By Alex Comstock
Another year is in the books! Today, I wanted to go over my 2018 season and what I’m looking forward to in 2019. This past year has undoubtedly been my best hunting season of my life for more reasons than one. I know one thing, it’s sure going to be hard to top 2018, but that’s my plan for the upcoming year!
First Velvet Buck - The 2018 season got off to a hot start as I was able to arrow my first ever velvet buck in North Dakota. My first day in the stand was August 31st and looking back now, it’s cliché to say, but it literally feels like just yesterday I was climbing into a stand for the first time. The weekend was actually pretty miserable for me as I became particularly ill during the trip, but on the last day of the hunt, I was able to rebound and have everything come together. It will go down as one of my favorite hunts, not because of the age or size of the deer, but because what showed was that if you persevere through the trials that can pop up out of nowhere when hunting, success can still be found and I was able to somehow still make it happen.
October Hunting - October rolled in and within the first week of the month, I was able to send an arrow through two deer. The first week, I stocked up on meat after shooting a doe. This doe hunt was actually one of my favorite doe hunts of my life as once I decided I was going to shoot this doe, it took her nearly thirty minutes to close the distance from 20 yards to 5 yards and the whole time I couldn’t get a shot because she was directly behind me. Eventually, she got to a spot where I could shoot at 8 yards and I made it count.
After shooting the doe, my next hunt was on October 11, and once again, things fell into place perfectly. October 11th was following a cold front here in my home state of Minnesota, and I had a small piece of private land that I was hunting a couple different mature bucks on. I figured if there was ever a time in October to make it happen, this would be the day and I was right. Fifteen minutes before legal light ended, one of the mature bucks I was after followed the script perfectly, walking to twenty yards and presenting me a shot. I couldn’t believe it came together so quick, and before I knew it, I had shot three deer by the second week of October, including two great bucks.
November Hunting - November provided me with some great memories, but no bucks hit the dirt. I spent the first week of November in Nebraska bowhunting with my cousin and had a couple close calls. I passed one decent buck that I’m still not sure or not if it that was the right call and came to full draw on a mature buck and had he taken two more steps, I would have sent an arrow. It was a fun week of hunting, and though I wasn’t able to make it happen, I had a fantastic time spent in the timber.
After a week of rut hunting, I then drove down to Southern Wisconsin to film in Buffalo County, WI. It was my first time in the famed Buffalo County, but hunting was rather slow. The guys I was filming didn’t see much, but yet again, time spent with friends and many like minded people was a success in itself. After the second week of November, I didn’t spend anymore time in the timber. It was actually a rather odd November for me, as I only hunted one week. Most years, I will hunt as many days as I can during the month, but given that I had tagged out close to home, I wasn’t able to this year.
December - This past month has been pretty quiet for me. I picked up a Wisconsin tag since I only live about fifteen minutes from the state and have only hunted a few times. I’ve run multiple trail cameras, and from camera intel, I had only located one buck I’d shoot, but he’s already shed his antlers. Other than that, I haven’t really done a whole ton. I’ve checked cameras more than anything. Once again, this isn’t necessarily normal to me, as I’m a huge late season fan, but I’ve had limited options. No complaints here, as my lack of options are a direct result of having filled tags!
Looking Ahead to 2019
Even though I can technically hunt in Wisconsin until January 31st given that I’m hunting a metro sub-unit, my mind is already wheeling with next season in mind. My plans next year will be pretty similar to this past one, with a few different wrinkles. Minnesota and North Dakota will still be my primary two states that I hunt. I’ve got numerous good spots within a half hour of my house in Minnesota, and I have spots in North Dakota that consistently produce. What may change is how I spend my time this year. I’ve had thoughts about trying a different state in early September, and taking my rut vacation in North Dakota. I also think I’ll be buying a Wisconsin tag right off the bat, and focusing on it a little more heavily next year.
As I sit here and reflect on this past year and look ahead to the next one, I can’t help but be grateful for everything that I’m able to do, and everything that was able to fall in place this last year. Deer hunting to me is about the story, the stories you can tell, and way less about what you killed or a score of a buck. If I can come out of a year with multiple stories and memories that will last with me forever, then I consider that a win. And this last year provided many of those. And because of that, 2018 was through the roof successful. Here’s to hoping 2019 will be more of the same.