11-year-old Ghent hunter shoots two deer with one shot; amount of harvested deer up 16 percent in state
By Jody Isaackson
GHENT — It was a once in a lifetime shot for 11-year-old Skyla Crowley who was participating in her only her second deer hunt.
Even her father, Andy Crowley, hadn’t seen the doe hiding behind the buck. But shortly after young Crowley dropped the buck with the Mossberg youth 20-gauge, she realized she shot two deer with one pull of the trigger.
Father and daughter had been out in a deer blind west of Ghent on Nov. 11.
They had been watching a small herd of deer and thought they all disappeared when they heard Skyla Crowley shoot. Upon further investigation, she not only had dropped the 6-point buck but also the adult doe that had been hidden behind it. Andy Crowley estimated the doe to weigh about 150-160 pounds and the buck not much more.
“We were both still in shock when I called the landowner and asked him to bring his pickup out to help with the heavy load,” Andy Crowley said.
Crowley’s two deer were among 161,057 harvested in the state through last weekend during a three-week period of the deer season, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The number of deer registered is up 16 percent from 2016.
In much of Minnesota, the firearms deer season ended Nov. 12, and the northern rifle zone season ended Nov. 19. The late southeast firearms deer season is open through Sunday. The muzzleloader season begins Saturday and continues through Dec. 10.
When asked if she had field-dressed her deer, Skyla Crowley’s eyes grew large as her head pulled back and shook from side to side.
“The landlord actually gutted both deer,” Andy Crowley said.
“I just held a leg,” Skyla Crowley said. They also took pictures that Skyla Crowley was able to take to school to share with her sixth-grade class at Holy Redeemer School.
All deer shot need to be tagged with a special tag that comes with the purchase of a deer hunting license. Andy Crowley had to put his deer tag on the second deer.
“In the pickup on the way back, I told Dad, “Dad, I guess you can have that one; I shot one for you.”
Once the deer had been brought in from the hunting area, Andy Crowley cut out the steaks to keep at home. He turned the hide in to 4-H Trading owned by Brad Herigon of Cottonwood. The rest went to Perham to be processed, he said.
Skyla Crowley said that her favorite parts of the deer to eat include deer sausage, rings, bologna and brats.
“Dont’ forget deer sticks,” her father said. “Everyone loves them, especially kids.”
The only training Skyla Crowley had received prior to hunting was using a BB gun to shoot at pop cans for target practice at her uncle’s place.
“It’s okay for 10-year-olds to hunt as long as they have a parent with them,” Andy Crowley said. “Last year, she used a single-shot .410 shotgun.”
However, she didn’t get a deer last year.
The amazing thing about this was that Skyla Crowley has not yet had gun training classes, but she knows how to handle a gun.
“I will take classes this year from Uncle Cory,” she said. He teaches part of the class offered in Minneota.
Skyla Crowley’s accomplishment has earned her publicity with two different newspapers and an interview with radio program The Prairie Outdoorsman, her father said.
When asked if she plans to go deer hunting again next year, Skyla Crowley said, “Yes,” and nodded enthusiastically.