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Greg Kessler misses talking to deer hunters. For most of his 27-year career as a wildlife biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources — he's stationed at Brule — that's what Kessler did on opening weekend of the state's gun deer season. He would usually hang out at JT's One Stop convenience store in Solon Springs, where a lot of Douglas County hunters went to register their deer.
GETTYSBURG, S.D. — Joy was sure she had the rooster locked up. John Lindgren's Llewellin setter held a rock-solid point, her nose riveted on a patch of brush in this gully along the Missouri River in South Dakota. But — no. Now the 6½-year-old setter was on the move again, down along the ravine until — whoa — right there, boss. This wasn't her first ringneck rodeo.
NORTH OF DULUTH, Minn. — It's a bright and clear Monday, the third day of Minnesota's firearms deer season. At midday, the hunters of the West Branch Hunting Club, now in its 59th year, have trundled back through the snow to their humble but well-kept deer shack. Chili is warming on the stovetop, and leftovers from Sunday night's steak are sliced bite-size on a nearby plate. Brownies are already on the table. The hunters, some wearing their blaze-orange "West Branch Hunting Club" shirts, help themselves to the food and sit down at the big table.
I have an old friend I want to tell you about. Actually, he's a fairly new friend, but he's an older man — even older than I am. I'm sure he wouldn't consider himself old. "Old" is always about 12 years older than we are, no matter what our age.
Ultimately, Duluth's Gail Francis couldn't think of any good reasons not to hike across America. The year was 2012. She had a good job as an analyst working on climate change issues. She had done some other long-distance backpacking, including one seven-week stint on the Appalachian Trail. At 39, she was thinking of walking the Pacific Crest Trail, which traverses blistering desert country and high mountain peaks as it winds from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through California, Oregon and Washington.
WIRT, Minn. — The three brothers, clad in various amounts of blaze orange clothing, ventured out into the predawn darkness of the Minnesota firearms deer opener on Saturday, Nov. 4. Snow was still falling here, about 50 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, on top of a fresh 2-inch snow overnight. The brothers — Jim MacGillis, 47, of North Oaks, Minnesota; Alex MacGillis, 46, of Minneapolis; and Pierre MacGillis, 42, of Minneapolis — were among 500,000 hunters who are expected to go afield in Minnesota's 16-day firearms season.
One morning this week, I took a walk along Brighton Beach. I wanted to see firsthand the damage that last week's winter storm had wrought. I had been gone when the storm, with its powerful northeast winds, lashed our end of Lake Superior into a froth. I hate to miss a good storm.
DULUTH — I came across the deer stand on a grouse hunt a couple of weeks ago. That isn't uncommon. Bird hunters, walking through random patches of typical grouse habitat, sometimes find themselves peering up at the weathered remains of a stand where some deer hunter once spent many fall days. The stands are typically primitive — a couple of planks laid between two popples, or maybe nailed to the lower branches of a white pine. Maybe the hunter has screwed a few short pieces of two-by-fours between the twin trunks of trees to be used as steps in climbing to the stand.
DULUTH — With the Minnesota firearms deer season approaching, Forum News Service asked Craig Engwall, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, for comments on several matters that affect deer hunters. MDHA represents about 20,000 of Minnesota's estimated 500,000 deer hunters. Engwall lives and does his deer hunting near Dora Lake, north and west of Grand Rapids. FNS: How do you think most deer hunters across northeastern Minnesota are feeling about deer numbers as the firearms deer season approaches?
DULUTH — Three mild winters in a row have put northern Minnesota deer hunters in a mildly optimistic mood about this fall's firearms deer hunt. The mild winters, which followed a string of harsh winters, have allowed the deer herd to begin coming back. "I've had some guys come in with some nice (trail-cam) pictures," said Scott VanValkenburg of Fisherman's Corner in Pike Lake. "Guys are definitely fired up." Minnesota's firearms deer season opens Saturday and continues through Nov. 19.