I spent some time deer hunting this weekend. It was our South Dakota deer opener on Saturday so I wasn’t alone in the fields of South Dakota. Though I can tell you after growing up hunting in Wisconsin this deer hunting is very different! I did hear shots but never actually saw another hunter in the field, this is a good thing! I hunted Saturday in wind driven snow, the area I was hunting picked up about 4 inches of snow on Saturday with winds 30-40 mph. It was pretty miserable and the deer really hunkered down. In fact I didn’t see a single deer after walking several miles worth of sloughs, and shelterbelts. Of course I had walked those same spots a week earlier pheasant hunting and saw 10 deer including 3 nice bucks! Such is hunting.
I was on the fence about hunting on Sunday but was glad I went. The picture you see above is from my deer blind. It is sitting on top of a stock dam, with a huge slough to my right and a chunk of CRP to my left. There is a tilled up bean field right in front of me and a picked corn field off to the right a little bit. I have gotten a couple of deer from this spot and really like it. The deer typically come out of the slough to eat late in the day. It was a gorgeous night, with light winds and temps in the 20s. I did see some deer on Sunday, the first one was in a shelterbelt about 200 yards away from me. It was a small buck, I actually popped out of my blind when I saw it and crept a little closer, I saw him bed down in the trees and went back to my blind. After sitting and not seeing anything for several hours I decided I would try to push that deer in the shelterbelt towards my grandfather who was on the end of it with about 10 minutes of shooting light left. Back to the hunt… I had been doing some calling through the evening with my grunt tube and tried an aggressive set of calling with some grunts and bleats as time was running out. After 10 minutes and with darkness moving in quickly I started climbing out of my blind, as I was out and started walking away suddenly a deer busted in the slough and started running away from me. It was a VERY nice buck! And he was 30 feet away from me when he busted. He ran across the slough to some land I don’t have permission to hunt and posed for me as I drolled over him in my scope. Needless to say I was pretty bummed, I am really not sure if he ever would have come out of the slough, but I have to think he was responding to my calling. The thing I can’t get over is how that big boy got so close to me without me hearing or seeing him. I have such respect for these animals and how crafty and cunning they are. I learn something new every time I go out and this time was definitely no exception.
Thankfully I still have 2 weeks and 2 weekends of hunting left to get that buck. I will be back that is for sure.