Today’s reader success story comes from Nick Lundgren, as he shares his tale of patience, strong goals, and smart hunting. Please join us in congratulating Nick on a great New York buck! – MK

By Nick Lundgren

I have been practicing QDM on my family’s property in southwestern NY for about four years. I have always loved to hunt and I have been planting food plots for about seven years but I really immersed myself in QDM, as I mentioned, about four years ago. My main goals with my property are to create good habitat for deer, (food and cover) to protect 1.5  year old bucks and also to have a low pressure approach to hunting.  Since I have started this program, my enjoyment has grown exponentially. It is an awesome feeling to know that what I am doing is directly impacting the quality of the deer herd in my area and resulting in much better hunting for me and the people I hunt with.

My goals are lofty in most of my neighbors and family member’s eyes. As most people know, New York has a huge population of hunters and most of them have one goal, and that involves killing any deer they can. We were all raised with the thought you don’t get very many opportunities at bucks and when you do, you had better take that opportunity.  Well after I started bow hunting in high school I quickly realized that those claims were false. I was seeing bucks and plenty of them. It didn’t take long until I realized that there was more to this than just filling tags.  In my 10+ seasons of hunting whitetails I have evolved quite a bit and I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!

Now on to this year’s season and buck!  When October 1 rolled around of course I was ready to hunt. And I hunted as much as my schedule allowed, ( not nearly enough…..) and I ended up passing six bucks that gave me good opportunities but they were all 1.5 or 2.5 year old deer that I wasn’t interested in. Early November came and went and I ended the bow season with all my tags still in the holder. Some might say that I should have shot one of those deer but I had no second thoughts. It’s all part of the plan. I religiously run trail cameras all year and they had told me that there was reason to wait for an older buck. I had a few resident bucks that were 3.5 or older and ultimately that’s what I was after.

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November 15 found me sharing the woods with my 85 year old grandfather and a family friend for the opening day of rifle season. That weekend came and went quickly with not much activity and only one encounter with a small seven point that knew he was safe under my stand, as he laid there for over four hours just enjoying the afternoon!  The following week had nothing to do with hunting as I spent it at my home (in the suburbs of Buffalo) digging my home and neighborhood out of over six feet of snow! I was finally able to escape the winter storm by November 25th and I finally arrived at the farm around 11:00 AM.  I was in the tree by noon and I was lucky enough to harvest a doe later that day.

Wednesday November 26 found me in my favorite tree stand in a travel corridor near my soybean food plot and a pasture.  I didn’t know what to expect, as I knew that the neighboring properties have been hunted hard and pressured heavily. At about 8:10 am I noticed a buck cruising down the hill towards the pasture.  A quick check with my binoculars and I knew he was a buck I wanted to try and take. I shouldered my .308 and I took the first good shot I had at 80 yards. He ran off and out of sight. I am very confident in my rifle and my ability to shoot it at that distance but I still had questions as to whether I had hit him. When I got down I found his tracks and no blood, but I was able to track him easily and found him dead about 100 yards from where I shot him. As whitetail hunters we all know the feeling of walking up on a deer that we have killed. It’s difficult to describe that feeling but, emotion, excitement, pride, and most importantly respect, are a few adjectives that come to mind. An incredible amount of work, planning, time and money had gone into the harvest of that deer….. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it!

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The main key to my success was having a plan and sticking to it, setting goals for what I wanted and not letting anyone or anything else have any influence on those goals. More specifically I think that the fact that we do not put much pressure on the land played a major role in my success. Neighboring properties have experienced a lot of deer drives and heavy hunter pressure and I think the fact that our hunting strategies are low impact make it possible to have better success, even during gun season.

I had multiple trail camera pictures of the buck I killed. I even found pictures of him chasing does in my soybean food plot the night before I killed him. I believe him to be a nice 3 ½ year old 8 point and he was one of the largest deer that I had pictures of on my farm this year. I have no idea on score because I personally see no reason for ever scoring a deer. He is a very nice deer for my area of the country and he fits my set of goals perfectly.

– Nick Lundgren