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Minnesota Fishing Reports

Year in Review
LSF Member
From MN
Posts: 119
Please share your 2016 hunting experiences, observations, and lessons learned.

This was my 2nd year deer hunting and first year bow hunting. I hunted hard, probably over-hunted our 30acres but learned a lot.

I had many opportunities before I finally harvested a doe with my bow. Saw some bucks once they started moving during shooting hours. I had a chance an 8 point with my bow, I never pulled the trigger but should have had him. I did end up shooting a bigger nine pointer with my shotgun the following week. Hope to harvest a buck with my bow next year.

Few observations I made:
- Harvesting a deer with a bow takes a lot of patience.
- The deer patterned me very quickly due to heavy hunting pressure.
- Bucks were mostly non-existent/nocturnal on our property until late Oct.
- I must clear more/better shooting lanes.
- I saw the most chasing/rutting activity Halloween weekend and the week leading up to gun season which may have been weather related.
- Hunting one specific buck on camera is extremely difficult. I had 16+ different bucks on camera before I stopped counting/comparing, 6 of which met the APR requirements. I saw maybe 2 in the stand. On top of that, the buck I did harvest was not on any of my trail camera pics.

All-in-All it was a great first bow season. I live/hunt about 20-30miles outside the CWD Zone, I'm praying they don't find more deer with the disease.

Posted on: 2017/1/9 11:32
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Re: Year in Review
LSF Member
Posts: 1241
This was my first year bow hunting and only got out for 2 weekends of hunting. I had to cancel at least 2 other weekends due to work screwing things up. Its also just hard to get out in general with 2 young kids at home.

I hunted 20 total acres (two adjoining 10 acre properties). I had a lot of deer on camera including 2 very nice bucks.

I learned that there are a million things that can go wrong that will prevent you from taking a deer with a bow. Every time out I felt like I made a mistake that cost me a deer.

The biggest thing I learned was how to better position myself to give me quality shot opportunities without being seen. My best opportunity this year came on a nice down on my 2nd day but I had positioned myself in a bad spot due to not seeing the faint secondary trail that deer was using when I set up. It was a windy day so hard to hear the deer so I didn't know it was there until I could see it. However by that point it was 10 feet away and I was in a ground blind. At that point it was awfully hard to draw without getting blown as there was nothing between me and the deer.

I also learned that I like bow hunting private land with a good deer population much more than I like rifle hunting public land in an area that has been very tough over the last several years. In fact I have no plans of picking up my rifle next year, I'll sink all my time into bow hunting.

Posted on: 2017/1/9 12:04
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Re: Year in Review
LSF Member
From Chaska, via New Ulm
Posts: 273
This was my 3rd year hunting exclusively with a bow since the early 80's. I'm retired now and get to spend a lot of time hunting a private wooded 40 acres in southern MN.

I've had shots at deer the last two years, but have not taken the shots. I guess I was to picky because I had always seen a nice buck those years and waited for a shot at them. This year I wanted some meat in the freezer and took a doe 7:35 am Friday the second weekend of firearm.

I hunted that weekend with my bother who was drawn for a doe permit but was unable to hunt the first weekend due to being hospitalized with heart problems. I got him out and put him in a ground blind. After I got mine early I headed out of the woods and called him. He said he saw 4 deer on the outside of the woods but did not have a shot. I told him I think I know where they bedded down and would make a drive toward him. It payed off as one went straight at him and he was able to down a doe with a single shot.

Things I learned:

1) I see many more deer bow hunting and they are easier to pattern when they are not getting shot at.

2) Found out placement of stands is important to give you options for wind direction. (I placed 4 stands).

3) I have also learned not to hunt more than 2 days in a row as the deer seem to be able to pattern me and leaving them alone for a period of time seems to relax them.

4) Not to be so picky waiting for the big buck, Taking a doe is OK, because meat in the freezer is a good thing.

5) That big bucks don't get that way by giving you an opportunity to often and they stay in the thickets 10 yards away or run the ditches so all you see is the head and rack.

Note: Last year a button buck and a nice 8 were killed by vehicles on the tar road in front of the woods where I keep my Ice Castle. This year another 8 was hit and crawled and died 20 feet away from the ice castle the week before firearm season. I could of shot this deer the weekend before, as it chased a doe right under my stand and pawed the ground. What a shame.

Posted on: 2017/1/10 11:13
"A bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work"
Go figure I own my own company and it still rings true.
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Re: Year in Review
LSF Member
From Thief River Falls
Posts: 346
I have been bow hunting since I was old enough to. This was a very difficult year for seeing bucks on our land. I hunt on about 1200 acres of land and there are only 3 people including myself that bowhunt it, I spend more time hunting it than the other two combined. we had multiple shooter bucks on the cams leading up to season but once season started, they all disappeared. I had one night where I had 3 of them come into my food plot. There was a high wide 8 point who was my main target this season. A decent 10 point and another 8 point. they came out about 10 minutes before shooting hours and stayed just far enough away that I wasn't quite comfortable shooting, about 60 yards. They gave me multiple shots but I just couldn't pull the trigger that far away. I let them live for another day. Those were the only decent bucks I had within sight of me the whole season, that happened in the beginning of October. Even through rifle season we had up to 10 hunters on post on any given day and nobody saw a single one of the shooters that we had on camera leading up to season. It was a very strange year because last year it seemed like there were bucks everywhere.

I hunted right up until the end of December. I was out on the Thursday night before Christmas and had a doe, 4 fawns and a forkhorn eating in the field. they fed up fairly close to me and the buck was 60 yards and the fawn was 40 yards, the fawn smelled me and I knew I had to take a shot or they were going to run. So I drew back as soon as the fawn looked away and drilled the closest fawn at 40 yards, it ran into the woods and I saw the snow fly so I knew it was done for. It was early yet at this point and I still had a landowner tag to fill so I decided to wait it out to see if another one would come by. about 15 minutes later a whole herd of about a dozen does and fawns came running into the field about 5 yards away and they ran right into my wind and ran farther out into the field. Then one straggler doe came on the same path and stopped, I ranged her at 60 yards. So I pulled back and let one fly at her. It looked to me that it went just under her belly. I went out and checked for blood and was following the trail from the fawn when the blood trail went two different ways. turns out I hit the second one as well. I recovered both deer within 20 yards of each other in the woods. It was a great end to the season and I was able to fill the freezer up to get me through to next year.

Things I learned:

1. need better food plots - it was a bad year for planting up here and the food plots were very dismal

2. when I have a big buck within 60 yards, take the shot because shots at mature bucks don't come around that often. After seeing my shot on that doe at just over 60 yards. I now have confidence shooting that far as it was a clean pass through, even going through the ribs.

3. I would like to designate some areas as no entry by people so the deer have some safe places. I really think that will make a difference with seeing bucks.

4. Only hunt when the wind/weather is perfect if there is an area with a big buck I know of

Posted on: 2017/1/10 11:42
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Re: Year in Review
New Member
Posts: 2
New guy here, but i did pretty well. ( also new account been on here before can't access old e-mail.) shot a once in a life time buck in WI, and passed my fair share of does here in MN waiting for the right buck and ended up eating tag soup.

I hunted pretty hard chasing one buck. and i almost messed it up pretty bad. but i did learn a few things about setting deer stands this year. getting lanes set and having a plan in your head for any direction of deer movement.

ended up playing the wind very well this year and even tho this novemeber was amazingly hot i did see a fair amount of deer and even this beauty.

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Posted on: 2017/1/16 19:02
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