Tim Schulte writes, "After five years of rejection, I finally drew a ND mule deer buck tag, so I headed out west the second week of the season looking for a good one. I camped in the CCC camp ground just south of the North Unit of the Teddy Roosevelt Park and hunted the government land just south of the Little Missouri River. It is some of the most rugged area you can hunt in the ND badlands. The weather began to change on Tuesday, with high winds and rain turning to snow. Wednesday I woke up with about an inch of new snow with still high winds and snow flurries throughout the day. By the end of the day on Wednesday it looked like a blizzard as I drove back into camp. Thursday was cold and clear and the wind had died down to about 10 mph. Nice day and I started seeing a few more deer moving. I had done a lot of walking the first couple of days and only saw three bucks, no shooters. Thursday evening I saw three better bucks, but probably not shooters until my scheduled last day, which was Sunday.
Driving out of the government land I would see 10 – 12 mule deer in an alfalfa field on private property. There was always one or two smaller bucks. Thursday night when I drove out there was probably 30 deer in the field and one deer was silhouetted against the remaining light and I could see he was nice from about 300 yards. Couldn’t see him well through my binoculars, but knew he would be a legitimate shooter. When I got back to my tent that night, I pulled out my topo maps and aerial photos for the area and tried to plan how I could hunt these deer as they came off this field. I picked the deepest ravine in the area and guessed the bigger bucks would use that area for cover during the day. I then found the closest ravine in the government land north of the field and just hoped the deer would move north through the finger ravine rather than west when they left the field.
I was up 45 minutes earlier than normal and hiked into this ravine along the government fence (about 1.5 miles) well before first light. It was a west wind that was going to work perfect if the deer would cooperate and exit the field to the north. The snow was a blessing as I could see deer moving well before legal shooting light. I really wasn’t seeing as many deer as I thought I would see and was getting a little discouraged that my plan was not going to work. I decided I would sit until 8:00 am and then start moving towards the other ravines the deer may have used to exit.
I was glassing towards the alfalfa fields when I saw a couple deer bounce over the hill top running towards one of the fingers in the ravine I was sitting. I was surprised the deer were still moving out of the field this late after sunrise. As I continued to glass, I saw horn tips moving across the field that continued to get bigger until the entire deer was visible. He was heading in my directions, and at over 500 yards, I knew he was a shooter, he just had to keep coming towards me and get into the government land. He got to the top of the ravine, about 300 yards away, and stood and stared in a southerly direction. He was there for a couple minutes, so I got to size him up pretty good and then he finally dropped into one of the fingers in the ravine I was sitting in. Thirty seconds after he dropped from sight, a hunter came over the hill heading in the same direction the deer had been heading. This guy was booking. Not a run, but a super fast walk. He got within about 75 yards of where I had last seen the deer, but he just kept walking to the north. With the west wind, I knew that buck would catch his scent and hopefully move east towards where I was sitting.
It worked perfectly, the buck came out of the finger ravine and jumped the government fence and proceeded to walk across the ravine towards me. I wasn’t completely sure it was the same deer, because I hadn’t seen this broadside view of his rack, but after watching him for about 30 seconds, I came to the conclusion that even if it wasn’t the same buck, it was a good shooter anyway. The shot was about 130 yards. 6X5, green scored 168-5/8. Not the biggest guy, but after 5 years of applying for a tag, he sure was a trophy in my eyes."