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Putting in the Work

Putting in the Work

After a few years of applying, I was able to successfully draw an “Any Deer” tag in the state of North Dakota. I had previously hunted the eastern portion of the state but wasn’t as familiar with the western side. The learning curve of scouting an unfamiliar area is something I always look forward to. So, after hearing of my successful draw I immediately contacted my friend, Nick Pinizzotto, for advice on the area as he had hunted the Badlands years ago. The plan was to arrive a few days prior to opening day, start in some of the North Dakota mule deer locations Nick had shared with me, and scout the area before the season began.

We covered many miles in the truck and on our boots and had an idea where to focus on opening day. Finding good cover next to lush agriculture fields was the plan of attack. However, when opening day arrived so did other hunters. The areas we thought we would have success began to receive pressure which drove us back to the drawing board. Fortunately, digital maps such as onX Hunt Maps allowed us to find new public land along with possible access to private land. This technology helped guide us to a tract of private land we obtained access to that had a lush alfalfa field.

The first evening on this tract of land was more of a scouting mission. The scout brought success with watching about a dozen mule deer filter out of the hills into the alfalfa. Knowing they would feed all night I wanted to be back there the following morning to follow the deer to their beds. As dawn broke the next morning, I quickly spotted a big 4×4 on his way out of the field. We followed him to his bed where we located him shining in the sun. After about an hour and a half I was able to crawl in to about 20 yards from him. I drew my bow, slowly stood up and got him to stand. As soon as I could make out his vitals, I released the arrow. Seeing my arrow meet its mark, I knew he wouldn’t go far. Upon recovering him about 100 yards away, I was very surprised with the size and age of the buck I had just arrowed.

Going into a hunt with this level of challenge is my true passion. Putting in the work, experiencing the views, and overcoming adversity in this beautiful state is something I hope every bowhunter gets to experience.

This photo essay originally appeared in the Winter 2021 edition of MDF magazine. To get your copy of MDF magazine, JOIN MDF TODAY

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