This coming weekend is the youth hunt in Minnesota. It is happening statewide from Thursday, Oct. 20, through Sunday, Oct. 23, and participant numbers are not limited and there is no special permit so parents just need to purchase a regular deer hunting license for the youth who want to participate.

I've already seen some amazing deer photos show up on my Facebook page during this bow-hunting season, and I'm so excited for the kids to have an opportunity to get out into the woods for the first time, and harvest their first deer.

Seeing the happy hunters brought back a memory I had of the first time I went hunting with my dad as a kid. I was in 2nd grade, and made lots of promises to be super still and quiet in the deer stand. I was really excited, because hunting is a huge deal in my family, and this was going to be the first opening morning I was going to be in the stand.

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It was pretty chilly, and we were bundled up in lots of layers and my dad had our small gas-burning stove going in the box stand all day. We were sitting there quietly watching for deer, when all of a sudden my dad's winter overalls caught fire by the boot!

As an 8-year-old that was raised by a fireman, I knew I needed to let my dad know what was going on, but do it as quietly as I could. It just so happened that at that time a deer was walking by.

So I started whisper-shouting as best I could, "Dad your pants are on fire!!!", I got shushed because of the deer in close proximity to the stand until my dad processed what I had actually said. At which point things got frantic. It turned into a frenzy of trying to put out a small fire while 15 feet up in a box stand. All the promises to be quiet and still were tossed out like an empty beer can.

We got the fire extinguished before it spread any further, and my dad continued to wear that pair of overalls for years to follow. They were basically new when they caught on fire and he was going to get his money's worth out of them.

Years later we have a great story to laugh about at deer camp, and I have a super memorable first hunting experience.

Good luck to everyone participating in the youth hunt, and the upcoming firearms season in Minnesota. Make sure you keep your clothing away from heat sources!

Abbey Minke
Abbey Minke

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