Daniel Janssen waits for this day all year long: The firearms deer hunting opener.
Like many Minnesotans, Janssen has been hunting as long as it’s been legal for him to shoot a gun. At the age of 26, Janssen has 14 hunting seasons under his belt.
“I’ve gotten some decent bucks,” Janssen said. “Nothing to hang on the wall yet.
“Maybe this year.”
For Janssen, a native of Hill City, hunting season is full of tradition. Every year he heads to the same Northern Minnesota deer camp his family has been hunting at for 60 years. It’s a weekend away for the boys, including his dad, three brothers, brother-in-law and family friends.
Janssen said the best part is the time he gets to spend with his brothers.
“We don’t have any cell phones, or TV. We just get to catch up, play cards,” Janssen said. “It’s actually more of a holiday than the holidays. There are no distractions.”
Janssen said deer camp for his family is North of Red Lake and requires some ingenuity to get there with all their gear in tow. “We have to take big off-road Jeeps to get into where our stands are,” he said. “That’s a whole ’nother experience.”
Janssen said when they aren’t in the woods stalking deer, he and his hunting crew are hanging out in their 26-foot-by-15-foot canvas tent complete with gas head, lights and a small cook stove. “They’re not exactly roughing it out there,” said Janssen’s wife, Ashley.
“It’s like a hotel in the woods,” added Janssen. “We have pretty much every comfort we need.”
For Ashley Janssen, a native of North Dakota, and not from a hunting family, the Janssen hunting tradition is something she has grown into. “The is all new to me,” she said.
Daniel Janssen said he doesn’t remember a time when hunting wasn’t a big deal in his family. “I remember when my dad used to leave to go hunting. I would cry because I couldn’t go,” Janssen said. “Then he’d come home and I remember seeing the big bucks.
“I loved it.”
Janssen shot his first buck at the age of 13 and remembers the day well. “It was awesome. I don’t even know how to explain,” he said. “Everyone was so excited for me to get my first one.”
Besides firearms deer hunting Janssen also loves to bow hunt and duck hunt. “The fall is too short for all the hunting I like to do,” he said.
Janssen said he usually takes a duck-hunting trip to North Dakota each year and hopes to extend his hunting resume next year to include elk hunting in Colorado.
When Janssen isn’t hunting, he spends his days working for All-Ways Painting, owned by his brother-in-law, Eric Craine. Craine is also a dedicated hunter.
“It’s nice having a boss, who’s also my brother-in-law, who’s also into hunting,” Janssen said. “(Eric) says, ‘Let’s go hunting,’ and I don’t have to take time off work. We just go.”
SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5879.