AITKIN - Meet the gun brothers, Winchester and Remington Hasskamp.
The boys are the fifth generation of Hasskamps to live on the 260-acre farm in Aitkin County owned by their parents, Jeff Hasskamp and Terri Booth. On that land they'll open the 2005 firearms deer season at sunrise Saturday.
When the magic hour arrives both will tote Remington rifles, Winchester's name notwithstanding.
So how did Winchester, 15, and Remington, 14, come to be named after the two most famous gun makers in American history?
Remington Hasskamp (left), 14, and his brother, Winchester, 15, share not only unusual first names, but a love for deer hunting as well. Both boys made their first trips to a deer stand in a bassinet. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
"Jeff probably had it in mind all the time," Terri says. "I didn't have any names picked out. So Winchester was born and it's four days later and we still don't have a name, I said, 'We really have to pick a name.' And he says, 'Well, I kind of have something in mind."
Terri went along with both names but didn't know at the time of Winchester's birth that Jeff's suggestion of Parker for a middle name was in honor of another famous gun maker.
Winchester and Remington were born a year and two days apart, on Oct. 5 and Oct. 7, respectively. Each made his first trip to the deer stand in a bassinet when 1 month old. The relatives said nothing.
"Jeff is contrary," Terri says. "They all knew he'd do something like that."
Jeff is contrary and Terri was nervous, as mothers tend to be when their sons are hauled away on opening day of deer season in a bassinet. But the boys took well to deer hunting and logged plenty of hours in the stand before they turned 12, the legal age to hunt deer in Minnesota. Remington bagged an 8-point buck his first year. Winchester's still trying. They shared a stand for a few years until Winchester decided to branch out on his own this year.
With these two youngest members the Hasskamp deer party continues to thrive. It's 16 strong this year and includes uncles and aunts, cousins, friends and assorted others, depending on the day and the drive. Neither Terri, Winchester or Remington could agree when asked how much land they can access for deer hunting, as property lines are shared with relatives and get blurred come deer season.
Saturday's weather forecast
Partly cloudy skies and a high of 48. Chance of precipitation 10 percent. Winds from the south/southwest at 9 mph.
Saturday night's low 31 degrees.
Sunrise Saturday: 7:04 a.m. Sunset: 4:56 p.m.
In years past the party bunked in a small shack next to the Hasskamp house, but that ended when Terri turned the shack into a craft shop.
"So now we just eat in the house," Winchester says. "Mom puts a big pot on the stove and we come in and out."
The boys enjoy wood carving and raising animals for 4-H as well as hunting. They're growing up fast, Terri notes, and adds she just turned 50.
"No more kids for me," she says.
What if there had been a third, a girl perhaps?
"Her name would be Colt," Terri says.
VINCE MEYER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5862.
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