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Deer report November 4: Another close call, the ultimate frustration

If Instagram and Facebook are any indication, there were quite a few nice deer taken over the opening weekend of the Minnesota firearm season.

For me, it’s been a season of close calls and a few frustrations. I had one last good buck encounter on Nov. 2 with my bow in Minnesota before heading to North Dakota to hunt for a few days. I had a similar encounter with a good buck in that same spot five days earlier. This time, another buck came up from the ridge, but at very last light.

I could only watch and learn. I feel now that I have an idea where the bigger bucks are bedded along that ridge with a north wind and how they like to enter the fields.

That close call was easier to take than the one I had in North Dakota on a morning hunt on Nov. 4. I hung in my new Tethrd Mantis tree saddle an hour before daylight in a location I had never hunted in before. This was overlooking a good funnel that seemed like it would be the perfect spot to catch a cruising buck.

I saw the first group of does about an hour after daylight, but they were hanging tighter to the river in the brush than I was expecting. This allowed the lead doe to get downwind and scent me as she spooked and ran off the others with her.

This continued to happen over the next few hours. Consistently, deer that came through were getting downwind of me. At about 11:30, I decided to make a move to see if I could pinpoint where they were coming from.

I lowered my bow to the ground and had one of my three climbing sticks off the tree when I noticed movement from the same spot all the does has come from earlier in the morning. I couldn’t see a rack, but I knew this was a buck. It was easy to tell by the size of his body.

I watched him through the brush as I slowly made my way down the tree. I hit the ground undetected, but I still had to untie my bow from the rope, nock an arrow and get my release on. By the time all that was done, the nice eight-pointer was on to me. He eventually ran off after we had a stare down for nearly five minutes. Having a buck come in while descending the tree is always on my mind, and it was a frustrating moment on a deer I would have been thrilled to take.

All I could do was learn from it. I went over to the edge of the river and saw a beaten down trail that I had never noticed before in my scouting in August. I walked up and down that path, looking back to the river until I found what I hope to be a perfect ground set-up in the future. I trimmed a few trees at ground level and set up a nice backdrop that should help me blend in. I’ll need a wind out of the southeast again to make this work, but it’s a promising location if the deer travel the same route they did that morning.

This was the fourth big-buck encounter I have had on this long run in the stand, with nothing to show for it. That’s hunting. I’m close. There pieces are there. I’m hopeful I can complete the puzzle before the season closes.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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