To no surprise, North Dakota would be Mike’s first stop of the 2021 whitetail season. With 4 days to hunt, and a couple good weather days in the forecast, hopes were high. The first 2 evenings were extremely slow as far as deer movement goes. On the 3rd evening, a shooter was spotted 500 yards away working from a marsh into a standing cornfield. The guys would get out of the stand cleanly at dark only to have the cell camera let them know that the shooter walked past 10 minutes after they left. This gave Mike the confidence to return to the stand on day 4 with hopes of the buck moving just a little bit earlier. Just when they thought the night was over, they caught a glimpse of a good buck coming up the edge of the bean field. The buck worked perfectly into Mike’s shooting lane and never made it out of the bean field!
After doubling up on their first trip to North Dakota last year, Brandon (Rand) and Dylan (Goolash) were pumped to kick off their whitetail season on the northern plains once again. This year, Rand would be up to bat first. With a handful of shooters on the trail cameras, the boys would find themselves jumping around from area to area, playing the wind in their favor, and hoping to connect. With stagnant weather, the activity was slow. It would be on Day 7 of their trip when the stars would align. Overlooking a bean field and a large marsh, the boys laid eyes on the buck they were after as he was heading their direction at a good pace. The plan worked perfectly, and Rand made the shot count!
When a shooter showed up on trail camera in the daylight a day before season opened, Dylan focused his efforts on that area for the first 3 evenings. Day 1 would be uneventful, but the guys got eyes on the big buck from a long ways off on evening number 2. Night 3 would come and go without another sighting so they decided to change plans and head to a new area for Day 4. The evening started off slow and it wouldn’t be until the last half hour when deer began to move. With time ticking, a buck we called “Splits” wrapped the alfalfa field and made his move in front of the blind giving Dylan the shot he was hoping for!
2020 was the first year that Dan had ever made it up to North Dakota to chase whitetails. After a successful trip last year, he was excited to get back this year and try for a repeat. An August scouting trip to check out new areas and hang some cameras had Dan feeling optimistic about getting an opportunity at a good back when season opened. On the first night of the hunt, Dan spotted this buck over 1,000 yards away feeding into a bean field. On day 2, it was time to get aggressive and push in closer to the buck. As luck would have it, the buck made the fatal mistake of walking out in daylight once again!
Starting the 2021 fall season off by chasing black bears in Minnesota this year. After a few years of applying, Mike drew the tag and was excited to get back to the swamps of northern Minnesota to chase black bears with the bow. In the state of Minnesota, you are allowed to have 3 bait sites per tag holder. In the middle of August Mike and Brennen headed north to get the baits started. By the time season rolled around, 2 out of the 3 baits were getting hit by bears. The guys decided to sit the bait where the largest bear had been on camera for the first 2 evenings of the hunt. The bear was a “no-show” those first 2 evenings but continued to hit the bait after dark. With the other bait showing daylight activity, the guys decided to switch it up for the 3rd night of the hunt. The switch paid off when a nice black bear came into the bait as daylight was fading on day 3!
By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)
3D Archery, and raising money for our Veterans…is there a better way to spend a Saturday in late August? I think not. What a great 1st day for Mission 15 of HHA USA as they set up shop at Blackhawk Archers in Custer, WI for the weekend.
Blackhawk Archers is home of the UWSP Archery Team and with a brand new 28-target 3D course, it is quickly becoming the premier archery club in central Wisconsin. The course winds through the forest, offering up a wide variety of foam animals to shoot at. The rolling hills make for some challenging shots, even for the seasoned archers.
With great concessions, the novelty long shot, and the largest silent auction of the year, you need to go check this place out for yourself tomorrow! The rain held off for today, and tomorrow is looking even better. Mid 70s and clear skies are sure to make for a great day of archery!
Blackhawk Archers – 7840 County Road Z – Custer, WI
By: Brennen Nading (nadingbr)
The HHA USA tour rolls on this weekend in Waushara County, just outside of Wautoma, Wisconsin. A scenic backroad drive leads you to a 40 acre gem of a 3D course at Waushara Archers. If you’ve never visited, you are missing out!
