Deer Hunters Association Announces Ethical Hunter Award Winners

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The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Turn In Poachers, has named the winners of the 10th Annual Ethical Deer Hunter Award. The two hunters were honored at the association’s State Habitat Banquet, held recently at the Runestone Community Center in Alexandria.

“All too often we hear and read about bad examples of hunter behavior,” said Wayne Edgerton, DNR agricultural policy director. “This award allows us to hear about, and recognize, examples of hunter behavior that all hunters can be proud of.”

Adam Johnson, an 18-year-old from Wrenshall, was recognized as the youth winner for resisting the temptation to harvest a trophy buck that had wandered to within just a few feet of the property on which he was hunting.

Johnson was up early that morning, completing his chores on his uncle’s dairy farm, when he decided to go hunting before school. On his way to his deer stand, Johnson spotted a beautiful 14-point buck. He waited patiently for the deer to walk about 15 feet onto his grandma’s property. The deer never did, so Johnson left for school.

Johnson shared his story with many fellow hunters, some of whom even suggested Johnson should have taken the buck and dragged it onto his property. But Johnson knew that was wrong and told people so.

Today, that 14-point buck still roams the area.

Bob Westlund, Crosslake, was honored as the adult winner for opening up his home and sharing his passion for deer hunting with area youngsters.

For the past few years, Westlund has taken three sisters deer hunting. The girls’ father was diagnosed with cancer and has been unable to participate in outdoor experiences.

Westlund has always been there to help. He played an important role recently when the oldest sibling got her first deer, a 130-pound doe. The girls refer to him as “Grandpa Bob.”

Westlund also volunteers his time to take youth groups on hunting trips. In addition, he built a deer stand so a neighbor who has multiple sclerosis could continue enjoying the sport.

Westlund is a lifetime member of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

“We congratulate the individual award winners and send a note of thanks to the dozens of people who took the time to nominate others,” said Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.