North Dakota- Most people who know me, know I’m an absolute deer freak. Last year I was lucky enough to harvest a big deer named "6er" on public land that you can read all about HERE. Coming into this season I still had hopes of seeing a deer from the past season. Last year, I had trail cam pictures of him for about a month before he disappeared on me in early August. Fast forward to this year and low and behold he finally showed up again on camera in mid August. The chess match was on.
Opening day I had a bad wind to sit where I thought I needed to be, as he was coming to a fresh water seep on a hillside. The only good access was coming in from the west and sitting above the water with no stand or blind, just sitting on the ground 30-40 feet above. So instead I decided I was just going to glass the draw from the east side and maybe catch a glimpse of him as I had a NW wind. At 7:48pm, he steps out and gets a drink before disappearing back into the timber. Daylight movement well before sunset, just what I wanted to see.
Sunday comes and I have a SSE wind so decide to go in after him. I see my first deer around sunset, a doe and 2 fawns. The wind was dying down by now and thermals were dropping, I was busted. The doe winded me and the blow horn went off. She got into the trees still sounding off as I packed up and walked out. Looking ahead, the next good wind was forecast for Wednesday. So I had a few days for everything to calm down.
Wednesday evening I had my buddy drop me off and I slipped into my spot again about 5:55pm. At 6:00pm, I hear water splashing and right away knew it was an elk wallowing in the water as I’ve had elk on this camera doing such before. This lasts about 5 minutes before the bull elk finally walks off. The rest of the evening was quiet, but nonetheless at 7:45pm I picked up my bow off the ground so I was ready to draw as quick as possible. Another 10 minutes go by and I see my buddy drive by so I picked up my phone and texted him quick. I no more than set my phone down and looked up when there the was buck! He had come down the closest trail to me which was a mere 21 yards away, so when he got behind some brush, I quickly dialed in my single pin sight. He just makes it past my shooting window on that trail and stops, but I could tell he was on edge and might have smelled me. He literally takes a step backwards right into my window, and as I draw back, he looks right at me. I settled my pin and let the arrow fly. I watch the lighted nock disappear into his hide and off he runs. The shot looked great so I texted my buddy that I had just shot the buck I called “Split Ear”. Although I thought I heard him crash, I wasn’t positive so I walked back out to where I was dropped off and waited.
Everything happened in a minute, from when I saw my buddy drive by to when I shot. We called 2 more buddies to come help look as it wasn’t going to be easy getting him out if we found him. We picked up blood right away just pouring out on both sides 2ft. 50-60 yards later and there was split ear laying dead. It was high fives all around, a few holy s!*# that thing is a giant, and time for photos. After photos, the real work began and 2 hours later we had him caped out, quartered, and back to the truck. I can’t thank my buddies Matthew, John, and Jimmy enough for their help that night and to be along for the memories of a night I’ll never forget.