Hunters harvest 12 deer during Camp Ripley and preserve youth hunts

Windy and wet weather made it challenging for archery hunters participating in youth deer hunts Oct. 12-13 at the Camp Ripley Military Reservation, and the Nature Conservancy’s Lake Alexander Preserve, according to Beau Liddell, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) area wildlife manager at Little Falls.  

A total of 175 permits were issued for the 12th annual Camp Ripley youth hunt, with 137 hunters participating; and 20 permits were issued for Lake Alexander Nature Conservancy youth hunt, with 13 hunters participating. Youth hunters harvested 10 deer at Camp Ripley while youth at the nearby 10th annual Nature Conservancy preserve hunt took two deer, for an 8 percent success rate. Hunter success of 8 to 10 percent is typical for two-day archery hunts at these two locations. Many of the 12 deer taken during the hunts were the first for the participants.

Samson Sjogren of Sauk Center took the first deer at Camp Ripley, a 92-pound yearling buck on Saturday morning. Aiden Ginter of Glenwood took the largest deer at Camp Ripley, a 131-pound adult doe. Anthony Lenz of Elk River took the first deer at the Lake Alexander Preserve, a 57-pound fawn buck. Josh Novicky of St. Michael took the largest deer from the preserve, a 100-pound adult doe.

“While the weather conditions weren’t ideal, there are a lot of deer at these locations that helped the hunters achieve a typical harvest for this year’s events,” Liddell said. “Many hunters said they really enjoyed the experience.

“Antlerless deer dominated the harvest with fawns and does comprising two-thirds of the deer taken.”

All youth hunters were paired with nonhunting adult mentors. To get acclimated, participants had an orientation and scouting day on Friday, Oct. 11, ahead of the hunt. The Minnesota State Archery Association and Minnesota Deer Hunters Association were the primary hunt sponsors. The DNR, Department of Military Affairs and the Nature Conservancy provided significant logistical and planning support for the two hunts.

“The hunt sponsors deserve a lot of credit for the high quality experience provided to youth participants,” Liddell said. “Without their involvement and hard work, these events would not be possible.”

The Camp Ripley youth hunt was the first of its kind in Minnesota and laid the groundwork for similar youth hunts being offered elsewhere in the state.