2017 Journal #8: Two Trips To North Dakota - Two Encounters with Mature Bucks

By Alex Comstock 

The last two weekends have produced some of the years best bowhunting action for me. In my last journal post, I talked all about how Kobe was harvested by another hunter, and how now I'd be much less selective in what buck I'd harvest. Throughout the fall, I've got photos of a number of mature bucks and now I thought I had a much better chance of getting it done being after any mature buck, and not one particular deer. 

Saturday, November 11th: It was the day after Kobe had been harvested by the other hunter, and I wanted to hang a new set in an area between two doe bedding areas. I decided to sleep in and in the afternoon (after getting over the fact I was no longer after Kobe) I headed out to hang a new set. The afternoon was pretty slow as I only saw two young bucks and a doe. 

Sunday, November 12th: The next morning I headed back into the set I had put up the day before, and things were on fire. As I was climbing into my tree I had a young buck walk right under me, and movement never stopped after that. About fifteen minutes after first light, I looked up and saw a deer crossing from my left to right about 100 yards away. I put up my binos and instantly knew it was a shooter. He was all by himself, and after tossing a couple grunts and a snort wheeze at him, he continued on his way. He didn't have a care in the world about my calling. I was pumped, being that it had been the first shooter I'd seen in about a month, but at the same time was bummed he passed through way out of bow range. 

After reviewing my sub-par footage, I'm about 90% confident this was the buck I saw that morning. 

After reviewing my sub-par footage, I'm about 90% confident this was the buck I saw that morning. 

As the rest of the morning went by, I saw buck after buck, with most of them chasing does, or cruising nose to the ground. I ended up seeing ten buck by 10:00am, but sadly I had to pull my set and head back home to Minnesota. 

This past weekend, due to obligations, the only free day I had was Saturday. Knowing that the rut was on in North Dakota, Friday after work I made the four and half hour drive back out there just so I could sit all day Saturday. 

Saturday, November 18th: Saturday was another crazy morning in the timber. I started off the morning with a rattling sequence right at first light, and rattled in a nice 3 1/2 year old buck. From there, things just went bonkers. I caught movement to my right and saw a doe headed right for me. I put up my binoculars, and there was a beauty of a buck behind her. The buck chased the doe all over the place, at one point got within forty yards of me. Unfortunately, the buck was chasing so hard he wouldn't stop for me to get a shot. 

I forgot to turn my camera on, but I believe this was the buck I had at 40 yards on the 18th. 

I forgot to turn my camera on, but I believe this was the buck I had at 40 yards on the 18th. 

Everything happened so fast, and I realized I was filming, but hadn't hit record. I started recording, but by then the buck was gone. Shortly after, I had multiple bucks all chasing does, and I literally was having a hard time keeping track of what bucks were where and if there was any shooters. At one point, I had a shooter slip by at about 70 yards, but he was moving quick as well. I'm not going to lie, I haven't experienced many rut encounters like this one. My head was spinning, I didn't know what bucks to film, and my hands were freezing from having one on the camera, and the other holding my bow for a solid hour. 

After about an hour and 8 bucks later, things seemed to quiet down. That's when I looked up and saw a nice buck headed right for me. I thought at first he was a shooter, but after looking him over, I decided he wasn't mature. Of course once I decided that, he came right in and presented me with a 35 yard broadside shot, but he just wasn't the buck I was after. 

After having a crazy morning in the timber, this buck presented me with a shot, but I decided he wasn't for me. 

After having a crazy morning in the timber, this buck presented me with a shot, but I decided he wasn't for me. 

After the buck passed through, movement came to a halt, and I decided to move my stand about 150 yards to the North on the edge of a little secluded opening where most of the action was headed. I pulled the set at 11:00am, moved the stand, got set back up, and was on pins and needles for the afternoon. But the rest of the day went by, and I didn't see another deer. I was disappointed in the afternoon, but my head was already starting to turn to my late season plans...

Going Forward: Based off the last couple of years, late season can be the best time of the year to harvest a mature buck in North Dakota. I've got some plans, and will hopefully be able to get back there one day next weekend to set some stuff up for my late season hunting. My rut encounters were awesome, but now my mind is switching to how I can fill my tag during the month of December or January. 

2017 Journal #7: The Legend of Kobe Comes to an End

2017 Journal #7: The Legend of Kobe Comes to an End

By Alex Comstock 

Its been said that all good things must come to an end. But what you don't always get to choose is how that ending plays out. When it comes to deer hunting, the final chapter of a hunt for a specific buck can either be great if you end up harvesting him, or it can be a tough pill to swallow if you don't. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't able to write the final chapter with Kobe. 

2017 Journal #5: I'm Moving! (And How it Will Affect my Hunting)

2017 Journal #5: I'm Moving! (And How it Will Affect my Hunting)

By Alex Comstock

The last couple of weeks have been quite the whirlwind. I recently accepted a new job, which will move me back to Northeastern Minnesota, and I'll be living in the same area that I grew up. Yeah, things happen quick. I never saw this coming so soon, but it will be a great opportunity. I'm excited for this new venture in my life, and couldn't be more thankful.  

2017 Journal #4: How We Were Almost Able to Put Down a Mature Buck

2017 Journal #4: How We Were Almost Able to Put Down a Mature Buck

By Alex Comstock 

This past weekend was by far some of my most favorite deer hunting I've ever experienced in my life. My good friend Drew was up hunting with me here in North Dakota after having an encounter with a booner opening weekend. The area in which he had the encounter has been a property that I honestly haven't spent much time hunting over the last two seasons. I've always had nice bucks on trail camera, but through having other deer to hunt, and so many properties that I try to bounce around, I've just never spent a good deal of time on this certain one. 

