Father, daughter match wits with whitetails in Crow Wing County

The Webers and the Germanns have been hunting together in Crow Wing County’s backwoods for more than 50 years. On Friday, Andrew Weber, 40, of Woodbury, along with his best friend, Dan Germann of White Bear Lake, returned to their camp on Greer Lake. It’s where they both learned to hunt as young boys. Here’s Andrew’s report as told to Star Tribune outdoors writer Tony Kennedy.

5 pm Friday: Walked into the woods on county land to check my stand. Not good! It was still secured to the massive red pine that has supported it for the past 10 years. But the tree was blown over and the stand was a wreck. This is going to be a pretty good story to tell. I shot three bucks and three does out of that stand over the years. Thankfully we have other stands. It’ll be time for dinner soon. Our favorite spot up here is The Bridge Tavern in Crosby. That’s where we’ll eat.

Midnight: We haven’t gone to bed yet. We’re in the cabin reminiscing, telling stories. When our parents started hunting here in the 70s, Potlatch Corp. owned the land. The company allowed the shack to be built and later sold the land, making way for the Germanns to build this cabin. Much of the nearby Potlatch land was sold to the county and state.

8 am: I’m in a double-seated tree stand with my 13-year-old daughter, Julia. We heard a couple of shots in the distance, but it’s pretty quiet. It was daylight by the time we got here, late by our standards. At first we couldn’t decide where to go and then I had to get Julia’s brother, Jack, 15, set up in his own spot.

9:20 am: Julia is already cold. Hopefully we can make it until noon. The woods came alive about 9 am with birds and sounds. A woodpecker is teasing us by making sounds of twigs breaking.

10 am: Just heard a shot from Jack’s direction. Hope it was him. … Nope. Wasn’t him. Bummer. Now he’s watching another group of nearby hunters dragging out a deer.

11:20 am: Well, we’re not having any luck in our morning stand. We are climbing down and heading back.

11:35 am: Jack just shot a deer. He called us as we were walking out of the woods. We’re heading that way to see what he got. Our group of about 10 hunters usually keeps four or five deer on opening weekend — a mix of does and bucks. The kids have a green light to shoot any deer they encounter if they believe they are taking a kill-shot. The adults are more selective.

12:15 pm: Well, there’s Jack. He’s about 125 yards away from his tree stand next to a nice-sized doe. Good shot. He double-lunged it. The deer was about 75 yards away when Jack shot. He got down from his stand and tracked it for about 50 yards. I shot my first deer in these woods when I was 11 years old. Jack shot his first deer in these woods at the same age. This doe is his second deer in the two years of hunting with us.

1 pm: Time for lunch at the cabin.

3 pm: Julia and I are in our afternoon stand. She’s wearing our family’s lucky orange bomber hat. It was my dad’s. I shot my first deer in it and so did Jack.

5 pm: Julia wasn’t as lucky. A very quiet afternoon but a beautiful one to be out in the woods.