Jump to content

    If You  want access  to member only forums on FM, You will need to Sign-in or  Sign-Up now .

    This box will disappear once you are signed in as a member.

2010 ND DIY Archery Hunt


Recommended Posts

My brother, Rod, and I headed out from Fargo to meet our good buddy Steve (aka. Slevy) "out West" this past week. We hunted some of the usual haunts and had a lot of fun. I'll post a quick day-by-day report of our adventures. I'm waiting for Slevy to get me pics of the final day or so, so I may be held up until I can get them. He's got some family-related health stuff going on right now, so I'll be patient and let him get them to me when he can.

Rod and I headed West on Fri late afternoon. After we dropped off my kids with our parents we had an uneventful trip out. We pulled in to base camp at about 10:00. As usual, Slevy was kind enough to get there and set up the tent and get everything ready for us. We had base camp set up on his relatives' property, away from their house a bit. It was quiet and peaceful where we were- very nice!

Our plan was to go to an area I had hunted last Fall. This area was about 20 miles away from base camp. However, upon awakening, we quickly realized that I had screwed up the alarm and we were an hour behind right off the bat. We quickly reconsidered our gameplan and went to Plan B- we'd hunt some areas closer to the base camp. That was alright- the wind was good for these areas and we wanted to hunt them at some point in the trip.

Here's the area I was looking at in the AM of Day 1.


I saw a few deer, but not too many. Here are a couple of small bucks that I watched feed, bed, then get up and move along out of view.


I moved about 3/4 of a mile and I saw a few more does and this antelope.


But, it was tough going. Eventually, Rod and Slevy picked me up and they reported they'd had tough mornings too. All of us had more cattle in the areas we sat than we were used to- not a good sign. Slevy had seen a few deer, but nothing too great and Rod had been completely shut out at a place we call "The Honey Hole". On the way back to camp we stopped to glass a few little sage patches that are about a mile off the road. After not too long, we were lucky enough to find a decent buck bedded up in the sage.

Here's the guys on the walk out to find this buck.


We spotted this little guy in a sage patch on the way out to the bedded buck.


We had to go around him a good ways, so he didn't blow out of there and mess up the whole deal.

Peaking over the hill to get a looksy...


This rock was as close as we could get, but wasn't the right angle to come at him from. He was about 60 yards past this rock in a sage patch.


Slevy and Rod had spotted this buck, so I decided to sneak to the rock and photograph the happenings. It would be a great vantage point to take pics from.

I sneaked up to the rock and here's what I saw:


The buck's bed was totally empty and I figured he was gone. I was 99% sure I hadn't screwed things up for the guys, but I couldn't see the buck. The next thing I saw was Rod and Slevy carefully creeping up the slope on the other side, not 30 yards from the empty bed.


I glassed and reglassed and finally I spotted the buck- he had moved a couple yards out of his bed. I've circled part of his antler in the pic below- it's really tough to see, but I could see it moving as he looked from side to side occasionally.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still tough to see, but here's a blown up shot of the piece of the rack I could see.


Slevy looked at me and I gave hand signals, indicating that the buck was still there and that he had moved three yards to the side and I gave him the direction he had moved. The guys quickly spotted him and everything was going perfectly. Unfortunately, even though Rod and Slevy got inside of 20 yards from the buck, they couldn't get a clean shot. Rod decided to throw a rock just as Slevy came to full draw. The buck turned his head, but didn't even act like he cared. He stayed bedded and didn't look as if he planned on moving.

Just then, I decided I'd let the guys know that I'd go down below the buck a couple hundred yards. I'd try to get the buck's attention- from that distance, I figured the buck would just stand up and look at me, giving the guys a perfect shot from close quarters. Sadly, just as I did that (and as Slevy watched me give hand signals), the buck stood up. Slevy quickly drew, found his mark, and shot, but the buck bolted just as he shot and he missed him clean. Even more sad was that I didn't get any pics of it...

That evening proved to be tougher- we hunted a muley/whitetail area and although we saw a lot of deer, they were mostly whitetail does and not many bucks were around. Rod had a 140+ whitetail buck headed right for him in the last 30 min of light, but he turned at the last minute. The closest he got was 98 yards, so no shot opportunity.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The next morning had us in the location we'd planned to hunt the first day. We immediately started seeing deer, once it was light enough to see. Rod and I ended up only a couple ridges apart, so we could see a lot of the same country and each other. I spotted three bucks in a sage flat and I could tell that Rod could see them too, judging by the location of where he appeared to be glassing (as I glassed him). Two were small bucks, but one looked to be a pretty nice 4x4. While I watched them, I saw four other bucks going through the bottom, headed for Rod. Here's a pic of the back two.


Here's a close up of the front one of these two bucks.


