By Linda Andersen
“I can cross ‘elk’ off my bucket list,” states 79 year old Rita Nelson who shot a 6 x 6 elk in zone 20 on Joe Wilebski’s land near Lancaster, Minn., during the second elk hunting season of the year (October 7-15).
How did the suburban Minneapolis (Eden Prairie) resident happen to be elk hunting in Northwestern Minnesota? She visits the Lancaster area occasionally with a friend who is a crop adjuster. They have gotten acquainted with Joe Wilebski who, upon hearing she is a hunter, suggested she enter her name in the state’s elk lottery. Her name was one of the very few chosen from a very large number of applicants.
She explains that she arrived in the Lancaster area on a Saturday morning. She sat in a stand for several days with no success. However, at about five minutes to seven on Wednesday evening her daughter Kathy Swanson who had accompanied her, stated, “You need to get your gun. I think I see an elk.”
“7:02 is when I shot the elk,” remembers Nelson, who mentions she shot it from “about 153 yards.”
She had experienced some problems with her own gun and shot the elk with one borrowed from Wilebski. She also credits Darrell Peterson with assisting her in the hunt.
“I have seven boxes full of elk meat in my chest freezer,” says Nelson, and explains that Lundgren Processing Company in Cambridge processed her meat.
Is the meat good? “It’s delicious,” she responds.
Nelson is an experienced hunter. “My deer at the cabin is the largest buck,” she states explaining that she owns a cabin near Motley, Minn., where she has shot many deer over the years. She also once shot a coyote.
What is Nelson’s next hunting goal? “Bear,” she responds without hesitation. Bears better beware with this enthusiastic hunter in the woods!