ND muley tags X2

dirtytough

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Feb 25, 2012
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So I was going to start this thread early this morning. But my fingers were pretty much ice cubes haha. Anyway the wife and I both have tags for the same unit this year. The plan was to find her a nice mature buck first because she has less time off, then I would concentrate on myself. I did some scouting yesterday but it was tough to glass with the blowing snow. I did see one mature 3x3 and a few 4 points that could use another year or 2. Nothing I was really excited for her to go after opening day though. North Dakota is kinda screwy because the season doesn't open until noon on opening day.

I hiked in early to a spot I usually see a lot of deer. Katrina had to drop the boy off at school then she was going to meet me. It was -9 degrees when I left the truck. Saw a couple does hiking to my glassing spot. Zero bucks with them. Got to my spot where I usually see 40+ deer and there was only a couple. I glassed the valley that the deer usually bed in and only saw a dozen does and little bucks. I decided to hike out and check another spot before I met up with Katrina to try to find one for her. I usually hike in and out of this area in a roundabout way so I don't spook any deer in the main valley. Instead I cross the very bottom of it, climb the ridge and walk up a tiny valley that parallels the main valley. Then I get up on top and glass.

Instead on the hike out I was lazy and figured the direct route to the truck was the right move. I was side hilling off the ridge and almost to the valley floor when I came over the little finger I was on and spotted a good looking buck with a few does about 100 yards away. Threw up the binos and sure enough it was a buck worth killing. Of course it was only 0700. The buck took off over the little ridge it was on and I hiked/ran as fast as I could to get a good look at where it was going to go over the main ridge at. I saw it go over the main ridge about 500 yards away. During all this I started blowing out does and small bucks that followed him over. I hiked up as fast as possible. When I got to the top I saw a lot of the does and small bucks cross the valley and start up the other side. I figured the buck was in front of them since he was the first deer over.

Gotta take a break to head to the taxidermist.
 
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dirtytough

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I sat and glassed up multiple deer for about half an hour and couldn't turn him up. I was just about to go look at his tracks and see which direction he went when I spotted a buck about a mile away. I just knew it was him so I got the spotter out. Of course it wasn't haha. It was a decent buck just not quite as big as the one I spooked. I got the spotter put away and quickly glassed the far ridge again before leaving when I spotted him. He had just came out of some trees about halfway up from the valley floor.
Here is a pic a minute or two later. Sorry for the quality it was handheld through the BTX


He worked his way up the draw into some thicker trees. Finally came out and bedded on the point of the ridge. I got cold sitting there looking for him since I didn't really move for a half hour or so. I would hike down the ridge I was on then hike back up and peek over the top to make sure he was there, trying to warm back up.

This continued until about 0915 when Katrina parked and started heading my way. I told her to park and walk down the road 100 yards or so then follow the trail down to the valley bottom. There were 2 bucks feeding about 50 yards from where she would pop out on the trail so I kept watching them to see when she was on it. After about 5 minutes I know something isn't right. I start glassing across the far ridge face and see her trying to navigate through some clay cliffs. She hurt her knee last winter and after surgery she hasn't been 100%. So I took one last look at the buck to make sure it was still bedded and ran down the ridge and across the valley. I helped her navigate through the cliffs, grabbed her pack and ran back. I figured for sure the buck would get up and feed over the ridge or a coyote would spook it before I got back just cause I wasn't there to check on it.

When I got back to the top I peaked over and it was still bedded. Katrina made it up to the top about 1000. We talked over shot placement etc and kept peaking over the top to keep tabs on him waiting for the season to open. About 5 minutes before the season opened I got the gun setup on the Javelin bipod and rear rest. Crawled back down and grabbed my spotter. He was looking in our direction so I didn't want to risk getting setup with Katrina on the ridge and spooking him before the season opened.
 
