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Revering remembered for his love of hunting

Bernie Revering and his single engine Aeronca airplane he owned with Dick Sullivan of Madelia in May of 1962.

Since 1971, the outdoors column known as the "Becker County Sportsman" has appeared faithfully every week, first on the pages of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, and later, the Becker County Record.

The last of those columns, written by Bernard J. "Bernie" Revering, appears in today's outdoors section .

A hunter, sportsman, conservationist and avid enthusiast of all things outdoors, Revering died this past Tuesday in Detroit Lakes at the age of 89 (a full obituary is on page 6A).

Though he made quite a name for himself as an outdoors columnist -- appearing in publications including The Sportsmen's News in Bemidji, The Outdoor Outlines in Sauk Rapids, The Outdoor News of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Waterfowl Magazine, among others -- Revering's main career was with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

He retired from MnDOT in 1987, after 41 years of service, which included St. Paul, St. Cloud and for many years, as the right-of-way engineer for the Detroit Lakes district.

It was while he was working at the Detroit Lakes MnDOT office that Revering met Harry Johnston. Though he was Johnston's supervisor for five years, they were also neighbors, and quickly became friends and hunting companions as well.

"I used to live two doors north of him," Johnston said. "That's how I really got to know him and started hunting with him.

"We did duck, grouse and deer hunting together for many years," Johnston continued, noting that most of their excursions were in the Tamarac area. "That's when the ducks were plentiful and the hunting was good.

"He just loved the outdoors. Whenever we were hunting, he would never take more than the limit of whatever we were hunting at the time," Johnston continued.

"We went up to Jimmy Robinson's duck camp in the Delta Marsh a number of times, and we never came back with our limit. (He said) he wanted to leave a few for somebody else."

Not that Revering lacked for opportunities. "He was one of the best duck shots I ever hunted with," Johnston said admiringly.

"You couldn't ask for a better hunting companion than Bernie," he said. "I thoroughly enjoyed the years I went out hunting with him."

While out hunting together, the two formed a friendship that lasted "right to the end," Johnston said.

"Bernie was a great friend," he added.

Not only that, but when they went back to work, Revering was a good boss too.

"There were about a half dozen of us working with him in the department at the time, and he had a good working relationship with everybody," Johnston said. "He was fun to work with, and he got things done."

As for anecdotes, Johnston said he has a few.

"One day we got lost in the fog at Tamarac Lake, and we rowed and rowed and rowed," he said. By the time the fog had cleared, "we ended up clear over on the other end of the lake from where we were supposed to be. We just sat there and laughed about it."

Another time when they were hunting together and had taken their boat to Rusk Island in Height of Land Lake, they left their truck parked, unlocked, near where some Job Corps men were working on a project.

"We saw one lone guy come down to our truck," Johnston said. "He sat there quite a while, and when we came back, our lunch was gone!

"He never stole anything, he just ate our lunch. He was just hungry, evidently."

Another longtime hunting companion, Don Lefebvre, said they first got to know each other when they joined the local trapshooting association at the Becker County Sportsman's Club.

"We started hunting together probably 40 years ago," Lefebvre said. "We went all over -- out west to the far reaches of North Dakota, and we hunted ducks here in Minnesota quite a lot."

On one of those excursions, they were both in a duck blind shooting ducks from a platform when Revering unexpectedly "stepped off the duck blind and went into the muck clear up to his shoulders."

Though Lefebvre had never heard Revering swear before, he did that day.

"I didn't even know what had happened until I heard someone swearing on the other side (of the platform," Lefebvre laughed.

Over the years, the two formed a friendship so close that "we sometimes shared the same cup of coffee and never thought anything of it."

Though Revering never owned a hunting dog, he was very attached to Lefebvre's.

"Bernie really liked dogs, although he never owned one to my knowledge," Lefebvre said. "I would always bring my dog (on hunting trips), and he really liked that."

Like Johnston, Lefebvre's friendship with Revering outlasted their hunting days together.

"He'd come out to our house, sit and have coffee and visit," Lefebvre said. "He loved to talk. We didn't talk politics very much, mostly about hunting and regulations. We'd reminisce a lot."

Fellow trapshooter Arland Wisted said he often took part in registered shoots with Revering, and they both participated in and attended meetings of the Minnesota Trapshooting Association.

"We were very good friends," Wisted said. "I went to see him a week ago (Wednesday) at Oak Crossing, and we visited for a good hour together until his wife Bev came, and I gave up my seat to her."

Wisted missed out on another opportunity to visit Revering on Tuesday; he was running late for their morning appointment, and had planned to visit him that afternoon. Instead, he learned the news that Bernie had passed away.

"So I missed him," Wisted said, a little sadly.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454