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Hunting Cabin Facts - Hunter Submitted

Hunting Cabin Facts

Deer and wolf populations vary throughout Minnesota.  What people experience in one area of Minnesota may be completely different than what others experience elsewhere. 

I’ll stick to the facts related to my experiences with Minnesota wolves and deer at our Northern Minnesota hunting cabin.    

I have hunted deer and have had a love for the outdoors my entire life.  Since 1975 my family has had two different hunting cabins in Northern Minnesota, both in Koochiching County.  Our current hunting cabin since 1990 is fairly remote in unit 104 of Koochiching County and is accessed by ATV.  We generally spend as much time as we can at our cabin grouse hunting, trapping, deer hunting, and just enjoying what the outdoors has to offer.  On average, four of us hunt deer from our cabin.  We rarely see other hunters and for the most part, deer hunters stick to their own territories.  With this said, I have had many experiences with wolves in the woods during all seasons of the year throughout my entire life.    

We have experienced our wolf population grow and grow over the years with several packs and many wolves.  We have experienced many loner wolves as well.  We have experienced the howling of wolves and have even called wolves in to us by howling back to them.  We have found many wolf killed deer sites over the years.  It is easy to tell a wolf killed deer because the kill site encompasses a large area with blood, hair, body parts, etc. strewn all over.  I have watched from a deer hunting stand, eight wolves eat a deer and drag body parts off.  We have seen deer being chased by wolves and trust me, the deer are running as fast as they possibly can.  I have seen and experienced how the wolves hunt deer by splitting up and working an area as a team.  We have experienced wolves circling our hunting cabin while my daughter and husband’s yellow lab was in the yard until we put her inside and then the wolves left.  Well, I could go on and on, but you get the understanding, we have wolves around. 

We’ve had some good years and have taken some nice bucks fifteen to twenty years ago, back when we never had so many wolves.  Back in those years, it wasn’t uncommon for one of us deer hunters to come back to the cabin after a long day of hunting and say that we saw a deer today.  The wolves had it made and were living high on the hog to say, with all the deer they could eat, but as the wolf population kept growing and growing, our deer population kept declining.  The wolf population seemed to increase faster than the deer could maintain their population.  Once our deer population had dwindled down to very few deer, then we started experiencing our wolf population decrease as well because their main source of food (deer) was gone.  I don’t know for sure how many wolves we have left in our area but I think we are down to one pack of 5 to 8 wolves.  They work quite a large area and are always on the move.  We have noticed throughout the years that our area wolves have resorted to eating more beaver and other food sources because there are literally very few deer left for them to eat, thus why their numbers have declined along with the deer numbers. 

I relate the above to my trapping experiences and methods.  My trapping mentors taught me to leave some animals for seed by having a general idea of how many muskrats, beaver, etc. are in an area and only trapping for a select amount of days, time or until so many animals are caught and then move to a different location.  If a person were to trap an area until they were hardly catching anything, this would decimate the population.  A true hunter or trapper lives by this rule.  The wolf on the other hand, has no sense of this method and it kills, eats and repeats all the while living the good life until there are no more animals to kill and eat and then the wolf population will start declining.  It’s pretty simple. 

From 2005 to 2011 we really started noticing our deer population declining.  We don’t shoot does because we do our part to help the deer population and treat our area as bucks only.  Our 104 unit is also down to 25 doe permits being offered as of the 2023 hunting season.  In the past twelve years since 2011 the four of us at our hunting cabin have harvested four bucks.  The math……4 hunters, 12 years, 48 hunting licenses, 4 deer harvested, that is really pathetic.  I personally stay at our cabin for nine to twelve days each deer rifle hunting season.  We hunt from deer stands, ground hunt, still hunt, sneak hunt, etc. and cover many miles on the ground.  I generally leave the cabin in the morning and return at dark.  I have not harvested a deer for the past twelve years.  I have not seen a deer for the past four years of deer rifle hunting seasons.  The eight years before from 2011 to 2019, I was lucky to see one or maybe two deer all hunting season long. 

The deer population and hunting in our area is pathetic to say the least.  We as hunters have tried our best to help the situation by only taking bucks but there is nothing more we can do, other than to not hunt at all.  Our cabin is tradition and we keep going but the deer hunting side of things is really sad. 

That’s the facts, viewpoint and sad truth about our deer hunting in our area.  Thank you for reading. 

 

Jim Hull

hunter submission

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