Friday Success Story: Will Dirks' 45 Minute North Dakota Whitetail Hunt

In today's success story, we include a recent successful hunt from my good friend Will Dirks. Will is a hardcore bowhunter from Southern Iowa, and goes to college at the University of North Dakota. This year, he had quite the hunt opening week of archery season, and was able to put down a big buck on his first ever sit in North Dakota! Hunts like this don't happen everyday, but who doesn't like a little luck on their side? Enjoy! -Alex Comstock

By Will Dirks

Growing up an avid bowhunter in Southeastern Iowa, I came to the University of North Dakota for college and figured I was leaving my passion of chasing whitetails behind for a few years. My first few years of school were extremely busy and resulted in only a few days of bowhunting back home in Iowa. Fortunately, I was still able to have amazing encounters with large whitetails over these few hunting days, but this only reminded me of how bad I wanted to spend more time in a tree. Every year I told myself, “next year I’ll actually have time to bowhunt, and I’ll even try and hunt in North Dakota,” and every year was the same. There was no time for me to scout with my brutal schedule, and I surely didn’t have time to hunt hard. This past summer, I figured I would find a day or two to go out no matter what. September crept up quite quickly, and a few days after the season opened, I finally found time where I could get out and hunt for a day. 

Some of my buddies I met here in North Dakota are as hardcore as it gets, and had been scouting and running trail cameras all summer long. The one day I was able to get out, they invited me to come hunt with them, and had a spot picked out where I should sit. A nice 10 pointer was showing up on a fairly regular basis, moving from a series of sloughs to a bean field where he would feed. Being told to find a spot to sit along the edge of the bean field on the ground, I did just that. I located a group of tall weeds right along the soybean field and tried to make a blind with mother nature’s resources using the weeds.

The mosquitoes early in September here are just terrible, no amount of bug spray would slow down the strength of the bugs. After roughly 30 minutes of concentrating on my bug defense, I thought I heard something straight out in front of me in the tall grass. Not five minutes later, I could see a pretty nice rack pop out of nowhere in the direction I had heard the noise from. The buck was definitely bedded down right in front of me, and there is no way he didn’t hear me trying to get situated in my spot. My guess is that he was holding tight until he felt safe, and with me moving around getting setup, and combating mosquitoes, he knew something was up and got up to get out of there. As he stood there, looking around and using his nose, he began to wind me. I had my bow up and ready, but I hadn’t drawn back yet as he was looking right at me. With the large weeds, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to get a clear shot. I knew the buck would soon run off, but he wasn’t completely sure about the threat; as a result, I figured he would do the typical trot and stop we’ve all seen deer do before. Sure enough, he did just as expected. As he was at a medium trot, I pulled my bow back and he stopped seconds after. I guessed him at forty yards, put my pin right on his heart and let it fly. It all happened so quickly and efficiently. I hit him right through the heart and he ran only about 40 yards before collapsing. In my first time hunting whitetails in North Dakota, I had a 145 inch buck down and gutted within 45 minutes!

The author with his friends that were able to take him hunting. 

The author with his friends that were able to take him hunting.