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Time to Slip out of the Deer Woods

by Jon Mitzel

It’s been another amazing deer season. There’s been some solid memories made for sure.

The way things went down while taking a ND Muzzleloader buck will be etched into my mind for years. While I was fortunate enough to fill that tag during opening day, before heavy snow hit, trying to fill a bow tag in the deep woods of the Missouri River bottoms provided the ultimate late season challenge.

During the first winter storm a large tree fell directly onto my CLAM Elite Hunter ground blind. If I had been inside I would have been injured. Or dead. The snow continued to bury the blind. We’ll have to wait and dig it out next spring.

Snow was deep and we had yet to have a compact trail to our hunting area. It’s roughly a 400-yard walk through the woods of the Missouri River bottoms. Classic deep woods whitetail deer habitat and hunting.

A couple days into the first snow storm we headed back into the woods to set another blind. This time we did it after 20-plus inches of snow on the ground. Snowshoes were a necessity.

I remember how long the entire process of getting into the woods took. First, layers and layers of scent free clothing would carefully be worn... about a 12-minute process. Then, a 25-minute drive to the deer woods. And finally, a 20-minute walk to the ground blind. Not easy.

North Dakota’s deer bow season closes on January 8 and there’s a few of us looking to fill tags with either a nice doe or good buck before then. We’ve been playing close attention to deer this fall and winter season and watched deer go through stages of the rut. It’s been difficult with the heavy snow, and cold conditions eventually weigh heavily on the deer herd.

Although we’ve had some highlights this season we’ve also had some negatives. Overall, it was an amazing season.