Danny Omdahl of Warren, Minnesota, shared this story of a whitetail buck he shot during the last weekend of the state’s firearms deer season.
Snow started falling about 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, and about 4 inches had accumulated on the ground outside Danny Omdahl’s deer stand by late afternoon.
About 2:45 p.m., Omdahl recalls, he thought about walking back to the pickup for a sandwich but decided to wait until dark.
That turned out to be a good choice when a buck came out at 3 p.m. at the south end of the swamp.
“I could see it was a nice one,” Omdahl said. “Then, I noticed it was limping so I shot.”
If he sees an injured deer, Omdahl says, he’ll shoot it instead of waiting for the opportunity to take a healthy one.
A minute later, a neighbor texted to see if Omdahl had shot or if it was some kids hunting on the neighbor’s land nearby.
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About 15 minutes after shooting the buck, Omdahl walked to the spot where the deer had crossed the pickup trail to Omdahl's stand. Snow was coming down hard again, and Omdahl thought he might have a tough time tracking the buck because there was very little blood.
“I saw what I thought was an older track in the snow and kept walking south to find the track I was looking for,” Omdahl said. “There were no other tracks so I went back to the only track.”
While tracking the buck south on the neighbor’s land, Omdahl saw a coyote about 100 feet away that was eating on something. The coyote didn’t know Omdahl was there because the snow was coming down so hard.
Shooting the coyote was tempting, Omdahl says, but he made some noise by rubbing a nearby tree instead.
“(The coyote) looked my way but kept eating,” he said. “After a couple of minutes, it decided I wasn’t supposed to be there and took off.”
Omdahl continued tracking the buck, and it finally jumped up. Despite trying to clean and dry his rifle scope, Omdahl says he still couldn’t pick out the buck at less than 75 feet.
“I tracked him some more, and he did get onto other deer tracks, but I could see they were smaller,” Omdahl said. “I finally got him about 100 feet from the south end of the forest.”
He dragged the 10-point buck to the edge of the woods and walked back to his truck, returning a short time later with a snowmobile to fetch the deer and drag it back to the yard. He also took a photo of the buck with the tag attached, just in case it came off during the mile-long drag.
Omdahl gutted the buck in the yard, winching him up on a scale to weigh. The buck weighed 183 pounds with the liver and heart, and the hide weighed 20 pounds, Omdahl said.
“This is the one that was on my cameras before the season,” Omdahl said. “I was going to pass him up if I saw him because he appeared to be only 3 years old, judging by the length of his nose.
“I was hoping he’d make it through the season,” Omdahl added. “Two years more, and he’d have been a big buck.”
Do you 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The Herald will run readers’ hunting stories on the Northland Outdoors pages in Saturday's print edition as space permits.