The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 2, 2013

Cross: A deer stand that is berry, berry good

Deer hunters for years have been constructing elevated deer stands — usually a few 2-by-4s, a few sheets of plywood strategically nailed to a tree — to give them an edge over wily whitetails.

Nowadays, some ambitious deer hunters construct their deer stands to include heat, carpet, cooking stoves, insulated windows — nearly all of the comforts of home — all to put venison in the freezer.

Elden Stanke has about a half-dozen elevated deer stands strategically placed in and around the deer habitat on his farm just northwest of Smith's Mill.

Far from luxurious, utilitarian would be a more apt description.

But one of them has origins that would have to qualify it as one of the more unusual deer stands to be found in Minnesota.

Standing about fifteen feet tall, a bright red, giant strawberry overlooks a slough, a field and a stand of woods.

Once upon a time, the fiberglass strawberry was a key component in a Tilt-A-Whirl-type amusement ride aptly named the “Berry-Go-Round.”

“My brother-in-law from Waterville got it from somewhere and thought it would make a good thing for the kids to play on,” he said.

However, city fathers and neighbors took a dim view of the scarlet orb parked prominently in his yard, so in the interest of neighborhood harmony, he decided to get rid of it.

“I said I would take it, figuring it would look good in the yard out here,” Stanke said.

“And I said, no, it wouldn't,” added his wife, Merry, who quickly shot down any notions about yard art.

After some consideration, he came up with the idea of utilizing it as yet one more deer stand for the cadre of relatives and friends come every November to hunt deer on the farm.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • mfp sports-jc outdoor column-7-27 Singing the praises of the prairie When pioneers first traveled through Minnesota, they marveled at the seemingly endless, inland sea of tall grass prairie that greeted them.It is estimated more than 18 million acres of grasslands stretched from the southeast to the northwest corners

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • mfp sports jcross outdoor column 7-20 Chasing walleyes in South Dakota nice We slowed to a crawl the other day on the dusty Day County township road in northeast South Dakota, a courtesy to the farmer who was baling ditch hay south of Webster.Otherwise, we would have enveloped him as he drove his open tractor in the choking

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fishing report Outlook on area lakes

    July 6, 2014

  • Cross column: No wake, no fish ... no problems on the water Patience is always a virtue when fishing.

    July 6, 2014

  • Know Your Lakes: Series maps

    Missed out on the weekly lake preview Wednesday's in the print edition? That's ok, we have you covered here. View the series thus far and download a printable PDF.

    May 24, 2011

  • Cross column: Where does the buck stop in your home?

    Displaying your trophy catch can be debatable

    June 29, 2014

  • Storms came at horrible time for pheasants For pheasants and pheasant hunters, there were no silver linings to be found in the storm clouds that inundated the countryside with heavy rains this week.A foot of rain falling in just a week is never good, but for pheasants, it came at precisely th

    June 22, 2014

  • Early morning is beautifully lonely Benjamin Franklin was on to something when he extolled the benefits of "early to bed, early to rise." While I can't vouch for its effect on health, wealth or wisdom, rolling out of the sack certainly seems to pay dividends for outdoor activities. The

    June 15, 2014

  • mfp sports cross column 6-1 Cross: Take a kid fishing, no license needed A few years ago, while cruising with a co-worker through an area community on a steamy summer day, we passed a vacant lot. There, oblivious to the heat and humidity, a group of kids were playing a game of pick-up baseball, racing down well-worn paths

    June 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cross: Once upon a time, when fishing was simple... Once upon a time, fishing was a pretty simple affair. A rod-and-reel, some bait and tackle, perhaps a rowboat if you were lucky, and you were in business. While the basic premise of angling -- to catch fish -- remains, it sure seems to have grown mor

    May 25, 2014