Deer chapter to hold banquet

WINNEBAGO – Zach Krause and Zac Patton are hoping to build their fledgling Quality Deer Management Association chapter and invite fellow outdoorsmen and land managers to take a look.

“We’re trying to encompass a 60- to 80-mile radius: Mankato, Fairmont, Albert Lea, Iowa,” said Krause, who is president of the Farm Country Whitetails chapter, which meets the first Monday of each month in Winnebago.

The Farm Country chapter will host its first sportsman’s banquet Thursday in the former Delavan High School. Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., with pork chops, chicken and green bean casserole being served at 7 p.m. There will be raffles, games, door prizes and information about the organization and upcoming events. For advanced tickets, call Krause at 507-383-1004 or chapter vice president Patton at 507-525-0542.

The organization is national, but Minnesota has only nine chapters, including the state chapter in Henning, according to website. The closest chapters to Winnebago are Prairie Highlands Branch in Lynd in southwest Minnesota, and Southeastern Minnesota Branch in Rushford.

“The main focus is youth, education and herd management; education for local hunters and land owners,” Patton said. “One focus we have is people who own land but don’t hunt it, what they can do to increase herd population and quality.”

“It’s a newer trend in whitetail hunting that’s definitely gaining momentum,” Krause said. “It’s almost viewing deer hunting from a scientific aspect.”

Modern hunters want to know as much about the animals as they can, for the animals’ benefit, the pair said.

Making sure the deer are healthy and well-fed is important, but something as simple as the ratio of does to bucks can have an impact, as well.

“Part of quality deer management is knowing whether to harvest more does or let a buck grow to breeding age,” Krause said.

It can affect when the deer breed and if the fawns are born late and go into the winter months small.

It can be difficult for the Department of Natural Resources to regulate all the terrain in Minnesota, but the hunters can cover more ground.

“Quality Deer Management Association works with biologists to support recommendations on herd strategies when we have access to those biologists,” Krause said. “We can collect data and … accurately analyze our local deer herd and take that information and use it locally.”

There’s a lot that land owners can do to improve the quality of local deer herds, like food plots and better habitat management, Patton added.

“We’re about ensuring that hunting is here for many generations to come,” Krause said.