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dirtytough

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She got behind the gun and just could not get comfortable. I setup the gun with the rugged ridge rear support and it wasn't working. With her fiddling around I felt like the buck was watching us. I threw a rear bag under but it wasn't high enough. Only thing I had handy were my binos and hers to help extend it up. So we stacked binos then put the squeeze bag on top and she was finally good. She was just getting settled in when something spooked the buck from below and he jumped up and walked at a fast pace to the left for 15 yards. He stopped behind a tree and did a 180 so he was facing the direction he just came from. He stood there about 10 minutes and finally started walking out. I told here to shoot as soon as he stopped since he was pretty close to broadside.

She went to shoot and the safety was still on. She switches it off and a few seconds later I hear the shot and see what looks like a good hit right behind the shoulder. The buck runs 15 yards into the thick draw and disappears. We watched for a few minutes then hiked over to where he was when she shot.
Here is a pic from where she shot. The buck was right at the top patch of white that the gun is pointed at. It ran to the right into the draw.


I could't find a speck of blood in the snow and started reviewing the shot over and over in my mind thinking maybe I misread what I saw. After thinking about it a few times I was pretty confident the bullet hit where I thought I saw it hit. I walked almost to the top of the ridge and hiked straight down about 20 yards from where the buck was standing when she shot. Still no blood. There was about 2" of vegetation and half inch of snow. So I followed what I thought looked like 4 spots without snow from a deer bounding. Followed that about 20 yards and still no blood.

I decided I would hike to the top of the ridge, walk through the brush patch that was right above the buck when she shot, then walk the ridge around the draw looking for blood or deer. If no luck there I was going to walk the draw down and look for blood or deer. We had almost gotten to the brush patch above where she shot when I saw the buck on its side just on the other side of the draw.

We made it over there and it was already dead. She made a good shot so I'm not sure why there wasn't any blood for the first 20+ yards that I could find?
Entrance and exit.

 
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dirtytough

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Here are a few pics of the buck.




I was pretty happy she made the shot and got this buck. It's pretty symmetrical and just a good looking buck overall imo.


Now I have 16 days to find one for myself. I will try to do a more live style thread since there is decent service where I'm hunting. Tomorrow is supposed to have 20-30 MPH winds. Not sure the exact plan but I'm headed out with Nodakian in the morning. He has a doe tag to fill also. I have a feeling the deer will be holding tight in the ravines and draws to stay out of the wind so we might have to walk lots of edges if we aren't having any luck behind the glass.
 
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dirtytough

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So far this morning we’ve seen 20+ elk. 5 bulls but nothing big. A couple small bucks and a dozen does. Walking edges and glassing. Wind is picking up pretty good so we will have to hike edges probably to find deer now.
 

archer109

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Dec 22, 2013
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Loving the updates. From Watford City but didn’t get drawn in 3B1 where hunt. So headed to Kansas for a bowhunt

Good luck!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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dirtytough

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Loving the updates. From Watford City but didn’t get drawn in 3B1 where hunt. So headed to Kansas for a bowhunt

Good luck!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thanks. Good luck to you in Kansas!

Today was pretty slow. Ended up seeing 30-40 does but only small bucks. Like 1.5 year olds. Debating on where to go tomorrow. Weather is supposed to be colder with 15-25 mph winds. So not great but at least I'm hunting.
 
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dirtytough

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Just had a shot at a nice buck. Everything looked good and I saw him do a little leg kick. He trotted into a draw then trotted out the top. Going to go check for blood and follow tracks.
 

mtnwrunner

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Just had a shot at a nice buck. Everything looked good and I saw him do a little leg kick. He trotted into a draw then trotted out the top. Going to go check for blood and follow tracks.

Hopefully you you will find him lying there.! Break out the havalon..........

Randy
 

nodakian

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Dickinson, ND
So far this morning we’ve seen 20+ elk. 5 bulls but nothing big. A couple small bucks and a dozen does. Walking edges and glassing. Wind is picking up pretty good so we will have to hike edges probably to find deer now.
I wondered what he was doing on his phone when we got back in the truck--turns out he was typing this. How's that for perceptive?
 