Nestled into the the rolling hills of Wautoma, the newly remodeled clubhouse will be your first stop before heading into the forest to shoot their 28 target 3D course that will challenge even the most experienced archers.
As you wind through the course, you will find yourself shooting a wide variety of foam animals ranging from whitetail deer to dinosaurs and everything in between. Each target is staked off at several locations making it fun for a beginning archer just the same as a seasoned pro. There are even elevated platforms to shoot from on several of the targets, adding even more realism to the experience.
After you’ve completed all 28 targets, the course will lead you straight back to the clubhouse where hot food and cold drinks are at the ready. Don’t forget to make a pit stop at the signature “long shot” target and test your skills on the 80 yard moose.
Also on site is a loaded silent auction with a pile of great gear, all proceeds going towards the Old Glory Honor Flight which to date, has flown nearly 50 missions and over 4000 Veterans to see the memorials built in their honor. Another highlight of the day was watching HHA USA president, Chris Hamm present the HHAUSA Straight N’ Arrow Award to Mike Schliepp of Waushara Archers.
Day 1 is in the books, but you still have tomorrow to make the trip! The shoot will resume on Sunday (August 8th) from 8am-3 pm. I encourage you to throw your bow in the case, and head out to Waushara Archers for a fun day of archery all while raising money for our Veterans!
Waushara Archers – W7050 Blackhawk Court – Wautoma, WI
Dylan has been all over the map this fall, almost exclusively behind the camera. With a North Dakota tag in his pocket, he was excited to grab the bow and try to knock one down before the season closed. Him and Ryan headed north the morning after Christmas and planned to hunt until New Years. The weather still wasn’t great, but the forecast called for some fresh snow right at the end of the year. After a few slow sits, it was coming “down to the wire” for Dylan before he needed to head home. On the last evening of the trip, they headed into a brand new spot that none of us have ever hunted before. Recent intel showed several good bucks on the camera, but very inconsistent on their movements. With it being the last night, it was time to roll the dice and hope to get lucky. With an hour of light remaining, one of the good bucks popped out of the marsh 150 yards away. He read the script perfectly as he worked into bow range. Dylan made an excellent shot and the buck expired just out of sight. What a way to end the year in North Dakota!
Mike has also been sitting on a North Dakota tag, with hopes of filling it in the late season. Well above average temperatures were not helping the deer movement. The first 4 nights of the trip were unsuccessful. Several shooters were showing up on the cameras but almost exclusively after shooting light had faded. On day 5, the cell cameras showed a couple of good bucks feeding well into the morning hours at a spot that we call “The Slip”. This gave Mike the confidence that they were bedded close by would return that evening. Him and Brennen slipped into the blind a few hours before dark and waited. Right at last light a doe approached from behind them and passed in front of the blind at a mere 8 steps. Close behind was a solid 9 pointer. He walked past the blind on the same 8 yard trail. He stopped at 18 yards and Mike made it count!
Ryan and Dylan have made it an annual tradition to spend the 8-9 days leading up to Christmas, in North Dakota chasing late season whitetails. On a normal year, they are greeted with snow covered ground and subzero temperatures. This year would be different. Bare ground and temperatures reaching highs in the 30s and overnight lows staying well above 0. This might sound chilly to most, but for the deer in the northern plains, this is “t-shirt” weather. The boys stuck to the game plan, played the wind, and hunted the spots where good bucks were flirting with daylight on the trail cameras. The first several days yielded next to no deer sightings. Recent intel on the cell cams led them to sit a spot where an old buck they dubbed “Sid” was moving fairly close to daylight. The sun set, and “Sid” popped out of the cattails a couple hundred yards away. The old buck took his time and circled downwind of the setup before finally committing. He gave Ryan the 20 yard opportunity he was hoping for, and they watched him crash in the grass 125 yards later.