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How good or how bad the 2011 firearm deer hunting season was for folks in central Minnesota is still in question. With official figures still on the way, the perception of many is that the deer migrated to some other state. Department of Natural Resources Assistant Wildlife Manager Rob Rabasco of Park Rapids is not so sure there is a shortage. Rabasco hunted 13 hours over a two-day period and never saw a deer.
The excitement of playing hockey again in Wadena is building right along with a new ice arena. On Monday, members of the Wadena Hockey Association who attend WDC School took advantage of the day off, to get on the ice. The same day the first steel beams went up on their new arena, 24 skaters spent three hours in Little Falls sharpening their skills for the upcoming season.
There is only one direction for George Behl and his Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek Blue Devils this season - up. The Blue Devils lost 20 of their 22 games, scored just 24 goals and were shut out 13 times. The lack of experience had just about everything to do with their problems.
Wadena-Deer Creek standouts Logan Meyer and Jacob Ludovissie have been selected to the All-Section 6AA football team for the 2011 season. Meyer made the team as a rusher while Ludovissie was chosen for his linebacker play. The Pierz Pioneers led the all-section voting with five players.
One year after they brought home a state championship, the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines earned fourth place honors in the Class AA state volleyball tournament. The Wolverines fell to Jordan 25-17, 26-24, 25-13 Saturday in the battle for third place. WDC Head Coach Sue Volkmann felt that losing the second set to Jordan was the decisive one in the three-game match. "We led 24-21 and we didn't put it away," Volkmann said. Kelsey Chambers led Jordan's comeback by putting down three kills. Chambers finished the match with 21 kills.
So where are they? That is what a lot of area deer hunters have been asking themselves during the nine-day firearm season. Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Greg Oldakowski has had more than one hunting party complain about the lack of whitetail deer around Wadena. "Back in October they were seeing a lot of deer on their trail cameras," Oldakowski said. Oldakowski does not pretend to know the reason for the lack of whitetails, although he was not surprised to hear of poor hunting on the first weekend.
Chris Holman has a very hard time remembering when hockey was not part of his life. The 48-year-old Verndale social studies instructor grew up in Edina and used to skate on Minnehaha Creek. Wherever you found ice, you found Chris Holman. After his playing days were over, Holman began coaching in the Edina Youth Association.
Paige Hartman has been named MVP of Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines girls' tennis team for her play during the 2011 season. Hartman took on the No. 1 singles position when Macy Hartman was unable to start the season due to off-season knee surgery. Paige went to the No. 2 singles spot after Macy's return and both players were named to the Mid-State All-Conference team. Other team awards went to Elise Kallevig (Spirit), Erin Johnson (Most Improved), Macy Hartman (Hustle) and Sarah Najjar (Wolverine).
The Minnesota firearm deer hunting opener was blown off course this weekend by a southerly gale that greatly limited success. One of the better areas was Verndale where some local hunters filled out. Sandra Gould of Carr's Convenience had relatives that did well north of County Road 7. Hunting parties passing through Verndale from northern Minnesota complained of poor deer numbers due to tough winter conditions. Brad Snyder of Shell Sports and Bait in Menahga talked to many hunters who had poor action due to the high winds. "It was very tough hunting," Snyder said.
The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines punched their own ticket to the Class AA state volleyball tournament last Saturday by whipping Thief River Falls in the Section 8AA championship match. The Wolverines won 25-15, 25-18 and 25-20 to qualify for their fourth straight trip to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. It was the final rung on the ladder for Sue Volkmann's state-ranked club. "We wanted to win it again," WDC libero Hope Theisen said. "We wanted to go back to state." The Wolverines earned the No. 4 seed and drew Visitation as a first round opponent at state.