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Deer Hunter Ethics Award winners announced

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) and Turn In Poachers (TIP) have announced winners of the 17th annual Deer Hunter Ethics Award.

The award honors deer hunters who have exhibited conduct during the 2009 season that can serve as an example of admirable hunting practices, according to MDHA State President John Erlandson Sr. "The awards are designed to spotlight those we hope positively represent the majority of hunters - ethical, thoughtful outdoors people," he said.

Wayne Edgerton, DNR agriculture policy coordinator and a judge for the contest, agreed. "We received a wide array of nominations describing high ethical standards and compassion for other hunters and the game they pursue," Edgerton said. "Seeing both adult and youth nominated for similar activities is very gratifying to me as a deer hunter."


The adult winners are Nancy and Jerry Graham of Cromwell. The Grahams spent several hours creating and building a special stand that included a mechanical winch that enabled their good friend, Dick Huhta, to hunt deer for the first time in four years.

The Grahams, who are avid hunters, wanted to do whatever they could to help their next door neighbor enjoy the experience again. Health issues have prevented Huhta from being able to hunt.

Their hard work paid off when Huhta shot a doe on opening day of the firearms season.

The Grahams insist they did nothing special, just helped out their friend. The Grahams will be honored at the Lake Superior Chapter Banquet on April 28 in Duluth.


The youth winner is Marissa Mattson, 14, of Prior Lake. She participated in her first firearm season and harvested a four-point buck with a clean shot.

According to her father, Tyler, Marissa displayed several examples of ethical deer hunting during the season.

She followed all safety procedures when going to and from the stand, getting into her stand and crossing fences. She stayed in the stand for a few minutes after shooting her deer. She was very excited, but wanted to catch her breath before she got down.

Marissa saw several deer while in the woods, but waited until she had a clean shot. She also showed respect for hunting hours by passing up shots when it was illegal to shoot.

Everything she did was by the book, Tyler said. Mattson will be honored at the Capitol Sportsmen banquet in St. Paul on April 10.