHA and this magazine attempt to, again borrowing (and changing a bit) from Star Trek�s celebrated introduction by Captain Kirk (William Shatner), “To boldly go where no man (hunter) has gone before.” By this we mean, we feel aspects of the hunt, like tick prevention, bringing up girls as hunters and fun facts for kids are as important as finding big deer in little places, understanding summertime whitetails and focusing on the keys to opening day bowhunting success. We also believe hunting is the sum of its parts and like a good stew, the more ingredients the better. This is why we try to toss in every magazine great memories, gizmos, gadgets, garments and gear, the “how-to,” the “why we succeeded or came up short,” the facts and figures and, most of all—the deeply understood by all good hunters, the “why we hunt.” Whitetails forever.
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 Denis Quarberg > email@example.com REGIONAL DIRECTORS REGION ONE Stu Weston >
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REGION TEN Mark Lueck >
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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 / ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Andy Bohlig > firstname.lastname@example.org CHAPTER COORDINATOR Mercedes Akinseye > email@example.com FINANCE COORDINATOR Renee Thompson > firstname.lastname@example.org MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR Kim Dobberstein > email@example.com GRANT COORDINATOR Kim Washburn > firstname.lastname@example.org EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Leah Braford > email@example.com
Rod Dimich, Editor 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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PUBLISHER > Minnesota Deer Hunters Association 460 Peterson Road | Grand Rapids, MN 55744 800.450.DEER (MN) / p: 218.327.1103 / f: 218.327.1349 EDITOR > Rod Dimich > email@example.com LAYOUT, DESIGN & PRINTING > Brainerd Dispatch, A Forum Communications company www.brainerddispatch.com | Brainerd, MN ADVERTISING > Andy Bohlig 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
BIG DEER IN LITTLE PLACES BY WAYNE VAN ZWOLL
BRINGING UP GIRLS AS HUNTERS BY JOE CANNELLA
FORKHORN FUN FACTS SUMMERTIME WHITETAILS BY TOMMY KIRKLAND
ABOUT THE COVER A whitetail doe tends to her fawn. PHOTO BY: TOMMY KIRKLAND
IN EVERY ISSUE
From the President’s Stand .... 4 The Outlook................................ 5 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
Long Range Practice Helps Short Range Proficiency .......... 6 Tracy Breen
Meaningful Mentorship .......... 18 Bobbie Zenner
Tick Prevention While Land Prepping, Scouting and Early Season Bowhunting. .............. 38 Bruce Ingram
Tips & Treasures ...................... 48
10 14 30 34 44
Big Deer in Little Places By Wayne van Zwoll
Bringing up Girls as Hunters By Joe Cannella
Summertime Whitetails By Tommy Kirkland
Memories from Failure By Josh Salisbury
Five Important Keys to Opening Day Success By Bernie Barringer
Member Story: Deer Hunting can be for Girls, Silly Boys! .................................. 50
From the President’s Doug Appelgren / MDHA PRESIDENT
TEN YEARS FROM NOW
Let me start with two quotes from Aldo Leopold’s classic 1949 environmental nonﬁction book, A Sand County Almanac: “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Then he states: “Conservation means harmony between men and land. When land does well for its owner and the owner does well by his land, when both end up better by the partnership, we have conservation. When one or the other grows poorer, we do not.” If we are to continue our hunting traditions and promote science-based wildlife management in this country, we must continue to support a variety of hunting advocacy groups, support our gun rights and act locally and internationally as responsible and respectful hunting ambassadors. Can we articulate why we hunt and explain the role hunting plays in wildlife management� Are we active in MDHA and/or other groups and do we look for opportunities to introduce others to hunting� Do we remain diplomatic, respectful and tactful when dialoguing with non-hunters or even anti-hunters� Will MDHA and/or hunting even be around ten years from now� Will we be relevant� Indeed, we need to take a hard look at ourselves and our future. We will probably be a smaller organization as the research and trends point that out. How do we stay relevant� How do we survive� To do so will require active engagement. We must be open to the kind of change this demands in current membership as well as the kind of change that will ensure our hunting traditions and heritage survive. The paradigm is shifting. We must herald R-3, remain politically active and be open to change, which doesn’t ask for permission and remains inevitable. What part are we playing to make sure our legacy remains� Kyle Weaver, President and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF),
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tells us to “Celebrate the bond of the hunt and that being a true hunter means giving back to the land and the wildlife that feed our body and soul.” You have heard me say it before, but I have always felt if we take from the resource, we should give back to it. On a personal level, I have discovered how rewarding it is to mentor new hunters— sharing the hunting bond and helping them create their own stories. We have many opportunities to share our passion for the outdoors with “not yet hunters” in positive, encouraging and educational ways. Often times we argue amongst ourselves about methods, regulations, CWD, APRs, logistical matters and our individual backyard issues. When those issues become divisive, we lose sight of our common ground. Why do we hunt� In his 1972 definitive non-fiction treatise on hunting, Meditations on Hunting, Spanish hunter and author Jose Ortega y Gasset argues, “Unethical hunting begins when we make more of the prize than the pursuit.” Additionally, he explains, “When the goal becomes more important than the process (trophy hunting), what’s lost is the essence that makes hunting religious, elemental and defensible.” Most of us will probably agree hunting includes all of this and that the land is an ecological phenomenon to which we all belong. We need to take care of it and our wildlife. Rituals, traditions, camaraderie, love of the outdoors and the passion we have for whitetail deer all make up hunting. "Responsibility" sounds like duty and obligations and indeed in this context I am speaking to that. But, when I focus on the word I also mean, how are we “able” to “respond” in a way that serves our best interest� In this case—MDHA and deer hunting. Accountability is usually used in a context of “holding someone’s feet to the fire.” Here, however, I also speak to how are we “able” to “account” for our “experience”� “Able”
and “account” are often used in “Human Potential” workshops and speak to the responsibly of choosing other ways to get the results we are looking for. It is the one thing we can change and the great news is it’s pretty much all we have to do. Will MDHA fall victim to passivity� Victims have many reasons, yet, those who look at the role they played in the event can change the outcome. Reasons or results� It’s all about choice and whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all accountable. Will MDHA remain active, engaged and relevant� It is all up to our collective individual choices. As urbanization increases, people continue to lose sight of their connections to the land and the wildlife that inhabits it. Some have little understanding as to why we hunt and the role we play in conservation. The “North American Conservation Model” is the most successful wildlife management system in the world. We spend millions on licenses, equipment, habitat, education and advocacy to sustain manageable wildlife populations and public lands. We work to protect and enhance these spaces as well. Hunting occupies a very important place in our culture and lifestyles in this country. Research shows people across the political spectrum, all cultures, ethnic groups, men and women, value conservation of our land, water and natural resources. Our goal must be to work with diverse parties, find common ground and develop collaborative solutions. This requires a changing paradigm in order to consider all options and develop innovative strategies. What part will we play in MDHA’s success ten years from now� What part are we playing now� What will our legacy be� This is my final column I write as your State President. I have chosen not to run for another two-year term. I am a life member and will continue my involvement. It’s been an extreme honor my friends. Keep the positive in your passion!
Craig Engwall / MDHA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF A VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION
In recent years, a common refrain among volunteer organizations, including MDHA, is it is getting more and more difficult to ﬁnd member volunteers to perform the duties necessary for an organization to fully achieve its mission. Based on my time here at MDHA, my own personal experiences and national data, I must agree this general feeling is well-founded. That said, MDHA’s volunteers continue to do tremendous work and there are ways for us to recruit more people to further MDHA’s mission. I will address these later in this column, but first I would like to discuss some of the trends regarding the challenges in volunteer recruitment. I recently read an article from the Star Tribune about the Prior Lake Snowmobile Association (PLSA) and the difficulties the Association is having recruiting new members and volunteers. PLSA’s situation is strikingly similar to what I hear from MDHA chapter officers on the challenges of getting people involved. PLSA President Tom Schutz said, “We live in one of the fastest-growing regions of the state, but our membership is getting smaller and older,” then Schutz, who wrote an op-ed for their local weekly newspaper as part of PLSA’s annual recruitment drive added, “that’s starting to become a problem.” To illustrate, Schutz said PLSA was founded in 1970 when Prior Lake’s population was 4,127. The group quickly amassed 175 members. In 2013, by contrast, Prior Lake’s population grew to roughly 22,000, while membership had decreased to 60. “This year we have 69 members and most of them are 50 or over,” said Schutz. "Some of our guys are getting a little burned out. We definitely could use some new blood. It’s frustrating we can't get more people interested in our club, but we’ll keep trying. There’s plenty to do." These challenges not only face organizations like MDHA and PLSA, they affect the broader community as a whole.
My 86-year old mother regularly volunteers at her church. She belongs to a church circle and these circles are becoming smaller and older. It is now the norm and not the exception that the women who serve lunch at church funerals are all over 80 with some in their 90s. National studies show this decline in volunteerism is not unique to Minnesota. A report by the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute entitled, “Where Are America’s Volunteers�” examined adult civic engagement with community organizations in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and 215 metropolitan areas. From 2002 through 2015, community organizations saw record highs in volunteer hours served (topping out at 8.7 billion in 2014) and in charitable dollars given ($410.02 billion in 2017). But since 2005, the national volunteer rate declined from 28.8 percent to a 15-year low of 24.9 percent in 2015. Similarly, the percentage of Americans giving to nonprofits annually declined from 66.8 percent in 2000 to 55.5 percent in 2014. The Director of the Institute, Robert Grimm, stated: “Continued declines in community participation will produce detrimental effects for everyone, including greater social isolation, less trust in each other and poor physical and mental health.” So, with all of this gloom and doom, do we simply give up� Of course not! I reviewed a number of publications with recommendations for addressing difficulties in volunteer recruitment and found several suggestions from Offero, a volunteer management system, to be particularly helpful. Combating the Top Reasons People Don’t Volunteer: “I don’t have enough time.” Solution: Most Americans feel they don’t have enough time, so it’s important to highlight your cause and the difference volunteers can make. Strive to fuel their passion. We all find it easier to make time for
something we really care about. “I’ve had a bad experience in the past.” Solution: Create a welcoming environment where expectations are clearly laid out, volunteers are matched with a mentor, and skill sets are identified and put to good use. A comprehensive volunteer orientation is a great way to get your new volunteers started on the right note. “I haven’t been asked.” Solution: This may seem like a silly excuse, but it’s a very common feeling among Americans. People get a false impression the organization doesn’t need them or want them if they haven’t been asked. Know someone who would be the perfect fit for a position� Don’t be afraid to reach out. Additionally, post volunteer opportunities online and on social media to make your organization inviting to a wider audience. “I don’t need another commitment right now.” Solution: Make volunteer opportunities more accessible by offering various schedules, commitment levels and time frames. “I inquired about an opportunity, but never heard back.” Solution: There is nothing worse than missing a critical opportunity with a willing participant. Make it a priority to get back to prospective volunteers within 24 hours of their inquiry. Double check all phone numbers and email addresses listed for your organization to make sure they are accurate and that requests aren’t getting lost along the way. These recommended solutions won’t magically make the challenges in recruiting volunteers go away. But, since I’ve heard every one of the reasons for not volunteering listed above, I am committed to doing my best to implement the suggested solutions wherever possible. I sincerely hope you will consider doing so as well as we all try to grow MDHA and further our mission. MDHA volunteers are doing a fantastic job and it would be wonderful to add to our volunteer ranks!
LONG RANGE PRACTICE HELPS SHORT RANGE PROFICIENCY BY TRACY BREEN
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Being able to split an apple in half at 80 yards with an arrow is something all bowhunters want to be able to do, but the truth is most of us are too busy to practice enough to be that proﬁcient. Finding the time to perfect our shot to the point where we can consistently split hairs at long ranges is difficult. According to Rene Tapia from Dead On Archery in Idaho, being accurate at 80 yards and beyond isn’t extremely problematic and doesn’t take as much time as you might think. “For starters, if people want to be able to drive tacks at long distances, they need to practice at long distances. I would never shoot at a live animal at 80 yards in the woods, but I practice at 80 yards all the time. Shooting at 80 yards helps me fine-tune my form and if I am competent at 80 yards, a 40 or 50-yard shot in the field is going to be much easier,” Tapia said. According to Tapia, one thing that causes many archers to be off the mark at great distances is their rest
tuning,” Tapia explained. When walk-back tuning, a target is set up with nothing but a long vertical line on it. Many people use duct tape. “You shoot at 10 yards, 20 yards and keep going back by ten yards and shoot the same arrow each time. The goal is to keep the arrow hitting as closely to the center line as possible. If it starts drifting to the left or right slightly when you back up, the rest will need to be moved a bit to the right or left, depending on which direction the shooter is off. If a rest is shooting to the left or right a little bit, it will make a big difference at extreme ranges. Being off less than a couple inches at close range can mean being off by almost a foot at long ranges. When walk-back tuning, if my arrows start to curve one way or the other, I know I need to adjust my rest. Often it only needs to be adjusted a tiny amount.” What can also affect long range shooting are inconsistencies in shooting form. “To hit the same mark shot after shot, we must release an arrow the exact same way. To do that, we need a consistent anchor point. I like the jaw and the tip of the nose. If the string is on the tip of my nose and I am using a peep sight, I am going to produce a consistent release, especially if I relax and don’t punch the trigger,” Tapia added.
