Hook and Bullet Club - The Hunt

On the last day of the 2015 firearms deer season, the crew from Camp Cholesterol gathered in the woods to celebrate. Finally we had a buck on the ground and venison for the winter.
For many deer camps in the Ely area this was a tough season. Some saw more wolves than deer. Many camps were only able to harvest one small buck. And some didn’t shoot any deer.
The last day of the season is often more about packing up camp than shooting a buck. But it’s not over til it’s over, even in the woods.
Sitting in a stand Sunday morning I wasn’t expecting to see much. Both Evan and I had sat in that stand during the season and each of us saw the same thing: squirrels.
The quickest way to get to that stand is to cross a swamp that has two streams running through it. This can be anywhere from tricky to muddy to easy once everything freezes.


DNR: Hunters register 68,401 deer during first weekend

Minnesota firearms hunters registered 68,401 deer during the first three days of firearms deer season, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Hunters are seeing more deer this year as we continue to build deer populations across much of the state,” said Steve Merchant, wildlife populations and regulations program manager. “We’ve issued a conservative number of antlerless deer permits, and because of this, many hunters are seeing deer they can’t shoot. However, patience this year should translate to more harvest opportunities in the future.”

Final numbers from the first three days show that the number of deer registered rose 6.3 percent from 2014. Buck harvest during the first three days of the fireams season was up 8.5 percent from last year.

Zone 1 total firearms harvest was up 8.2 percent, Zone 2 was up 5.9 percent and Zone 3 was up 3.2 percent.


New mobile app available for County Land Explorer

Just in time for hunting season, a new mobile app is available for the popular St. Louis County Land Explorer.
The Land Explorer is an interactive map application that has proven popular for business, personal and recreational uses.
It combines information from several County databases to provide the most up-to-date property details.
The Land Explorer allows users to view and search land records data by address, parcel identification number (PIN) and other methods.
Since its launch in 2013, the St. Louis County Land Explorer (stlouiscountymn.gov/explorer) has been one of the most used features on the County’s website.
The mobile app version of the County Land Explorer is free, and is available for anyone with an Apple or Android smart phone or tablet.
To download the new app, people should go to the appropriate app store and search for “Explorer for ArcGIS” by Esri.


2015 Ely-Tower area deer season forecast released

DNR wildlife manager Tom Rusch in Tower released the 2015 Tower Area deer season forecast:
• The 2015 16-day firearms deer season will begin Saturday Nov. 7th and end Sunday Nov. 22.
• The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Office in Tower is forecasting a deer population on the rise but still below management goals for Northern St. Louis and Northern Lake Counties. Wildlife managers report the deer herd is below population goals in 7 of 9 of the deer permit areas in our area but rebounding from recent tough winters.
• Five out of the last 8 winters have negatively impacted the deer herd and fawn production in the Tower Area.
• The 2015 deer season framework will again be very conservative. Six permit areas are designated “Bucks Only” to allow the population to continue to grow. Three permit areas are designated “lottery.” Antlerless harvest and winter severity are the most significant factors in northern forest deer management.


Supreme Court rejects appeal filed by Rogers

by Tom Coombe


Whitefish, cisco sport netting dates announced for Shagawa, Ojibway and Bear Island lakes

Additional opening dates have been set for whitefish and cisco (tullibee) sport netting on area lakes, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Tower area fisheries office.

Lakes open to whitefish and cisco sport netting Saturday, Nov. 7 through Monday, Nov. 30:
• Shagawa Lake* (St. Louis County) requires a 3-1/2 inch or greater net stretch measure.

Lakes open to whitefish and cisco sport netting Friday, Nov. 27 through Monday, Dec. 28:
• Ojibway (Lake County) requires a 1-3/4 inch or greater net stretch measure.
• Bear Island (St. Louis County) requires a 1-3/4 inch or greater net stretch measure.


Teamwork separates two tangled bucks

On day one of the MEA break, Minnesota Conservation Officer Mike Gruhlke (Jackson) returned a call from Babbitt, MN police chief Chad Loewen who was hunting pheasants in the Delft, MN area with his two sons and wife. They had encountered an eight point and a ten point buck tangled up by their antlers. The Loewen family made attempts to free the animals with sticks that they found in the area, but because the sticks weren’t rigid enough nor long enough, they couldn’t get the leverage they needed to complete the task. Later in the afternoon Gruhlke responded to the area, with a two piece ice chisel and a canoe paddle. With those two tools the Loewens and Gruhlke went to see if they could help the two bucks. After a short search the deer were found, still tangled, but nearly exhausted. They all worked cautiously at separating the two deer. When the antlers were pried apart, almost immediately the ten pointer jumped to his “feet” and left the area.


Area youth learn in the field about their ecosystem

Mason Davies releases the banded bird while his classmates look on, l-r: Jon Hakala, Gracie Pointer, Cora Olson, Jacob Towley, Gabriel Pointer, Mason Davis, and Dave Grosshuesch of the U.S. Forest Service.


Sara Hext wins 2015 Angler resort stay

In the Ely Echo’s North Country Angler Fishing Contest every year, any and all fish entries are eligible for the grand prize of a three-day stay at Zup’s Fishing Resort, no matter what the size of the fish. And no matter what the size of the angler.

This year’s vacation winner, Sara Hext of Wisconsin registered her nice bluegill at Spirit of the Wilderness and has been notified of her win.


Northern lights brighten night skies

NORTHERN LIGHTS this past week with the Ely water tower featured in this photo by Hailey Worth.


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