CAMP RIPLEY -- Cold temperatures and stiff winds the weekend of Oct. 12-13 greeted 87 youths who took part in the first Youth Archery Hunt at Camp Ripley.
One-hundred permits were issued for Minnesota's first special youth archery hunt. The 87 youths who took part harvested 13 deer, for a success rate of 15 percent.
The first deer was taken by 13-year-old Matt Kehrer, Zimmerman, who shot a 109-pound yearling buck at 9:15 a.m. Saturday. The largest buck was taken by 17-year-old Nick LeFebvre, Grand Rapids. Many of the harvested deer were the first ever taken by the youths, who were paired with non-hunting adult mentors. Due to military operations, the hunters were restricted to the northern third of Camp Ripley, an area of about 15,000 acres.
"Most hunters were not that selective, with fawns and does comprising eight of the thirteen deer taken," said Beau Liddell, DNR area wildlife manager at Little Falls. "The hunters said they saw many deer, learned a lot and will cherish the experience."
Primary administrators of the hunt were the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and the Minnesota State Archery Association.
"They did a terrific job planning and conducting this hunt," Liddell said. "In addition, the Department of Military Affairs, who manages the 53,000-acre military reservation, provided significant logistical and planning support. The hunt sponsors deserve a lot of credit for the high quality experience provided to youth participants. Without their involvement this event would not have been a reality."
Hunt organizers anticipate the Camp Ripley Youth Hunt to be an annual event, Liddell said.
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