not being tuned properly. Either the fletching comes in contact with the rest when the shot is taken or the rest causes the arrow to hit slightly to the left or to the right of the mark. “A rest needs to be dead center for the arrow to hit perfectly every time. To ensure this is the case, I do walk-back
Another thing that can affect long range accuracy is inconsistent arrow weight. “Every broadhead that is supposed to be 100 grains isn’t exactly 100 grains. Every arrow doesn’t weigh exactly the same. To be able to drive tacks, all my arrows need to weigh the same so when I let them fly, they hit the same mark as the arrow before it. At 20 or 30 yards, if one broadhead weighs a little more than the next one, no
one will notice a difference. But at 80 yards, a few grains here and a few grains there start adding up and affect accuracy,” Tapia explained. The only way to know exactly how much each arrow in your quiver weighs is to weigh each broadhead and arrow and match them up so they all weigh about the same. Some Western hunters I talk to want all their arrows to weigh exactly the same. Others try to keep them within five or ten grains of each another. A broadhead can really affect the downrange accuracy of an arrow. Many bowhunters now believe because they are using a mechanical head or a small diameter
mechanical heads can fly differently than the practice heads. Practicing with a real broadhead can help a bowhunter fine-tune their setup. The last thing bowhunters want to find out in the field is their practice head didn’t fly the same as their broadhead,” Schaffer explained. Lastly, confidence plays a big role in the sport of archery and confidence starts when we are sighting in a bow. “I like to use the UNO Archery app when I am sighting in my bow. It makes setting my pins quick and easy because it gives me pin gaps. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of sighting in a bow. Eliminating human error when setting
fixed blade head, they don’t need to shoot broadheads when they practice anymore. John Schaffer from Schaffer Performance Archery in Minneapolis says otherwise. “I always suggest to my customers they should plan on wasting a broadhead or two before they go hunting. Field points and broadheads fly differently, especially at long ranges. Even
up a bow can really help bowhunters shrink their groups. Because I set up a lot of bows at the pro shop, the app is a huge time saver,” Tapia explained. Some may think the app is a shortcut that makes an archer lazy. Robert Donahoe, inventor of the app, says otherwise. “Properly tuned equipment and flawless
form are the most important elements for long distance shooting. Setting up a bow sight can be a distraction that leads to less attention being paid to shooting form. With the UNO Archery app, archers can quickly get their sights set up and immediately begin working on refining their shooting form for accuracy and repeatability at any distance. After all, we can change a tire if we have a jack and a lug wrench. Changing a tire doesn’t make us a better driver… we need to get on the road and drive.” The bottom line is, if we want to drive
tacks at 80 or 100 yards, which will make harvesting an animal at 40 yards easier, we need to pay attention to every little detail of our bow, how it is setup, and how we shoot... but all the hard work is worth it. Being able to hit a pie plate at 80 yards is extremely rewarding.
Since session commenced on January 8, it seems there wasn’t a day at the Capitol that MDHA hasn’t been engaged with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). These discussions with administration, legislators and interested parties occur daily and continued to do so until the 2019 legislative session adjourned on May 20. Although it is still uncertain what comprehensive package legislators will adopt to contain this devasting disease, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently updated their Surveillance and Management Plan for CWD in Minnesota free ranging cervids. The plan for free ranging deer, moose and elk describes the DNR’s response when CWD is detected. It addresses both emerging infections and scenarios where the disease may not be eliminated from wild populations. The prescriptive steps the DNR will take upon initial disease discovery, along with more collaborative alternatives for cervid management options, are explained. The original CWD Response Plan was written in 2010 by experts in the DNR’s Wildlife Health Program. This updated plan incorporates more recent research from scientific literature, CWD plans form other states and provinces and experts from around the country including information specific to CWD infections that may persist on the landscape.
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There are important elements in the plan, including program and regulatory alternatives, season lengths, bag limits, and incentives that are the focus of this process. Plan details include:
Comprehensive public engagement on both the prescriptive and collaborative elements of the plan are vital. The DNR is working to build understanding of the importance of an aggressive disease response with stakeholders.
Initial Detection Response
When CWD is first detected, the DNR’s initial management responses are to: • Act aggressively to eliminate the disease if possible • Prevent or minimize disease spread • Collect adequate samples to monitor disease prevalence and spread • Engage stakeholders and provide accurate and current information about CWD
Transition to a Persistent Infection
Where CWD exists at a significant prevalence or over a wide spread area, it may be impossible to eliminate from wild animal populations and the environment. Since CWD has a long incubation period and can be transmitted several ways, management
BY CORY BENNETT, MDHA LEGISLATIVE CONSULTANT
actions are needed to minimize the impact and limit spread to new areas of the state.
Management of a Persistent CWD Infection
If CWD is determined to be in wild cervids, the DNR will implement additional steps to manage the disease and prevent spread. The goals for management would include: • Contain CWD infections within the CWD zone • Minimize the impact of the disease statewide • Reduce the prevalence in affected area • Collect adequate samples to monitor disease and spread • Provide accurate and current information to public and stakeholders • Engage in applied research on CWD
Management of Endemic Disease
If CWD is determined to be endemic in wild cervids, the DNR will aggressively manage the outbreak within the CWD Management Zone and shift focus and resources to prevent spread to new areas of the state. Hopefully, with this action plan in place and an aggressive comprehensive legislative package, CWD in the state of Minnesota will be contained and eradicated.
NICOLE LARSON GEO-PAK HUNT ULTIMATE AMBASSADOR
“GEO-PAK HUNT HAS SO MANY USEFUL FEATURES, MY FAVORITES BEING THE TRACKS AND COLLABORATION FEATURES WHERE I CAN RECORD MY EVERY STEP WHILE BLOOD TRAILING DEER OR LOOKING FOR SHEDS ALLOWING ME TO KNOW THE AREA I'VE ALREADY COVERED. THE COLLABORATION FEATURE IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER. YOU CAN SHARE IMPORTANT PINS AND DATA AS WELL AS TRACK EACH OTHER IN THE FIELD WHICH IS A SAFE AND INNOVATIVE FEATURE - GEO-PAK HUNT APP: SUCH A GREAT TOOL FOR BIG WOODS HUNTING!”
BIG DEER IN LITTLE PLACES
A little cut in this patch of grazed Dakota prairie yielded handsomely for the hunter who posted there.
When you don’t know where to look, the deer know just where to go. BY WAYNE VAN ZWOLL November 20 sent him new snow. Starting early, he soon found prints, one set from a deer “with a lazy hoof.” They were easy to follow. In a patch of weeds near a rail bed, the cover erupted with deer. He fired several times at the buck. Just one cartridge remained in his rifle as he again took the track. At river’s edge, he spied the wounded animal in brush on the far shore. He aimed carefully and with his last bullet killed it. While he went for help to retrieve his prize, however, the water swept it away – an omen of what was to come. The party eventually found the buck. Back in town, a taxidermist took $5 as full payment for a shoulder mount. Then he vanished.
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Several decades later the deer’s antlers sold for $2 in a Minnesota second-hand store. Taped by Boone and Crockett protocol, they were declared the new world’s record whitetail, killed by an unknown hunter near Sandstone. But James Jordan, who ran a bar near St. Croix, Wisconsin, had seen the antlers, and claimed he had shot the buck on the Yellow River near Danbury in 1914. B&C investigated and in 1978 named Jordan as the hunter. He had died two months earlier. This true tale reads like fiction. And verily, your odds of kicking a record-book deer from track-side weeds are akin to those of a meteorite cratering your kitchen. Still, as you read this, there are mature bucks chewing
their cuds in nondescript cover hunters routinely ignore. In my youth, most hunters who waited for whitetails spent their vigils at the intersection of trails and in wooded peninsulas that funneled animals into and out of more open, less secure feeding areas. Big timber held few deer; most lived at forest’s edge, on the fringes of wooded swamps or in islands of brush and enterprising hardwoods and conifers. With overgrown fence-rows and shelter-belts, such places put smorgasbords of edibles within easy reach. They shielded the whitetails from view and provided thermal protection – shade in summer, a windbreak in winter.
On any opening day across the Midwest, hunters still target these signature spots. Waiting, still-hunting, pushing and now sniping from across crop fields, they kill plenty of bucks. But deer soon learn where hunters prowl. Forage and comfort take a back seat to survival. After opening-day volleys, bucks seek quieter places, hiding where few hunters go, shunning places where hunters expect them to be. Those places are legion. Not that they’re always easy to find. Many hunters overlook them because they want so badly to see a deer. They’d fare better trying to see like a deer. We humans are accustomed to dealing with the obvious – sights and sounds, mainly, because we have an abysmal sense of smell. We respond to flashing lights, metal-flake paint, sparkling jewelry. Chrome-embellished automobiles with backup cameras herd us home through gauntlets of billboards so we can watch The Outdoor Channel on screens the size of pool tables – or thumb-scroll thousands of mediocre images we’ve yet to purge from our smart-phones. People hail us with a shout; we respond in kind. We dial up the volume on electronic devices and have traded the silent paper map for a seductive voice on our dash …. You get the idea. Deer, on the other hand, survive by minding obscure details – the faint rhythms of the woods carried by a shadow’s wink, rustling leaves, a turn in the breeze. When deer look, they’re still. They don’t fidget, because the slightest movement of the eye can shift a still image, blurring details. Choosing a path or a destination, deer examine each. Unlike hunters, who scan a big slice of country quickly, deer focus on small pieces of it, where they know the trails will take them, where they might nibble a bush or lie down. They look into cover, not at it. They know right away if anything is out of place. Think of your kitchen. If you get up in the night for a glass of water, you may not switch on the light. You know the way, can open the cupboard, grab a glass, reach the tap without looking. If you want to read, you know where you left your glasses and can find the lamp button without groping. You needn’t count steps up or down; your feet have them memorized. But a distant relative visiting your home once a year could hardly navigate it to accomplish these small tasks in the dark. So it is with deer in places they see all day every day, places you see perhaps three mornings and evenings each November.
While obvious islands of cover grab the hunter’s eye, deer vanish in landform, grass and shadow. “Pretend you’re a deer,” a savvy veteran told me long ago. Denying his eye the easy marks, he looked in the crevices other hunters dismissed or didn’t even see. One cold Michigan morning, in a patch of yellow grass fringing “sugarbush” maples, a deer lifted its nose to read the wind. Bill rolled it with his .30-30. Surely that buck had watched other hunters pass by, en route to woodlots big enough to harbor herds of whitetails. “Don’t look for deer subdivisions or deer houses,” said Bill. “You can’t properly hunt those;
you can only wander through them or wait for a deer to make a mistake. Get specific. Find the door to a buck’s house, his kitchen, his bedroom. Be watchful there.” Another pal failed in a season-long search for a mature buck. The last evening he took a short-cut through a close-cropped pasture back to his truck. Suddenly, a big set of antlers erupted from a depression. Bob missed a hurried shot, then centered a follow-up. “I’d never have believed a deer could hide in a cut that small! He had probably lived there since the opener!” No one had investigated that crease – or, perhaps, even noticed it. Deer vanish in cover too thin to hide a smile. Bucks can live where you may not even see cover! When you hunt little places matters less than many hunters think. Deer don’t vanish into the ether between the
A farmstead weed patch gave Wayne this fine whitetail. He spotted it prone, glassing through grass. witching hours of dawn and dusk. They take up space. They have form and color. They move and make noise. Looking diligently in the right places, you’ll find them. Staying sharp and effective all day can test your patience and physical endurance; but limiting field time to early and late trims your odds of seeing deer. The hunting pressure that sends bucks to thickets can help you at mid-day. Hunters leaving stands for a noon siesta alert deer with their motion, noise and scent. Some of those animals will move in response to the traffic. Those undisturbed may rise from bed to stretch, nibble. Without changing location,
they become, suddenly, visible. Changes in weather, with shifts in sun and wind direction, can nudge deer toward sunlight or shade, or to face another direction. When weather, hunting pressure or the limits of available cover put brakes on your hunt, explore! Still-hunting through a thicket last fall, I came upon saplings peeled white by a rutting buck – just as that deer arrived! For brief seconds, we stared at each other. His rack showed promise. I gave it another year. A bright sun nixed other prospects, so I hiked into adjacent hills. Expanses of short grass were broken by cedar clumps dense as steel wool. Hours later, about to dismiss these badlands, I was all but run over by a doe that came from nowhere and plunged into a cedar jungle snaking toward distant bluffs. Then a wide-antlered buck zipped by, hot on her heels. I let them go but returned the next day to still-hunt the fringe of that draw. I shot the buck in an adjacent cut, farther from traditional cover than he’d been in the day before. Pressure that moves whitetails won’t necessarily push them far or keep them away, especially on prairie or farmland that offers little woody cover. I once hunted a Dakota creek bordered by willows and alders and the occasional copse of hardwoods. This coulee snaked for miles; hunters prowled it daily. But harried deer could move along it fast, without leaving cover. They simply skirted the pressure. Bounced hard from a corner, bucks jetted into the surrounding ranch-land, sneaking back to the bottom in a day or two. My partner Ken killed a dandy buck there, in a section I had still-hunted the morning before. Even the tiniest places you think vacated by deer may still hold them. Many years ago, I bumped into a buck and a doe in a riverside thicket. The animals crashed away, swallowed instantly by the alders. Chastising myself for thinking that patch too small for a look, I pondered dispiriting options. Dawn had turned to morning. Property boundaries hemmed me in. I could concede the day, or circle this cafeteria-size thicket. All but certain the deer had blasted through to escape down-river, I looped wide and entered the alders crosswind, one glacial step at a time. A fool’s errand, appropriately assigned, thought I. Then, in my binocular, a white spot! A deer’s nose-patch. Motionless, I stared back, tweaking the focus of the 7x35. An ear came clear, but no antler. Focusing deeper into the tangle, I caught a reflection behind – the
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Don�t waste a good place by hunting into the sun. Best option here: move crosswind, sun to the side. eye of another deer. Presently I made out an antler base. Very slowly my .308 came to bear. The crosswire quivered beside the eye; the buck fell instantly. No cover is too small or too near to hide a buck that has hidden there successfully. Wily bucks are sometimes loath to leave a place, even if safe cover abounds close by. In the fall of 1953, on a brushy ridge in Arizona’s Santa Rita Mountains, Ed Stockwell flushed two Coues bucks. They sprinted toward the crest, vanishing in a wink. Ed scrambled after them – for a few steps. They had beaten him. He turned back down the hill. Then a shift of shadow caught his eye. To his astonishment, a buck appeared over his sights! The pair had split, one deer hooking back to hide! Ed downed it with his Savage 99. At over 144 inches, the antlers are still a world record. I’ve never been so fortunate. But once, still-hunting apace with my partner along parallel ridges, I spied a buck sneaking from a swatch of brush ahead of him. The deer eased a stone’s toss down-slope and stopped. It watched Vern advance through the cover, examine the fresh bed, then continue. When my pal was a few yards beyond, the animal tip-toed back. The maneuver so impressed me, I almost conceded the match. This was a hard hunt though; so farther along, I signaled Vern to hunt back the way he had come. He obliged, and on the same path killed that buck at a range of mere feet. Even after you’ve carefully hunted little places, retracing your steps can change your fortunes!
