Bow Hunting Maniac » Back from ND

Back from ND

Well, I got back from North Dakota Wednesday morning at 4 a.m. after a 23 hour drive.
Before I go into details of the hunt, I would like to say this was a very rewarding trip as, I have always wanted to hunt Whitetail deer and this far exceeded my expectations. I saw plenty of deer, pheasants, coons, grouse. Even, while in stand, I had thousands of geese fly over me.
Actually, this was my 3rd trip to North Dakota but I have never been able to “seal the deal” on a good buck. This was the first year we went this early in the season and, it was quite warm with one day hitting 83 degrees.
North Dakota has a very generous archery deer season with it starting Labor day weekend and running through December. You are allowed 1 any deer tag and can buy as many doe tags as you want.
The first night I sat a stand in a grove of Cottonwood trees. About 45 minutes before dark, a doe and fawn came through. Then, as shooting light faded, I saw 6 deer working their way through the trees but, they were still out of bow range. By the time they got to me, it was too dark to shoot, but I could see there was a good buck in the group.
Craig, the guide we hunted with, drove in with his truck so I wouldn’t educate the deer by scaring them when I got out of the stand.
The next evening I decided to sit in a ground blind next to a slough (sp) in an alfalfa field. I got in the blind at 5:30 p.m., set up the video camera, got my bow ready and sat down to wait.
I didn’t have to wait too long. About 6 o’clock, I saw my first doe and forkhorn. I started noticing most of the deer came from a soybean field that was on the other side of the alfalfa, about 100 yards in front of me.
I saw 2 bucks come through together, both probably in the 115″ range. I videoed and decided to pass on them as I wanted something bigger and, felt as early as it was, there was a good chance seeing a bigger buck.
As it grew dark, I saw a nice buck that had a rack that was high and had good mass, probably a 140″ buck. This was the one I wanted…….he turned his head away from me, I drew, anchored, and shot.
I heard the arrow hit solid bone and, because I was shooting a Luminok, which glows orange when the arrow is shot, I saw the arrow come out of the buck as he ran.
I watched which way he ran as far as I could and knew he would be laying in the alfalfa field. The other deer spooked when he ran but, only went about about 30 yards before stopping to see what the commotion was.
Craig, and my friend Mark, met me about 1/2 hour later and we started to track the deer. We had marginal blood which bothered me and, we followed it for about 150 yards, and lost all sign of where the buck went.
Because we were afraid of spooking the buck if he wasn’t dead, we gave up on the tracking until the next morning.
When we returned, we were able to find more sign but, it soon quit.
We worked the soybean field back and forth looking for anything that would resemble a deer or fresh sign of this buck. But, with the plants being as 2 1/2 feet tall, it was hard to see far.
After a few hours, we finally gave up finding this buck, and I thought there may be a slight chance he lived.
Well, as the week wore on, I continued to hunt and ended up taking 3 does.
The last night of our hunt, as I was getting ready for the evening hunt, Craig called and asked what my buck’s rack was like. I told him, ” it was tall and had good mass”.
Craig said he may have found him and he would come pick up Mark and I.
As we approached the soybean field, we could see it had been combined, so it was now about 2″ tall. Craig stopped near a patch about 20′ long and 4′ wide that was uncut. As we walked out, I could see a dark figure with an antler sticking up………WE FOUND MY BUCK!!!!
The combine operator saw the deer and raised the machine up and over the deer, which left the soybean plants tall and was easy to see there had to be something laying there.
The buck traveled close to 350 yards after the shot and circled around so where we lost sign, we were looking in the wrong direction. We found the arrow had entered directly in front of the left shoulder and exited about 10″ behind the opposite shoulder. It appeared to be a good shot, but must have been a little too high to get both lungs.
The buck is a 6×4 and has main beams that sweep to the front and come to within 6 inches of touching at the points.
I was so glad to find him, as soon as I get the pictures I will post them.
If anyone wants a quality hunt for whitetail, let me know, and I can get you in touch with Craig.
Keep ‘em sharp,

5 Comments to 'Back from ND'

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  1. Bryan said,

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Sounds like quite a hunt. I’m glad you all didn’t give up (and I’m sure you are too). I know that feeling when you can’t find a deer. You keep replaying it over and over in your head, and your heart sinks. So glad it all worked out for you! Will you be getting a mount? Can’t wait to see pics…

  2. Marc said,

    Sounds like you had a great trip. I’m hoping to make my way out there sometime in the near future, my father loves hunting out there (he goes for pheasants every year). Check out my blog at, we should link up.

  3. Phillip said,

    Glad you found the animal after all that… was any meat salvageable?

    Sounds like a great hunt up there. That whole area is on my “to-do” list for a hunting/tourist visit sometime soon.

  4. darrell said,

    Amazing that an inch high can let an animal run for 350 yards isn’t it. Congrats on your buck!

  5. Stacey said,

    This is a great example of how challenging bowhunting can be. Great job of not giving up on finding this animal. Understanding what to do and what an animal will do based on where they are hit with an arrow. Nice job!

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