Anderson: Hunter, 93, and rifle, 140, bring home a doe this season

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 22, 2013 - 10:02 AM

Kenneth Felt, 93, and a rifle similar to the one Custer employed at Little Bighorn, combine to take a prized doe.

hide

Kenneth Felt, 93, used a Husqvarna .50 caliber rifle — the type employed by Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn — to fell a deer.

Photo: Photos provided by the Felt family,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

On the Wednesday of the first week of Minnesota deer hunting, Kenneth Felt went looking for a buck. Living not far from Itasca State Park, in northern Minnesota, on the same land he’s occupied for decades, he knew a few animals were in the area. So he grabbed his rifle and a handful of cartridges, and walked out his farmhouse door, toward his four-wheeler.

Felt is 93 years old. But he didn’t consider his age a problem. And while his long gun hadn’t been leveled in the direction of a game animal for more than 100 years, and then in his grandfather’s hands in Sweden, Kenneth had practiced with the firearm enough to know it was accurate.

“I took the rifle hunting a few times last year, but I wasn’t too serious about getting a deer because I was worried about field-dressing it,’’ he said. “My heart is bad and it would be kind of difficult to do that.’’

Felt’s gun was a .50 caliber Husqvarna with a Remington rolling block action, the same type of rifle George Custer carried into the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The rifle is a smokepole — that is, black powder — but its cartridges are self-contained, not unlike modern-day ammunition, except that when the trigger of the Husqvarna is pulled, a large plume of white smoke appears at its muzzle, obscuring vision for long moments.

“I put the Husqvarna in a case and strapped it on the four-wheeler,’’ Felt said. “I drove out to a field, and I was surprised to see a big doe standing right there. I thought, ‘Oh, no, I don’t want a doe. I’ll just drive farther on, and look for a buck.’ ’’

In World War II, Kenneth served in the Navy, ship-bound variously in Ireland, then the Mediterranean, and finally in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945, when Japan formally surrendered.

Returning to Minnesota after the war, he bought the 260-acre spread he still lives on, the first step in a varied career that ultimately would see him serve as Clearwater County sheriff for 10 years.

“I wanted to offer the same kinds of services to Clearwater County residents that Hennepin County offered to its residents, though on a smaller scale,’’ Felt said. “Which in the end, I did.’’

Growing up west of Bemidji, not far from where he lives now, Felt loved to trap, hunt and fish. He shot his first deer when he was 13 while walking home from school through a nearby woods, toting his dad’s .30-30 Model 94 Winchester.

“I carried the gun with me to school, and when I got near school I’d lean it up against a tree,’’ he said. “Then after school I’d pick it up, and one day on the way home, I saw a deer and shot it.’’

Tooling around now on his four-wheeler, looking for a buck, Felt was surprised to soon stumble upon yet another doe.

“I figured, OK, maybe the good Lord wants me to shoot a doe after all,’’ Felt said, and he returned to his four-wheeler for the Husqvarna.

As fate had it, the doe remained still while Felt pulled the rifle from its case, loaded a cartridge and pressed its stock to his shoulder.

“This Husqvarna wasn’t fired for many, many years after my grandfather gave it to me, because we couldn’t find ammunition for it,’’ Felt said. “Then eight years or so ago, one of my sons found ammunition in Texas. After that, we shot it some, and it shoots straight.’’

Felt’s grandfather used the Husqvarna with the rolling block action in Sweden to provide meat for logging camps, oftentimes felling elk and bear with it.

So Felt knew it could handle a deer, if he could shoot straight.

In moments, he leveled the rifle at the doe and pulled the trigger. Immediately, smoke ballooned at the muzzle, and for a long time Felt didn’t know whether he’d hit the animal or not.

He had.

Field-dressing was next, and Felt wasn’t sure what he would do. But first things first: He cased the Husqvarna, roped the deer to the rear of the four-wheeler, and turned for home.

Good neighbors are important, perhaps never more so for Felt than on that day.

“I asked my neighbor if he’d clean it for me, and he said, ‘Sure,’ ” Felt said.

And next year, when Felt will be 94, will the Husqvarna see action again?

“We’ll see,’’ he said.

 

Dennis Anderson danderson@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Felt inherited his Husqvarna rifle from his Swedish grandfather. It was last used to hunt animals more than a century ago.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco 2 Top 8th Inning
Kansas City 7
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 33 2nd Qtr 1:14
LA Lakers 47
Phoenix 28 1st Qtr 1:20
LA Clippers 28
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 2nd Prd 7:07
Edmonton 2
Buffalo 0 1st Prd 3:39
Anaheim 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 0 2nd Half 25:00
Real Salt Lake 1
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close