Look well! How you look matters as much as where. Look as you move, but when you stop for a real look, be still! Move your eyes, not your head. Use your binocular! A lightweight, lowpower glass is best, as it’s easy to carry and use frequently and delivers bright images in dim light without need for heavy, bulky front lenses. Its wide ﬁeld lets you inspect more of a thicket without moving your hands. It also provides a deep ﬁeld – you’ll see details in sharp focus far into cover. Adjust focus where you expect to see game; distant focus dialed for looking across crop ﬁelds is useless once you step into the oaks. Go slowly. Stop often to look to the side and behind. Stop where you’ll have shot alleys in several directions, feet positioned for quick, accurate oﬀhand shooting. Keep your riﬂe ready. Where wind and terrain permit, hunt with bright sky behind you. Hew to trails, where the deer are accustomed to motion. Look no higher than your chest. Whitetails stand 30 to 40 inches at the shoulder! Bedded, they’re even with your ankles, ears and antlers just above your knees. Bucks sometimes hide in grass with their heads on the ground! Mind horizontal lines, a wink of white, any reﬂection. Deer are hard to see because they appear as background, especially when shadow-mottled. Thus, we see shards of the insigniﬁcant. To penetrate this veil, look between and beyond what you know is not a deer. When you become too tired to hunt eﬀectively, take a break. Why would you rout a buck without getting a shot? Little places that hold deer are too good to waste!
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When my oldest daughter Ivy was about three years old, we had a conversation that gave testimony I was doing something right in regards to bringing up a hunter. I had just set her supper plate on her highchair and she enthusiastically asked, “What are we eating�” I said, “chicken,” she further asked, “Did you shoot it�” I was a bit surprised but admittingly pleased she saw the likeliness her supper was “shot” probably right outside in our woods. I confessed this chicken was not hunted by her Dad. Still being inquisitive, she continued the conversation, “Oh, who shot it�” “Hmm,” I proceeded to tell her, “this bird was bought at the store where it came from a farm” and you get the idea. Why did this conversation amaze me� Because today so many parents hide where food comes from and talk to their kids in riddles, avoiding the discussion that we eat animals! Since my daughter thought nothing of it, I was pleased because she was aware of reality. It is really a very recent oddity that society suggests kids cannot handle the fact they eat animals. Perhaps this perception and uncomfortableness is an unfortunate by-product of urbanization’s conveniences and separation from the natural world. Food comes from stores and restaurants where someone else does the killing and preparation. The circle of life is real, and not very hard to understand if you are raised in reality. It is harder to understand and accept if it comes to you later in life. My kids were raised with their eyes wide open when it comes to making meat. Both of my daughters would come out to the garage while I processed venison with butter knives in their little hands “cutting” the trim meat off the bones and carcass. They loved
to help and took on more duties every year, including making sausage as a family. When Lily was in the first grade, she announced her astonishment at the supper table that kids at her school said they buy steak from the store! She is not the type to call them out, but silently filed her observation to later share her astonishment. She knew where steaks came from because she had been helping cut up deer and even bear since she could well, hold a butter knife. Each of my three kids began their hunting tradition sitting in a deer stand blowing on grunt calls or harnessed to the ceiling of a spear house hunting pike with me when they turned four years old. That may sound hard to believe but it’s true, not for a long time, but enough to open the door to becoming a hunter. On Lily’s first sit in a spearfishing house, unexpectedly after I had just lowered the decoy, a pike quickly appeared in the hole. I reached for the spear and hurryingly nailed it. She was impressed with the fish and shrieked in excitement as it came out of the hole. I shook it off the spear onto the ice outside and settled back into darkhouse mode. A few minutes later, after probably pondering her thoughts, she casually noted how lucky I was I dropped that thing on that fish or we never would have caught it! Apparently, I was not very clear what we were going to be doing that day! When the time came for them to carry their own firearms, I was committed to
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making the hunts always their time. Squirrels were the first game we sought together. Spending time on crisp colorful fall days scanning the woods for flicking tails, while quietly leaning against an oak is how to become a predator. Carefully aimed shots on small targets is training for bigger game to come. They called the shots and were the only ones carrying a gun for the first hunts. It has to be about them, for safety and training purposes. They also make the decisions, for example, should we pull the canoe over that beaver dam or turn around� Lily’s first duck hunt was a muddy mess and she was thrilled at getting dirty to shoot some ducks on the river. Portaging a canoe and dragging it over log jams was all part of the adventure. We worked hard and I’m told, enjoyed the best duck meal ever. That toughness and ability to take on discomfort for the sake of adventure makes for a better appreciation for the hunt, the game and meal it provides. My friend Ryan can attest to Lily’s grit when she did not hesitate to bellycrawl with him through a wetland to close the distance on a gobbler. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Both my girls love to turkey hunt and have had great opportunities. Thanks to good friends and kind-hearted farmers, we hunted both private and public lands. At the time, there were no turkeys where we lived in northern Minnesota. Turkey hunting was a traveling adventure. We camped in tents or stayed in a rustic cabin. I highly recommend
turkey hunting for kids or any new hunters. The sensation of hearing a gobbler holler from the predawn darkness seizes attention. The sensory encounter with the approaching unseen beast as he thunders a response to your yelping call for a first time or a seasoned hunter is thrilling and never gets old. And when that brilliant red head appears through the brush it is intoxicating. Turkey hunting allows a new hunter the opportunity to be mentored while being a total participant. They can work the calls and make a carefully guided shot while shoulder to shoulder with their mentor. Thanks to Minnesota law, kids can hunt small game, including turkeys, at the age of parents’ discretion. By fourteen all three of my kids called in and killed birds solo after a few years hunting with me or my friends. Ivy called in a bird for her friend Mikala while she and her dad, my hunting partner Trevor, were napping. This was just one day after she had called in her first solo bird while I hunted with her younger sister. When it comes to deer hunting, my daughters were trendsetters at the Zerkel deer camp. Ivy was the first girl hunter to stay at the camp and Lily was the second. One by one, the camp patriarchs each took a moment, off to the side, with me to acknowledge their acceptance and appreciation for bringing my daughter to camp, something they wished they did years ago. Shortly after Ivy’s introduction to deer camp, we established the MEA weekend as bring kids to deer camp weekend. Basically, this is a weekend dedicated to bringing young kids, boys and girls alike, before they are old enough for deer season camp, giving them a chance to be schooled in the ways of shack life. They shoot lots of .22 ammo, small game hunt, learn to do dishes with no running water, ride ATVs, prep stands, collect firewood, have campfires and even learn to play poker. So, what have I learned about bringing girls up as hunters� First of all, don’t make a big deal out of them being girls. Ivy and Lily were very perceptive to how hunting shows and magazines were making a big deal out of girl hunters. They told me they didn’t like it or didn’t want to be treated as if they were unusual. Yes, it is great to see women hunters on TV and magazines, but it does not need to be overstated they are of the female gender. Okay, I get that this article is about girls hunting, but I hope you will notice the entire point is, it was no big deal. Their brother has been raised no differently and he is a boy!
THE ONES WHO OUTLAST, OUTHUNT.
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THE JOURNEY THROUGH FORKHORN CAMP AT LAURENTIAN ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER BY BOBBIE ZENNER
A unique aspect of our Forkhorn Camp at the Laurentian Environmental Center (LEC) is students who attend all three camps have the ability to come back as a mentor. This program allows youth to further their skills and education in hunting and the outdoors, gives them leadership skills, provides a positive atmosphere for connections and to create community, all while inspiring and educating current students. According to mentor Morgan (last names are withheld for privacy reasons), “The feeling I get at LEC is indescribable. Camp is the highlight of my summer as it creates some of my greatest memories and friendships. Because Forkhorn Camp brings many kids from all over Minnesota and even some kids from other states together the bonds some of us make by the end of the week definitely make us feel like we’re family.” To background our programs, youth can begin attending Forkhorn Camp at age 11, beginning with “Forkhorn I: Firearm and Hunting Safety.” The following summer they can attend “Forkhorn II: Bowhunter Education” and finally “Forkhorn III: Advanced Hunter Education.” Youth may also participate in the mentor program the following summer at the age of 14 and can continue through the summer of their
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senior year in high school. As a testimonial, Jeremiah explains, “There was no doubt by the end of my first day of Forkhorn Camp I wanted someday to be a mentor and help others in the same way the mentors I met helped me.” Madison reinforced this, adding, “As a first-time mentor last year, I was able to give back some of what I experienced as a camper and also continuing to learn from those attending camp. Being a mentor at LEC has always been very important to me for many reasons. Chief among these are it is a great way to continue learning, help other kids have the opportunities I did and become more involved in the hunting community.” Individuals can be involved with Forkhorn Camp for a total of eight years, first as a camper and then a mentor. Over the years, a few have returned to be summer staff with part of their job being instructors for
Forkhorn Camps. Students have commented how they truly enjoy coming back and seeing familiar faces while continuing to build relationships. In fact, many mentors have attended camp with their siblings, parents, etc., creating a family experience around hunting. To which Audrey commented, “I have been to many summer camps and programs throughout the years, but mentoring has given me the most rewarding life lessons, skills and memories.” We here at the Laurentian Environmental Center are very much looking forward to the continuation of our Forkhorn Mentor Program so we can provide and share the inspiration, knowledge and opportunities experienced and continue to grow our outdoor community! For more information about this program please visit us at: www. laurentiancenter.org.
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 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 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 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 SEPTEMBER DATE
Carlton County Chapter Fundraiser at the Four Seasons Complex in Carlton. Contact Mike Fasteland at 218.390.4361. East Central Chapter Banquet at Jack & Jill’s. Contact Felix Ramola at 763.262.7395.
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Hibbing/Chisholm Chapter Banquet
Did you know... ATVs were first introduced in 1972?
QUAD RIVERS CHAPTER RECEIVES FIREARM DONATIONS
DENTINGERS DONATE TO QUAD RIVERS CHAPTER
The Quad Rivers Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters would like to recognize Gordy & Sue Dentinger for their generous donation of a $1000 that is designated for the chapter’s Forkhorn camps participants. The Dentingers are dedicated supporters of the Quad Rivers Chapter’s events and projects.
The Quad Rivers Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association would like to thank Gordy Dentinger and Pete Seelen for their generous firearm donations to the chapter. Pete Seelen donated a shotgun towards our 2018 secondary fundraiser. Gordy Dentinger donated a Henry Golden Boy .22 for the chapter’s Forkhorn adopt a highway project. Both Gordy Dentinger and Pete Seelen are avid dedicated supporters of the Quad River Chapter’s events and projects. Gordy and Sue Dentinger.
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Did you know... modern camo was invented in 1980?
AROUND THE State
JIM JORDAN CHAPTER’S 30TH ANNUAL BANQUET A HUGE SUCCESS
32ND ANNUAL STATE HABITAT BANQUET
The 2019 32nd 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 $27,000 net profit was raised
for Minnesota’s habitat! A special thank you to each 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 33rd Annual State Habitat Banquet on February 22, 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 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 chapters 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 statewide involved within our 60 chapters. Without them, there is no way we could do even a small percentage of what actually gets accomplished. Recognizing these outstanding members within our organization is just a small way 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.
2019 DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD WINNERS: East Ottertail Chapter - Chad VanWatermulen Isanti County Chapter - Kevin & Joleen Kriesel Snake River Chapter - Denny Udean Wadena Chapter - John Edinger Rum River Chapter - Steve & Patty Hoﬁus
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The Jim Jordan Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association celebrated its 30th annual banquet in style on April 27, 2019 at the Grand Casino Hinckley. The event was a complete sellout with well more than 500 people attending. Incredibly, the chapter added 153 new members from the banquet. This means that during the past twelve-month period, the Jim Jordan Chapter membership has risen to an incredible 860 members. Hats off to the chapter officers, members and volunteers who have made the Chapter and the banquet such a rousing success! In case you were wondering, in marriage terms, the pearl represents the 30th anniversary and what a gem the Jim Jordan Chapter is. In the deer hunting world, the Jim Jordan Chapter is named after the “James Jordan Buck,” which is the highest scoring typical whitetail deer ever harvested by a hunter in the United States and the second-highest scoring in the world. James Jordan, then a 22-year-old hunter from Burnett County, Wisconsin shot the record buck on November 20, 1914. The Jordan Buck measures 206 1/8 net typical points under the Boone and Crockett scoring system. There’s more, however, and it reads like classic outdoor fiction too good to be true. For the complete fantastic story, google “Legendary Whitetails, the Jim Jordan Buck” and get set for a deer story for the ages. Once again, congratulations to the dedicated volunteers of MDHA’s Jim Jordan Chapter for all the wonderful work it does for deer and deer hunting! Because of you, Minnesota’s deer hunting and MDHA’s future couldn’t be brighter!
