A pretty good opener
The adoption of new registration options has changed the face of the Minnesota firearms deer hunting season this fall.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is giving hunters who tag deer additional options of registering. Taking your deer to a registration station still works, but so does registering your deer online or using your cell phone.
Reporting deer on the Internet requires going online to the licensing center. After giving their information, hunters are given a confirmation number, which must be recorded on the license in the appropriate area.
Telephone registering involves calling (888) 706-6367 and entering the hunter's nine-digit license number. The answer to a few questions wraps up the whole process.
The ease of registering by phone, in some cases on a cell phone, gives the hunter a chance to attach a site tag and register the deer before leaving the woods.
Marlene Snyder of Shell Sport and Bait in Menahga registered 369 deer as of Monday night but she still considered the first weekend of hunting to be a strong one around the Wadena County area. She had registered 658 deer after the first weekend of last year's firearms hunt.
Saturday's hunting was especially good, according to Snyder.
"It's always better when they haven't been spooked," Snyder said.
Josiah Burkman, a 12-year-old from Morgan, Minn. dropped a 13-point buck that weighed 238 pounds on his grandpa's farm northwest of Menahga.
Ken Peltier of the Hardware Hank Store in New York Mills heard stories of some groups doing well and others doing poorly.
"It's pretty sporadic," Peltier said.
DNR enforcement officer Chris Vinton of Perham spent the weekend checking hunters and hearing what they had to say.
"It's kind of feast or famine," Vinton said. "It's deer hunting."
Vinton was not called into either of the two hunting accidents that
occurred in the Perham area last weekend. Both were investigated by the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office. In one accident near Richville, a 16-year-old boy shot himself in the foot when his gun discharged. Statistics have shown that 67 percent of gunshot wounds are self-inflicted.
Melissa Johnson, a 24-year-old from Henning, injured her legs when the stand she was in east of Perham collapsed and she fell five feet to the ground.
The type of accident that Johnson was involved in is the No. 1 accident to occur during deer hunting, according to Captain Mike Hammer, education program coordinator for the DNR. Box stands, like the one Johnson was in, are generally safer than regular tree stands, but should be checked out before the hunting season. Tree stands that consist of boards just nailed into trees can loosen with the movement or growth of the tree.
"Those stands nailed into trees they are accidents waiting to happen," Hammer said.
A permanent deer stand can not be higher than 16 feet but a portable stand can be any height off the ground. Safety harnesses are recommended to hunters using stands and recommends following the three-point rule -- which involves maintaining contact with either both hands and one foot or both feet and one hand.
Denny's Food-n-Sport in Henning registered a 226-pound, 10-point buck for Mike Hawes of Alexandria.
"I was here all weekend," said Denny's Brent Dolittle. "It sounds like it was a pretty good hunting. Everyone that came in said it sounded like World War III."
What struck Frankie Cole at Orton's in Wadena was the number of eight-point bucks that were registered.
"There have been a ton of eight-pointers," said Irish.
The biggest deer registered at Orton's during the first weekend was a 260-pound, 10-pointer.
The nine-day firearms season in Zone 2 wraps up Sunday.