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Continued: Young guns get invited to Governor's Pheasant Opener

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 16, 2013 - 12:23 AM

The pair hunted in separate groups Saturday morning, tramping through prairie grass in a recently acquired state wildlife management area.

Jilek hunted with Stacey and Leslie Malmgren, 28-year-old twins who grew up near St. James and now live in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Nicole Davros, the DNR’s pheasant biologist. The Malmgrens have been hunting since they were kids, encouraged by dad, Dennis, a local Pheasants Forever leader.

Stacy Malmgren took the only shots the group fired at one fast-flushing rooster and missed.

“I’m happy we’re seeing birds,” she said under a bright sun and blue sky. “And it can’t be a more beautiful day.”

Considering the pheasant population is down 29 percent this year, Jilek and Lohse each saw encouraging numbers of birds, including some immature ones that were difficult to identify as roosters or hens. That neither got to demonstrate their considerable shooting abilities didn’t bother them.

“It was still fun, and at least we saw birds,” Lohse said.

“I had fun,” Jilek said.

“They’re such pretty birds,” Bjork said, cradling a rooster downed by a member of his hunting group.

“And they’re good eating,” Jilek said.

Later, the three joined about 100 hunters for lunch under a tent, while Dayton and others spoke of the new wildlife area that was being dedicated. Then, before heading for home, a beaming Bjork, Jilek and Lohse got their photo taken with Dayton.

“That will go in the yearbook and on their Facebook pages,” Bjork said.

 

Doug Smith • dsmith@startribune.com

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  • Stephanie Lohse, 14, of Lester Prairie, Minn., hunted pheasants Saturday at the Governor’s Pheasant Opener. She was one of eight Minnesota State High School Clay Target League competitors invited to this year’s event. “Not a lot of girls hunt in my grade,” Lohse said. “But I love hunting and it doesn’t matter to me that no one else did it.”

  • Blair Jilek, 14, of Lester Prairie started clay target shooting to hone his skills for hunting. He and Stephanie Lohse later had their photo taken with Gov. Mark Dayton.

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