Thief River Falls trapshooters help local MDHA chapter prep deer hides

Nov. 18—THIEF RIVER FALLS — For the past several years, the Thief River Falls Chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has contributed funds to several high school trapshooting teams across northwest Minnesota with proceeds from the MDHA's Hides for Habitat program.

Often called the ultimate recycling program, Hides for Habitat uses proceeds from the sale of deer hides contributed by hunters to buy food plot seed, fund wildlife habitat projects and benefit youth outdoor education programs. The Thief River Falls MDHA chapter collects hides from drop boxes set up from Warroad to East Grand Forks — and several points in-between — and routinely is the top MDHA chapter in the state in terms of collecting and prepping hides for sale to fur buyers.

This year, for the first time, members of the student trapshooting team in Thief River Falls volunteered to help the local MDHA chapter salt and prep hides. Wednesday night, Nov. 15, there were 19 students who showed up at Falls Radiator on U.S. Highway 59 to help 40 chapter volunteers scrape and salt 2,000 hides and stack them on pallets for eventual sale to fur buyers, said Dana Klos, habitat coordinator for the Thief River Falls MDHA chapter.

That's a lot of hides to prep and salt.

"We had people out there with flashlights telling them where to go and what to do," Klos said. "We were rocking and rolling, let's call it."

They'll be back at it Tuesday night, Nov. 21, Klos said. Traditionally, hide prep begins the Wednesday after the firearms deer season opens and continues from about 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays for seven weeks through the end of muzzleloader season, Klos says.

Next week, they'll work Tuesday night because of the Thanksgiving holiday. The students' help, Klos says, is much appreciated.

"I just can't believe it," he said of the young volunteers. "We can't thank them enough for that because we're all getting older — we can't do what we used to do." — Brad Dokken

ST. PAUL — Minnesota's deer harvest from the start of archery season in mid-September to early this week was 7% behind last year at the same time, according to a news release from the Department of Natural Resources. The harvest also is 9% below the five-year average and 2% behind the 10-year average, the DNR said.

The overall statewide harvest for the nine-day Firearms A season (100-series DPAs have a 16-day season) was 5% below last year's nine-day harvest and 16% below the five-year average. As expected, in those areas most severely hit by winter in northern Minnesota the last few years, harvest is down considerably.

License sales have ticked up a bit and were 3% below last year as of Nov. 13, the Monday after the second weekend of firearms season.

Current statewide deer harvest figures and harvest reports for past years are available on the Minnesota DNR

deer reports and statistics page.

The page also features an interactive map and graphs that visualize the data including numbers on how many deer have been harvested by muzzleloaders, vertical bows, crossbows and firearms.

* More info: — staff report

ST. PAUL — Archery hunters who participated in the Camp Ripley Hunt near Little Falls, Minnesota, had good success during the three-day hunt that occurred from Oct. 27 through Oct. 29, the DNR said.

This year, 1,846 participating hunters harvested 202 deer across the three-day hunt, including two bucks that tipped the scales at or above 240 pounds. Last year, 1,953 hunters harvested 221 deer during the hunt.

The archery hunt at Camp Ripley is an annual event. The DNR coordinates the hunts in collaboration with the Natural Resources Program at Central Lakes College in Brainerd and the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military reservation. — staff report

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota DNR, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, has a program that allows Minnesota deer hunters to donate deer carcasses to food shelves and feeding programs. This program provides an excellent source of protein to people in need while helping reduce local deer populations. To participate, hunters must have their deer processed at a Minnesota Department of Agriculture-registered

meat processing plant that has agreed to participate

in the program.

Find the details about the program on the

DNR website


. — staff report