Archers took a record 325 deer during the first of two two-day bow hunts held Oct. 19-20 at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls, Minnesota.
"Weather conditions were superb, allowing hunters to maximize their time in the field, resulting in an excellent harvest," said Beau Liddell, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Little Falls area wildlife manager. "For the fifth year in a row hunters at Camp Ripley were allowed to take up to two deer and to use bonus permits to increase harvest on antlerless deer. Most of those taken - about 67 percent - were fawns and does."
The harvest represents a 41 percent increase from last year and is 160 percent above the long-term average harvest of 126 deer for the first hunt. "If weather cooperates for the second weekend, the total take for all four days could easily smash the record 514 deer harvested at Camp Ripley in 2005. The harvest thus far is already 16 percent above the long-term average of 280 for both hunts combined," Liddell said.
There were 2,504 permits issued for the first hunt, with 2,139 hunters participating, for a participation rate of 85 percent. Hunter success was about 15 percent (7 percent higher than the long-term average of 8 percent), and 13 hunters took their bag limit of two deer.
"With eleven consecutive mild winters and strong harvests since 2000, Camp Ripley's deer herd is in good condition, and most hunters who provided comments indicated they saw numerous deer," Liddell said. "The good harvest experienced thus far is due to strong effort by hunters, high deer densities, excellent hunting weather, and a high number of hunters in camp."
Of adult bucks weighed, 11 tipped the scales more than 200 pounds. The largest buck weighed 234 pounds, taken by Brady Sutherland of Jeffers. Jeffrey Wickline, of Clearwater, took a buck nearly as large, weighing 225 pounds. Tracy Welsh of Sauk Rapids harvested the largest doe of the first hunt, weighing 155 pounds.