Did you know... a whitetail fawn has from 294-306 spots?
DEER HUNTERS BUCKS-N-BOLOGNA CELEBRATES HUNTING HERITAGE
On a cool crisp evening in late March the North Red River Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (NRR MDHA) transformed the Karlstad Eagles to a deer camp setting to celebrate the tradition of deer hunting. The local Minnesota Deer Hunters Association chapter sponsored “Bucks and Bologna,” which drew hunters and friends from near and far. It was a family event much like any hunting camp in November. Four generations were in camp from newborn babies to wise old woodsmen to enjoy deer hunting camaraderie. Prior to the evening, five local teams volunteered to share their sausagemaking skills preparing smoked sausage for the evening meal. MDHA provided the meats and casings while the sausage gurus each ground, mixed, and used their secret spice recipes in making bologna. Each team then smoked their meats, some with traditional oak, others with mixed hardwoods. The delicious smoked sausage aroma from the kitchen roasters along with baked beans, scalloped potatoes, sauerkraut, macaroni salad and fresh homemade buns provided a great evening feast. All sausages were judged by local culinary experts with groomed taste buds scoring each team’s final product. After consuming several pounds of sausage, judges named the Kielbasa Boys of Lancaster as the top bologna team. Chuck Olsonoski, team captain, said making the sausage went smoothly with help from his son-in-law and grandsons who did the heavy work. Their recipe for kielbasa has been in the family for many years. The passing of sausage-making skills and family recipes from generation to generation was one common bond through all teams. The other teams making sausage were Brad and Gary Johnson, Karlstad; Arron Stoltman, Argyle; Doug Lysford Karlstad and Brian Krantz and Deric Erickson, Karlstad/Halma. MDHA thanks all
the sausage teams for their efforts. Without their sharing of the sausage tradition, this evening would not have been possible.
Bucks and Bologna invited all attending to bring and share buck shoulder mounts, antler mounts and shed antlers. Twelve local hunters brought mounts of locally harvested deer, which was impressive and had many sharing hunting stories and experiences. There were tables full of antlers for display, including a freshly found very large elk shed. New this year was the addition of wild game skulls for display, which brought in bear, coyote, fox, bobcat and timber wolf skulls. A photo display board was provided for all to share trail camera pictures captured of wild game and nature at its best. There were also a number of deer camp photos sharing memories of past hunts. The common thread, a passion for Minnesota deer hunting and camp gatherings to enjoy the great outdoors,
Did you know... the first marketed grunt calls were sold in 1984?
made the evening gathering a success. MDHA conducted several games and raffles through the evening to raise funds for their mission “Working for tomorrow’s wildlife and hunters today through habitat and legislation.” A special game of Heads-n-Tails limited to youth 16 years and younger, which MDHA identifies as “Forkhorns,” brought over 60 kids forward for a chance to win a .22 rifle. Many laughs were shared as Forkhorns (youth) had to declare what they believed the next coin flip would be. If they believed it would be heads, their hands were placed on their head. If they believed it would be tails, they were to place their hands on their backside. Ten flips of the coin later there was one Forkhorn left standing smiling with a new gun for plinking away this coming summer. The North Red River chapter currently has approximately 300 members with a service area covering all of Kittson County and a portion of northern Marshall County. Recent chapter activities and benefactors include “Adopt a Wildlife Management Area” in which 50 acres of wildlife food plots were established and seeded, providing habitat enhancement funding for state lands, reclamation of six miles of hunter walking trails on state lands, donations to all their Firearms Safety Classes, purchase of ammunitions for Stephen Argyle Clay Target Team, fully paid scholarship for seven youth to attend Deep Portage Conservation Camp for “Forkhorn Camp”, sponsorship of National Archery in the Schools, Predators on the Prairie Varmint Hunt rifle donation for drawing and a food plot seed program available for all members. Anyone who would like to learn more about the North Red River MDHA or becoming a member of MDHA can contact Kelly Turgeon, Chapter President, at (218) 988-2567 or by emailing turg@frontiernet. net.
AROUND THE State MDHA TRADITIONS AWARD PROGRAM
Each year MDHA chapters and members are honored for their outstanding work in developing membership, youth involvement and 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 year’s award recipients were: Growth Incentive
Alexandria Chapter Bend of the River Bluﬀ Country Brainerd Chapter Carlton County Chapter Central Minnesota Chapter Chippewa Valley Chapter Clay Wilkin Chapter Crow River Chapter Des Moines Valley Chapter East Ottertail Chapter Itasca County Chapter Hibbing/Chisolm Chapter Jim Jordan Chapter Lake Vermilion Chapter Lakes & Pines Chapter Minnesota River Valley Chapter Morrison County Chapter North Red River Chapter Roseau River Chapter Rum River Chapter Sherburne County Swampbucks Chapter Southeast Chapter Sunrisers Chapter Thief River Falls Chapter Trails End Chapter Tri-County River Bottom Bucks Chapter Two Rivers Chapter
Recruitment and Retention Level: Alexandria Chapter Bend of the River Chapter Bluﬀ Country Chapter Brainerd Chapter Crow River Chapter East Ottertail Chapter Minnesota River Valley Chapter Roseau River Chapter Snake River Chapter
Snake River Chapter
24 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
Did you know... a resting fawn’s heartbeat is around 175 beats/minute?
ENDOWMENTS & DONATIONS: 1/9/2019 - 5/14/19
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 22nd, Carter Hammerel 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.
DAY ON THE HILL
ENDOWMENT FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Gary Thompson Steven Dreger Des Moines Valley Central Minnesota Chapter Dennis & Janice Sowada Smokey Hills Chapter Bend of the River EDUCATIONAL FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Nathan Manner GENERAL FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Dennis Czech Cargill Truist Suzanne M Raddohl Timothy Lehigh Julie Teske Vern Boehne MEMORIAL FUND CONTRIBUTOR’S NAME Kristi Matteson Bridgett Scrivener Patricia Sagadin Todd Anderson Kathy Larson Barbara Stephens Megan Ladd
HONOREE’S NAME Tood Look Larry Maddox Larry Maddox Ann Glader Martin Horvat
HONOREE’S NAME Amos Studer Ray Reinardy Martin Horvat Martin Horvat Martin Horvat Martin Horvat Bob Davis
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... Whitetales magazine ran an article about Lyme’s Disease in 1985?
D�N�R�C�R�N�L�G�: T�E S�I�N�E O� T�E� D�T�N�
"Den-dro-chronology" is the scienfic process of using tree rings (or growth rings) to understand what happened in the environment during the life cycle of a tree. If you ever come across a tree stump, you'll quickly see there are a number of circles, beginning with smaller ones near the center of the tree and expanding into larger circles towards the bark. These are referred to as tree rings. So, the main item you'll need for today's science project is a stump. They're usually really easy to find - head to a park, a forested area or even your backyard if you've recently removed a tree. Counting Tree Rings to Age a Tree Here are a few cool facts about tree rings before you go: • A tree adds new layers of wood each spring and summer. • Wood added in the spring grows faster and is lighter. • Wood added in the summer (and fall) grows slower and shows up darker. • In order to date a tree, you should count the dark rings on a tree's stump once it's cut down. Once you find your tree stump, you'll want to count ONLY the dark circles to date your tree. You'll notice not all trees grow in perfect circles, like the one pictured. But, all trees will product some type of tree ring as they grow so if you come across a funny-shaped stump, just be sure to count the rings at the widest area. And, do you see that dark center area of the tree? That's the heartwood of a tree. It's actually dead layers of the tree that have filled with sap but it serves as a pillar for the tree - a stronghold that keeps the tree upright. The lighter area is sapwood which is newer growth. These layers are how the tree gets water to its leaves. We analyzed a few different tree stumps to look at age and also to look at growth patterns. For example, when there is less rain, tree rings will be closer together. Content provided by www.kcedventures.com
26 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
F�R�H�R�S I� T�E F�E�D
If you are lost and need to find your way without a compass, you can use this method to find north. However, the smartest use for this is to find north before you head out on an adventure. That way you know which direction you are headed and can then find north and make sure you head back in the right direction. If you don’t know where you came from, knowing which way is north might not be of any use. To find north on a sunny day, you’ll need a straight, medium sized stick and two rocks. Find a clear sunny area and push the stick into the ground or have a partner hold it. Mark the end of the stick’s shadow with a rock.
Drake Carroll shot this tom during the spring 2019 season with his dad (also named Tom!).
Take a break and wait 15-20 minutes, making sure you keep the stick in the same spot. So, if you are just holding it, you’ll need to mark where you placed it if you want to put it down. Then, do the same thing and mark the end of the stick’s shadow. Put your left foot on the first rock and your right foot on the second rock. The way you are facing is north. Now you can mark each direction, north, east, south, west, with your stick. THE SCIENCE BEHIND FINDING NORTH WITH THE SUN Remember…the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west. That means the sun’s shadow points in the opposite direction. If the sun is in the eastern part of the sky (before noon) then its shadow is pointing west. Your first rock stands for west and your second rock stands for east. So, if you make a point directly in the middle of your east and west rocks you can find north. Content provided by www.trueaimeducation.com
M�R�L M�S�R�O�S The Morchella esculenta, commonly known as the morel, was adopted as the official mushroom of the state of Minnesota in 1984. The morel season in Minnesota usually begins in April in southern Minnesota and ends sometime in June in northern Minnesota, depending on the growing conditions. Veteran "shroomers" will tell you the first sign of blooming lilacs and dandelions are an indication the morels will be up and ready for picking. Morels can be found in a variety of landscapes, but are commonly found growing under and around decaying elm trees. Some pickers claim southern exposures that warm first in spring make great spots to find morels. Some successful mushroom hunters, also target burned areas or freshly logged areas. Once you locate a patch, use a knife to slice off the morels at the soil level. Use an onion bag so as you carry them through the woods the spores get sprinkled about. This ensures next year’s crop of morels. The science behind why morels grow where they grow is mostly unknown. There are many factors that affect mushroom growth, and it is anybody’s guess as to when and where they will grow. That’s what makes finding them even more special.
Did you know... does are rarely more than 100 yards from their fawns?
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Summertime Whitetails BY TOMMY KIRKLAND Newborn fawns dart and frolic while their mothers keep a keen eye out for roaming predators. Velvet antlered bucks are preoccupied with intense vegetative foraging as their velvet racks begin to expand and grow. It is summer and bowhunting season is just a few weeks away… Though some folks may not give it much thought, the hot sultry days of summer can dictate whitetails for future harvesting opportunities. Depending on nutrition,
30 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
predator activity, weather conditions and disease outbreaks– these aspects can undoubtedly have a positive or negative impact for sporting enthusiasts. The Deer Fawn For parenting female deer, proper nutrition is foremost to provide nourishment for their newborn offspring and for fawns old enough to forage by their mother’s side, succulent pliable vegetation is vital if they
are to mature properly. Also, the healthier and more alert the deer family is, the easier it will be for them to successfully evade predators such as coyotes.
Whether it is through the instinct of flight or quietly staying concealed amid the foliage, quality nutrition strongly influences a whitetail’s ability to survive, especially for the deer fawn. Healthy fawns remain quiet; whereas, malnourished fawns will cry out for their mother with a “bleat” call. The sounds echo fast - ultimately attracting predators. If the parenting female doesn’t reject her offspring, which is usually due to nutritional stress, a hormonal imbalance, inexperienced first time mothers or disease, then the process of maternal guidance is underway. Although the deer fawn possesses certain inborn survival instincts, it still predominately takes
By its mother�s vocal guidance, the fawn learns where these chosen bedding sites are located; and within just days, the fawn can go to these secluded locales on its own, or by her cue. commands from its mother. Foremost are concealed bedding sites which are prechosen by the mother. If these locales remain undisturbed, then she will use them year after year - especially if she has raised young before. Despite that the fawn is growing rapidly by now, it still spends the majority of time bedding. By its mother’s vocal guidance,
the fawn learns where these chosen sites are located and within a couple of weeks after birth, the fawn can go to these secluded bedding locales on its own or by her cue. Besides nutrition, this aspect of camouflage is crucial. If everything is on track, the young deer quickly learns to be silent and evasive of roaming predators!
As summer slowly transitions toward the fall season, bachelor bucks do begin to scent mark, and interact with females.
folded back with the neck stretched outward and hair coat bristled out. They will also “wheeze” vocal at one - just like vocalizations during the rut. Sidling behaviors, which are a walking gait with the whole body turned inward, are also exhibited among bucks clashing for supremacy. As summer slowly transitions toward the fall season, bachelor bucks do begin to scent mark and interact with females. Once the velvet tissue is peeled off with the onset of cooler days and nights, most bachelor bucks return to their late summer routines, with a few exceptions. Knowing these summertime habits can undoubtedly increase the odds of success for early season harvesting.