He was an absolute stud! He was headed right for Rod, but unfortunately, Rod never saw them. I lost sight of them right after I snapped this pic and when we talked about it later, we had no idea what happened to them.

After 90 minutes of watching them, the three bucks fed down towards the bottom of the cut and toward me. I lost sight of them, so I repositioned on a ridge lower, that might allow me a better vantage point to both see and get a shot at the nice one. Not long later, I noticed Rodd off to my right about 150 yards- he basically had the same thought as me. Soon, I lost sight of Rod and spotted the two smaller bucks headed my general direction. I repositioned slightly and had the smaller bucks walk right below me at 19 yards. I patiently waited for the bigger buck to follow... I knew he would... wouldn't he? I waited for almost ten minutes, but he never came. What the heck??? I was certain he'd follow his buddies. Little did I know he was laying stone dead at the bottom of the draw...

I moved down the ridge a little to see better and spotted Rod. He saw me and raised his hands in victory. I knew for sure that meant two things: 1) he had a shot, and 2) the shot was definitely a good one. I walked down to Rod and he pointed over his shoulder to this:


Rod explained what had happened: he had moved in on the deer when I did. Just when I lost sight of him, he spotted a doe moving ahead and to the side of him. Not far behind her was the 4x4 we had seen for an hour-and-a-half in the sage flat. Rod ranged the buck, the buck stopped to take a leak, Rod forced himself to relax, then made a perfect shot- right through the heart on the buck!

Here's Rod walking up to see the buck that he had shot (I really like this picture).




Here's Rod and Slevy on the pack out. A little side note-- Slevy is wearing a long sleeve shirt. However, this picture is a reminder of what happens when a guy forgets to bring wipes out into the field and really needs something as a TP replacement!


Here's Rod and me on the pack out.


Sweet! One buck down, two to go!!! We had big plans for that evening and the next morning...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome as usual Scoot! Looking forward to the rest of the story.

I can never get over how beautiful the country is out there.

I get sick of the same ol' scenery around here once in a while! LOL

Neat looking rack too!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Three guys and nobody had some TP to share? :P

I'd use some grass before I tore the sleeve off my shirt. I suppose it's a fair trade though for a nice 4x4 mulie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheetah, my brother and I both would have wipes to share, but when we're out in that country, there's usually a mile or two between each of us (at a minimum). When natured called, Slevy was about 1 1/2 miles away and definitely not about to try track us down. There's very, very little out there that might serve as TP. Unless you'd be interested in using sage or cactus...

mrklean, I don't know. All I can tell you is that he was BIG!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That evening we decided to work our way up a draw and into an area that didn't allow vehicles. This is an area that sees virtually no pressure during the bow and gun season- it's too tough to get back to! Here's a shot of the draw we walked up. We parked the truck much lower than you can see and off to the bottom-right of the pic.


You can't appreciate how tough of a hike it was to get back to where we were going to make our spike camp at from this picture. It was about a 600 foot climb over approximately 1.25 "as the crow flies" miles. I'm sure we walked more than double that to get up there, and it was pretty steep and rugged terrain for most of it. That really isn't that bad of a climb, but we had very heavy packs on-- we hauled in all of our water for this trip because we didn't trust any source of water in the hills out there.

Once we got up there, we split up and spent the night glassing. Besides one nice buck a LONG ways away, we only saw does that night. We headed back to camp for some grub and some shut eye.

Here's what our camp looked like.



Slevy working on some grub.


His stove is a Pocket Rocket- it runs on a little gas canister.

Here's my stove- it's an Esbit stove. It's tough to see because of a little aluminum foil heat shield I put around it. These stoves run on little esbit tablets- just light them and let them do their job.


Rod enjoying some grub, before we hit the rack.


We got up the next morning and headed to some slightly different areas out of camp to glass. Unfortunatley, we continued to see nothing but does. After an hour of seeing a couple dozen slick heads, we decided to hoof it out of there and try get back to the truck in time to possibly see some bucks on the drive out.

The plan actually worked- we saw one nice buck on a hillside and later two really big bucks in a little cut. But, like they often do out there, after we spotted them the they quickly gave us the slip and we never saw them again. We headed back to base camp to rest and clean up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Scoot, that Esbit stove is very interesting, I had not heard of them before. I have a Whisperlite, but don't get the opportunity or need to use it very often. REI has an Esbit just like yours, very economical! Have you used it at higher elevations? Do you just use one tablet to boil enough water for one of those backpacking packet meals?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheetah, I know it works well at 10K. Above that, I can't tell you. I've heard some guys say that they can get two boils out of one tablet, but I only got one pot of 2 1/2 cups to boil per tab. There was still a little tablet left, but not too much. Instead of carrying a 90% burnt up tab, I just let it burn until it was all gone. It really is slick! Also, if you ever need a really good fire starter, those tabs would work really great...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That evening Slevy went to an area he "discovered" last year- long story short is that he almost got on a decent buck, but a rattle snake foiled his plans. He ended up delayed by the snake (not bitten, just delayed) and the deer moved away from its bed while he was delayed.

