Ali Hygrell, 10, Maple Lake
“I have been going deer hunting with my dad since I was 3. This year I spent the summer practicing my shooting. Opening day, I got up early and went out to the stand with my dad. We sat out most of the day eating candy until four does ran up. My dad helped me get ready and told me to shoot the second deer. My legs were shaking, I was so excited. I pulled the trigger and my first deer fell.’’
Jake Ramacier, 18, Hugo
For the past 35 years, Jim Ramacier has been deer hunting with his father, Jim, and his father’s friend, Tom Mero, on land in Pine County. This tradition has expanded to now include Jim’s two sons, Luke, 20, and Jake, 18. Both have been coming to deer camp since they were 12. Tom’s grandson, Daniel Wolf, 15, has now joined the group. For the past several years, the deer population has dwindled in their area. But on the second day this year Jake shot this 13-point, 250-pound buck. “I’ve been coming up here for a long time and have had some luck but have never seen anything like this,’’ Jim Ramacier said.
Ron Knapper, Becker
“It was my birthday, and I wanted a birthday buck. I got in my stand about 6:30 and soon a small doe came through. Knowing I had to go into work, I checked my phone; it was 7:44 so I picked up my rattle bag and gently made the sound of two small bucks sparring. It wasn’t a minute later and I heard a deer moving through the brush. At about 30 yards, I saw horns. I have a bad shoulder and shoot a crossbow. As he cleared the brush I put my scope on his chest and fired at 13 yards. He was the biggest deer I have ever harvested. He scored green 164 nontypical and 158.5 typical. He weighed 210 dressed. Wow, sometimes you have to believe in fate.’’
Andrew Ching, 14, Eagan
“The first morning of the youth early season hunt, I had gotten into a ground blind on my Grandpa’s farm in Lake Elmo. At 8 a.m., an 8-point buck lifted its head only 30 yards away. I brought my gun barrel down, hitting the top of the blind as I rushed. I took a quick shot and the deer sprinted away. I shot again, and saw a white tail flashing through the woods, so I thought I had missed. After looking for blood where I had taken the first shot and finding none, we headed to where I had taken the running shot at close to 80 yards and found the deer! There was only one entrance wound, and it was on the side that I had shot it when it was running. I had killed my first deer, a 190-pound, 8-point buck!”
Nate Peterson, 12, Big Lake
Nate shot his first deer on Nov. 16 — a nearly 200-pound buck with an 8-point rack. He shot it near Nashwauk, Minn.