By Adelle Whitefoot
Two Harbors hunter George Krog wasn’t looking for any fame when he went to the local game warden to ask for a doe permit to make it easier for a man of his age to get a deer, but the request has snowballed.
Most areas in northern Minnesota issued buck only permits last year due to the sparse deer population this year. For hunters Krog’s age — he’s 84 — it can be difficult to sit out in the woods all day, every day, waiting for a buck to come along. So Krog went to the Two Harbors Department of Natural Resource office to speak to the game warden. When Krog asked for a doe permit, the conservation officer said he didn’t have the authority to do so.
“I accepted that. I just had to ask whether it was going to be no or yes,” Krog said. “A couple more days later I went back and asked the gals that work there if there is someone that can help me.”
Krog was directed to write to the DNR central office in St. Paul. Then, he received a letter back that told him to contact his legislators. His next letter went to Sen. Tom Bakk asking him to create a law that would allow hunters his age to get special doe permits.
“I used to be able to sit in a deer stand all day long but I can’t do that anymore,” Krog said.
Krog has been hunting since he was old enough to buy a license, and only missed four years when he was in the service. When he was an orphan living with a Swedish family in Port Wing, Wis., a friendly neighbor started Krog’s lifelong hunting obsession. Krog said he would see the neighbor bring home game that looked pretty good, so his neighbor agreed to teach Krog to hunt.
“I’m a meat hunter. I don’t go after the big bucks. I did shoot a big buck and I was very proud of that,” Krog said. “But when I was ready to cut it up and bring it in to eat, my grandma said we couldn’t eat it and I asked why not and she said to smell it. I did and it didn’t smell good.”
The trusty neighbor had an explanation. He told Krog the big, dominating bucks eat wherever a doe would urinate during breeding season. That smell gets in the meat and can cause an unappetizing dinner after it’s cleaned and cut up, so Krog stuck to smaller deer from then on.
Last year was buck-only in the Two Harbors area. Even though Krog wasn’t waiting for a big buck, he said he never saw any kind of buck.
“Every day in October I would scout the area that I was going to hunt,” he said. “Every day I would see does and one day I saw a buck. After that, I never saw him again.”
According to Krog, once he got out into the woods after the season opened, all he saw was does like he saw in October. But there was something else that told him he wasn’t going to see a buck.
“The thing that bothered me was that I never heard a shot where I hunt, and normally I would hear other people shoot,” Krog said. “So I knew it was going to be a long season.”
A couple days after that is when he decided to talk to the game warden. Since he wrote a letter to Bakk, Krog has been interviewed by many media outlets after Bakk and Rep. David Dill introduced the bill to the Senate and House. The bill would just add one subdivision to an existing statute saying, “residents age 84 or over may take a deer of either sex.” The bills on both sides are currently in committees.
Krog was not able to tag his own buck this year, but he was able to still get his venison. One day after coming back from hunting in Wisconsin, Krog was sitting in his chair when he saw a truck pull up in his driveway. It was the Two Harbors game warden and he had a big buck for Krog.
“I asked why I was getting this buck,” Krog said. “He said that the main guy in the cities told him he just had to get a deer for George and he did.”
Krog said he was a little worried about the meat after his last run in with a big buck, but he said the venison was just great.
“I want to hunt as long as I can,” he said. “But I’m just a small spoke in the wheel of progress.”