By Alex Comstock
Opening weekend has come and gone with no buck on the ground. How did the first couple days of my 2016 season go? To say the least, not as planned. Not as I planned one bit. Actually things couldn't have gone much worse when it came to my plans on hunting spots to go after a few different mature bucks I was targeting. But, with my plans not going smoothly, I did a little hunting on the fly, and still had a productive first couple days...
Competition On First Night: I hunt a lot of public land. I have been in and around these public properties all summer long, running trail cameras and scouting from a distance. All summer, I have been the only person on these public lands, not seeing anybody else. So naturally when season opened on Friday and I headed into one of the only spots I can hunt with a SW wind, I had a truck parked not 60 yards from my blind. What's worse? The spot is a walk in access only area, and after walking over the half mile to my blind I decided to just stick it out in the blind, and hope that the deer wouldn't be spooked from the truck. The gamble didn't pay off as I saw zero deer.
At the same time, I received a text and my buddy Tyler whom I hunt with here in ND was having the same issue. Except his was more alarming. He was going into an area where we have pictures of a giant 180" buck on private land. You would think that going into a private spot, where we know we are the only ones with permission to hunt, you wouldn't have to worry about other hunters. Tyler decided to scrap the spot and go set up a blind in a completely different area on the fly. We have talked to the landowner about the trespasser, and hopefully will get that resolved sooner than later.
Day 2: Day 2 of season wasn't quite as stressful as opening day. I went into an area I was confident I'd see deer, and was hoping that a certain shooter buck would show himself before darkness fell. I ended up seeing 20-25 deer, with a few small bucks in the mix, but the big shooter didn't show himself. Tyler did lay eyes on one of our shooters moving in daylight, which is encouraging, and I have confirmed this buck is killable.
Weather Front: Sunday a major storm system rolled in, and was so nasty we couldn't hunt that day. Going into Monday, it was suppose to clear up, drop 20 degrees, and the wind was switching from SW to NE. You could say that we had high expectations for Monday's sit.
Tyler went back to our private land where he tried to hunt the first night and ended up seeing just a couple small bucks. I went into one of my favorite spots I call "the hole" in hopes of catching up with one of my shooters that I know of in that area. What I failed to think of was the fact I have to cross a creek to get to my stand, and I never even thought of the fact it may be too high to cross. It's usually just about shin deep, but after the rain storm the creek was almost chest deep. I walked all up and down trying to get across, but it wasn't going to happen. Frustrated, I backed out and went to where I sat and saw all of the deer on Saturday. Once again, I saw a lot of deer, a few small bucks, but the ones I were after never showed.
After three days of hunting, I'm not where I wanted to be. I'm going to keep after it though, and hopefully in the next week or so, I can put an arrow through one of the bucks I've been watching this summer!