I went out to a much "smaller area" than I'd been in for the trip. Most of this trip was spent in "big country" with a lot of deeper cuts and plenty of realestate between things. This evening was going to be in a little hidey hole that had much smaller cuts and areas, but that I was sure hadn't seen any hunting pressure.

On the way in I spotted these two guys:


A little closer shot of this little dude.


When I got to my spot, I decided to call home and check in. We were much closer to civilization this evening and I had cell reception. After not talking to my wife and kids the day before, I decided to talk to them when I had a chance. While I was on the phone I looked up and saw this:


Two decent bucks were walking across an open area. I quickly finished my call an headed towards the bucks. I walked about a half mile and got in a spot where I could see the bucks. Eventually they bedded down and chewed their cud for a while.

I tried several times to get close to them, but kept running into places where I'd be in plain view. Finally, I backed way out, went way around, and came in up a little cut from their left. I saw a kitchen table-sized patch of willows at what I figured was about 80 yards from them that I thought I'd be able to get to. From there, I'd have to devise a plan on how to cut that distance in half, but I couldln't do that until I got there and had a look at what was in front of me.

Everything went perfectly- it was breezy and my noise was masked very well. I was only 20 yards from the willows when something caught my attention to my right. I looked over to see three bucks staring at me. Dang, busted! After a couple seconds of frustration, I realized one of the bucks was a pretty nice 4x4. I ranged him, drew my arrow back, and... he moved. I reranged him, started to draw, and... he moved again. We played this game for a full minute. Finally, I got my yardage and he stayed put. I drew my bow, settled the pin, and made a perfect shot... on some leaves between me and the deer! I don't associate hitting branches with hunting out West, but that's what I did. The arrow hit about three feet low and all three deer bounded off. Not only that, but I figured the two bucks I was actually sneaking on had left too. I sneaked up to the willows, peaked around, and here's what I saw.


The younger buck was up high and easily in view.


The bigger 5x5 was mostly hidden from the little rise in front of him.


Amazingly, the bucks hadn't seen me because I was too low. They hadn't heard anything because it was too windy. I figured they'd have run off when the other bucks did, but for some reason, they didn't. I was suddenly give a second chance.

After over an hour of waiting, they eventually got up and fed for a while. What I thought would be 80 yards was actually 110. Further, I had no reasonable option to get closer. I needed them to feed towards me. I thought they might- it was a perfect little flat for them to meander around on.

But, as they always seem to do, the bucks feed away from me. The eventually tipped over this little rise. I sneaked up there, but they were already 120 yards away and walking out of my life for good.


I really think I played my cards right with this interaction, but it simply didn't work out. Although you can't tell it from the pics, the 5x5 was pretty darn nice. He was about 23 or 24 inches wide with reasonable mass and height (the pics don't do him justice). None of his traits were superimpressive, but he was a nice buck, overall. I'd have been thrilled to get a decent crack at him. Such is bowhunting...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The final morning of the trip had us in the area where Rod had shot his buck. I spotted five bucks mid-morning and soon lost sight of them. They ended up by Slevy and he got on them in their beds. Here's a pic of a pretty cool buck in the little bachelor group:


It's tough to tell much from this picture, but this was a very nice buck. He wasn't too terribly wide, but he had deep forks and three very cool kicker points. Slevy called him "TF", for "Trash Factor" (i.e., the kicker points). He got up in range of the buck while he was in his bed. He ranged the deer, drew his arrow, and shot. Sadly, his arrow came down about one inch short of the buck. The buck jumped up, looked back, and ran off. Slevy said he was pretty sure the buck stuck his tongue out at him as he ran away.

In essence, that interaction ended our trip. It was a great trip and with wonderful company. We had a blast! Having that experience with my brother and me stalking the same buck and seeing him make a perfect shot on the buck was a great one and something I won't soon forget.

I'm not sure if I'll get back out there again this year, but I sure hope so! Until I do next time, I've got some great memories and some fun pictures to look at to remind me of it.

Thanks for following along- I hope you enjoyed it.

Since it was the highlight of the trip, here's a final shot of Rod with the fruits of his hard work.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

As usual, another superb trip described in storybook fashion. Sure is some beautiful country. Thanks for sharing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing. I love the pictures. It seems like Murphy's law could have been discovered by a bowhunter. With bow in hand, if it can go wrong, it usually will .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You just had to throw those antelope pics in to tease me, didn't ya? cry

Awesome pics and a great story as usual! Glad you guys had a fun trip!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Scoot, one more great set of pictures with your storyline! That's some great country with some really nice deer. Definitely be a memory maker. Thanks again. cool

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.