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Pre-Rut in MN

In a few days, the men and women in orange will hit the woods of MN in search of the elusive 30 point buck. The week before rifle opener can be full of surprises as young bucks begin to chase does and as an archery hunter, you keep your fingers crossed that the big one might slip up and give you the opportunity you've been practicing for all year.

Bucks are marking their spots and love is definitely in the air as I walk down the path, as I notice several scrapes along the way. As I continue to my stand, I take note of each scrap along the way; size, recent activity, etc One of the scrapes, closest to the stand I was planning on sitting, had the distinct aroma of deer pee. Yep, they've been using these, I thought to myself. Maybe tonight will be the night I'll get the chance to fill my archery tag.

As I climbed the ladder, I quietly snapped my safety harness, and settled in for the night. Within a few minutes I hear the faint crunch of leaves to my right. Knowing that the wind is blowing my scent that direction, I freeze not wanting to make any movement, my heart is racing. I want to pull up my binoculars and see what's coming, but don't dare. I continue to wait. Finally, out pops a little nubbin buck. My heart settles and I can breathe.

The nubbin munches on the beans and slowly makes his way towards me. He checks out the scrape closest to me, but seems more interested in eating than anything.

As the night continues, I spot two smaller deer, a young doe and a spike. A smaller buck peeks his head out and sniffs the air. He clomps through the field at a quick pace, on a mission, nose in the air, smelling the entire time. Yep, he's looking for a doe.

Things get quiet as the sun settles behind the ridge. I quickly check the time, I have less than 5 minutes left of shooting light. I decided to call it a night, so not to spook any deer that might be heading my direction.

Although I didn't see any deer that I wanted to release an arrow, I enjoyed sitting in the stand. Observing wildlife in their natural habitat. Watching the sun rise and set, in brilliant colors of yellow, oranges, and reds. Being outdoors, away from the hustle and bustle of life. Relaxing. It's my serenity. I've got a few days left before rifle season, so I'm hoping I might get that chance for a buck, or even a mature doe, to slip up and walk by my shooting lane. If not, you bet I'll be out again the end of November and throughout December.

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