I arrived up at the shack just west of Pine Center, MN around 5:30 PM on 11/5/10. After heading to town for burgers and beers we called it a night. We woke up to clear skies, a temp around 30 degrees and a strong south wind at 10-20 mph. The area was extremely wet so the wind had a very moist bite to it.
I snuck into my area and crawled up into my stand at 7:10, Legal shooting time was 7:30. Even in the low light conditions I could tell the area was filled up with deer sign. I came across several rubs and scrapes on the trail that leads to my stand. Since I hadn't been to the woods all year I was pleasantly surprised.
Shortly after settling in, I had a small 6 pt buck come out of the swamp to my east (left). He milled around for a couple minutes before getting on the main trail that heads to my stand and walking it out of site. I am hoping the little guy takes advantage of his pass and doesn't walk under someone else stand. Things settled down after the early buck.
At 8:40, I caught movement to my south coming through the heavy brush. After a couple seconds I saw a mature doe running through the thick stuff to the west of my stand. I was able to yell/grunt her to a stop, but my shot didn't make it through the brush. As I chambered another round I caught more movement from the direction the doe had just come from. Two bucks where hot on the doe's trail and didn't pay any attention to my shot. Once again I was able to yell the bucks to a stop. They actually stopped within feet of where the doe had stopped. I picked out the larger of the two bucks, settled my sites on his shoulder and touched off a shot. I could see the brush in front of him move, but I could also tell he was hit hard. The 8pt buck trotted off to east acting like he was hurt. 10 minutes later I snuck up to the shot area and found a blood trail. Because I wasn't certain of the shot I marked the area with an extra orange hat and backed out. I climbed up in my stand and planned to sit until 11:30 before taking up the trail.
5 Minutes after crawling back into the stand I caught more movement to my southwest. Two deer where walking directly at me. A settled my scope on the bigger of the two deer and let them walk in as close as possible. At 45 yards I had waited long enough. The Doe settled into a a clearing and I anchored her in her tracks. No track job needed. Minutes after that I had another mature doe standing in my clear cut for several minutes. I figured I would save some deer for the rest of the party and just watched her in the bino's for a couple minutes. That was easily the best sit I have ever had up in Pine Center. Two tags punched and some cleared brush away from having three.
The buck I shot only made it about 80 yards before settling into his grave behind a huge deadfall.
The only deer I saw the rest of the weekend where jumped on my way out of the stand. Another member of the party shot a huge bodied 9 pt buck late saturday afternoon and he also killed a 1 1/2 year old 4 point on sunday. Overall a good opening weekend in northcentral MN.
Friday afternoon I head down to MO for the first 8 days of their gun season. Hopefully Pete and I can punch several tags in the next 8 days!