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The white-tails were out in force Saturday throughout Hubbard County. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Hubbard County hunters see plenty of prey but one-deer limit will make them cautious shooters

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Hubbard County's 2012 firearms deer opener got off to a frosty start as hunters got their first view of a plentiful landscape at sunrise Saturday.

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It started Wednesday afternoon for Park Rapids merchants, when hunters converged on liquor stores, grocery stores, outdoors stores and convenience stores to stock up.

By Saturday morning, the woods were filled with orange-clad hunters and the sound of rifle fire.

Friday afternoon the Park Rapids DNR's wildlife office was ringing with phone calls.

Assistant area wildlife manager Rob Rabasco said the only question he hadn't been asked yet was, "Will you shoot a deer for me?" and he added, the way things were progressing, he ex-pected that one next.

Cash registers were ringing at area merchants. Many restaurants started serving hunters breakfasts at 5 a.m. Saturday and were swamped with customers in freshly washed and air-dried orange suits.

Because of the one deer limit, some reporting stations indicated they doubted they'd see many registrations Saturday morning because people were waiting to take that first shot.

Nobody wanted to see the season end before noon.

Employees at Delaney's Sports Center ordered pizza in Friday afternoon. They were just too busy to leave for lunch, or dinner as it were.

Hubbard County was hosting numerous craft shows and events for non-hunters.

The Dorset Liquor Store was hosting a high-end wine-tasting party.

In the first state wolf hunt, Delaney's reported selling a couple licenses to some of the lucky 3,600 lottery winners, but co-owner Debbie Lempola said she had not heard of anyone who was going wolf hunting.

An abnormally warm winter left the deer population in good shape, DNR officials had predicted.

Hubbard County officials have been responding to deer-vehicle crashes many times a day for the last two weeks.

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Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

(218) 732-3364
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