Deer Hunter Ethics Award Winners Announced

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The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA), the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Turn In Poachers have announced the winners of the 13th annual Deer Hunter Ethics Award. The hunters were honored at the 2005 MDHA Habitat Banquet Feb. 26, which was held at the Shooting Star Convention Center in Mahnomen.

The Deer Hunter Ethics Award honors deer hunters who have exhibited conduct during the 2004 season that can serve as an example of admirable hunting practices, according to Mark Johnson of the MDHA.

"The ethical hunter awards are designed to bring the spotlight to those we hope represent the majority of hunters - ethical, thoughtful outdoors people," Johnson said. "The few rotten apples who endanger our hunting heritage by unethical and illegal behavior hog the headlines too often. Again this year, we received a lot of excellent nominations of wonderfully ethical hunters. Everyone should be proud of these people. We are."

Wayne Edgerton, DNR agriculture policy director, agreed. "We received an array of exceptional nominations describing high ethical standards and compassion for other hunters and the game they pursue," Edgerton said. "Seeing both adult and youth nominated for similar activities is very gratifying to me as a deer hunter."

ADULT WINNER Wayne Hanson, Morgan, was selected as the adult winner. Hanson gave up his hunting trip with family and friends to take a girl hunting because her father was recovering from heart surgery and was unable to drive or hunt. Hanson drove the girl and her father to Redwood Falls so she could hunt with her uncle. Hanson even took a break from the hunting to take her father fishing so he wouldn't be left behind in the cabin all day. Although they did not harvest a deer, the girl was thankful for the opportunity Hanson provided so she could enjoy a quality hunting experience with her family and many friends.

ADULT HONORABLE MENTION Alan Swanson, Richard and Fred Parnow, Goodridge, earned honorable mention honors in the adult division. The Parnow hunting group came across a dead deer. Instead of claiming it as their own, they took time to find out who took the shot and eventually turned the "buck of a lifetime" over to a grateful 16-year-old hunter. The teenager had shot the 13-point buck a day earlier but was unable to locate it after searching for it for nearly five hours.

ADULT HONORABLE MENTION Brad and Brian Hendricks, New York Mills, also earned honorable mention honors in the adult division. The brothers helped a physically challenged hunter go muzzleloader hunting for the first time. They rearranged their schedule, set out bales of straw and put the hunter in one of the prime spots. The Hendricks were very excited when their friend harvested his first deer.

YOUTH WINNER Kyle Conlin, Perham, was recognized as the ethics award winner in the youth division. The 16-year-old helped his 71-year-old grandfather, who has multiple sclerosis, enjoy deer hunting for the first time in nearly 40 years. Kyle performed many of the duties for his grandfather including helping him into the deer stand, loading his rifle, and lighting the propane heater. After his grandfather harvested a deer, Kyle was quick to retrieve it, dress it and register it. Kyle also harvested a deer, making it a very memorable and special hunt.