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Twelve year-old Marie Petersen from Spring Grove, Minnesota showed the boys how to hunt like a girl with her first buck, an eight-pointer weighing in at 152 pounds dressed. Photo courtesy of Erika Petersen.

Twelve year-old Marie Petersen from Spring Grove, Minnesota showed the boys how to hunt like a girl with her first buck, an eight-pointer weighing in at 152 pounds dressed. Photo courtesy of Erika Petersen.

Youth Deer Hunt Shatters Records

The eighth annual Youth Deer Hunt was held on October 11 and 12, 2014 at the Lost Mound Unit of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and was a record shattering event.

Lost Mound Site Manager Alan Anderson eagerly boasted, "We had the highest number of youth with many first-time hunters, our first non-residents (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa) participated, and 40% of hunters were successful that resulted in the largest number of deer being harvested since our special hunt began in 2007. All of the hunters saw deer and expressed excitement at the special opportunity to hunt Lost Mound.”

Thirteen year-old Carson Rice from Mount Carroll, Illinois harvested the largest buck that weighed 169 pounds dressed and had eight points with a 16 -inch beam. Photo courtesy of Nathan Schnitzler.
Thirteen year-old Carson Rice from Mount Carroll, Illinois harvested the largest buck that weighed 169 pounds dressed and had eight points with a 16 -inch beam. Photo courtesy of Nathan Schnitzler.

Lost Mound provides a unique hunting opportunity for youth, ages 10-15. There are 45 hunt sites located within areas closed to public access due to ongoing environmental clean-up at the former Savanna Army Depot. The deer population is high, because the area provides a sanctuary for deer. The percentage of large bucks is impressive and offers an outstanding opportunity to observe and harvest deer for a special group of hunters.

Thirty youths participated in the hunt and harvested 12 deer that included five bucks and seven does. Thirteen year-old Carson Rice from Mount Carroll, Illinois harvested the largest deer, an eight-point buck with field dressed weight of 169 pounds. Twelve year-old Marie Petersen from Spring Grove, Minnesota shot her first buck, an eight-pointer that weighed in at 152 pounds dressed.

Lost Mound is also an important bald eagle wintering area. Many hunters observed eagles soaring overhead that were vigilantly searching for their next meal. Research conducted on Lost Mound showed that bald eagles feed on deer carcasses and discarded deer parts. The lead bullets used in hunting often fragment upon entering a deer. These toxic lead fragments may become embedded in the offal (gut pile) or waste parts that are discarded in the field. Bald eagles and other wildlife can feed on the offal and eat the lead fragments.

In an effort to reduce lead exposure to bald eagles and other wildlife, non-lead ammunition was required this year for the Lost Mound Youth Deer Hunt. For many participants, this was their first deer hunt and introduction to the lead exposure issue.

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is the most visited Refuge in the United States. It extends 261 miles along the Upper Mississippi River from Wabasha, Minnesota to Albany, Illinois and protects and preserves habitat for migratory birds, fish, and a variety of other wildlife. This 240,000 acre refuge was established in 1924.

By Ed Britton
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge - Lost Mound Unit

Last updated: November 5, 2014