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Effects of Wadena tornado felt in hunting land

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sports Perham, 56573
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

With the demolition of the Wadena-Deer Creek School last month, it's hard to forget the tornado that swept through the area last June.

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In fact, the tornado is still being felt in less obvious ways, like in Ken Maki's ruined hunting land north of New York Mills.

The land, which was part of the tornado's path of destruction, normally would have been used for deer hunting. With the destruction wrought by the tornado, however, hunting in the land was almost impossible.

"It took about two and a half hours to get through a quarter-mile stretch," said Brad Helmeke, who owns the 65 acres of land adjacent to Maki's 95 acres.

Despite the destruction and the impassable, fallen logs, Helmeke said, the deer certainly weren't deterred.

"The deer can get through anything," he said. "We saw them jumping over four or five clumped trees. They've been to parts of the woods that the loggers haven't even gotten to yet."

Helmeke said that while his land was untouched by the tornado, Maki's land was unrecognizable.

"You'd think there would have been some residual destruction," Helmeke said of his land. "But it looked like there wasn't a leaf out of place."

The land is currently being logged, Helmeke said, because there's a lot of red oak in the land.

Helmeke said that the loggers have estimated that there are more than 7,000 tons, or 14 million pounds of salvageable biomass in Maki's land.

"We probably won't ever see mature trees in those woods again in our lifetime," Helmeke said.

However, Helmeke said that forestry officials have said that once the downed trees are cleared, the land will have lots of natural growth.

"They said that in five years, it will be the best hunting land we could ask for," Helmeke said. "The natural growth will be so thick it will be like a deer magnet - there'll be so much stuff for them to live and eat off of."

"So it will be good again," Helmeke said. "But when you have mature woods, and they're all gone because of the tornado, it's still a little frustrating."

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