Minnesota Deer Opener 2009 :: Grand Rapids, MN

This past weekend I had the chance to join Duluth News Tribune outdoors writer Sam Cook for the 2009 Minnesota Firearm Deer Hunting season opener in Grand Rapids.  We made the trek up the night before and met the Hanson family just a few miles from where I photographed a friend’s wedding two years earlier on Sugar Lake.  Small world.

Now, I was thinking this was going to be the year I photographed a kill being brought back in.  Back in 2007, I did the Wisconsin deer opener with Cook and three other hunters and the only thing we saw was a deer walk by under our stand at about 545 am, which was way too early to photograph because of the dark of the morning and because the deer was too small to take.  Fast forward to last weekend.  I didn’t spend my time this year in a stand, but waited for the family to come back from their hunt at their house in the middle of the woods.  Two years ago there were three hunters in the mix.  This year?  Six.  I had power in numbers and I was almost sure somebody would bring something home.

Well, as luck would have it.  No deer, no dice.  Maybe it had something to do with the warm weather.  It was north of 50 degrees at 6:00 am and the deer don’t move as much in the warmer weather.  I was just surprised I wasn’t wearing gloves or any other extreme weather clothes on the first day of firearms deer season.  Quite the contrast from two years ago.

Here are a few of the images I took from that day.  The first one ran lead and six columns in the Outdoors section of the paper.  Outdoors assignments were always some of my favorite things to photograph at the newspaper.  You’re outdoors and usually that means you are hiking, canoeing or doing something fun.  And that’s just what I had last weekend.

Kim Hanson sits in her deer stand Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids during opening day of Minnesota's 2009 firearms deer season.

Kim Hanson sits in her deer stand Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids during opening day of Minnesota's 2009 firearms deer season.

Kim Hanson walks to her deer stand just after sunrise Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids during opening day of Minnesota's 2009 firearms deer season.

Kim Hanson walks to her deer stand just after sunrise Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids during opening day of Minnesota's 2009 firearms deer season.

Kim Hanson watches for deer from her deer stand just after sunrise Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids during opening day of Minnesota's 2009 firearms deer season.

Kim Hanson watches for deer from her deer stand just after sunrise Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids during opening day of Minnesota's 2009 firearms deer season.

Laurie Hanson (left) and Kim Hanson walk to their deer stands Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids during opening day of Minnesota's 2009 firearms deer season.

Laurie Hanson (left) and Kim Hanson walk to their deer stands Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids during opening day of Minnesota's 2009 firearms deer season.

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LEFT: Becca Hanson's Aeropostale bag sits in front of the family's guns before the start of the 2009 Minnesota firearms deer season Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids. /// RIGHT: Becca Hanson pats down a stray hair on her father Dale Hanson's head Saturday morning southwest of Grand Rapids during opening day of Minnesota's 2009 firearms deer season.