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Hunters reporting mixed success after deer opener

The deer opener began with a bang in Hubbard County over the weekend. Saturday night the line of hunters registering their deer snaked through the Emmaville Store, around the displays and out the door. The season began at dawn. Forty-eight hours ...

Dennis Diedrich

The deer opener began with a bang in Hubbard County over the weekend.

Saturday night the line of hunters registering their deer snaked through the Emmaville Store, around the displays and out the door. The season began at dawn.

Forty-eight hours after the firearms deer season got underway, nearly 300 deer had been registered in Emmaville and the numbers were growing steadily.

But hunters weren't a happy bunch.

"I've been coming up here 40 years," said Terry Olson of Perham. "We've been seeing deer, but haven't gotten a decent shot off yet. We're seeing more spike bucks than does and we're leaving those."

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Olson's party of five had only shot one doe by Monday. They had multiple licenses. But they did spend money on gas, meals and liquor in the Park Rapids area.

"We've had better luck," said Chuck Driver, of Hutchinson. One of his party was registering an 8-point buck at Emmaville. "But this sure helps."

Down Highway 4 at the Deer Lane Laundromat, hunters were lined up out the door to use the public showers.

"Some can't understand why they're not catching them and some already have seven deer for a party of 11," said manager Mavis Trenholm. "Some are just picky. There's a lot of deer in the woods around here. It's got to be a good season because I've seen a lot of trailers with deer in them."

Several grumpy hunters were airing their grievances back at the Emmaville Store, maintaining it was a bad season. Others were pulling up with pickups of deceased deer to register.

While Olson and his party were complaining about the hunting on the Halverson Trail, Park Rapids hunter Dennis Diedrich came in to register the doe he'd just shot on that very same trail - while the Olson party was having breakfast in Emmaville.

It seemed all a matter of timing.

"I've been hunting around here since 1970," Diedrich said. "We got four on Saturday. But I don't think it's a really good year."

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Bad luck on the trails was good luck for merchants and business owners. Kathy Courtney, owner of the Emmaville Store, has been working from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. since last Friday.

"It's been very busy and I'm tired," she said. "Pretty much all my help is working this week."

Minus all the students who help during the summer.

Trenholm said "it's been crazy and it's not over yet."

Fifteen to 20 hunters line up to use the public shower at $3 per head each night. They swap hunting stories while in line, throw their dirty duds into a washer and start fresh and clean again.

Delaney's Sports Center had only registered 70 deer through the weekend, but Bob Kriss said that was on par with last year. "We've never been a big registration station," he said. "But we're seeing some nice deer."

Kriss said two 12-point bucks and a 13-point buck had been brought in.

Down the street, the Holiday Station Store had registered 330 deer through Sunday evening.

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"I think it's pretty much what we had last year but I can't find my records from last year and I'm too busy to look," said Holiday manager Sue Zinniel.

A weary Courtney worked the cash register, tallied up the deer count and raced out into the brisk cold to take complimentary photos of the trophy deer.

"This is one of the biggest I've seen yet," she said of Tim Degn's deer, shot in the neighborhood, just up the highway.

Courtney said the economic shot in the arm was worth the hard work.

"I can always sleep later," she said.

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