The early part of the archery season was slow for most, if not all, of the OTS Outdoors team. It wasn't a lack of time in the stand or a low deer density. No matter how good a hunter is, it always takes some luck, and we fell short in that department. But, when the gun season rolled around, it was time for the crew to get serious!
The MN 2nd gun season and the WI 9-day gun season run simutaneously together over Thanksgiving week and almost all of the team was out in full force somewhere in those states. Opening day was slow, and the second day didn't seem much better, until Chris was able to break the streak of bad luck by putting down a great buck in MN on the last deer drive of the day (pictured below)! A 15 yard shot dropped him in his tracks, making Chris's 3rd year in a row of filling his MN buck tag on great bucks.
That seemed to be about the only luck the OTS team had that weekend, which in MN and WI opening weekend is your best chance of having a good hunt.
But still, the team planned to hit it hard all week hoping to find some luck between work and family time on Thanksgiving. It didn't take long as we got word from Pro Staff Leader Ben Mikla that he had filmed his friend Chris Wagner taking a doe on November 25th (pictured below)!
I wasn't going to miss out of the turkey and other ridiculously awesome dishes on Thanksgiving, and with temps around 0 degrees F, it seemed that most of the team did the same! But, while some take Black Friday as the best shopping day of the year, we take it as one of the best gun deer hunting days of the year as a lot of properties haven't been pressured much all week and some that we are unable to get access to over the early part of the gun season we are able to get on the last couple days. So, we spent the day out and about giving it one last go at it.
With a small group of guys, half of which were filming, we were held to only doing small deer drives and hoping for the best! The first drive resulted in a doe and two young ones escaping without a problem (although I can't say that Logan, Ethan, and Jordan didn't try). The following drives were slow, but just before our last drive of the day, we got word from Chris that his dad had just shot a big one! Unfortunately, not on camera, but a great buck non-the-less and Jeff's biggest to date (pictured below)!
The news of Jeff's buck made us that much more excited to get the last drive started, as we knew we saved the best for last. As Jared and I got to our spot to stand off the drive, we hardly had time to set up before a couple does came out into the field. Jared took a couple shots quick and after inspecting the trail they were on, we found out that he found his mark (pictured below, with the whole group)! Jared had hunted and filmed hard all season and was happy to put some meat in his freezer after the ups and downs of the season so far.
We were as happy as we could be, but as we got to the trucks, we got news of another OTS Pro Staff team member putting down a giant buck in Buffalo County (pictured below)! Drew Donahue had kept pretty quiet all season until this buck showed himself and gave Drew the shot he had been waiting for! Unfortunately, camera issues made what Drew thought was great footage disappear because of a memory card error. It happens to the best of us, and we were still happy he was able to get this dandy!
As if the day wasn't more than we could ask for already, as the sun went down, Pro Staff team member Eric Hrudka had arrowed, yes you read correctly, ARROWED a big bruiser in eastern WI (pictured below)! Most hunters wouldn't even think to use archery equipment during the Wisconsin gun season, but Eric was determined to get a big one with a bow, so he left the rifle back home and it paid off! I haven't seen all of the footage, but from the teaser he sent me, it couldn't have been more perfect!
Black Friday did it again! What a great day to be in the field! That was the end to our gun season for the Over the Shoulder Outdoors team, but with muzzleloader season and late archery in full swing, we aren't done yet!