2018 Journal #2: Hill Country Challenge

By Alex Comstock 

Have you ever gone into a season knowing that you'd be presented with a unique challenge that you've never faced before? Well that's exactly what I think I'll be getting myself into this coming season in Minnesota. Here's what I mean. 

Lately, I've been trying to figure out where I'm going to hunt this coming year in Minnesota. I've talked about it quite a bit, but during the season last year, I moved back to Minnesota after spending three years in North Dakota. I have to adjust how I hunt, being that I'll still be traveling back to North Dakota to hunt fairly regularly. With that being said, I've located (with the help of a friend) a giant piece of public land that has regularly held multiple mature bucks. My friend has hunted the spot the last couple of years, but hasn't been able to spend much time in there. But from trail cameras, and a couple hunts, he's had encounters with and gotten pictures of multiple mature bucks. 

-Have you ever hunted public land? READ: 3 Reasons You Should Try Hunting Public Land This Season

The Challenge: What's going to make this certain piece of public land so challenging is that it's a very unique terrain type for this area. This would remind a person of bluff country. With steep ridges, deep ravines, and a river running through it, its got a lot of aspects that will make hunting it fun, but also challenging. I've never had experience with hunting terrain like this, and there will be a lot for me to learn to try and tag a buck on it this fall. 

 My friend Garrett leading me through the vast public land. -Want to learn more about hunting public land?  READ: 3 Proven Strategies For Success Hunting Mature Bucks on Public Land

My friend Garrett leading me through the vast public land. -Want to learn more about hunting public land? READ: 3 Proven Strategies For Success Hunting Mature Bucks on Public Land

What I Need to Learn: When it comes to terrain like this, there's a few things I know, and a lot of things I don't know. Assuming I end up hunting this piece of public, I'll be going with the "run and gun" method, and focusing on buck bedding areas. The goal will be to identify food sources and bedding, and then hunt as close to buck beds as possible. When it comes to identifying the food, I've already located an Oak flat that should serve as a good food source if it's dropping acorns. 

When it comes to buck bedding, this is where I'm not as versed in terrain like this. What I do know is that hill country bucks will use the terrain to their advantage. Often times bedding at the points of ridges, in spots where they can see a long ways, and have the wind coming over their back to smell behind them. It sounds good on paper, but it's going to put me to the test to actually figure this area out, and hunt it effectively this fall. Between many upcoming walks this spring, and a lot of time studying topo maps, I hope I will be able to put the pieces together. 

Final Thoughts: The idea of hunting this area gets me really excited. I can't wait to log some miles on the boots figuring this land out, finding some buck beds, and hunting it this fall. I'll do a lot of bouncing around, probably will hardly ever hunt the same tree, and hopefully one way or another, I'll be able to take down a Minnesota buck for the first time since 2015.