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Tough Hunt

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As expected this year was a tough hunt, although it was tough for different reasons than expected.

We hunt public land up near Park Rapids and have hunted the same spot for a few years now. My buddy has been up as recently as a few weeks ago to bow hunt. This year we pulled up to the spot at 5:45 opening morning and found that the entire area had been clear cut within the last 2-3 weeks. The machinery was still in the spot I usually use to access my stand location.

So 5:45 opening morning we are left scrambling to find a spot to hunt. I decided to set off into the clear cut to see what I could find. Fortunately we use climbing stands so we weren't relying on finding previously placed stands. I ended up setting up in a funnel between a small lake and a swamp about a 1/2 mile from the road that was maybe 50 yards into the woods at the end of the clear cut. My friend headed south and set up at the south end of the lake. Needles to say its not easy getting set up in a new spot on the fly in the dark.

I did get a little lucky and at least saw a spike buck that morning that I could have taken. I ended up passing on it even, it was too early in the weekend to take a spike. Unfortunately that was the last legal deer I saw for the 4 days.

I ended up seeing 5 does (no doe tag in our group) and the 1 spike buck over the weekend despite being displaced after all of our pre-scouted woods had been leveled. We ended up spending the bulk of the next 3 days walking new spots and running into a lot of other displaced hunters. It made for a very challenging 4 days.

I will say I was encouraged by the deer though. In addition to the 5 does I saw my buddy saw 2 more and we saw an additional 10-15 while driving around after dark. That is WAY more than we've seen in the past 3-4 years when the zone was hunters choice. All the does we saw were with yearlings and there were a lot of moms with twins running around.

We saw very little sign of bucks in all of our miles of walking and heard very little shooting but most guys we talked to did not have doe tags.

Next year we'll be back at square one with scouting all new areas.

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