The 2007 Minnesota deer season was a tough hunt. The pre-rut offered few opportunities with the bow because a large pack of wolves had set up shop in our neck of the woods. You can see the sign posted by the government trapper below. I began to question my confidence in my favorite location when there was little sign to be found, hardly any pictures on the scouting cameras, and days spent in the stand of what seemed to be an empty woods. Empty of deer anyway, the does that remained had relocated their fawns to safer locations and the bucks were sure to follow the does. There were always the howls of the pack each night as I made my hike out of the woods to remind me of who were the real hunters here. The neighbors in the area had questions about the quality of the upcoming rifle season and alluded to “knowing what to do” should I encounter one of the pack. I don’t agree with those tactics however, maybe because I don’t live or make my livelihood there, but I feel that I could have easily moved my hunt to a different location. The wolves, as well as the ranchers, are just trying to make a living.
I drew my bow once all fall and missed my mark on a respectable eight. A difficult angle contributed to the broadhead meeting the shoulder blade and the buck tossed it (nearly bloodless) about 100 yards down the trail of his escape. Tyler and I were only able to find two small specks of blood beyond that point and none prior to it, and nothing the next day. So we made the conclusion that he would continue to roam the forests. With more activity in the woods come rifle season and the rut nearing its peak we were sure to see more deer movement.
The first day of rifle season, Tyler harvested a real nice spike buck, only his second deer ever, that he bumped from its daybed on the way in for the afternoon hunt. Father and son got together for a picture, and I resorted to a self portrait in the stand (I was bored obviously)…
The second morning, I watched this family unit from over 200 yards away across the swamp (You can see the approximate location over my shoulder in the self portrait.) as they worked their way to the beaver dam crossing just below my stand, where, within 30 yards, all four shells from my trusty .308 found their mark. A year’s preparation, months of scouting, weeks spent in the stand, for 10 minutes of excitement and then 3 days work! Brent and Tyler wanted to fill their freezer, so at Liberty Pines Ranch Outfitters we aim to please (The pun was definitely intended). We had met our harvest needs, now there was work to be done. Four days later we left for Montana. I returned to trophy hunt a few more times after the Montana trip, but a wall-hanger was not in the cards this year.