Dan is now four days into his North Dakota bowhunt at Heart J Outfitters. The bucks are winning the cat-and-mouse game. Is it time for him to switch stand sites?
by Daniel E. Schmidt
If these big North Dakota bucks are shifting their habits, we need to try to stay ahead of them. After bowhunting from ground blinds the first two days, we’re headed for our first tree-stand set. It looks really promising — a double set overlooking a skinny field crossing between two flooded patches of cottonwood trees.
The deer crossing is really the most natural travel area linking a bedding area of chest-high sudan grass and a lush soybean field to the west of our tree stand site. The wind is nearly perfect for this spot; it’s hitting me in the face as I face the field crossing. Outfitter Chris Jorde (www.heartjoutfitters.com) also tucked the stand behind some branches. If a deer crosses this spot, I’ll be able to draw and hopefully make the shot without being detected whatsoever.
“Staying out of sight means staying out of mind from a big buck’s perspective, too,” Jorde admits. “I’m very careful with how I place my bowhunting stands at all times of the year, but especially during the early season. These big deer know when something is out of place. Try to hang a stand out there in the open, and they will be onto you in no time.”
His words are resonating loud and clear as DDH TV videographer Les Moore and I settle in for the afternoon’s hunt. It’s an incredible fall day. Not too hot, and the mosquitoes — although very present — are leaving us alone for the most part. We’ve got our eyes trained on a distant soybean field. The deer have shifted their patterns toward the few still-green patches of soybeans, and that just might help us out on this particular sit.
I must admit that although seeing some bucks is my first priority, I’m soaking in all of the tremendous scenery this part of North Dakota has to offer (we are hunting near Towner, ND).
This is like a slice of days gone by for most parts of the country. Drive down the highway here and you will still see farmer busy in the fields — cutting hay, harvesting wheat … you name it. It’s a sight for sore eyes, no doubt. The scenery alone has made this trip well worth it.
This is Part 4 of a 5-part series that will run this week here at www.deeranddeerhunting.com.
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