Blizzards and Bucks on the South Dakota Plains
I seem to always find myself in interesting situations when hunting. Whether it’s my buddy almost getting hypothermia because there was a hole in his waders on a cold November day, getting lost 5 miles from the truck because I just had to see what was over the next hill, or in this fine situation I’m going to talk about, me driving through a North Dakota blizzard because I had a hunting trip planned in South Dakota and I was simply not going to miss it for anything.
On a normal day with normal road conditions, the drive from where I lived to where I hunted in South Dakota would take about 4.5 hours, not a bad drive and I was going to hopefully see deer during my drive down. This would not be the case however as just over 1 hour into my drive I would run into a wall of snow pelting the North Dakota plains. My 4.5 hour drive turned into 7 hours of inching my way over slippery roads and around other drivers who had gotten stuck. I should have maybe stopped somewhere and waited for the weather to clear up before continuing, but I had a South Dakota Rifle tag to fill and I only had two days to do it; so that made me want to push through and make sure I was able to hunt the next morning.
I finally made it to South Dakota after a grueling drive and met up with my uncle who would be hunting with me that weekend. After talking it over, we decided we would head out to a good chunk of public land that we hunted in the past and seen some good bucks on.
We got out to the spot right at shooting light, so we grabbed our gear and started making our way to a nice, wooded creek bottom where a lot of deer moved through. There was a nice hill overlooking the bottom that we decided would be a good vantage point to sit and watch for bucks looking for a hot doe.
It wouldn’t take long for our first sightings of deer to happen as one minute after sitting down we watched some does work their way over a ridge and down into the bottom. Following those does was a decent 8 point checking them to see if any were in estrous. As we watched the group of deer work their way down into the bottom, another buck crested the ridge. This buck I could tell was bigger and he got my attention. The buck ran down the hill towards the other deer and we watched him get postured up and size up the other buck.
The deer moved down the bottom a short distance and we lost our visual on them, but we soon heard these two bucks square off and start fighting. I decided this was my chance and I quickly started to make my way towards where the bucks disappeared. I belly crawled my way to the top of the ridge and as I peered over the top, I could see the buck standing on the opposite side of the hill. This was my first chance to get a real good look at the buck and as I pulled my binoculars up to glass, I could see he had great mass on his left side. I got a range on where he was standing, got set up for my shot, and squeezed the trigger dropping the buck in his tracks.
As we admired the buck, got some pictures, and started to drag him back to the truck, I looked at the time on my phone; it had only been 30 minutes since we had left the truck. In less than a half-hour, we had walked out, found a buck, shot him, and started dragging him back to the truck. I couldn’t help but laugh at how crazy hunting can be sometimes. In less than 24 hours I survived a blizzard, shot a buck, drove back home that same day to bow hunt that night, and created a memory with my uncle to last a lifetime.