With Ben punching a tag the night before, the guys paid close attention to the Moultrie Edge trail cameras throughout the night. As luck would have it, their top buck – “Stickers” passed by one of the cameras around 4:30am. With very strong winds that day, the boys felt good about getting in cleanly for the afternoon hunt. They slipped in early and with a couple hours of daylight left, the deer began to move. With about an hour to go, Bryce caught a glimpse of “Stickers” heading out of the corn field and into the river bottom. They assumed he was heading to the river to grab a drink and would return. They were right. Not long after, “Stickers” popped back out of the draw at 100 yards and Bryce hammered him with the muzzleloader.
After 5 days of scouting and deploying nearly 20 trail cameras, Ben and Bryce were a little discouraged with the lack of quality bucks that were showing up on camera in Kansas for their early muzzleloader hunt. On day one of the hunt, they came to the conclusion that they crossed paths with their top target buck on the way into the spot. Thinking they had boogered him, they came up with a game plan to hunt him in an area they assumed he moved to after having bumped him. After battling the 90 degree heat and swarms of bugs, a different buck that they recognized stepped out and began moving their direction. The flyer buck worked perfectly down the drainage and offered up a 40 yard shot and Ben let the smoke fly.
JP spent the majority of opening week hunting another big deer in a completely different area. In four sits, he laid eyes on the target buck three of those nights. Unfortunately, the deer would do something different every single night and never made it into bow range. With a wind switch and a cold front moving in, the call was made to switch spots and target different deer. A spot that we dubbed “Bingo” had three different shooters on camera that were flirting with daylight. With a big temperature drop, we were confident that we had a good chance that one of them would slip up and move just a little bit earlier. Does began moving early and sure enough one of the shooters, “Cha-Ching” began making his way across the marsh towards us. He followed a doe for a few hundred yards before going broadside at 18 yards.
Dan Schubring was looking forward to getting back to North Dakota to kick off his 2022 season. The state has been good to him the past 2 years, tagging good bucks each year. He was looking to make it a “hat trick”. Him and his buddies are in a completely different area than the rest of the crew that hunts up here. This year they would have 5 guys in camp for their opening week hunt. With the cool weather that opening weekend offered, his group was off to a hot start knocking down some good bucks. In fact, by Day 5 of the trip, Dan was the only guy left with a tag in his pocket. With a wind switch, he headed into a spot where a couple of good bucks were showing up on camera. With swirling winds and light fading, hope was slipping. Just when he thought the night was over, this buck made his way across the grassy flat and Dan smoked him at 43 yards. What a trip for the boys, 5 for 5 on good bucks!
After Hunter and Jim punched tags on the first two nights of the season, it was time for Mike to jump in the hot seat. The weather conditions were perfect to go into a “new to us” spot for night number three. A solid buck, one that we all agreed had to be at least 5.5 years old, was showing up fairly regularly on the trail cameras. With a stiff south wind, Mike headed in to sit “Cowboy Jack”. It didn’t take long before laying eyes on the buck as he stood up and fed into the nearby bean field well before dark. After watching him feed for awhile, he moved back into the cover and the guys lost sight of him. With light fading, they were beginning to think the night was over. Out of nowhere, the beautiful velvet 10 was spotted once again and much closer now. “Cowboy Jack” put on a show as he closed ground and Mike made the shot count. This is Mike’s best velvet buck to date.
Quick backstory on Jim Sievwright, he grew up in the same small town that Mike did. The two of them spent a lot of time together growing up in the same neighborhood. As the years progressed, life got busy and they were falling out of touch until recently. Hunting and filming has sparked the relationship once again and we are proud to have Jim on the crew this year. This would be Jim’s first time hunting out of state and to say that he was excited to come to Camp Dinkota would be a complete understatement. On Day 2 of the season, the deer movement was good and as luck would have it, Jim would get a crack at this beautiful buck. With light fading, the buck made his way across the soybean field and into bow range. Not a more deserving guy than Jimbo to wrap his tag around his best buck to date here in North Dakota!
Hunter Jacobs has been out to North Dakota a few times over the last couple of years but always with a camera in his hands. This year the roles would change and he was excited to have the bow in his hands. The weather was setting up to be perfect. After a long stretch of warm weather, a 20 degree drop of temperature set in for opening day. Camp Dinkota was in great spirits and confidence was high that we were in for an awesome few days of hunting with the ideal early season weather. Hunter headed into a spot that we dubbed “Train Station” for the first evening hunt. Deer movement started early as anticipated, and with plenty of shooting light remaining, the boys laid eyes on one of the bucks they were in there after. The heavy 8, still in perfect velvet, known as “Ferguson”, made his way towards the tree. Hunter put a good shot on him and they heard him crash just as they lost sight of him. This is Hunter’s first out-of-state buck, and also his first velvet buck!
After a successful trip to South Dakota with rifles in 2021, Bryce Millard and his brother-in-law Ben Ferg were excited to get back to South Dakota to kick off the 2022 season with archery tackle. This would be Bryce’s first attempt at hunting mule deer and he was ready to get after it. The first few days were slow, but that all changed on day 4. The boys located this buck and on their first stalk attempt they got to 10 yards but could not get off a clean shot. They decided to leave the buck for the day and were able to relocate him the next morning a quarter mile down the same ridge system. Stalk number two was underway and they got to 62 yards. Bryce came to full draw, and hit the deer further back then what he was hoping for. With a non lethal hit, they followed the buck until he was in a spot where Bryce could finish the job. 6 hours later, Bryce was able to sink another arrow into this awesome mule deer and put him down for good.
After closing out the North Dakota season, it was time to get back to Iowa and try and fill my muzzleloader tag before the season ended. With nothing sparking my interest on the trail cameras across my permission pieces, I decided to jump around on some public land in search of a worthy buck to wrap my tag around. On the second evening of the hunt, we drove a good distance to a piece of public that I was very familiar with from previous years of shed hunting. As luck would have it, there was standing beans in a secluded field a good distance from any roads. JP and I hiked, and set up on the ground along the edge of the bean field on the downwind side of where I figured most of the deer would enter the field. The afternoon was dead, until the last 30 minutes. And like a light switch, the field filled up with somewhere around 40 deer before a good buck walked out. I squeezed the trigger and we watched him fall in the field. Couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the season!
Mike had a new lease in Iowa this year and it set up nicely to have the farmer leave some standing corn for late season hunting. Prior to the late muzzleloader season, we popped up a Cage Tower blind over looking the standing corn. The set up was absolutely money. Now it was a matter of getting the right weather conditions for some good late season action. Just as we rang in the New Year, here came the snow and cold Mike had been hoping for. On his second night in the blind, the best buck on the farm made his way into the standing corn before Mike settled the crosshairs.