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Cold, windy weather leads to mixed results for hunters

A brisk north wind and a trace of fresh snow greeted many northern Minnesota hunters on Saturday's Minnesota firearms deer opener. Success seemed to be mixed. Bucks appeared to outnumber does among early registrations, according to a survey of ar...

A brisk north wind and a trace of fresh snow greeted many northern Minnesota hunters on Saturday's Minnesota firearms deer opener. Success seemed to be mixed. Bucks appeared to outnumber does among early registrations, according to a survey of area registration stations.

And the rut is on, hunters say.

"Everyone is talking that when they see a doe, a buck is right there with them," said Kim Gerard at Chalstrom's Bait and Tackle in Duluth.

Wind tends to reduce deer movement, and it made for a cold morning on the stand for many hunters, according to reports. Despite that, the Bear's Den in Twig had registered about 100 deer by mid-afternoon Saturday, Pat Najjar said.

"It's going really good. And we've taken in a couple really nice ones," Najjar said.

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One of those nice ones was an 11-pointer taken by Jase Johnson of Proctor.

"I shot it between 9 and 9:30," Johnson said, "but it took me about five hours to find it after I shot it.

The buck weighed 249 pounds field-dressed.

"He's going to be put on the wall, let's put it that way," Johnson said.

He had already passed up a six-point buck, an eight-pointer and two 10-pointers, he said. He was waiting for one he deemed worthy of mounting, and the 11-pointer fulfilled his requirements.

Fisherman's Corner in Pike Lake had registered about 50 deer by mid-afternoon, a little below average, said Brian Foster of Fisherman's Corner. The largest was a 211-pound 10-pointer, but the hunter's name was not available.

"They're saying the wind is really cold out there, and that's not helping," Foster said. "A bunch of them said they hadn't heard many shots."

Bucks outnumbered does heavily in registrations at Lucky Seven Sporting Goods in Virginia, Jim Branstrom said.

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"It was pretty noisy out there with the wind," Branstrom said. "I was out there this morning."

The Virginia area had a dusting of new snow, he said, but where he had hunted near Cook, there was no snow.

Chalstrom's had registered about 50 deer by mid-afternoon Saturday, about 80 percent of them bucks, Gerard said. Some hunters were discouraged by the wind, he said.

"I'd say it was a very good opening morning," said John Chalstrom of Chalstrom's. "With the weather and not an overabundance of people out there, the guys who took the time to get out there, most of them had some kind of action. From what I'm hearing, the rut is in full swing."

The peak of Minnesota's rut, or deer mating season, is Nov. 11 or 12 -- Tuesday or Wednesday -- biologists say.

Registrations were down significantly at the Fredenberg Minno-ette, Marilyn Grondahl said.

"It was very slow," she said. "The weather had a lot to do with it. We've had a quite a few hunters come through to get out of the woods. A, they're freezing. B, they're not seeing much. But the ones who have seen deer say the bucks are really on the move."

Sunday's forecast from the National Weather Service in Duluth calls for northwest winds of 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 25 mph and a high of 32 degrees.

Related Topics: HUNTINGWEATHER
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