Muzzleloader and archery deer hunting seasons are still openPublished 9:18am Sunday, December 2, 2012
One of the things that make me appreciate our area of the state is the number of outdoors recreational opportunities that we have available to us. As a kid I always felt that I could pretty much roam freely on any land that I wished without raising the ire of a landowner. With my choice of weapon being my trusty Red Ryder BB gun most land owners and critters felt pretty secure with me in the area. Today most of the private land is posted so unless you know someone, wildlife management areas are crucial for continuing the sport of hunting. In Freeborn County alone we are lucky enough to have 11 such areas scattered throughout the county.
Small game hunting is a great way to make use of this land and introduce our youth to the sport. Hunting for rabbits and squirrels can be both fun and challenging to a youth. It is also important to stress the idea of not wasting the meat by killing an animal just for the sake of killing.
My mother-in-law was not one to waste anything edible so she would fix squirrel whenever someone would shoot one, and as far as I know it was pretty good eating. I’m sure it must have tasted just like chicken. My brother-in-law Mike on the other hand had shot a rabbit and decided to fry it up. It might look like a good idea when you watch “Survivor Man” roasting it on a stick over an open fire but, needless to say, if you don’t know what you’re doing it can be pretty nasty. I do believe that boiling it first before frying would have made it tender enough to chew. I guess you could compare it to what my mother would call “an old stewing hen” which she would boil before baking or frying.
Trial and error is part of the deal when it comes to preparing wild game. Some folks can make anything taste good and others or, not so much. My mother-in-law would fix the best pheasant by slow frying it first and then simmering it in that creamy white gravy she would make. Yummmm. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it, but, of course, you need to come up with the main ingredient first: a pheasant. I have spotted a few in the Bricelyn/Frost area but most of them were hens. I’ll take that as a sign that there are better days ahead for bird hunters.
With another deer hunting firearms season behind us we still have the archery and muzzleloader seasons to look forward to. With that in mind the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued the following news release that may be of interest to those hunters that didn’t tag a deer during the firearms season:
DNR reminds hunters to not throw away unused either-sex deer permits
Hunters who failed to tag a deer or use their either-sex permit during the firearms season may still have a chance to put some venison in the freezer, according to the DNR.
“An either-sex permit from the firearms season remains valid for the muzzleloader season if you have the appropriate license,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “The either-sex permit is valid for either season, in the same area, provided you have a license for that season.”
The provision applies only to the lottery areas.
McInenly reminds hunters in the lottery areas that they are only allowed to tag one deer during the 2012 hunting season. They may not use bonus tags. They may be able to harvest additional deer in managed, intensive or special hunt areas.
Hunters who wish to take advantage of this change must have a license for the muzzleloader season. Licenses can be purchased at any of the 1,500 license agent locations in the state, via telephone at 888-665-4236 or online. A convenience fee is added to telephone and Internet license purchases.
The Minnesota muzzleloader season runs Saturday, Nov. 24 until Sunday, Dec. 9. Minnesota hunters harvested 151,400 deer so far during the 2012 early firearm season, according to preliminary numbers announced by the DNR.
Overall, antlered buck harvest increased 9 percent and antlerless deer harvest decreased 21 percent compared to 2011. In total, firearm harvest was off 7 percent, which was expected given the conservative allocation of antlerless deer permits.
Until next time, take a little time to enjoy the outdoors experience and always be safety conscious while hunting.
Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.
Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune every Sunday.