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'I had a really nice nap in the sun' :Hunters find deer elusive in opener

DEER CARCASSES line up as Josh Lage skins at Hoffman's in Detroit Lakes on Monday.1 / 2
Josh Lage of Audubon skins a deer at Hoffman's Town and Country Meat Market on Monday afternoon. Josh and his brother, Adam, also skin in Audubon and can process 30 to 40 deer per day.2 / 2

Wind, warm temperatures and lots of sun made for a tough start to the 2011 Minnesota deer hunting season for many area hunters.

According to Bruce Anderson of Detroit Lakes, where there was normally deer sign, there was none this year.

"I haven't seen anything," Anderson said. "With the wind, it's just shutting (the deer) down. I've only seen two scrapes and two rubs and it's usually pretty torn up by sign."

Anderson was hunting with his son, Dylan, just north of Richwood Tuesday and stopped in to the Richwood Store for lunch. Dylan shot a small six-point buck that morning, but nothing worth talking about.

"Even that buck (Dylan) shot had a small body and wasn't even in rut yet. Its' neck wasn't swollen at all," Anderson said.

Nevertheless, the Richwood Store was a busy spot Tuesday at noon with hunters and store regulars sharing their stories.

"It gets busy here, especially when the weather is good," said store owner Pete Johnson.

He couldn't say how busy the Richwood Store was last weekend, however, as he was out hunting himself.

"I didn't see anything, which was good for me," Johnson said. "But I had a really nice nap. The sun was shining and I got my nap in. It was what I would call a good hunt."

The Richwood Store doesn't get as many deer registrations as it used to because of new online and telephone registration offered by the Minnesota DNR. A hunter came in to the store Tuesday morning raving about the ease of the online registration, Johnson said.

"He said he just had to answer four or five questions and that was it. Real easy," Johnson said.

Even if hunters don't stop in to register, good news travels fast and far. Johnson said he heard there were some hunting parties near Mahnomen that were doing well. A group near Evergreen got 16 deer last weekend, but they normally average around 30 for the party, he said.

One exasperated hunter eating his lunch at the store, however, said he saw the same thing hunting Tuesday morning that he did last weekend -- "nothing."