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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Brey Effertz hasn't been able to ease his way into the North American Tier III Hockey League. Effertz, who turns 19 years old on November 26, has played just two games at this level and both have come against perennially strong programs. First up was defending national champion North Iowa (15-0-1) on November 6. This past Saturday, it was division-power Granite City (13-5). "I think it's really good to get in and get shots quick, kind of fall into a rhythm," Effertz said after falling 2-1 to the Lumberjacks on Saturday.
Bucks that gain a name after showing up on camera tend to be special deer, and the buck known as Elvis in Todd County definitely fits that description. Alexandria's Calen Burkey and his party of six people that hunt north of Head of the Lakes Resort near Osakis had captured plenty of photos of this deer over the last two years. Hundreds of them, Burkey says. But there was a problem.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced on November 17 that Minnesota firearms hunters registered 118,599 deer through the second weekend of firearms deer season. That's up from 104,785 from the same period in 2014, according to the DNR. "Hunters are seeing more deer this year as we continue to build deer populations across much of the state," Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations program manager, said in the release. "We've again issued a conservative number of antlerless deer permits, and because of this, many hunters are seeing deer they can't shoot.
Fifteen-year-old Clayton Luedeke of Miltona already has two big bucks to his name during his hunting career and the latest would make the most seasoned hunter envious. Luedeke shot this...
Fifteen-year-old Clayton Luedeke of Miltona already has two big bucks to his name during his hunting career and the latest would make the most-seasoned hunter envious. Luedeke shot this big buck while hunting on the evening of November 11 just north of Miltona. "The buck walked out with his head down," Clayton's brother, Brandon, said. "Clayton was in his stand. When he first saw it, he thought it was a doe until he lifted his head." There was no confusion once that happened. Clayton dropped the 13-point buck from about 120 yards away with one shot.
The Ashby boys basketball team is coming off a 3-22 season that it wants to make sure it improves on heading into this winter. The Arrows lost three players to graduation in Zach Barry, Gavin Saxton and Dakota Fossan but have seven letter winners back. Senior Miles Wing and junior Nathan Cook are two guards who are back as starters.
Kensington's Lindsay Spillman got her first deer while hunting near her hometown during the firearms season. Spillman shot this buck while hunting on November 8.
Alexandria 11-year-old Bobby Olson experienced some buck fever that turned out to be a blessing in disguise on the firearms opener on November 7. Olson was hunting with his grandfather, Bob Olson, on his grandfather's farm in Douglas County when a six-point buck appeared on opening morning. Bobby shouldered his gun and fired. The shot missed, but his grandpa assured him he would get another opportunity. "They went to camp for some lunch," Bobby's father, Trevor Olson, said of the hunt.
The Alexandria boys hockey team has heard the rumblings. Players know what the popular opinion is across the state about this year's team. Programs don't generally lose 15 seniors from a 22-4-1 team and not take at least a little bit of a drop in the standings. That's what outsiders assume will happen to Alexandria this winter, and it's a prognosis that hasn't gone unnoticed by these players. "It's all over social media, Twitter and whatnot," senior defenseman Nate Folsom said. "Everyone thinks it's a rebuilding year. We lost 15 seniors. Of course, who doesn't think that?
The Alexandria girls hockey team believed it had a roster that could put together a special season coming into the year, and the Cardinals have done nothing to diminish those...