Wired To Hunt team-member and Rut Radio host Spencer Neuharth is embarking today on a public land archery whitetail hunt in South Dakota and he’s going to be sharing the whole experience with the Wired To Hunt Nation! Check out his preview of the hunt below, and then follow along with his hunt on the Wired To Hunt instagram account, where he’ll be posting frequent story updates every day through the rest of the week. Click here to follow @WiredToHunt on Instagram. – MK
By Spencer Neuharth
Tomorrow at this time, I’ll be up a tree in western South Dakota. I’ll be targeting whitetails in the heart of mule deer country, seeking out the overlooked river bottoms and creek drainages that will hopefully hold deer.
This is all new to me, hunting an area that I’ve never seen in person. Instead, I was drawn there by the aerial maps that show textbook whitetail habitat displaced among South Dakota’s rolling prairies (and the vast amounts of public land, as seen in the map below in the shaded regions). Like any public land hunt, though, it’s a total crapshoot. I could get there and find that it receives a lot of hunting pressure, or is overgrazed by cattle, or the river is flooded. Or, I might stumble on a honey hole of whitetails that gives me action all week.
For the hunt, my strategy is to stay mobile and be aggressive. To hunt on the go, I’ll use a lightweight stand and climbing sticks that will be setup and torn down with each sit. Like Mark did in Montana last season, I’ll make adjustments on the go to intercept deer in the evenings. However, I’ll also hunt mornings, and likely make moves on their bedding areas that most hunters shy away from in September.
I’m doing this because there’s a sense of urgency with DIY trips. Because I might not get a chance to return there this fall, and I could find that by the weekend more archers show up, I’ll be putting more pressure on the deer than normal.
There’s no doubt this is a tough time of year to pattern deer as silage gets cut, acorns start to drop, and cattle get moved. I’ll have the weather on my side, though, with a mild forecast that calls for highs in the low 70s and lows in the mid 40s. Normally I’d root for a cold snap, but I think with the short amount of time I have to figure out deer movement, I’d like the weather as consistent as possible.
My expectations and standards are fairly low given the circumstances and that it’s late September on public land. I haven’t harvested an immature deer since I was a teen, but this trip might take me back to a time when taking a 2.5 year old is exciting.
With this hunt, and archery hunting in general, I’m excited for the challenge. One of the reasons I was drawn to bowhunting is that the success and failure of a hunt often falls solely on my shoulders. If I arrow a Pope & Young buck, I’ll take a ton of pride in the trip. If I come home with nothing, it’ll be a learning experience for next time.
Let’s hope its former and I’ll be sharing a hero shot on the @WiredToHunt Instagram feed by the end of the week.
Camo – Sitka’s Equinox System
– Spencer Neuharth