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Doug Leier, Published October 11 2011

Leier: Neighborhoods in this area full of unique outdoors stories

I live in a great neighborhood. While most people think their neighborhood is the best, I know mine is.

When I stop and ponder for a moment, I have to go a few houses each direction to find a home without a hunter or angler in it. That’s probably not much different than the rest of the Midwest, as our heritage includes not just Germans and Scandinavians or Lutherans and Catholics. We also hunt, fish or do both.

The next time you’re visiting with your neighbors, ask them where they hunt. For instance, I know Gordy, his son, grandsons and friends will again travel to hunt around Cooperstown, N.D. Brad drew a mule deer tag and is setting his sights on the badlands, but not before he’s bow hunted in the Red River Valley.

Cole is a Mitchell, S.D., native and he’ll also head home to South Dakota for a deer hunt in the Black Hills, but drew a North Dakota license as well. Across the street James, originally from Milbank, S.D., enjoys North Dakota deer hunting, with a 4C mule his first choice. He didn’t draw that, but did secure a 2B antlerless license.

My neighbor Darwin grew up near Streeter, N.D., but has hunted deer between Jamestown and Valley City for a few decades.

Ellerd is retired, but just rejoined the ranks of North Dakota deer hunters a few years ago, after decades away. The extended opportunities in his home area of Edmore, along with urging from a friend, piqued his interest and he plans to return again this fall as well.

I can’t forget Delbert. He might be the oldest neighbor – closer to 80 than 70 – but you’d never guess it, and I would bet even with a new knee he could keep up the pace with most hunters. His deer hunts are squeezed in between repairing medical equipment and building a plane.

Begrudgingly, he’s not taking part this year, but “maybe” next year.

Believe it or not, this short unofficial survey didn’t take me more than a half a block from my front sidewalk, yet these hunters will fan out across North Dakota and other states for their favorite deer hunting destination.

Over the course of weeks we’ll exchange stories from different corners, but all with a common theme of deer hunting. Unlike discussing your favorite football team, there will be no losers.

Evening visits to the neighbor’s garage – secretly checking to see if anyone has a big buck – are a must, followed by the obligatory swapping of processing plans for jerky, sausage or burger, and there’s a pretty good chance a new recipe will generate some interest.

While some will lament missed shots or “this close” opportunities that disappeared with the twitch of a tail, the give and take, laughter and neighborhood friendships grow each year, even though we may never spend a day walking the same field.

Leier, a biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in West Fargo, can be reached at dleier@nd.gov

Leier’s blog can be found online

at www.areavoices.com