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Voyageur's Best Features of 2004

Chris Odegaard with antelope

Like fathers, like sons
Deer hunting tradition
by John Grones  | November 30, 2004

Deer hunting is one of those traditions that is often passed down from generation to generation. Most of the time those traditions include family and friends. For Chris Odegaard and his friend Stacey Hedin, hunting is something they have done together for 25 years. Now their sons are enjoying the tradition – hunting together.

This past Oct., Chris and Stacey were blessed with an opportunity to hunt antelope and mule deer in Montana. They received help from their friend Tom Roles who is a member of their Minnesota deer hunt party. Tom helped set the trip up the trip after both Chris and Stacey received a license to hunt antelope. According to Chris, a license to hunt antelope is based on on a lottery system and only one-in-six get one. Stacey shared that they were lucky to both get one after applying for just two years.

The trip turned out to be a successful one. Both Chris and Stacey shot their antelope and both bucks had prongs that were over 14 inches. Chris shot one that may score high enough to be recognized by Boone and Crockett. According to Chris’ guide, the antelope had a green score of 87. An 82 is needed to make the record book.

In addition to the antelope, Chris also shot an average size mule deer.

Back at home in Cromwell, Minn., following that hunt, the two friends had a short time to prepare for the upcoming Minnesota deer hunt. This is a season they never miss and they look forward to hunting with their boys. Chris’ son Grant is 16 years old and Stacey’s son John is 14. Little did the fathers know, but the two boys would shoot the two biggest bucks in their hunting party this year.

John spied his 9-point, 201-pound buck on Sun., Nov. 7 and Grant shot his 10-point, 190-pound buck the following morning. Both bucks were shot near Cromwell within 40 acres of each other. “We knew there was a big one out there,” said John. “My dad saw it out there the day before.”

John recalled his morning in the stand. “He was 250 yards away and I knew he was big. I aimed right behind the shoulder.” John went on to share that it ran off and he couldn’t find a blood trail. He found out later that he didn’t look far enough.

A search the next day turned up the deer and it just so happens that Grant and his father showed up to help look for the prize. “When we got there, we heard four shots,” said Grant. Ryan Harp, another member of the hunting party, saw another buck and chased it into an island of woods.

At this point, the group formed a plan. Grant, his dad, and Warren Stenson would flush it out to John and Ryan.

Meanwhile, Stacey was with his younger son Michael and he had just dropped an 8-point buck that weighed 192-pounds. He was busy taking care of his deer when the commotion started.

Chris formed the plan and stated that it was important to back stand. “Those deer seem to always go back the way they come in,” he said. He then asked Grant if he wanted to stay back and he agreed. “Don’t miss,” were the last words from dad.

Sure enough, the deer doubled back on the drive and popped out of the woods 70 yards from Grant. “He was running full speed,” said Grant. “I fired three shots and down it went.”

“That is a tough shot,” shared Stacey when he discovered what had happened. “With a deer barreling out of the woods like that, he was a pretty calm kid. I’m very proud of him.” Stacey went on to share that it is quite rare to have three bucks that size all down in the same area.

According to Chris, both boys have now shot bigger bucks than he has and he has been at it for 25 years. “I’m happy for them,” he said. “I hope they cherish it, because it doesn’t happen very often.” Chris also added that he felt Grant deserved the big deer. He only slept in two days during the entire hunting season. “He really hunted hard.”

John’s dad Stacey agrees that the boys should cherish the experience. He, too, shot his biggest buck, an 8-point, 252-pound deer, when he was a teenager. “It was my first buck back in 1975,” concluded Stacey, “and it was shot on that very same property.”

This article first appeared in the November 30, 2004 issue of the Voyageur Press.