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dirtytough

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Walked the bucks tracks for 400-500 yards and didn't find any blood. I followed the tracks to the edge of the next big draw and started glassing while working my way up the edge of the draw. Spotted lots of deer but couldn't find the buck. I ended up blowing it out of a draw about 1.5 miles from where I shot. It was bedded down in some thick stuff 40 yards from a two track I was walking up. Its a really narrow, heavy, tall buck. Kind of ugly actually its so narrow but it has the mass I'm looking for.

Might give him a break and hunt another area tomorrow. I saw 100-120 deer today. Not much of a rut going on. I saw 18 does before I saw a buck this morning. I saw 4 bucks on a hillside with 0 does. Also saw a whitetail buck in the middle of a field by itself tonight. I think Nodakian and I are headed out in the morning.

Katrina gave me some shooting pointers so I should be good now :)
 

Ryan Avery

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Walked the bucks tracks for 400-500 yards and didn't find any blood. I followed the tracks to the edge of the next big draw and started glassing while working my way up the edge of the draw. Spotted lots of deer but couldn't find the buck. I ended up blowing it out of a draw about 1.5 miles from where I shot. It was bedded down in some thick stuff 40 yards from a two track I was walking up. Its a really narrow, heavy, tall buck. Kind of ugly actually its so narrow but it has the mass I'm looking for.

Might give him a break and hunt another area tomorrow. I saw 100-120 deer today. Not much of a rut going on. I saw 18 does before I saw a buck this morning. I saw 4 bucks on a hillside with 0 does. Also saw a whitetail buck in the middle of a field by itself tonight. I think Nodakian and I are headed out in the morning.

Katrina gave me some shooting pointers so I should be good now :)
Tanya loves to give me pointers too:)

Keep at it.


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dirtytough

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Had a good day today. Saw a couple of mature bucks with one shooter. It looked like Katrina's but had an extra G4 on the left and a kicker off its right G2. It dropped into a thick cedar filled draw before I could get a shot. Never saw it come out and couldn't see the ends really. So I gave up on that one. This is the type of terrain we were hunting this morning.


We kept working our way along and started seeing more and more deer including bucks. Finally found another decent buck. This buck had decent front forks but weak backs. He also had 4"-5" eye guards. Eye guards were bladed and burly. I kept trying to grow better backs on him but it didn't happen lol. Here's a pic of that buck.


Didn't see any other good bucks the rest of the day. Saw lots of does and a decent amount of bucks overall. Back at it in the AM
 
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dirtytough

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Hiked into the same area as yesterday. Had a friend with a buck tag also that went with me. First thing this morning we saw a bunch of elk. I didn't sit there and count but I would guess 15-20 head with a couple bulls. I also saw a couple more elk mid morning. 1 more bull and a cow. We ended up seeing a lot of bucks. One really good one that stood straight on at 600 yards for 10-15 minutes before heading into a thick cedar filled draw. I could see the bottom and top of the draw and never saw him come out. He was a 5x6 with really good fronts, decent backs, and a kicker off his G3. Never saw either of the bigger bucks we saw yesterday and we saw a lot of bucks today that we didn't see yesterday.

So far its been a fun hunt. The area I hiked into the last two days I've never hunted before yesterday. Its a lot thicker then the stuff I usually hunt. But there are a lot of deer in there. Going to give the area a break tomorrow. I have to drop the kid off at school in the morning so I will be a little late getting out in the morning.
 
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dirtytough

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Here is some of the gear I've been using. Kifaru hunter frame with mountain rambler bag, guide lid, and I added a gun bearer because it was a pain trying to get the rifle in the pack with Katrina's entire deer and the rest of my stuff. For optics I'm using 10x32 el's and the BTX with 95mm objective. I have the ATX in my pack but haven't used it once on this hunt. For clothing I'm using the Skre hardscrabble pants and coat. They really seem to block the wind. Which is nice since its usually breezy out here. Rifle is a Tikka chambered in 7ss. 180 ELD'm going about 3k fps. I put it in a Boyd's At One so Katrina and my boy Kohl could shoot it also. Not a big fan of the stock besides how easy it is to adjust. Topped it with a Swaro X5.
 
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