We have some great deer hunting here in northern Idaho, and there are many trophy bucks if you know where and how to hunt them. Your best chances of getting a nice buck is either knowing someone with private property, or getting far, far away from everyone else, which is what I usually prefer to do. If you hunt public land even close to civilization, you’ll most likely be sharing your hunting spot with several other groups of hunters, including those riding ATV’s and dirt bikes up and down trails and making noise, even on land where ATV’s aren’t permitted. You might get lucky and see a deer they’ve spooked, but your chance of shooting a trophy buck in these areas is pretty slim. Usually I avoid these types of areas, but seeing as how my wife and I recently had a newborn son, taking off and going deep in the woods for several days was basically out of the question for this season.
Opening day was on a Wednesday, so that Saturday I called up my best friend and one of my brothers to see if they were up for a hunt. We headed out to one of those “close to town” spots I referred to earlier and split up. For most of the afternoon the hunt basically went as expected. At one point there was the loudest dirt-bike I’ve ever heard screaming up and down some trails. He stopped to target practice several times. At another point in time, 2 hunters walked through the field I was watching. I waved to let them know I was there. They acknowledged me and continued to try to jump any deer that might be in some trees about 50 yards to my right. “Now I remember why I try to get further away from town”.
A few hours later, most of the commotion stopped and things were a little more peaceful again. My friend texted me and said that he saw several groups of hunters, as well as a coyote chasing a doe and fawn off in the woods. Great… Even the coyotes are spooking the deer around here. I was by some brush watching the same field 30 minutes later, when I heard a noise in a ravine to my side. I glance over in time to see a coyote start sprinting full speed through the field and off into the tree line I had been watching. Well, there goes my chances of seeing anything before dark. However, I decided to stay put because there wasn’t much daylight left, anyway. I had planned on staying there until the end of legal shooting light.
About 5 minutes were left and as I’m reaching for my hunting pack I decide to scan my surroundings one last time. Low and behold, a buck came out of the trees! Not huge by any means, but he was good enough for this year. He was standing broadside at about 125 yards. I pull my gun up, take a few breaths and squeeze the trigger. After letting things settle for a while, I grabbed my flashlight and headed into the field. I quickly spotted where I had hit him and followed his trail up into the tree-line. There he was about 20 yards in, thanks to a perfect, clean shot. As I already knew, he wasn’t a monster, but he actually was bigger than I was expecting which was a nice bonus. Dragging a deer isn’t the most fun thing in the world, so I was grateful when my hunting buddies showed up and helped me drag him back to the truck.
Even though it was a “different” hunt, I was very grateful for time spent in the woods with friends, as well as being able to provide my family with tasty, healthy venison.
I brought some backstrap for Chef Matt to prepare. Here’s the recipe and how he prepared it.