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DEER TALE: When the winner loses ... the loser wins

Hope Lyberg, 13, Humboldt, Minn., shared this story of a deer hunting trip in northwest Minnesota with her cousin, Ruthie Finney, 11, Lancaster, Minn., and their grandpa, Greg Wilson, also of Lancaster. The girls are home-schooled, with Lyberg in the seventh grade and Finney a sixth-grader.

Ruthie Finney, Grandpa Greg Wilson and I headed to the deer stand at 3 p.m. Nov. 10. The three of us were excited; we had a feeling that tonight was the night the big bucks were going to be out.

For the next hour or so, we played cards, ate candy and kept a close eye on the few does and fawns that had made their way out onto the plot. There was also a buck with just one horn. But we were waiting for something bigger since it was so early in the day and in the season.

A little while later, at about 4:15, we spotted a five-point buck making his way onto the plot. This was it; since neither Ruthie nor I had shot anything bigger than a forkhorn, we both wanted this five-pointer.

The only gun in the stand was a .223, which neither of us owned; it belonged to another cousin.

We started to fight over the gun and the buck. I said I was the most familiar with the gun and that Ruthie had never even shot it. Ruthie stated the gun wasn't mine, and it didn't matter if she hadn't shot it.

Grandpa broke in, saying that if we kept fighting, the deer would be scared off, and that we would draw cards to see who would shoot the buck.

We drew, and I got a 10 and Ruthie a Queen. She had won, and I was disappointed. Ruthie then shot the five-point buck with a .223 she had never shot before. The gun must have been on because she dropped the buck in his tracks.

With an hour of daylight left, Grandpa, Ruthie and I decided to sit longer. About 15 minutes later, while Ruthie's kill still lay on the plot, we spotted a nice 11-pointer making his way out of the woods.

Now it was my turn. I was so nervous that I told Grandpa he had to shoot the buck because it was too big for me! He insisted that I shoot it, so I did. I downed a nice 11-pointer and Ruthie got a five. Now Ruthie was jealous; she thought that she had won, but really I had gotten the better end of the deal.

If you have a hunting story or memory you'd like to share with other Herald readers, send it to Brad Dokken at or by postal mail to Dokken c/o The Grand Forks Herald, 375 Second Ave. N., Box 6008, Grand Forks ND 58206-6008.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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