Of Whitetails (and Rooster-tails)


Well-known member
Dec 31, 2017
Beneath these Western Skies . . .
I caught movement to my immediate left. As I slowly turned, a buck was staring at me, less than 100 yards away . . .

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and travel bans, this adventure was postponed from 2020 until 2021. Thankfully, South Dakota Game and Fish were very kind in issuing tag refunds and point reinstatements in 2020. Drawing this same tag in 2021 was nearly guaranteed and the trip preparations began when I saw the charge on my credit card. I have an uncle, who is the epitome of kindness and giving – so much that he allows his family members to come hunt his incredible ranch in South Dakota each year for birds. This uncle, and his wonderful wife, had an incredible career and are two of the most giving individuals I have ever met. When I reached out to him about hunting whitetail on his farm, his answer was simple, “Absolutely!”

Leading up to this hunt, multiple emails from South Dakota Game and Fish were received about Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). These emails were alarming, but calls to my uncle confirmed that the deer on his ranch were healthy and minimal impacts of EHD existed.

The departure day arrived and we embarked on the road trip from Northern Utah to South Dakota, arriving in South Dakota on Thursday (11/11). The whitetail season didn’t open until the 13th, so the 11th and 12th were spent scouting for deer and chasing birds. The pheasant and sharptail numbers did not disappoint and the birds were literally everywhere!




Finally, it was Saturday morning, the day long awaited for! The deer were patterned, each morning and evening, they would filter out of a large patch of trees and feed out into the grain and cornfields. A section-line fence, separated the two fields, and would provide plenty of cover for an ambush. I was up before the alarm sounded and was quietly making my way over to the section-line fence in the dark. The wind, which seemed to blow constantly during our trip, was perfect for my morning set. Making my way along the section-line fence, I came to the predetermined place and did my best to look like one of the other tumbleweeds.

Slowly, the dawn of opening day began to illuminate the fields. I sat motionless as deer began to pour out of the trees and into the fields – most less than 100 yards away. Doe, doe, doe, doe, fawn, doe, doe, I repeated in my mind as I scanned the deer out in the fields. “Where on earth did all the bucks go?!?!” I mumbled under my breath. Just 24 hours prior, there were at least seven “shooter” bucks with these does. The vast majority of the deer were now behind me, feeding in the cornfield. Somewhat confused, I turned my attention to a doe that was crossing the grain field, headed right toward me. Not being one to pass up an opportunity, and with both a buck tag and a doe tag burning a hole in my pocket, I decided this lone doe would be the perfect deer to punch my first whitetail tag on. 300, 200, 100 yards, she kept making her way across the grain field, unaware of my presence. At 73 yards, I squeezed the trigger and sent the 140-grain AB into her neck. I gathered my stuff and made my way out to her, excited to get my hands on my first whitetail. As I sat my pack down near her, I caught movement to my immediate left. As I slowly turned, a buck was staring at me, less than 100 yards away. How had this buck not ran back into the trees with the rest of the deer at the rifle report not a minute before? With the naked eye I could see this was a “shooter” and sent the 140-grain AB into his neck. The unmistakable “whack” confirmed I had just killed my first buck whitetail. I took a moment to soak it all in and then made my way over to the buck. Completely elated, I sat in awe of the buck.


A call was made back to the house and my uncle drove out to pick me and the deer up. Less than two hours after leaving the house, I was back with two deer. None of this successful hunt had anything to do with my skill as a hunter. All the success is due to a couple extremely kind and giving individuals who open up their personal oasis each year for their family members!

Last edited:


Well-known member
Feb 24, 2021
Count your blessings jeff. You've got a great family!

Congratulations on your successful hunt.


Well-known member
Dec 12, 2014
Northern Illinois
Looks like a great trip, sounds like great family. Over the holidays I'll make sure and let all the aunts, uncles etc... they suck 🤣

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