I met Bri Stacklie, the Minnesota Deer Hunter Association Event and Publication Coordinator, through writing articles for her.

When she invited me to attend their 2017 Minnesota Governor’s Deer Opener I jumped at the chance.

I thought it might be fun for the readers out here to hear about a hunting organization/event that took place back East. One thing that surprised me, they have a good bit of public land. They don’t have as much as we do, but it’s enough so people can go hunting.

I flew into Hibbing, jumped in a rental car and ran over to Grand Rapids, which is where the event was being held and checked into the Timberlake Lodge.

I got there early and they were just getting everything set up so I was able to get the lay of the land. They had a big tent set up outside which housed numerous booths and Cabela’s had a youth archery range set up in there. Inside they were giving seminars on various topics such as Chronic Wasting disease and then at 6:30 the banquet started.

They had a lot of interesting speakers lined up on up to and including the Governor. Most of them begun their talk by recalling fond memories as a kid growing up in a deer camp.

The night soon drew to a close and at 5:00 the next morning they served us breakfast and had a room set-up for radio interviews.

I didn’t count but there had to have been 7-8 Outdoor radio stations interviewing Outdoor Writers, game wardens etc. I had five interviews scheduled so it was a busy morning for me.

It was a fun event. They were a lively bunch and I was surprised at how many Outdoor radio stations Minnesota had. So, the radio interviews were fast and furious and then they scattered.

I then jumped into my rig and headed for the woods to experience a Minnesota deer camp.

I was going to hunt with Ed Schmidt, one of the founders of MDHA and editor at the MDHA Magazine. His sidekick Roger Grosslein was in camp helping out as well as Javier Serna editor at the Outdoor News.

We were staying in a cabin that Ed had built out of trees they cut off of his family farm. I hit camp right at lunch and Ed whipped us up something to eat right fast and then we went out to check out our blinds.

My blind was in the woods with about a 40-50 yard view. They’d be right on top of me before I even knew there was a deer within a mile.

We scouted out the area and then walked back to the cabin. We had a few camp chores to perform.

A big limb had fallen off and punctured through the roof of the porch on the cabin. It was stuck pretty good but I was able to whack on it for a bit with a chainsaw and get it out.

We then had a big dinner and set around telling stories. I’ve always heard how cool it was to canoe in northern Minnesota. Javier does it quite a bit and was telling me about it.

The next morning we got up early and hit the blinds. About 10:30 we all met at the cabin for breakfast. Ed makes his own maple syrup.

Wow, that stuff is worth dying for. We then headed back out to the blinds. It spit snow, sleet or rain most of the day and the deer just weren’t moving too much.

I knew the weather would be bad so I’d taken my Mossberg Patriot rifle with a Leupold scope and was using Nosler ammo. I knew all three would hold up to the weather.

It soon got dark and we headed back to the cabin. We had a big dinner and then set around shooting the bull. I had a great time experiencing Minnesota.

As we close, I wanted to encourage your family to remember a couple of things you’re thankful for. It’s easy to dwell on what we don’t have and forget all the blessings we do have. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tom Claycomb is an outdoor enthusiast and writes a monthly column for the Humboldt Sun.