Three generations of hunters gather for deer camp at 'The Farm'

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 15, 2013 - 6:34 AM

Three generations of deer hunters gather each fall at a North Woods site their forebears homesteaded more than 100 years ago.

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“It’s not your typical underwear-hanging-from-the-rafters deer shack,’’ said Darrold Persson, 61, of Hibbing, a grandson who now owns the getaway nestled in the North Woods near Bear River. “It’s a preserved homestead. I’m so fortunate to walk the same ground that my grandparents did, where my mom grew up. This place is a big part of me.’’

“If they outlawed deer season, we’d still come. Deer season is a way to bond across generations and spend quality time together. Non-hunters don’t understand, but it’s not about the venison, it’s the stories we have, and the pictures, the tradition.’’

At 85, Persson’s dad, Don, of Hibbing is the patriarch of the place. He grew up just down the road and has known Myrna Olson, daughter of Elmer and Emma, since they were kids. They recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

“I love this place,’’ he said, relishing another season that brings family members — including those from Massachusetts and Colorado — together. “I really don’t care anymore if I get a deer.’’

What makes it special?

“The scenery. The quiet. The memories,’’ he said. One of his four sons, Denny, died of a heart attack at age 55 in 2005, and some of his ashes are buried there.

Another son, Dale, 51, left northern Minnesota for the Twin Cities for 25 years, but now lives near Pengilly, not far from The Farm.

“I can’t wait to get here, and I don’t like leaving,’’ he said. “For me it’s the camaraderie, getting together with family, telling stories, playing cards. There’s a lot of laughter. Getting a deer is just a bonus.’’

At 18, Taylor Persson of Hibbing is one of the camp’s youngest hunters.

“I’ve been coming since I was 10,’’ he said. “It’s a big deal. The best part is just hanging out here with these guys.’’

With his grandfather now 85 years old, and his uncle Darrold 61, he knows it’s up to him and the other younger hunters to keep The Farm’s long deer camp tradition.

“It will be kept,’’ Taylor vowed.

Not a typical camp

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