Up North: Minnesota deer opener traditions impacted by Covid-19

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: November 11, 2020 10:44 PM

For years, Minnesotan Dave Roden has hit the fields in Remer at his Uncle Jim's cabin for the firearms deer opener.

In the past he's been in the company of good family, friends and other nearby hunters, but this year felt, and sounded, different.

"Usually opener [is] like the Fourth of July. As soon as it's legal shooting you hear bang bang bang bang, all over the place, and this one was really quiet," said Roden.

Even his party was quieter, down from it's usual 14 members to seven. It was the pandemic, he said, that put a damper on some of their opening day traditions.

"People [have] some jobs due to Covid and they have to work more, or they've been working less and they just can't afford to come out," Roden explained.

Less than ideal hunting conditions also made the day less attractive to some hunters. With temperatures around 60 degrees throughout much of the Northland on Saturday, fewer deer were active during the day and processing had to be completed early.

For Roden, this meant leaving his post just 13 minutes into the season after harvesting a 10 point buck.

"It was right away. It was at 6:51 [and] I think legal shooting time was at 6:38," Roden said. "I got down there right away, dressed it, and we were going to process it ourselves but, we decided to actually bring it in to a butcher shop right away."

That deer did assure one family tradition would carry on. By the end of the weekend his big buck earned Roden the title of Deer Hunter of the Year in his camp. They even have a trophy with every winner's name inscribed on the sides.

"My grandpa [was the first winner in] 1951, [and now] I'm going to be at the bottom with my name," Roden said.


Alicia Tipcke

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