Archery hunters who participated in the Camp Ripley hunts near Little Falls harvested 310 deer and had a record success rate during the event held Oct. 15 to Oct. 16 and Oct. 31 to Nov. 1.
“It was an exceptional event this year,” said Dr. Bill Faber, head of the Central Lakes College Natural Resources Program. “Despite fewer participants, the harvest was up 11.5% from last year; and above the 40-year average of 305 deer.” During the hunts, 16% of archers harvested a deer, representing an unprecedented success rate at Camp Ripley. The rate is well above the long-term average of 9%.
This year, 1,864 participating hunters harvested 310 deer. During the 2019 hunts, 2,137 hunters harvested 278 deer. This year, hunters harvested at least 25 large, antlered bucks (greater than 8% of total harvest) during the event, well above the 3.5% long-term average of total harvest. The largest was a 16-point buck that a hunter checked in on the last day.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources modified some aspects of this year’s hunt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Administration of the event went well and without any major issues, said Beau Liddell, DNR wildlife manager at Little Falls.
“We have a strong partnership with Central Lakes College and Camp Ripley, and they did a great job managing traffic and checking deer this year,” Liddell said. “The event is also a valuable experience for students pursuing careers in wildlife management.”
The archery hunt at Camp Ripley is an annual event. The DNR coordinates the hunts in collaboration with Central Lakes College Natural Resources Program and the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military facility.