Common signs of hierarchy are the ears folded back with the neck stretched outward and hair coat bristled out. They will also “wheeze” vocal at one another like conflicts during the rut. Sidling behaviors, which are a walking gait with the whole body turned inward, are also exhibited among bucks clashing for supremacy. The Bachelor Bucks As for bucks in whitetail country, access to good nutrition during the warmest season plays a big role in antler development along with age and genetics. Males are careful not to damage their growing velvet antlers and spend much of their time bedding in secluded areas near prime food sources. Unlike the rigors of the rut where male deer turn into rivals competing for females in estrus, summer brings more tranquil times with white-tailed buck behavior. Although some remain solitary, bucks typically form bachelor groups - bedding together, foraging and grooming each other from external parasites like ticks. Physical contact in this “buddy system” is typically minimal and usually non-threatening because the males have to protect their sensitive velvet antlers from injury. Bucks form these groups for various reasons, usually to establish a hierarchical system, which also serves as
32 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
protection from predators. The status for dominance amongst males is initially established in the spring and periodically reinforced during the summer months. Though there are exceptions to the rule, this male social network consists of a dominant buck, which is usually distinguished by a mature large rack and or aggressive behaviors toward the younger bucks and other adult bucks that are subordinate to him. Displays of hierarchy erupt as each male deer attempts to assert himself in these bachelor groups. Once two mature males of equal status clash, they may battle for dominance through the act of “flailing.” Here they stand upright and while balancing themselves, swat one another with their sharp front hooves - resembling boxing contenders. Bucks will also display their rank through a host of physical gestures. Common signs of hierarchy are the ears
Summer’s Plague - Disease The sultry days of summer can bring on a host of natural problems for whitetails – especially the risk of parasitic infections and disease. Warm weather is an invitation for numerous pesky insects. Gnat, horseflies, ticks and intestinal parasites thrive during these times. Some infections can be deadly. Parasitic tapeworms can cause nutritional stress for whitetails - particularly if the herd densities are high. Hemorrhagic diseases like blue tongue and epizootic hemorrhagic disease, commonly referred to as EHD, is usually the demise for some whitetails in a local population. When warmer temperatures prevail, the risk goes up simply because the biting midge flies that transmit EHD are active - that is until the first solid freeze of the fall season arrives. In recent years, EHD has been making inroads to northern states. In some cases, it has dramatic effects on deer herds - simply because northern whitetails do not have the immunity to EHD in comparison to southern whitetails. Yet, despite Southern whitetails and their resistance, EHD still takes a toll down South with new strains of the disease. Besides the lethal struggles whitetails face during the summer, they are bothered quite a bit by less non-threatening pests like nasal bot flies, fibromas affecting the skin, abdominal worms and brain worms. These diseases and parasitic infections are more a nuisance for the whitetail. However, if the deer population is too high in a given area, then minor infections such as these can be a problem simply because overcrowding negatively affects quality nutrition, which in turn affects the animals’ ability to resist disease. Summer’s Bounty Foremost, the whitetail’s physical needs are
Various types of legumes such as red clover are rich in nitrogen, which not only stimulates the legume itself, but the soil and surrounding plants as well. But even if clover isn�t seeded and planted into the ground, most types have an amazing resistance to extreme conditions, even with inferior soil pH. basically the same - be it the frigid Northern states or the hot sultry regions of the South. Although northern deer require more fats, proteins and carbohydrates due to extreme weather and periodic food shortages, all whitetails need the basics of good nutrition obtaining roughly 16% to 20% crude protein plus carbohydrates, vitamins and good minerals to successfully survive and breed. As hunters can readily attest, managed food plots are an excellent way not only to draw deer to a particular area, but to also provide whitetails with good quality nutrition. Various types of legumes such as red clover are rich in nitrogen, which not only stimulate the legume itself, but the soil and surrounding plants as well. But, even if clover isn’t seeded and planted into the ground, most types have an amazing resistance to extreme conditions, even with inferior soil pH. Clovers flourish anywhere sunlight can reach. If weeds and grasses are periodically suppressed through burning or mowing - clover grows, giving deer a prime food source, especially when other native forage is lacking. Beyond the man-labored food plots, bucks and does are selectively browsing to fill their stomachs. Native foods and even a host of exotics like honeysuckle provide a smorgasbord of nutrition unless conditions such as late spring freezes, drought or too much rain grips the land. Yet, the deer
usually adapt and set out to forage for diverse vegetation that meets their nutritional requirements. Due to their wary nature, they prefer to feed along the “edge” where woodlands meet fields or along watershed tributaries with thick foliage adjacent to open areas. Here, natural succession of diverse nutritious foods can thrive, especially flowering plants known as forbs. Whitetails will also ravage the leaves and fruit of small trees, vines and shrubs such as the wild cherry tree, grapevine and blackberry bushes. Like blackberries, other brambles such as wild raspberries flourish along fencerows and in old growth fields that also provide excellent cover to feed. High winds in thunderstorms provide blowdowns and leafy debris - contributing to the whitetail’s diet. When events such as these occur, they take to the woods, seeking vegetative foliage that would have otherwise been more difficult to obtain. Sugar maple leaves and flowering tulip poplars along with many others are ingested. The woodlands are also a host for fungi
to thrive if the timber is receiving adequate rainfall. Deer will consume their share of fungi such as morels, boletes, waxy caps and ring stalk mushrooms during the hot summer days. The non-flowering plants are predominantly water and contain minimal fat, but are relatively moderate in protein. Vitamin B and C are substantial nutrients in fungi and they are loaded with potassium, an important mineral. IN Conclusion Whitetails with quality nutrition during the off-season reap the benefits by having the fuel for antler growth along with females rearing their offspring. So, while hunters fish and engage in other outdoor activities, the future outlook for whitetails can be dictated by the summer months. If you have the opportunity, time and access to engage, summertime management done properly will help to assure a stable, healthy deer population for the upcoming season as well as providing enjoyment in observing them amid the long sultry days of summer.
BY JOSH SALISBURY 34 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
Recently while sitting at the doctor’s office my mind began to wonder. I am willing to bet as a fellow deer hunter you can understand when the mind wanders away from the stress of the daily grind it often reverts to memories of deer hunts past . . . so it was for me on this day. The interesting part is, for me anyway, many of those memories are not of successful hunts I have had over the years, but rather memories in failure. To be sure, like anyone else, I have plenty of successful memories and some of them are quite vivid. I certainly remember my first deer like it was yesterday, my first buck, my first nice buck, my first deer with a muzzleloader, etc. Certain hunts just stand out in one’s mind and often, when I pass a certain spot in the woods where I have had success, I find myself replaying the event in my head. However, there are a lot of deer memories in between certain special hunts that unless I was standing right where the moment of truth took place, I probably couldn’t recall. The crazy part is I remember with quite vividness missed opportunities I have had over the years. If you are a Star Wars fan, you probably have seen The Last Jedi. If you have, there is a scene with the ever-wise Jedi Master Yoda says to a much older Luke Skywalker, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” When I heard this quote the first time it really hit the nail on the head for me, not just in deer hunting, but in many aspects of life. Perhaps that is why these memories of things gone wrong stick in my head so well. When I first started deer hunting, I think I made every mistake in the book. One time on a deer drive that we called the “Two Doe Drive,” things lived up to its reputation. As I sat on the stand hoping a deer would appear from the drive, I heard the sound of a deer blowing. Sure enough, over the ridge came two does. The rookie mistake made on this day is that I wasn’t sitting with my gun in a position that made it quick to react with. Instead, by the time I got my gun into position the deer were already right on top of me and the first doe was so close I could see the breath coming out of her nose and the frost on her whiskers. She stood staring at me and I was caught with the gun only part way up. Needless to say, I ended up getting a shot as she streaked for safety, but I missed. My dad was not impressed when I told him what happened. The lesson learned was, “Be ready on a deer drive.” The next year, on the same drive, I didn’t make the same mistake when two does came over the ridge and I was rewarded with my first and second deer ever!
Fast forward another year to a snowy November day. I can still remember my dad saying, “Josh, with how hard it is snowing, remember to check your peep sight and make sure it doesn’t get snow in it, either from the falling snow or from bumping into a tree branch while walking in.” Well as I stood ready during a drive by my Grandpa, out popped a nice deer, perfectly broadside, around 50 yards away. I raised my old lever action .32 Special and much to my surprise, I couldn’t see her through my snow-filled rear aperture. I desperately tried to blow the snow quietly from my sight, but to no avail as she quickly ran out of view. Lesson learned: “Listen to your dad and keep your sight clean.” This has never happened to me again because I am fanatical about it now. On another occasion, I learned my lesson the hard way on a cold, early December muzzleloader hunt. The day was brutally cold, the kind where you really don’t even want to get out of the truck when you arrive at your hunting spot, but I got out of the truck and grabbed my gun from its case in the back. By now, my hands where already feeling the grasp of Mother Nature and though I typically run a primer or two through the gun to burn off any cleaning oil residue because the cold day though, I opted out of that habitat to avoid fumbling with those small .209 primers. So, I loaded up and headed to the stand. About an hour later I spotted a deer following along a timbered ridgeline and I knew if it kept coming it would go right past me.
Sure enough, the wide 6-pointer just kept following the ridge. I already had my muzzleloader up on the shooting rail and at about 20 yards the buck stopped broadside and looked up at me with a definite deer in the headlights look. However, I was ready. I had the gun cocked, the sights trained behind the front shoulder, all that was left was to squeeze the trigger. When I did this, instead of a bang and a cloud of smoke all I
got was the pop of the primer going off. I am pretty sure at this moment in time both the buck and I had the same bugged out eyes. The deer began to run and in a desperate attempt I tried voice grunting at him while I fumbled to get another primer in the gun. As luck would have it, the voice grunting worked, the buck stopped and I got a primer in, only to have another “pop” and no actual shot. As I watched the deer run out of sight I grabbed another primer. This time I turned the gun toward a tree and took aim to see if the gun would ever go off. BOOM! The gun fired and smoke filled the air. The lesson learned was even if it is brutally cold out, don’t be lazy, run a primer or two through your gun before loading. I am also convinced the powder was slightly damp from oil residue in the gun. Since sticking to this method, I have never had a misfire since. This last memory I am about to share really doesn’t have much of a lesson involved, but it certainly is a memory in failure I will never forget. During the firearms season, I was just starting out making a deer drive through thick timber when a beautiful buck jumped from its bed on the other side of a windrow. The thickness of the brush, the quickness of the deer and the direction he ran all made for no chance of a shot, but I did get a good look at his headgear. My only hope was the buck would run past dad, but he did not. Later that afternoon I thought maybe I should hunt this tract of woods in hopes the big boy came back again. As I slowly picked my way into the stand that afternoon I busted out the buck with a doe
not a hundred yards from where he had been bedded that morning and again, no shot. The rest of the firearms season came and went without a single sighting of the buck. Fast forward to November 29 and muzzleloader season, I remember the date because it’s my mom’s birthday. I had opted for a spot and stalk approach this morning with my muzzleloader along one of my favorite routes. The spot always seems to hold deer. As I sneaked along I couldn’t believe how beautiful the morning was. There was a light coating of snow on the ground making for quiet walking and it seemed every branch of every tree was laced with hoar frost. The sky was a perfect blue, nary a cloud. In my mind, I felt today was my day to shoot a deer, it was just so perfect. As I started over the next rise I caught a glimpse of a doe and she seemed to be looking right at me. I got low to the ground and nearly crawled the next 20 yards or so, hoping to cut down the distance. I slowly stood up and the deer was gone. I figured she must have seen me and busted out of there, but just as I was about to take my next step I looked to the right and there, up on the hillside, I could see the big buck I had seen twice during rifle season. My heart pounded! The deer was a bit out there for me shooting a muzzleloader with open sights, about hundred yards.
36 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
At this point, all I could see was his head and neck. I had two options: try and sneak closer or get the gun up and cocked and hope he stepped out to expose the front shoulder. I opted for option number two. However, when he stepped out it was with a purpose and he was soon making distance with each step. I decided it was now or never so I held a
little high and let it fly. As the smoke cleared I saw him run out of my life with not a scratch on him, along with the doe that had been hidden in the brush. Later that season, I got him on trail camera many times, but never again saw him while hunting. The memory still haunts me. And so it is, every time I pass where this buck stood, I look up on the hillside and replay that day in my mind. I do this often in places where I have had missed opportunities and I am positive as a deer hunter, you probably do too. I guess that is why it is called hunting and not shooting. So, if you make a mistake or miss a deer this season or in the future, rest assured at least you are making memories that will last a lifetime, even if they are memories in failure.
The author often wears Rynoskin tops (note black shirt) and bottoms while hunting early season deer.
TICK PREVENTION WHILE LAND PREPPING, SCOUTING AND EARLY SEASON BOWHUNTING BY BRUCE INGRAM I trace my fear of all things tick-related to July of 1974. While working at a summer camp, a parent of one of my campers told me the heartbreaking story of how her son contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (often caused in Minnesota by the American dog tick). The boy ran an abnormal temperature, the mom hesitated on taking her boy to the doctors thinking the fever would pass, and, ultimately, the child became permanently mentally incapacitated from the high fever that occurred.
