Wet Weather Challenges Hunters During First Camp Ripley Hunt
Archers took a two-day total of 208 deer during the first bow hunt Oct. 18-19 at Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The second two-day hunt is scheduled for Oct. 27-28.
“Wet weather greeted hunters and made it challenging for them to maximize their time in the field, with most of the hunters leaving by midday on Friday,” said Beau Liddell, DNR Little Falls area wildlife manager. ”Nevertheless, hunters still did well, resulting in the ninth highest harvest for the first hunt.
“For the ninth year in a row hunters were allowed to take up to two deer and to use bonus permits to increase harvest on antlerless deer,” Liddell said. “Harvest was above average. We are pleased that fawns and does comprised 61 percent of the harvest.”
The total harvest of 208 deer thus far is 14 percent above the long-term average harvest of 182 deer for the first hunt. “Unless we get poor weather, we’re on pace to register another top 10 harvest for both hunts combined,” Liddell said.
There were 2,502 permits issued for the first hunt, with 2,059 hunters participating, for a participation rate of 82 percent (down from 84 percent last year). Hunter success was 10 percent (identical to the long-term average for the first hunt). Seven hunters took their bag limit of two deer.
“With 14 consecutive mild winters in this part of the state and strong harvests since 2000, Camp Ripley’s deer herd is in good condition,” Liddell said. “Many hunters who provided comments indicated they saw numerous deer.”
Five adult bucks tipped the scales at or above 200 pounds. The largest buck registered weighed 215 pounds, taken by James Higgins of South Haven, Minn. Of adult does registered, the largest weighed in at 142 pounds, taken by Gerald Hartung of Clear Lake.
The DNR coordinates the hunts with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military reservation.