2017 Journal #3: All Eyes on Kobe

2017 Journal #3: All Eyes on Kobe

By Alex Comstock

Right now, there's one deer on my mind. If you've been following along here over the last year, you've probably come to know of a buck I call Kobe. If you don't know what buck I'm referencing, he's a buck I've been hunting since September of last year. I had three encounters with him last season, and came so close to sending an arrow through him. He survived the gun season and winter, and I've now found him back this year. He's put on probably somewhere in the realm of twenty inches from last year, and he's the buck I want to harvest this season more than any other. Here's my plan on how to make that happen. 

2017 Journal #1: What I'm Doing During The Month of July to Be Ready for Opening Day

2017 Journal #1: What I'm Doing During The Month of July to Be Ready for Opening Day

By Alex Comstock 

The journal is officially back! And you know what that means right? Deer season is right around the corner. It's pretty crazy how quickly it's approaching, but before you know it, we'll be back in treestands hoping to shoot monster bucks. I wanted to do a quick journal to let you know what I've been up to in the last few weeks to get ready for season, and what I'll be doing over the course of the rest of the month. 

First Time Turkey Success

First Time Turkey Success

Growing up where I have, turkey hunting has never been on my radar. I was never around turkeys, and didn't know anybody that hunted them. But in the last year or so, as I have gotten to know more people that hunt them, I have been told countless times I need to try it. I got to the point where I knew I wanted to give it a shot, but I didn't know how, or where to go. 

"Rage" Survives | WhitetailDNA Journal

"Rage" Survives | WhitetailDNA Journal

Deer hunting has its fair share of ups and downs. But there is one feeling that is worse than any other. There is a bottomless pit that hurts more than anything, twisting and turning within your stomach after shooting a buck (any deer for that matter), but not being able to recover him. There can be countless questions running through your mind after a moment like this, but there is one that can keep you up at night more than any other..."Did the buck die? Will he make it?" I finally had that question answered for me this past weekend in regards to the buck I shot back in November, but wasn't able to recover. 

A Day Shed Hunters Dream Of

A Day Shed Hunters Dream Of

The day had started out like all other shed hunting adventures. I had taken step after step, walked mile after mile in what seemed to be a prime area for there to be antlers laying in every direction, but I couldn't find a single one. Deer trails flooded the wooded river bottom that butted up next to a great late season food source. I felt overwhelmed, and could have walked for miles on end, never getting off of a major deer trail that ran through the hard, frozen snow. 

Why This Was The Toughest, Yet Best Season of My Life | WhitetailDNA Journal

Why This Was The Toughest, Yet Best Season of My Life | WhitetailDNA Journal

It's so cliche, but it really is true. Time flies. As I sit here and start to realize my 2016 deer season is coming to a close sooner than I'd like, it's hard not to reflect on this past season, and the ups and downs that came with it. I really believe that this past hunting season was my toughest year that I've experienced, but in the same breath I can confidently say it was the best season I've ever had. How so you might ask? Throughout the rest of this journal post, my goal will be to answer that question as clearly as possible, and what this season meant to me, and ultimately what it has taught me. 

Late Season Magic | WhitetailDNA Journal

Late Season Magic | WhitetailDNA Journal

Somewhere between 70-80 sits. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours spent scouting, shed hunting, hanging stands and trail cameras, and hunting. The amount of work that went into harvesting my first North Dakota whitetail since moving here before last hunting season is crazy, but is all worth it in the end. This past Friday, December 9th, I had quite the epic hunt, and was able to finally seal the deal on a mature buck here in North Dakota. 

Late Season Plans and Strategies | WhitetailDNA Journal

Late Season Plans and Strategies | WhitetailDNA Journal

As I sit here and type this journal post, I can hear the wind thundering outside my bedroom window, and I look out to a completely different view than I did just a day ago. Not more than 24 hours ago where I live here in North Dakota, we didn't have a speck of snow, and now there is over ten inches on the ground, and the temperatures are plummeting, and will continue to plummet throughout the week. Winter is here, and with the conditions present, deer will be harshly snapped into that reality as well. Nothing is more important now than one thing - 

I Finally Got a Shot at a Mature Buck in North Dakota and...| WhitetailDNA Journal

I Finally Got a Shot at a Mature Buck in North Dakota and...| WhitetailDNA Journal

Honestly, this journal post is not going to be an easy one for me to put together. This year has been one of the toughest deer seasons I have endured as far as the amount of work I have put into it dating back to last spring, compared to the number of mature buck encounters I've had. With that said, the last week or so of hunting has been pretty decent, with it producing multiple mature buck encounters, and I finally got a shot at one. 

Minutes From Success | WhitetailDNA Journal

Minutes From Success | WhitetailDNA Journal

A lot has happened in the whitetail woods since checking in with the last journal post. If you've been following along with us here at WhitetailDNA, you've probably noticed a lack of content in the last week or so. Most of that is attributed to spending day after day in a tree, and if I'm not in a tree, I'm in school for bits and pieces of the day. For about the last week, there has been a serious uptick in deer movement, and I was literally minutes away from having a chance to put down what would have probably been my biggest buck to date. 

Waiting For Things To Crank Up | WhitetailDNA Journal

Waiting For Things To Crank Up | WhitetailDNA Journal

Can you feel it? Do you get those goosebumps on your arm looking at the calendar yet? I know I sure do, because THE RUT is right around the corner. You can almost see it, it's so close. This last week has been utterly slow for me, but I have a hunch (hopefully) that it won't be long until the woods heats up with deer activity.