The South-Central Plains and the Northern Woodlands whitetails get a lot of the love, but it’s wise not to ignore the territory that contains the Dakota whitetail. For years Montana, Wyoming and the river bottoms of North and South Dakota hosted savvy hunters to deer sightings of record proportions.
Television and print media let the cat out of the bag so to speak, and the hidden gem that is the
Dakota whitetail suddenly hit the collective radar of deer hunters from all over. Outfitters were quick
to capitalize on the opportunity and since much of the land in the Dakota region is not suitable for
whitetails, the quality areas were soon sewed up.
In a matter of a few years the Dakota Region, and more specifically certain parts of Canada and the Milk and Powder Rivers in Montana, became go-to places for whitetail hunters looking for a hunt that would guarantee deer sightings and high odds of getting a shot at a mature buck.
Unlike the deer rush in big-buck states like Kansas and Iowa, though, much of the Dakota Region
also offers nonresidents a chance at western species like antelope, elk and mule deer. This availability of varying species tempered the overall demand for whitetail tags and to this day there exists an awesome opportunity to hunt.
The ability to watch deer with your own two eyes cannot be understated. Witnessing firsthand howdeer interact with one another, and how they travel through the landscape is first-rate knowledge that always will make you a better hunter. This is part of the reason why hunters who scout a great deal almost always kill more bucks than hunters who don’t spend much time in the woods.
It’s a common misconception that when you’re scouting you’re always looking for sign, or simply glassing bachelor groups in the summer. While it’s true that both of those activities count as scouting, it’s also important to realize that the more time you spend scouting, the more time you’ll watch deer all year long.
This is no different than the hunter who only sits during the weekends as opposed to the hunter who has the opportunity to hunt for a few weeks straight. The hunter that spends unbroken time in the woods will almost always be more comfortable knowing when to move when a deer approaches and just when to take the shot. That’s not to say that weekend warriors can’t get it right, because they can.
However, any time you spend observing deer will make you better at killing deer.
Load your daypack with a spotting scope, tripod and binoculars. If the deer are feeding in the fields
and bedding on public ground, they will travel in a very predictable route to the fields in the evening
and from the fields in the morning. A day or two of watching this should tip you into how many deer
are following the pattern and where exactly they are traveling.
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