38 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
In the early 2000s, my tick phobia grew worse when I read about Lyme Disease spreading across the Eastern half of the United States. I contacted my personal physician and he told me given my passion for deer and turkey hunting as well as being a rural land manager, the odds were good I would contract LD. The doctor even consented to give me an experimental Lyme vaccine that had been developed. Unfortunately, there is no human vaccine for LD today, the manufacturer discontinued it
in 2002 because of a lack of demand. Though, ironically, a vaccine does exist for dogs. In April of 2012 while walking through a cattle pasture with the air temperature in the low 40s, I found about a half-dozen blacklegged ticks on me and removed them. One or more of the beasties must have not been found, however, for six weeks later, I began experiencing chronic fatigue â€“ one of the symptoms of Lymeâ€™s. Several weeks later, my toes began tingling, another symptom, and it was then that I self-diagnosed that I had LD
and again contacted my personal physician. Interestingly, I did not experience the red bulls-eye rash around the bite – the symptom most often associated with LD. After a blood test, the doctor confirmed my fear and put me on doxycycline – a common antibiotic administered for tick-borne illnesses. After a month of being on doxycycline – and experiencing alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation, the doctor said I still showed symptoms of Lyme. This resulted in another round of treatment and painful mouth sores appearing. To be sure, doxycycline is a powerful antibiotic – it’s the same drug used for treatment of the Bubonic Plague, the infamous Black Death that decimated Europe in the 1400s and 1500s. Here’s the good news, at least in my case. First, I did recover from my bout with LD, although I have permanent nerve damage in the toes of both feet. But I can live with that, as it does not impact my outdoor lifestyle, though my toes often tingle while on deer stand on a cold day – and many other times as well. Second, I have become even more obsessed with keeping ticks off me and also of warning others about tick-related afflictions through giving seminars and writing stories like this one. And Minnesotans do need to be warned about the seriousness of ticks. Besides the Black-legged and Dog ticks, the Gopher State is also home to the Lone Star tick, the vile creature that causes the Alpha-gal syndrome – which makes humans allergic to red meat. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are now 16 tick-caused diseases in the United States: https://www.cdc.gov/ ticks/diseases/index.html. Fortunately, there are companies working to decrease our chances of being bitten. A major player in this field is Burnsville, Minnesota’s Gamehide. The company’s ElimiTick line was specifically created to ward off these creatures and other insects. Dave Larsen, vice-president of Gamehide, details the problems in this state. “The black-legged tick is the one causing most of the problems in Minnesota,” he said. “We have pockets of this tick throughout the state, but they are most common in the central part of the state, the eastern part of the state, especially in the St. Croix River Valley on down to southeastern Minnesota. “We don’t see a lot of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but Alpha-gal seems to be increasing. Something that is very concerning is how the Black-legged tick seems to be expanding its range in Minnesota. There seems to be a major
increase in this tick in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, for example.” Larsen says the ElimiTick clothes, through an agreement with Greensboro, North Carolina company Insect Shield, are infused with permethrin. Basically, this means a proprietary permethrin formula binds tightly to fabric fibers. The result is clothes that have been proven to repel not only ticks, but also mosquitoes, ants, flies, chiggers and nosee-ums. While wearing clothes from either Insect Shield’s or Gamehide’s ElimiTick line, I have never been bitten by a mosquito or any tick species.
The author wearing ElimiTick Tactical Style Quarter Zip long sleeve shirt and pants. What’s more, this protection lasts the life of the product, usually 70 or more washes, and these products are EPA approved and can be worn by people of all ages. Deer hunters will appreciate that ElimiTick
clothes are also odorless. Larsen emphasizes summer is certainly one of the times that ticks are most active and wearing this clothing is a sage choice when Minnesota sportsmen are working on food plots, searching for sheds or doing some early scouting. “But bow hunters and grouse hunters should also consider wearing ElimiTick when hunting in early fall,” Larsen continued. “In fact, ticks are still active well into fall and early winter many years.” My wife Elaine and I wear this clothing all during the summer for mowing, gardening, and other backyard chores as well as when working on food plots or gathering berries. I also wear the ElimiTick line during spring
Elaine Ingram wearing Insect Shield clothing while she is picking berries. The author and his wife wear Insect Shield or Elimitick clothing while engaged in summer activities such as working on food plots, cutting wood and even doing yard work.
There are a number of sprays on the market designed to ward off tickets and other insects.
gobbler season. And last fall, I put on Gamehide’s ElimiTick bib overalls during early bow season. Larsen says several of the company’s new products are the Tactical Style Quarter Zip long sleeve shirt and Tactical Style Pants. Also of note is the company has an undershirt to go with this outfit, the Elimitick Quarter Zip long sleeve shirt in loden. For more information: www. gamehide.com. Yet another apparel item I often don is Rynoskin Total, which is designed to be worn under clothing. This product is extremely form-fitting, cool, comfortable and lightweight. Basically, Rynoskin is “body underwear” that puts another level of protection between us and ticks and other insects. The company makes shirts, pants, hoods, gloves and socks. On very warm early fall days when I am hunting inside a blind, I often wear a black Rynoskin shirt instead of camo. Sales Manager Brandon Moss explains why Rynoskin Total works so well. “It’s the weaving of the fabric that keeps biting insects from penetrating,” he said. “That weaving is also chemical free, very breathable and lightweight, all combing to make movement
40 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
easier.” For more information: www. rynoskin.com.
OTHER PRODUCTS Minnesota sportsmen can also use various sprays to ward off ticks and other insects. One of the companies in this field is Kennesaw, Georgia’s BugBand. The company’s product Elaine and I use the most is the Tick Plus Spray Lotion. Sales manager Joan Dollen says BugBand products are made with Gerniol, a compound derived from the geranium plant and essential oils, rosemary, mint and soybean. Products are also Deet free, dermatologist tested approved hypo allergenic, and effective at repelling several species of ticks. Further, the products are safe for all outdoor gear - plastics, rubber, paint, acrylic - and will not melt or remove finish. “Gerniol is natural and plant based,” said Dollen. “Deer have been known to investigate the scent, and deer are known to consume all types of vegetation including geraniums, rosemary and mint. Our products also repel other blood sucking insects: mosquitoes, fleas, flies, gnats and no-see-ums. “BugBand’s Tick Plus Spray Lotion is a
perfect heavy duty protection from biting ticks and other insects. The Tick Plus lotion forms a protective barrier on skin and clothing. Use around ankles, wrist, and neck - entry points where ticks can access the skin.” For more information: www.bugband.net. Another company whose products I utilize is Sawyer in Safety Harbor, Florida. Sawyer also uses permethrin to repel insects. Minnesotans who hunt from blinds may find Sawyer’s Permethrin Premium Clothing Insect Repellent useful. Effective through six washes, this item repels and kills ticks, chiggers, mites and mosquitoes. Another worthwhile item is the Picaridin Insect Repellent, which comes in a lotion or spray. For more information go to: www.sawyer.com. The threat from ticks is serious and increasing. And many people have suffered serious consequences from contacting Lyme and other tick-caused afflictions. “A good friend’s wife is now in a wheelchair because of Lyme disease,” said Dave Larsen. “Her Lyme was not diagnosed early. And many other cases of LD are misdiagnosed because the symptoms are so common to those of other diseases. All of us should be taking precautions against ticks.”
Do you have a photo of a cherished deer hunting memory? We'd love to see it!
Thanks for sharing!
Please send a digital photo in .jpg format to email@example.com. If digital format is not possible, photos may be sent to: MDHA c/o Deer Hunting Memories, 460 Peterson Rd., Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Please include a description of who, when, where, etc. Each issue of Whitetales will celebrate our hunting heritage with your photos. Photos will not be returned.
17-pointer shot in Stevens County in 2014 by Jason Manska of Morris.
Ryan Stanley - Biggest buck I've ever taken. Just south of Austin, MN in 2014. Andy Bohlig and son Luke with a south metro doe.
42 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
This is a copy of a photo found in an abandon house in Virginia, Minnesota therefore the names of the hunters are unknown. It is likely the hunt took place in St. Louis County and judging by the hunter's clothing, it appears the picture may have been taken prior to 1920. Note that each hunter is holding a double barrel shotgun; although the gun on the left appears to have double barrels, it is hard to identify it for sure as the action does not look typical for a shotgun. The deer hanging on the right appears distorted, but the hunters probably took out the front quarters for camp meat, so it is likely not a quirk of the camera lens. Submitted by Wayne Edwards.
Blane Klemek, Lawrence Klemek and Nidhal Klemek with his first deer.
Steve Loftness with his 8-point buck. Harvested November 11, 2015.
t n a t r o p Im s y e K
to Opening Day Success BY BERNIE BARRINGER
Every bowhunter can relate to this scenario: You have watched a particular buck oﬀ and on all summer. He’s been quite visible in the
fields feeding in the evenings and he’s even somewhat predictable in his habits. This could be the year you actually pattern a buck in the pre-season and shoot him on opening day or shortly thereafter. After all, you see it on TV and in magazines, it’s bound to work for you sometime. Just a few short days before the season, he’s gone. He’s not in the field during the last hour of daylight, and he’s not even in the fields of nearby properties. You’ve checked them all. Your sure thing just turned into a bust. What happened� During the month of September, bachelor groups of bucks begin to break down and bucks tend to relocate, but the chances are he hasn’t gone far when the bow season opens the middle of the month. He probably hasn’t “gone nocturnal” on you either. Unless some sort of pressure caused him to move out, he’s conducting business as usual, just a little differently than what you are looking for. When you were watching the sun go down on him during early August, what time
44 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
was it� 8:30� 9:00� Now it’s midSeptember and the sun is long gone at that time. He may be coming out at the same time, but the darkness just caught up to his patterns. There are still ways we can put ourselves within striking distance of him during the daylight. Let’s take a look at how to solve this puzzle.
KEY #1 - BUCKS ARE INDIVIDUALS
First of all, we must talk a little bit about “patterning” to begin with. Some of the things I have seen in print would lead you to believe bucks have some sort of internal alarm system that tells them where to go and what to do at any given time. In 40 years of bowhunting and observing whitetail behavior, I am becoming more and more convinced what we refer to as patterns are really overrated. Sure, individual bucks tend to bed in the same areas given the same environmental conditions, and they tend to feed where the best available food is found, but that’s about all that’s cast in stone. It seems to me bucks have an instinct to switch things up occasionally, because the ones who don’t are more likely to be turned into venison than those who do. A buck gets up from his bed, stretches a little and heads down the trail towards somewhere he knows he can get a bite to eat. He comes to a fork in the trail and instead of going left like he did for the past three days, he goes right. He doesn’t know why he went right, any more than the guy sitting in the stand wondering why he didn’t show that night. Some deer are fairly consistent, some are frustratingly random. Trying to pattern deer is like pushing a rope. You simply can’t make any headway. It would help us all to put the idea of putting a deer on a specific schedule and think more in terms of trends and tendencies. We will be better off and a lot less frustrated if we do. If we think in terms of what the buck might do on any given evening based on the environmental conditions (temperature, wind speed and direction, etc.) we can get ahead of his movements better than we can if we concentrate on what he has been doing. Of course we are not going to throw out all our observations of his behaviors we have stored in our memory, but we should just view them as one small piece of the whole puzzle rather than the complete picture.
Mature bucks will only venture out into open areas during the daylight when they feel secure. This tall corn gives the buck just enough security so that he can work along its edge well before dark.
KEY #2 - MISTAKES CAN BE DEADLY
Some deer are prone to be homebodies and some range widely. GPS studies have shown some deer have very small home ranges and others travel quite a bit. One thing these studies have shown us is most bucks have at least two home ranges they know well; they can exit one and enter another when they feel hunting pressure. If you have a buck that disappears on you for a while, he may be in a secondary area. The worst thing you can do is get aggressive and try to move in and find out what happened. You want him to settle back into a comfortable mode when he arrives; if he smells you or sees more disturbances, it’s another strike against you. If the buck figures out he is being hunted, you chances of putting your tag on him plummet. When he senses intrusion in the way of ground scent, sudden changes like the appearance of a trail camera or a bunch of cut branches, he may bug out for a few days. If he smells you directly or has a bad experience such as a situation that causes alarm, he may be done with that particular spot for the season. It’s hard to sit tight when you really want to know what’s on that trail camera, but you are much better off to wait for a light rain that will smother your ground scent to go check it. There’s no faster way to kill a spot than to walk in and check your trail camera every day. Put the stands up early and trim shooting lanes well before the season. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to hunt a stand on opening day when the conditions are not right. Patience is critical. You may only have one chance, so you want to make sure you have the odds stacked in your favor. If the wind isn’t right, hunt somewhere else or don’t hunt at all.
Another great buck I shot in the first week of the season after learning his patterns through observation and trail cameras.
KEY #3 – FIND THE BEDROOM DOOR
It pays to be familiar with the preferred bedding areas. An entire book could be written on how deer choose beds based on the conditions through the year. I couldn’t cover it all here, but I suggest you learn a basic understanding of how bucks like to bed where they can see in front of them and smell what’s behind them, which is what they tend to choose when the weather is pleasant. This might be just below the crest of a ridge where the wind is coming over the top, or tucked in behind a large fallen log. When the weather is bad, they tend to hole up in thick cover. This may be a thicket or a creek bottom. You get the idea. Because the daylight hours are shortening, you have a better chance of contacting the buck in the daylight if you are close to where he spent the day. It’s a tricky proposition to get a stand as close to the bedding area as possible without giving yourself away, but these stands often pay off if they are hunted at the right time under the right conditions. It goes without saying these stands need to be in place well before you plan to hunt, but there is one other option. I have used this tactic just once and I was successful so I’ll pass it along. During the middle of the night when the deer were out feeding, I moved in and hung a stand along a bluff near where the deer were bedding in a creek bottom. The trail was getting a lot of use and my camera showed my buck was using it regularly, both prior to sunset and at dawn. I hung that stand by headlight and didn’t trim any shooting lanes or otherwise disturb the area. I got in and got out and I actually got lucky because a heavy dew was on the vegetation which really knocked down my scent. Get close to the bedroom if you can figure out a way to get away with it.
