Rut Reporter David Draper grew up hunting deer and small game throughout this region and presently lives on a family farm in Nebraska. Draper, former communications specialist for Cabela’s and an authority on the Great Plains, subsists on a diet of duck breast and venison. States covered: ND, SD, NE and KS.



One of the cool things about writing the Rut Report is the opportunity to hear from so many people about their deer hunting experiences. One such story comes from Denise Morozov–an old friend I haven’t heard from in probably 20 years–who tracked me down after reading my deer-hunting reports here on Field & Stream.

A first-time bowhunter from Nebraska, Denise was following the Rut Report to learn more about deer hunting in the hopes of getting her first deer this fall. I’m not sure she learned anything from my writing, but Denise didn’t have to wait long to tag her first deer, taking what looks to be a perfect shot on this Platte River buck last Saturday. Here’s the story in her words:

“I purchased my bow on September 18. I have put in practice almost every day since then, and tried my best to pick the brains of bowhunters I encounter to seek as much advice as I could weasel out of them. I joined an archery club and am even taking part in their fall league. So this little spike buck is my reward. I got him about 18 yards from my treestand up at the North Platte River. He may be small, and I’m sure some will be quick to criticize me for taking a young buck, but tonight he’s in the freezer. I’m looking forward to trying some new recipes, and I’m feeling pretty satisfied about that.”

Congratulations to Denise on her first buck and kudos to her for not succumbing to the horn-hunter mentality her first time out. She obviously has an understanding about what hunting is all about–spending time outdoors in the hopes of filling the freezer. That’s a dandy buck in my opinion, and one she should be proud of.