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.
After Drew had an encounter with the giant during opening weekend, we started trying to figure out if there was a better and more efficient way to hunt this property. He brought up a pond he had walked by while we were shed hunting two years, and asked me where it was. Me, not spending much time here, didn't even know about the pond. So what I did was look back at drone footage I had taken earlier in the summer after looking at aerial images. I saw that there was a pond that had water in it, right on the edge of the bean field. What made it even better was the fact that there was a saddle in this big bean field that fed directly into the pond, and the few times that I had hunted it, I noticed a lot of deer cross in that saddle, and now it made even more sense. Deer were using the saddle to cross the field to the pond to get a drink.
On Saturday, we headed back to this property to check out the pond, not really knowing what to expect. To our excitement, the pond was loaded with deer tracks, and there was a massive trail leading into it. This obviously pumped us up, and given the fact there were no trees to hang a stand in, we made a natural ground blind. It was an ideal setup, with us facing east so the sun would be in the deer's eyes if they were looking our way, and we had ample cover. After making the ground blind, we got out of there, and headed home to get our stuff to get ready to hunt.
5:00PM: Drew and I got set up in the natural blind, and anticipation was surging. There was this feeling in the air that it might just happen.
7:45PM: After watching two small bucks work past us around 6:30, there hadn't been any movement. We were both starting to wonder if maybe the excitement and anticipation was simply just false optimism. But there it was. A flash of antler. It was just another small buck, but then there was another flash. This time I got excited, except this was an up and comer. The two bucks came straight into the pond with a doe to get a drink, and then headed off. They did exactly what we wanted them to, it just wasn't the right deer.
8:00PM: As I was scanning the bean field to the North, I caught movement. All I could see was a back, and then suddenly there it was. Tines, long tines. My heart skipped a beat and I whispered to Drew, "Big buck!". The wide, clean ten pointer was a few hundred yards out, but he was working his way right towards us. Over the course of the next few minutes, he fed his way getting closer and closer to our position overlooking the pond.
After roughly ten minutes went by, with him about a hundred yards away, he snapped his head up. He stared at something in a direction we couldn't see for what seemed like eternity, and then he turned, and started back towards where he came from. My heart dropped, as I was convinced he was heading towards the pond to get a drink before getting spooked. Whatever spooked him didn't scare him out of the county, but it was enough to send him out of any chance of us getting a crack at him.
This was by far my best night of hunting so far this season. In total, we saw fourteen bucks between Friday and Saturday evening. I plan to hunt the pond again soon (I did last night, not much movement), but also keep my other spots in mind. This bean field has now been sat a total of four times this season, with shooters being spotted two of those times. Hopefully it is just a matter of time before one makes a mistake.