KEY #4 - STAY BACK OFF THE EDGE
Like anyone else, I am always tempted to set up right on the edge of the field when I know the deer are feeding in the field with regularity. I want to see what’s going on out there! But that’s rarely the best stand location unless the deer are feeling no pressure at all. While the does and young bucks may casually walk out into the field, the larger bucks tend to hold back until indications from the other deer give them a level of comfort. You have a better chance at them if Seems like everyone uses scent-reduction strategies for hunting, but reducing ground scent when hanging stands and checking trail cameras is just as important.
46 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
Rubs like these just inside the woods from an alfalfa field are a good indication bucks are hanging around there waiting until they feel secure coming out into the open. This is a perfect spot to put a stand.
hillside where he can look down on the field or it may have a patch of more mature, open timber that allows him to observe the activity in the open area. Secondly, they will have sign. Bucks aren’t going to just stand there; they are going to do buck things, like scraping, sparring and especially rubbing. Rubs are a dead giveaway, lots of tracks are often found if the ground is conducive to leaving imprints. Sometimes if you are observant you will see where they have nibbled on plants and messed up the ground litter in their scuffles. Parallel trails are usually very indistinct trails and often are very difficult to discern. Usually the brush right on the edge of the field is thicker because it gets more sunlight than the area just back under the canopy. Imagine yourself walking along the edge of the field from 20-30 yards off the edge, weaving your way through the trees, taking the path of least resistance. You are probably following a parallel trail. The more deer that
use it the more obvious it becomes. These trails are an often overlooked place to shoot a buck. Mature bucks like to walk along the edge of the field, scent checking the field for danger and to find out who happens to be out there.
KEY #5 – BE PATIENT
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m advocating patience with regard to hunting these opening day or early-season bucks. Like you, I’ve been waiting all year for this day but I have too many times been overcome by the temptation to get out there and make it happen. The results have usually been less than stellar. The times I have been successful have been the times I waited until the conditions were in my favor. I know the buck of my dreams is being patient right now; his life depends on it. I’ve learned to be patient too, because… well, the buck’s life depends on it.
you get back off the edge as well. There are two specific things I look for when choosing where to hunt back off the edge of the field. What I call staging areas are places where the bucks will hang out for a while before entering the open spaces. Parallel trails follow the edges of the field sometimes for quite a distance. A buck may arrive at a staging area well before dark, but choose not to enter the field until dark, or he may just hang up and patiently watch for a while. He can observe the body language of the deer in the field and enter when he feels secure. These staging areas have a couple things common to them. First, they will have some visibility to the field itself. This may be a
Trail cameras strategically placed near the feeding and bedding areas offer important clues to deer movement patterns.
SECONDARY HOME RANGES
Many studies have shown that bucks have secondary home ranges. During the early fall as archery deer seasons are opening, there is a lot of food around and bucks can roam widely and not worry about their next meal. This is a prime time for them to disappear for a while. This is particularly true if they sense pressure or become unnerved by human activity. Hanging stands, checking trail cameras, spotlighting ﬁelds and general scouting activity can move them out. I cannot prove it, but I suspect the secondary home range is often their natal area. By that I mean the area where they spent their ﬁrst year of life with their mother. Does have home ranges too and they
tend to be very secure areas. Buck fawns learn how to hide and feel secure in these areas and the security features are imprinted on their minds. Most bucks disperse after their ﬁrst year and set up housekeeping in a new area. But when they sense pressure, that secure feeling they get when they were younger is what they seek out. Ever had a buck disappear on you and ﬁnd out someone had it on camera for the ﬁrst time in a location ﬁve miles away? Ever had a buck just turn up in your area with no prior history? You may be looking at the secondary home range of that buck.
BY ROD DIMICH
“Knee-high to a grasshopper”
“Knee-high to a grasshopper” means, of course, pertaining to youth. And, what says being young more than knee-high rubber boots and stomping in water� In this day and age, with the advent of the dreadfully dangerous tick, however, this great youthful footwear memory is now a new ballgame as we enter our woods and fields. Sure, knee boots are still very viable for keeping our feet dry when landing boats, fishing, hunting in the rain and tromping in swampy or wet deer country, but they are now also a vital aspect in preventing potentially health damaging tick bites. Although there are many fine boots on the market, we favor Arctic Shield as it produces lightweight waterproof footwear made of the best quality natural rubber and neoprene to keep us safe and dry. These boots also have a fit and style for all family members. Being dry is nice, but being safe from tick bites is vital. Arctic Shield boots provide reliable warmth, feature pull tabs for easy on and off, removable insoles and incredible traction. Be warm and knee-high to safety—go Arctic Shield.
“Dogs are our best friends”
How many of us currently have or fondly remember or wish we could remember having a dog as a companion� Probably all of us, especially those who live or have lived in a Midwest state far from the maddening crowds. Perhaps the famous mystery writer, Sir Arthur Conan Coyle in his short story collection The Case-Book of Sherlock Homes said it best: “A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one� Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.” It is in this vein we must do our best to protect our dogs by vaccinating and nurturing them with quality care. In this regard, especially concerning ticks, Gamehide’s Elimitick offers a comfortable custom adjustable-fit dog vest available in camo or blaze orange that will not only protect your hound from brush, its patented “Insect shield” technology keeps the dreaded dangerous ticks at bay. Protect your canine best friends and they will be as happy and healthy as the classic television cartoon dog “Huckleberry Hound.” Always remember, a little bit of prevention goes a long way.
“Take a target along”
Okay, no, we don’t mean taking tons of gear along when travelling to deer bowhunting country like we are packing a Target store with us. What we are saying is while most of us bring just the “bare necessities” like “Baloo the Bear” (Phil Harris’ voice) sings of in the classic 1967 Disney movie, The Jungle Book, even though we feel we should take a few practice shots like athletes warming up before a game, we can’t take a target along. But, hold your proverbial horses, Block Targets now offers a way to take a few shots before hitting the stand. Their take-along, totally portable BLOCK 6x6 target provides the only 6-sided target in the BLOCK line that is not only easily transportable, it allows shooters extended target life and the ability to be portable and vary shooting positions. In addition, it is incredibly suitable for use with all field points and broadheads because its poly fusion layered technology secures the layers to the interior wall creating a longer lasting target with easy arrow removal. Don’t miss that shot due to not properly warming, take a BLOCK target along. Remember what the BLOCK slogan says, “Practice breeds success.”
48 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
& TREASURES �Game Warden� History
The appointment of the first Minnesota Game Warden occurred on March 20, 1887 when Fred Zwickey became the only game warden for the entire state. In 1892, a salary of $50 per month was established. In 1897, the first Minnesota game warden was killed in the line of duty when Charles Wetsel was stabbed and bludgeoned to death while working a moose poaching and fish netting case near Bemidji. In 1940, three Game Wardens were killed conducting a commercial license check. It was referred to as one of the deadliest days in Minnesota law enforcement history. The three unarmed Game Wardens were shot to death by a commercial fisherman on the shores of Lake Sakatah in Waterville, Minn. After killing the Wardens, the gunman turned the 12-gauge shotgun on himself. In 1941, there were 135 Game Wardens and the seizure of automobiles in shining cases was authorized. Game Wardens were also issued uniforms and a duty belt with a .38 caliber handgun. In the early 1950s, red lights and sirens became common in Game Warden vehicles. The first Game Warden retirement program was established with 6% of their salary placed into this account. The Firearm Safety Program was established, becoming the cornerstone for safety education programs in the state. In the 1970s, the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board was founded. Officers were issued Peace Officer licenses with a mandatory 48 hours of continuing education every three years. In the 1980s, four-wheel drive pick-ups replaced sedans as patrol vehicles across Minnesota and Turn In Poachers, a non-profit organization developed by citizens and Conservation Officers, was created in 1981. Officer Bob Kangas was shot in Pine County while working deer shiners. The suspects were caught and arrested. Officer Kangas’ bulletproof vest saved his life and was the first reported “saved by the vest” incident for Conservation Officers. The “Garcia” ruling also limited the number of hours a Conservation Officer could work per week. The K-9 program was established in the �90s. Several officers were trained and paired with dogs. The Wetland Conservation Act brought large changes to the division as Conservation Officers were given the authority to issue cease
and desist orders for the draining or filling of a wetland. The introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species into Minnesota’s waters also brought large changes to the division. Officers were given inspection training and civil citation authority to stop the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. In 1999, 149 field stations were staffed by 132 field officers.
In 2002, Conservation Officers lost the authority to enter fish shelters without permission after a Minnesota Supreme Court decision. In 2003, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the inspection authority of a live well in a boat legal and in 2007 Game Wardens become Conservation Officers. (Courtesy of the MN Conservation Officers’ Association)
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800.222.7338 MNDEERHUNTERS.COM 49
Not to brag, but just being a proud father, my daughter Shelby shot an 8-point buck opening morning of muzzleloader season 2018 in northern Minnesota. Yes, you heard me right—a muzzleloader! Although it might seem she had to wait until muzzleloader season because of not seeing any deer during firearms season, she most definitely did not. In fact, she not only hunted fervently in the regular firearms season, she was bound and determined for a big buck, letting over 50 small bucks walk as she waited. To this point, it is important to note kids also can be sportsmen and let deer go by in the quest for the right one. To background, Shelby is a graduate of the Deep Portage ELC Forkhorn Camp and has been deer hunting with me since she was eight years old. She shot her first deer at the age of 10 and was already closing in on number 8 at the age of 15! And, that doesn’t count the wounded doe she tracked down in a swamp and finished for her grandfather. Incidentally, one of those of the seven was shot in South Dakota with a youth license at
50 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
DEER HUNTING CAN BE FOR GIRLS, SILLY BOYS!
the age of 12 and she also tagged along at the age of 13 on a moose hunt in Newfoundland and was a trooper on that hunt. Three of her deer were taken in Minnesota with a muzzleloader. More importantly, the bond created while being out on our hunting adventures has been, well, priceless! Hunting in general runs in our family and Shelby was exposed to hunting by both grandpas and her uncles. It has always been a positive family experience and she never fails to have a good time, not only on these outings, but preparing for them. In the preparation vein, we would also watch some of the hunting shows on TV where she was intrigued to see women on these shows that would be out hunting deer. I also do a lot of pheasant hunting and would take her to the game farms to walk along beginning at the age of six. She loved walking along and helping work the dogs. As I said, I started taking her deer hunting with me and spending time with Grandpa and the uncles at the age of eight. She actually came to me and told me she wanted to
start shooting a bow at the age of nine. She then shot bow in the kids’ league and shot quite well. Then she started shooting a .22 rifle where she had a blast shooting. Next, she told me she wanted to hunt deer and pheasants. Her first deer rifle was a 7 mm-08 Savage bolt action. One of my buddies who taught firearms training told me to just keep having her shoot the .22 and not to shoot the rifle for a while. This was smart as like most of us, she did not even feel the recoil of the rifle when shooting at a deer. I sighted in her first rifle and she shot her first deer at 110 yards with it at the age of 10; what an exciting moment. I then bought her a youth 20 gauge shotgun and we did some practicing and she started to hunt birds with me at the age of 12. The excitement of her first bird was phenomenal. I found it key to have the right firearm that fits the kids and doesn’t have a big recoil. Another thing I realized is you need to accommodate kids with good clothes and don’t push them beyond the limits of freezing, hiking or boredom because it changes the way the
Story BY RON BRAY
parent or adult may hunt; be flexible and don’t wreck their enthusiasm at a young age as their patience will grow and they will willingly spend time out in the cold stand by their choice and be in the stand longer to hunt. Also, don’t be afraid to involve some of their friends if they have hunting interest; this just grows the fun factor with the sport. Shelby has two friends that love to hunt and their dads have also spent time with them developing their skills. This keeps her excited about hunting and sharing it with her friends. We involve them in her hunts and I get a lot of satisfaction working with them on safety and hunting ethics when we go out. I will now even put them on stands and go off and watch from across the field or down the trail in the woods to be close, yet let them hunt on their own. Shelby absolutely loved taking her basic firearm training and took both the basic Forkhorn Camp and the advanced hunting class that followed. She did this with her friends, which made it a better experience. MDHA has a great program and many thanks to the Association for being part of the process and adding to the development
of a young hunter! My first daughter, who is Shelby’s older half-sister, had no interest in hunting and still doesn’t to this day. It just didn’t come together and I was actually even more insistent trying to make her hunt, but, it did not work. Each to their own, I guess. Don’t be disappointed, however, if it does not happen as it may not. On the other hand, definitely don’t try to force it, as this does not work – lesson learned. Present the opportunity and see if it happens, just keep in mind it sometimes simply takes patience and also adjustments to your routine. The first photo is her friend Addison, who was successful this year as she shot a large doe as part of our deer management. She just turned 16 and has also hunted antelope in Wyoming with her dad, making shots up to 400 yards with her .270. She had no place to hunt last year because the land they normally hunted was taken over by a different family. The large doe was shot the second weekend of muzzleloader hunting with Shelby. The amazing part of this is she shot this deer at 150 yards with a muzzleloader! She also shot a similar doe last year at 120 yards with a
Hunting has always been a positive family experience and she never fails to have a good time, not only on these outings, but preparing for them.
muzzleloader. All I can say is deer hunting can be for girls, silly boys! Here is to great success for all young hunters and hopefully they will become diehards for the sport we love!
What�s Cookin�� BEST DARN GRILLED VENISON BACKSTRAP
BY LEGENDARY WHITETAILS
1. Go into woods. 2. Hunt deer. 3. Kill deer. 4. Remove backstrap from deer. 5. Fire up grill. 6. Add salt and pepper to backstrap. 7. Grill (while butchering rest of deer) on high heat for 5-7 minutes per side or until internal temp. reaches 140°(med-rare). 8. Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 7 minutes. 9. Celebrate the hunt.
