Plenty of deer were found during opener

Crisp nights and mild days made for an ideal deer opener. The underbrush was gone from recent frosts, so visibility was great. The only thing missing was snow on the ground to track the deer.

Hunters found plenty of deer and good weather when the sun came up Saturday. The rut is close, and bucks were chasing the does in many areas of the state.

Good weather and good deer numbers usually add up to a good harvest. I talked to friends north and south. Everyone reported seeing lots of deer. Duane Shambour hunted near New Prague and harvested a nice buck Saturday morning. North in the Brainerd area, my friends Ken Lebens and Jeff Rathmanner saw a lot of deer. Both men had each taken two deer by Sunday morning. However, none of the deer were bucks.

My son Joe was hunting near Rushford with Shane Raveling and several other hunters. Joe took a massive buck, weighing about 200 pounds, with a great rack with 11 points.One side of the antlers had broken off, or the buck could have been a 14-pointer.

I drove down to see the deer Sunday. I got there just in time to ride with them and pick up three more deer they had harvested that morning. When I left them at 3 p.m., they had seven deer hanging in a tree on the farm.

This is an intensive harvest area, and each hunter can take up to five deer. Farmers there welcome hunters because the deer do a lot of damage to the crops. Rushford is rebuilding after the big flood; however, the rains didn't affect the deer population.

Friends just north of Owatonna saw a lot of deer and had plenty of opportunities to take deer. Joel Ross shot a nice buck on his farm near Circle Lake, just west of Faribault. All hunters there saw a lot of deer too. All in all, I think it was a great opener!

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