Numbers down for first weekend of deer season

Published 9:00 am Sunday, November 20, 2016

I have heard some mixed reports from area deer hunters, some had good luck with a few dandy bucks being taken while others didn’t fare so well. This is not earth-shaking news to anyone who hunts and overall I’d say it is probably on par with last year. My brother-in-law, Lynn Johnson, was home from Alaska in October and each time he visits in the fall, he buys an out of state bow hunting license. He did stick a nice eight-pointer on his first day of hunting so I’d have to say things went pretty well for him.  Lynn’s wife, Margaret, loves venison and she surely knows how to prepare wild game, so that means that Lynn has some good eating ahead of him.

Preliminary numbers from opening weekend show the number of deer registered fell three percent from 2015. Of the deer harvested, 67 percent were bucks, compared to 68 percent of the first weekend harvest of 2015.

In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 16 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was down seven percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 28 percent.

“Even with record-high temperatures statewide, the opening weekend harvest in Zone 1 is at least 16 percent higher than last year,” said DNR big game program leader Adam Murkowski. “Since these are preliminary numbers, it’s too soon to say if the unusual weather had any impact on harvest elsewhere in the state, but as conditions change and hunting continues, we’ll get a better sense of how the season is progressing.”

Based upon the number of antler-less permits available and the number of permit areas that allow multiple deer to be taken, the DNR is projecting the 2016 total deer harvest to be between 165,000 and 185,000 deer. The 2015 total harvest was a little more than 159,000.

Additional deer will be harvested during the northern rifle zone season, which continues through Sunday; the late southeastern season, which runs Saturday through Nov. 27; and the muzzleloader season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 26, and continues through Dec. 11.

This past week I took a drive to Lime Creek Cemetery which lies a few miles south of Emmons to pick up the urn from my parents grave site. After that I drove, as I always do, around the country block and past where my cousin, Richard Holt, grew up. I would spend a few weeks each summer on their farm helping Richard with the chores and playing in the crick, which was our main source of entertainment. We both had a common bond and that was our love of nature, whether it be fishing in the creek or catching frogs, only to turn them loose again.

Richard and I would also play army or cowboys and Indians in the hayloft. This was a lot of fun until his dad found out what we were up to and put a stop to it because we were wrecking some of the bales. In today’s world, neither one of these games would be deemed politically correct and would be frowned upon. It seems as if kids today need to have everything planned out for them and making your own fun is no longer an option. What ever happened to the pickup baseball games or the Saturday neighborhood football games?

Up until recently, I did a lot of walking around the neighborhood and the one thing I have noticed when on my Saturday morning walks is that there never seem to be any kids playing outdoors. When I was growing up, or even when my boys were young, playing outside was what you did. I really believe kids today do not seem to be encouraged to use their imagination and be creative. This is why I get a good feeling whenever I see kids riding their bikes to the lake carrying their fishing poles, this is making your own fun while enjoying our resources.

I believe that it is so important that we adults encourage our youth to go fishing and teach them about hunting and how to enjoy and respect the outdoors. They are the future of our outdoors heritage and it certainly won’t be preserved without their participation.

Until next time, get out to one of our area parks and enjoy spending a little time bonding with nature while the weather is still holding. There is still time to wet a line before the water hardens.

Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Take a little time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops who are serving today.