Take your dolled up venison backstrap recipes elsewhere, this deer camp delicacy is meant to go straight from your deer onto the grill. A little salt, a little pepper. . . �Nuff said!
Ingredients: • Venison Backstrap • Salt • Pepper
BACON WRAPPED VENISON CHEESEBURGER KABOBS
BY LEGENDARY WHITETAILS
Kabobs that are easy to make, quick to cook, and fun to eat! Best of all they’re wrapped in bacon and filled with venison! Melts in your mouth!
Ingredients: • • • • • • • • •
1. Soak skewers in water for 4 hours. 2. Mix ground venison with diced onions, peppers, mushrooms and egg in a large mixing bowl. Season venison burger to taste. 3. Roll the venison burger into 1" meatballs. 4. Cut the biscuit dough into chunks and roll into 1/2" balls. Cut the string cheese into 1" chunks or use cheese cubes of your choice.
52 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
1 lb. ground venison 1 package string cheese sticks (cut into 1″ chunks) 1 lb. bacon 1 can biscuit dough 1/2 cup diced onions 1/2 cup diced green peppers 1/2 cup diced mushrooms 1 egg Salt & pepper to taste 5. It’s time to assemble your kabobs…place a dough ball on the skewer, then a meatball, followed by cheese, followed by another dough ball. Repeat so that each stick is essentially a double stacked burger. 6. Once kabob is assembled, wrap the entire thing in bacon. 7. Grill until bacon is done. 8. Enjoy a new and fun-filled way to eat venison burger.
Gizmos, GADGETS, Garments & GEAR
GameElimiTick® tick repellent hunting clothing uses Insect Shield® technology, which turns clothing into long-lasting, effective and convenient tick protection. You’ll call it your “tick armor”! The active ingredient is so tightly bonded to the fabric fibers it retains effective repellency through the life of product. But, there’s more! It repels ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes and midges (no-see-ums), lasts through 70 washes and offers invisible, odorless protection just by putting your clothes on. In addition, the roomy jackets and pants are not only comfortable and easy to take along, they are made of high quality lightweight and comfortable fabric. Here are ten things you should know about ElimiTick hunting clothing!™ 1. Ticks hate it – They will do somersaults to get away from it. Literally! If you put a tick on your ElimiTick pant or shirt and watch it, the tick will go into freeze mode or it will do anything to get away. This is the repellent doing its job. 2. The repellent is fused to the fabric – ElimiTick uses Insect Shield Technology. The active ingredient (repellent) is bonded to the fabric fibers. 3. Long-lasting – Because the active ingredient is so tightly bonded to the fabric fibers, it lasts the expected life of the product. 4. Odorless – ElimiTick is odorless. This means you can wear it without concern when hunting scent-savvy big game. 5. Repels many insects – ElimiTick repels ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, flies and midges (no-see-ems). 6. Proven – The technology is the result of years of research and field study. 7. Stays in clothing – Because the repellent is bonded to the fabric, it stays in the clothing, not on your skin like sprays. This is one reason we like to call it tick armor. 8. No restrictions for use – There are no restrictions in using ElimiTick. Protect your entire family from ticks and other insects. 9. Easy care – ElimiTick is super-easy to care for. Treat it like you would any other
camo hunting clothing. 10. Turn the tables – ElimiTick is like tick
armor, wear it and you can annoy the ticks for a change!
NORTHERN MINNESOTA HUNTING LAND NO MATTER WHAT YOUR VISION IS RECREATION
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Whitetales Building our hunting and conservation legacy through habitat, education and advocacy.
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MINNESOTA DEER HUNTERS ASSOCIATION
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Submission deadline: July 1, 2019
Winner of the Winter “Hunt It Down”
Joe Forys of the Wadena Chapter found the hidden bird on page 32 of the spring issue and was the lucky winner of an MDHA Stars & Stripes Hat. Congrats Joe!
PLEASE REVIEW Your Membership Information Today.
The magazine label indicates your membership status. Please check it to see if your address is correct and when your membership expires. To renew your membership or make corrections, call the MDHA State Office at 800.450.DEER. Address changes are a major concern and we need your help to correct them. On occasion, the office gets calls because a household is getting duplicate magazines or shouldn’t be getting a magazine at all. What may be the reason for this?
54 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
BIG DEER IN LITTLE PLACES BY WAYNE VAN ZWOLL
BRINGING UP GIRLS AS HUNTERS BY JOE CANNELLA
FORKHORN FUN FACTS SUMMERTIME WHITETAILS BY TOMMY KIRKLAND
Questions, concerns, thoughts� Address letters to: Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Attention: Letter to the Editor 460 Peterson Rd. Grand Rapids, MN 55744 or email: email@example.com
• Renewal forms or banquet tickets are illegible and get entered incorrectly. • J.J. Jones is Jerry Jones, same person with multiple memberships. • A life member passes away and the state office is not notified.
• Call the office to inquire at 800.450.DEER. • Check with your chapter officers or regional director. • Check your magazine’s mailing label to see if it is accurate.
Daylight IN THE Swamp cream soda at the drive-in back then. As a point of interest, the A&W name came from its origin back in1919 when Roy W. Allen opened a walk-up root beer stand in Lodi, California. Allen’s then employee Frank Wright partnered with him and they founded their first restaurant in Sacramento, California in 1923. The company name was taken respectively from the initials of their last names—Allen and Wright. Okay, I can’t resist it, how many of you upon seeing “Lodi” immediately had Creedence Clearwater Rival’s huge hit, “Lodi,” ratting around in your head� In addition, and I hope this will not burst some bubbles as to where CCR came from because their music is often referred to as “swamp” rock due to their “bayou” references, but the band was actually from Elrrito, California and was originally known as The Blue Velvets and The Golliwogs. A “golliwog,” by the way, is a type of rag doll. Go figure. Going back to the A&W trays being hung on car windows at the drive-in restaurants, who could forget the drive-in outdoor movies or “passion-pits” as they became to be known and also having the speaker hung on the half-open window� Believe it or not, the first drive-in movie was also opened in 1919. When the kids hear this, however, assure them the speakers were not hung on horse-drawn buggies. What is more, even though you might think the remedy to prevent mosquitos from coming in because the window was half-open for the speaker would be simply spraying OFF or other repellants in the area would be a simple solution, because OFF spray was not invented until 1957. To foil annoying bugs, the drive-in owners simply doused the area with DDT mist, later banned because it caused thinner eagle shells, among a whole host of other medical maladies. Those of us who began hunting back then have grand images of red clothing, ranging from the (sometimes red and black checkered) hats, wool shirts, jackets and pants for the adults to the red hoodies and draw-string sweats with tan-colored quilted underwear underneath, red stocking hats, Canadian Pacs, water-absorbing red cloth gloves for the kids.
Strangely enough, due to the scarcity of deer in southern Minnesota back then (unimaginable now), an annual migration of dedicated deer hunters trekked north. As their northern counterparts also did, these diehard hunters pulled campers, pitched tents or piled into roughly constructed deer “shacks” for the nine-day hunt, which until 1960 was, much to the dismay of wives and families back home, spanned Thanksgiving. As huge of a fire hazard as it was, many of the tents and shacks actually had straw scattered on the ground for warmth. The real tenting “he-men” didn’t even sleep on cots, in fact, but in WWII “mummy” sleeping bags on balsam boughs. During those yester-year traditional hunting trips, deer were not measured by racks, but by the pounds of deer meat accumulated. Time-honored customs were also established, some of which still exist, some gone the way of a “camp deer.” A “camp deer,” by the way, was a small deer shot and butchered, but not tagged, for camp consumption, an obvious no-no today. Tags then, and you might still have some hanging in your deer shacks or basement hunting and fishing decors, were metal bands that clipped together. You might even remember or have heard stories of diabolical hunters devising razor blades or other such thin material to unlock these tags and then lock them again in order to take another deer, all unsuccessful of course. It was during those early deer hunting days that many current sayings and happenings were developed. “Buck fever,” for example, was first coined back then to describe how novice hunters would shake so badly they would miss a deer or, worse yet, sometimes even ejecting shells with their lever action rifles without getting a shot. “V” and “peep” sights were also the norm, as were the hammer and lever action carbines. Rifle scopes were but a novelty, with only a few being used and mostly by WWII veterans who brought back “sniper” scopes mounted on bolt-action rifles. Slings were for “slickers,” stands were mainly stumps, hillsides or primitive plywood platforms nailed on popple supports six-feet up, as that was the maximum legal height. Much to the
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dismay of loggers and paper companies, to climb into the stand large spikes were driven into the trees. Breakfasts were as much a culinary delight as they were a health nightmare in today’s standards, as frying bacon or sausage fat was spooned over sunny-side eggs, accompanied by thick slabs of homemade bread slathered with homemade jams. Lunches were either packed in tin foil wrapped butcher-made baloney sandwiches or Polish/hot dogs roasted on freshly cut willow sticks over a much-welcomed mid-day campfire. Dinners, if they were lucky, consisted of either venison tenderloin, heart and, yes, liver. Otherwise, the meals were “meals on wheels” brought from home. Nick-names were also a ritual, not only for camp members, but for deer stands and drives that pretty much meant nothing to those outside of the camp, but everything to the members or savvy deer hunters listening to a deer story. Say the “Peninsula” or “Tamarack” stands or “Trowbridge’s” or “Sprinkle Crick” drives to someone not of the hunting stripe and you would probably get a yawn. But, mention them to true deer hunters and you will get smiles. Ultimately, we who hunt know how important the past is because it shapes the future. We also know how we became who we are and why we are who we are. Some of us were very lucky, we had the brightest of stars to hitch our wagons to. We had mentors. We had family. We had love, both emotional and for the outdoors, sprinkled on us like Holy Water. Because of this, when we look into the deep and dark and distant night sky at the seemingly infinite overlay of glittering stars, we are comforted knowing as they brightly shine forth each represents a person we loved who has passed on. Unabashedly, we will shed a tear and even though that tear tries to stop it, we will fashion a smile, then whisper a personal prayer and truly understand the saying, “Today is a good day for a good day.” Because of this, it is our Godly duty to help others not so fortunate to see and feel the light of love and caring. Whitetails forever, my friends.
Daylight IN THE Swamp
BY ROD DIMICH
SOME OF US WERE VERY LUCKY Fortunately, there are many quotes about puppies and happiness. Of which, some of my favorites are: “Happiness is a warm puppy” (Charles Shulz) and “Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot about little puppies” (Gene Hill). Also, without question, the threads that weave this “happiness tapestry” together are the smiles that light up kids’ faces like the whoosh of cascading down a slide or the exhilarating thrill of “under-pushes” on a swing. Not surprisingly, psychologists say smiling reduces the stress our bodies and minds feel, almost similar to getting good sleep. In addition, smiling helps generate more positive emotions within us. That’s why we often feel happier around children – they smile more. On average, in fact, they do so 400 times a day. For comparison, average adults smile 20 times per day, happy adults 40. This “smile representing happiness syndrome” was also used by Lebanese poet and artist Kahil Gibran in his 1914 masterwork, A Tear and a Smile, where he wrote, “A tear to unite me with those of broken heart; a smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.” The poet’s view that to truly be happy we have to understand despair, is shared by many modern psychologists. In today’s world, it is also a mainstay for getting children out of petulant or dour times as we cheerily sing in a caring “olive-branch” tone, “Turn that frown upside down.” In a similar vein, English Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850) wrote in his poem, “My Heart Leaps Up,” “The Child is father of the Man,” maintaining man is the product of the habits and behaviors developed in childhood. Some people refer to this as “being the end result of our environments, both physical and emotional.”
56 Whitetales | SUMMER 2019
In this regard, those of us who grew up having positive mentors while navigating life’s paths know this to be true. Many of us, in fact, treasure the advice from legendary archer and bowhunter, Fred Bear, who sagely said, “Take your kids hunting so you won’t have to hunt for your kids.”
Speaking of being products of our environments, those of us who trace our hunting heritages back to the �50s and �60s feel a need to “dig up old bones,” as the oldtimers say. While doing so, we like to give a revered nod to how they endured either the Great Depression, WWII or Korean War as survivors or descendants thereof. Moreover, we like to proudly point out how back in the
day things we now take for granted were first initiated. Chief among these were prayeranswered entities like the polio vaccine, penicillin, chemotherapy, mouth to mouth resuscitation and a link between smoking and cancer. On the material side were credit cards, diet soda, roll-on deodorant, color TV, TV dinners, microwaves, Velcro, 3-point seat belts and the kidpopping wonder, bubble wrap. We also like to remember the excitement of having the family station wagon pull into the outdoor drive-in A&W restaurants and have a pleasantly smiling girl (sometimes even on roller skates) take our order through Dad’s rolled down window and then return and hang a tray of scrumptious fries, burgers and the all-important root beers (in frosty mugs, of course, taken from the freezer) or if we got an extra special treat, the root beer floats, on the same window with the dexterity of placing a baby in a crib. What we didn’t know then and are now even amazed at is root beer is pretty much an American thing; most of Europe hates it and is aghast we relish it here in the States, comparing its taste to toothpaste or mouthwash. Still others of us will recall the tasty delight of a “dime” malt complete with long spoon and paper straw at a Ben Franklin, sweet shop or drug store soda fountain that also served various Cokes, ranging from chocolate, cherry, vanilla, lemon, etc. in paper funnel cups housed in metal cup-holders. Some brave teens might even have had them all mixed together in what was called a “graveyard.” If you were wondering who served these fantastic treats, they were called a “soda jerk.” Incredibly, although I enjoy it immensely today, I really don’t remember having a CONTINUED ON PAGE 55
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