Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
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You have to get back in the stand. This happens in hunting. Those are things your buddies tell you after a bad shot on an animal, but they don't help you sleep at night. Losing an animal should hurt. There is a life at stake, and it's something I take very seriously.
GIRLS SWIMMING AND DIVING Alexandria section prelims (at Sartell) 4 p.m. Morris-Minnewaska section prelims, 5 p.m.
Days in the whitetails woods won't always go as well as they did for the Krebs family on opening morning of the Minnesota firearms season on Nov. 3. That's why days like that are so special. Lauren, Hunter and Wyatt, the three children of Dean and Angie Krebs of Alexandria, all got deer on the opener, including two great bucks. Lauren, 14, has shot a deer before but tagged her biggest buck to date with a wide eight-pointer.
If Instagram and Facebook are any indication, there were quite a few nice deer taken over the opening weekend of the Minnesota firearm season. For me, it’s been a season of close calls and a few frustrations. I had one last good buck encounter on Nov. 2 with my bow in Minnesota before heading to North Dakota to hunt for a few days. I had a similar encounter with a good buck in that same spot five days earlier. This time, another buck came up from the ridge, but at very last light.
It’s been a slow first couple days of November. At this point, there should be some older bucks cruising and young bucks pestering does in earnest. So far, I haven’t seen much of it. The only bucks I saw on their feet the mornings of Oct. 31 and Nov. 1-2 were young bucks, and they were cruising on their own without any does. My best activity came early in the week with a close encounter on a 3.5-year-old on Oct. 28.
The last couple of days have been a reminder that it’s all about the food. I sat in two of my better spots on the mornings of Oct. 29 and 30. I didn’t see a single deer in six hours on Monday morning and saw just three young bucks this morning.
One of the major changes I have made to my hunting over the last couple years is being more mobile, and it almost led to an opportunity at a nice buck on Sunday evening. I crawled into a hang-on stand at about 6 a.m. that morning. Almost immediately, I had a big buck underneath me. The moonlight shined off his antlers every time he lifted his head, but I had a long time to wait before shooting light.
The Eagles Horseshoe League in Alexandria handed outs its season awards recently after a busy summer season. Gary Kirchof and Byrne Rising won the Thursday Night League title, and the Monday Night League championship went to Jim Syverson and Jeff Thompson. Jerry Nelson was the Class A singles champion, while Brad Mattocks won the Class B title, Tina Matter won the Class C singles tournament and Jeannie Thompson won the Class D tournament. Rising and Kirchof teamed up to also win the playoff championship.
Things are starting to heat up. That’s the way it should be these last five days of October, and my time in the stand on Saturday indicated the rut isn’t far off. It always starts with younger bucks on the tails of does, and that is going on right now. I hunted a trail that ran along the military crest of a north-south running ridge this morning and saw a handful of does. About 8:30, a 2.5-year old eight pointer came cruising by behind me about 80 yards away.
The Alexandria Horseshoe League honored its junior horseshoe league participants recently after a season that saw the club named the Minnesota State Horseshoe League champion. This award is based on participants from clubs in the state tournament and how the individuals place at state.