C20 We all know how tough it can be to spend enough time in the woods to successfully pattern and tag a wall-hanger buck. Countless hours at work, family obligations and other commitments make it tough sometimes to climb in the stand. It can also be hard to find time when you’re going to school and playing varsity football. However, Ben Walsvik of Wadena County Minnesota, found time to kick off his season the right way. Walsvik decided to hit the woods hard on opening weekend instead of sleeping in on Saturday morning like most of his friends.

Consequently, his first morning hunt was more of a scouting expedition than anything else. Walsvik was forced to leave his stand due to the lack of deer sign and activity in the area. After quietly easing along the edge of a cornfield, the young bowhunter found himself right in the middle of some intense early-season action. Two young bucks sparring along the edge of a swampy thicket that bordered the cornfield quickly caught his attention. This encounter along with a lot of other hot deer sign near the cornfield made Walsvik move his stand before the evening hunt. After only a few minutes in the stand, deer began filtering out of the swamp and into the cornfield. A decent 8-point walked within 20 yards of Walsvik and put his patience to the ultimate test. However, he decided to pass on the buck since it was opening day and he had the rest of the season to fill his tags.

C21_2 Once again, Walsvik had made another wise decision when a giant 10-point stepped out of the shadows and began slowly working toward his stand. Keeping his cool on the football field was easier than this moment. The minutes crawled by as he nervously watched the long-tined giant close the distance. Finally, one deep breath followed by a squeeze of the release trigger sent an arrow screaming right at the buck’s vitals. A short tracking job later and Walsvik found his trophy piled up in the brush not far from his stand. Way to hang in there Ben and make all of the right moves.—Travis Faulkner