Whitetail Hunting photo

Awhile back I posted the winner of the Wisconsin DNR/LaCrosse Tribune annual “ethical hunter” award. Click here if you missed it. Minnesota–which has a similar program–announced its winners recently. Minnesota’s program is co-sponsored by the DNR, the Turn In Poachers (TIP) program and the MN Deer Hunter’s Association (MDHA).

The winner of the adult category was Craig Holmstrom of Red Lake Falls. Holmstrom helped his friend Ray Ganyo–a quadriplegic since a 1981 diving accident–kill a doe during the 2008 season. Holmstrom invited Ganyo to join his hunting party (known as the “Marshall County SWAT Team”) and went out of his way to transport his friend to and from camp. He also convinced a local sports shop to donate a blind for Ganyo to hunt from. Holmstrom placed the blind along a field and accompanied Ganyo, who used a special device to activate his rifle’s trigger, and make a perfect shot on a nice doe. Holmstrom described the event as his best day of deer hunting ever.

The youth award went to Neil Symalla of Cold Spring, a 15-year old who showed tremendous restraint throughout the archery season. Symalla, a second-year hunter, passed on several marginal shots while waiting for a good one. He never scored. Later, during the rifle season, Symalla was leaving to hunt with his father, who noticed the youngster only had 5 cartridges. Symalla nixed a trip to a sport shop for more ammo, informing his dad that “if I don’t take a running shot, I only need one shell.” Symalla killed a nice buck that day…and has enough shells for four more years!