We knew where Seagrams was bedding in a cattail marsh and had his movement nailed down to two entry points on a bean field. Chad and I hunted a set we hung in a willow tree on the end of a wind row where we'd caught Seagrams on one of our Reconyx cameras and Brennen and Josh set up on the ground, within bow-range of a hole in the fence row about 400 yards away from us and where we'd seen the buck enter the beans on two occasions.
The night started off with a lot of action--deer were moving earlier than we'd previously seen on the trip and we'd already seen more deer than on any sit, by 7pm. With a good hour and a half of camera light left, we'd had small bucks within bow-range at both locations. Our optimism was high.
Then someone turned off the lights. The deer literally disappeared with at least 45 minutes of camera light left.
I honestly thought the night was over when Chad whispered to me that he could see Seagrams and that the buck was headed right for Brennen and Josh at a dead run. A truck had stopped on the road beyond the cattail marsh and had apparently spooked Seagrams enough to get him to move before dark.
Chad called Josh to tell them to be ready. Chad and I watched through our binoculars as Seagrams closed the distance on their location. All of a sudden, the buck locked up. He was less than 20 yards from Brennen but with brush between them, all he could do was wait for Seagrams' next move. Then the buck broke and took off. He jumped the fence but for some reason hit the brakes in the beans and came to a stop again. I was losing my mind watching this through binoculars when I saw a red Nocturnal zip toward the buck. If the suspense weren't already enough, I lost sight of the buck and the arrow and was then forced to wait until Chad whispered that the buck stopped in the beans and it looked like a miss. Talk about a roller coaster.
The buck turned out to be 10 yards farther than what Brennen had anticipated, using a power pole he'd previously ranged at thirty yards as a reference. Unfortunately, had the buck taken a few more steps before he stopped the first time, Brennen would have had a chip shot. But that's hunting and further illustrates the added difficulty in hunting these bucks in open ground. Still, an exciting way to end another great trip to North Dakota.
Stay tuned to Way Out Here Outdoors as the action is only going to pick up. Brennen and Mike are up in Northern Wisconsin through the weekend chasing a giant bruin; we'll be getting out in the goose blind this weekend; and of course, Rachel and her 161 3/8" North Dakota velvet buck will take center stage on Sunday's Fall 2012 Webisode Premier! It's going to be a great fall!