The final four: Alexandria's Jim Larson wins 2017 Hunt Down Your Photos Contest
Capturing a photo is as much a part of hunting and fishing as catching a fish or harvesting an animal for many.
The best of those often reflect the reason so many people love the outdoors in Minnesota.
The Echo Press asked readers to send in some of their best photos from the 2017 hunting and fishing seasons for the annual Hunt Down Your Photos contest.
More than 20 images were submitted and dwindled down to a top four after judging was done by the staff at the newspaper on a weighted point system. Each first-place vote received four points, second place votes got three points, third place two points and fourth place votes received one point.
Here is a look at the top four finishers from this year's contest with a list of the prizes they took home for their entries.
Alexandria's Jim Larson captured a shot of his son, Cal, and grandson, Henry, coming into the shore with their German wirehaired pointer, Murphy, after setting decoys on the opening weekend of the Minnesota waterfowl season near Donnally.
It was Henry's first hunt, and it proved to be a good one as the group came home with their limit that morning.
"It varies out there," Jim said of their hunts on the property. "The opener is always good. There was one year we took 126 ducks off of this slough. That wasn't this last year. That was a couple to three years past, but it's generally pretty good out there."
Larson came away with a pair of Ray Ban Sunglasses worth $173 from Alex Vision Source for winning first place in the contest.
Alexandria's Todd Lanners was duck hunting in southwestern Minnesota near St. Leo on the waterfowl opener when he captured a photo of his yellow lab, Trump, scanning the sky in search of any ducks that might be flying over the water.
Lanners won a Yetti Tumbler from Ace Hardware for the second-place entry.
James Vosburgh was duck hunting on the opening weekend of waterfowl season in Minnesota when he captured a photo of his decoys as the sun came over the horizon on Stoney Lake near Alexandria.
Vosburgh won a $25 gift certificate from Elden's Fresh Foods for taking third place.
Taking one's first deer as a hunter is always memorable, and Jim Krueger captured a photo of Carmen Krueger after she took a buck on the opening weekend of the Minnesota firearms season in 2017.
Krueger was hunting on her grandparents' farm near Blackduck, and the photo won Jim a $25 gift certificate to the Douglas County Animal Hospital in Alexandria.