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Covid-19 dwindles one Outagamie family’s gun deer hunt, but it doesn’t damper the fun

The pandemic forced hunters to make adjustments
Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 6:10 PM CST
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OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Mike Lauer and his son Harry were up before the crack of dawn Saturday.

Lauer’s parents own a farm just outside of Hortonville that’s been in the family for about a hundred years.

“There are several people that come who have no intentions of hunting, but they’ll spend the week here with us, hanging out, play[ing] cards, and just talk[ing] about life,” Lauer said.

The focus for his high school freshman son Harry was bagging his first deer.

“You got to sort of get yourself in this mentality where, you know, you’re just going to sit there until a deer comes along, and then you get that deer,” Harry said.

The number of people who usually visit the Lauer family farm for the start of deer gun season was smaller this year because of Covid-19.

Lauer said it’s normally 12 to 16 people but it’s only four this time around. He has eight siblings, including himself. His family is made up of six brothers and two sisters.

“We have older parents and in particular my mom is a breast cancer survivor, obviously high-risk, and we didn’t want to expose her,” Lauer said.

By 6:30 a.m., they were walking to their deer stand in the woods. Once they sat, all it took was 10 minutes before the first deer appeared.

Harry unloaded his shotgun a few minutes later, killing the deer.

Yet, getting to it wasn’t easy on the marsh as the water had not frozen over. They eventually found the deer and gutted it out in the field.

“It was sort of exciting, I guess exhilarating I would say,” Harry said. “Not because I’m happy or excited to just take the life of this deer...because I’m hunting because it makes me feel good. But, just because I feel like there’s this sense of accomplishment.”

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters need to register their deer electronically by 5 p.m. the next day after killing it.

As for the Lauers, they can’t wait to go back out the next day.

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