Nate Skalsky of Rochester, Minn., shared this story of a successful deer hunt on family land near Garrison, Minn.:

Every year, I drive up to hunt deer opener weekend and sometimes the following two weekends. This year was no different than prior years; I parked the truck and headed out to the deer stand quietly before opening time.

I got my gear and rifle up in the deer stand and patiently waited. After about 30 minutes of being silent and watching five small does move through, I started opening my backpack slowly to get out the hearing protection/enhancement headphones, since it’s just the smart thing to do, and it keeps your ears warm.

Once I got the hearing protections on, no more than a minute later, I heard a buck snort.

Thinking it was my fellow younger hunter blowing on his deer call in the next stand over in the woods, I didn't think much of it. It sounded too perfect; however, it happened again almost immediately, and I looked over my left shoulder to see this magnificent eight-point buck coming out of the north trotting through the woods after the five does that had come through earlier.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

It was not a safe shot for me or the other hunter due to its position between our two deer stands, and therefore, I could only watch it proceed to shift direction east toward the other hunter.

I’ve got to admit, I was a bit jealous, yet hopeful the other hunter would get it.

Instead, the buck stopped immediately, and started heading south away from both of our deer stands with its back to us. Now I'm thinking, “This can't be happening!”

No sooner than that thought crossed my mind, the buck stopped again, did a 180-degree turn and started coming right to me. Now, my heart is beating out of my chest in excitement and disbelief. It got as close as 15 feet from my deer stand as I was quickly trying to dial back my scope to 3. It couldn't have been a more perfect opportunity.

My father, who normally hunted with us, died last year with cancer resulting from Agent Orange exposure during his service in the Vietnam War as a Huey helicopter medic.

Dad, this one's for you, since I know in my heart you had something to do with it.

Sign up for the Northland Outdoors newseletter

Have a deer tale you’d like to share with Herald readers? Send your hunting story, along with photos, if available, to Brad Dokken at

The Herald will run readers’ hunting stories on the Northland Outdoors pages in Saturday's print edition as space permits.

The Northland Outdoors section of the Herald website is another option for sharing your hunting success, and photos usually are posted the same day they’re received except for weekends. Send jpeg photos to Dokken at The Northland Outdoors section of the website can be found at