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Whiskey Creek Management Group strives for a stronger herd

The Whiskey Creek Management Group held its first banquet at Okeson Offtrail Sales on Dec. 6, 2008.

Some local deer hunters got together and discussed the idea of a quality deer management cooperative about 13 months ago. The organizing meeting of the Whiskey Creek Management Group was held in Dec., 2008 at the McCaslin farms.

There was overwhelming support and enthusiasm from the beginning. From there the group of deer hunters, all from the Detroit Lakes area, sent out mailers to attract additional enthusiasts. The core area was Holmesville and Richwood Townships in Becker County. With the initial mailer was an invitation to attend the next cooperative meeting, which was subsequently held at Okeson Farms on the March 27, 2008.

At this particular meeting the group discussed the evolution of the local Mid-Minnesota QDMA branch located in Perham, the definition of quality deer management, the explanation of a quality deer management, deer management benefits, hunter benefits, and information of yet another local cooperative, named "Hillview Management" based near the rural village of Hillview, near Park Rapids.

The Hillview operation supplied many of the activities and philosophies. Here was a chance to check out their website. This group had been doing a good job and had shown results.

A meeting held in March, 2008 served two purposes. First, Bruce Hudalla discussed the QDMA's mid-Minnesota branch based in Perham, and what function it served. Next, there was talk about the neighborhood cooperative. The attendees were enthusiastic, and when the smoke cleared, the group had over 10,000 acres signed up as the "Whiskey Creek Management Group."

The idea behind this management is straightforward. The management group believes in passing up the young buck deer and harvesting more does. This will create a stronger deer herd and will give the hunters more opportunities at more mature bucks. Young hunters or first time hunters were excluded from the rules. They could shoot whatever they choose. No hard and fast rules on trophy deer. The hunter is the judge. Many like to see a minimum of 150 inches, but this isn't hard and fast. The number one rule is to have fun hunting and to have a positive relationship with landowners.

One of the activities during the firearms deer season was to hold a big doe contest. Entry was set at $25 and a participant could weigh in more than one doe, but could win only once. The contest money raised enabled paying back to six places. But, if you had harvested a buck, you were disqualified. The idea was to get a hunter to pass on a small buck, and take a doe. The largest doe taken in the contest was shot by Russ Okeson, which was 142 pounds, field dressed. Nice doe!

On Saturday, the 6th of Dec. 6, the Whiskey Creek Management hunters held their first hunters and landowners banquet. This was held at Okeson's Off Trail Sales, when the temperature was five degrees below zero. But over 80 enthusiasts were there. The meal cost was just $5 per person, and featured pork tenderloin with all the fixings and a beverage. Lakes Sport Shop of Detroit Lakes, Okeson Sales of Polaris, and the mid-Minnesota QDMA branch donated fine door prizes.

A "Land Owner Of The Year" award was given to Richard Zurn, and there were cash prizes for the big doe corniest. The two biggest bucks taken in the Whiskey Creek Management Area were green scored at 176 and 160 inches.