Archers harvested 220 deer and took eight bucks weighing more than 200 pounds at the second two-day hunt held at Camp Ripley on Oct. 30-31, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Those deer, coupled with the 287 taken during the Oct. 21-22 hunt, represent the third highest harvest at the Camp Ripley bow hunts. The four-day total of 507 deer is about 64 percent above the long-term average harvest of 310 deer for the two hunts, and only nine fewer than the record 516 deer taken in 2008.
"Excellent weather helped hunters achieve a near record harvest and to take 28 bucks that weighed more than 200 pounds," said Beau Liddell, DNR Little Falls Area wildlife manager. "The overall harvest and large buck harvest are both well over average, so this was an excellent hunt by any measure."
A total of 5,002 permits were issued for both two-day hunts, with 4,294 hunters participating. Hunter success during the first hunt was 13 percent (3 percent above average), and during the second hunt was 10 percent (1 percent above average). The success rate was just above 11.5 percent for the two hunts, which is nearly identical to last year and 2.5 percent higher than the long-term average of 9 percent.
For the seventh year running, hunters at Camp Ripley were allowed to take up to two deer and to use bonus permits to increase harvest on antlerless deer.
"We're very pleased with the results the past few years," Liddell said. "Although Ripley bow hunters are known to be selective for bucks, we have seen increasing proportions of does and fawns taken in recent years to help control the population."
The proportion of antlerless deer taken at Camp was 3 percent higher than last year and much higher than the long-term average of 55 percent, with about 63 percent of this year's harvest comprised of does and fawns.
The largest buck, taken by Adam Breth of Moorhead during the second hunt, weighed 232 pounds. Scott Cavanaugh of Random Lake, Wis., harvested the largest doe, weighing 128 pounds. Other hunters who harvested large bucks were
The archery hunt at Camp Ripley is an annual event. The DNR coordinates the hunt with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000 acre reservation.