Where I Hunt

October 13, 2011 by  

By Doug Leier

I live in a great neighborhood. While most people think their neighborhood is the best, I know mine is.

I’m not trying to pick a fight, but it’s the best I could ask for, with a mixture of ages and backgrounds probably not much different than many neighborhoods in the state.

When I stop and ponder for a moment, I have to go a few houses each direction to find a home without a hunter or angler in it. That’s probably not much different than the rest of the Midwest, as our heritage includes not just Germans and Scandinavians or Lutherans and Catholics. We also hunt, fish or do both.

The next time you’re visiting with your neighbors, ask them where they hunt. For instance, I know Gordy, his son, grandsons and friends will again travel to hunt around Cooperstown. Brad drew a mule deer tag and is setting his sights on the badlands, but not before he’s bow hunted in the Red River Valley.

Cole is a Mitchell, SD native and he’ll also head home to South Dakota for a deer hunt in the Black Hills, but drew a North Dakota license as well. Across the street James is originally from Milbank, SD but enjoys North Dakota deer hunting with a 4C mule his preference. He didn’t draw but secured a 2B antlerless license.

My neighbor Darwin grew up near Streeter, but has hunted deer between Jamestown and Valley City for a few decades.

Ellerd is retired, but just rejoined the ranks of North Dakota deer hunters a few years ago, after decades away. The extended opportunities in his home area of Edmore, along with urging from a friend, piqued his interest and he plans to return again this fall as well.

I can’t forget Delbert. He might be the oldest neighbor -closer to 80 than 70- but you’d never guess it and I would bet even with a new knee he could keep up the pace with most hunters. His deer hunts are squeezed in between medical equipment and building a plane.

Opening Friday a couple years back he rang me up on the phone after oh-dark thirty looking for some tips on a new spot to hunt. Begrudgingly, he’s not taking part this year, but “maybe” next year.

Believe it or not, this short unofficial survey didn’t take me more than a half a block from my front sidewalk, yet these hunters will fan out across North Dakota and other states for their favorite deer hunting destination.

Over the course of weeks we’ll exchange stories from different corners, but all with a common theme of deer hunting. Unlike discussing your favorite football team, there will be no losers.

Evening visits to the neighbor’s garage – secretly checking to see if anyone has a big buck – are a must, followed by the obligatory swapping of processing plans for jerky, sausage or burger, and there’s a pretty good chance a new recipe will generate some interest.

Where else does deer bacon come from but a group of hunters boning out the strip meat from the rib cage and frying it up in bacon.

While some will lament missed shots or “this close” opportunities that disappeared with the twitch of a tail, the give and take, laughter and neighborhood friendships grow each year, even though we may never spend a day walking the same field.

Leier is a biologist with the Game & Fish Department. He can be reached by email:[email protected]


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