Opening Day Velvet Trophy!

Manitoba is one of the few places in North America where you have a legitimate chance of tagging a velvet whitetail due to its early archery opener.

Avid outdoorsman Luke Fehr lives in Altona, Manibota. Never heard of it? The town of 4,000 residents is located in extreme southern Manitoba, not far from where Minnesota and North Dakota each border the province.

The landscape can best be described as pancake flat, with small woodlots and shelterbelts existing only along waterways and homesteads. Almost everything that can be farmed has been turned by a plow and planted (think massive fields of canola, flax, wheat, soybeans, etc.).

On September 1—opening day in Luke’s part of the province—the 20-year-old tagged his first archery buck. But let’s back up a bit and pick up the story a few weeks ago.

Luke began sharing with his Facebook friends a few photos of velvet-racked summertime bucks, and wrote:

“What I've been obsessing over lately! Trying to set a solid pattern in time for bow season this September. Can't stop—won’t stop.”

Then, on the morning of September 2, Luke made this excited post:

“I had to pinch myself this morning to make sure I was not dreaming about yesterday evening! Here I am in my stand after I dropped my first big buck on opening night of the season with my bow. To top it off, it was a stud I've been following for almost 2 months and trying to nail a solid pattern on. What a crazy feeling! Pictures and post to come.”

Shortly thereafter, Luke spilled the beans on his epic opener:

“First archery buck! Here’s my full-velvet long-tined stud whitetail from opening night here in Manitoba. This entire experience has hands down been one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of my life, and I feel very lucky/blessed with how perfectly everything fell together.

“Over the past 2 months I've dropped and sacrificed almost everything, and knew I had to if I wanted to be able to nail down a pattern for a chance on this guy. Literally every evening I had over July and August had me working on trail cam setups and out scouting to try and learn more about them and their almost unpredictable behavior on the flatland prairies of the province. Even though I got lucky and tagged out the first day, it still feels like I have been hunting this deer for my entire summer and have a history with him. That's what makes this one unforgettable.

“Opening evening nearing sunset, he ran in with two other nice bucks, and he stopped for a split-second, giving me all I needed to place a clean and almost instant kill shot from my stand above him! What a rush. I’d like to thank my dad, Dwight, for helping me out with his extensive whitetail wisdom, and my friends who have done the same!

“Good luck to all of you this hunting season—can’t stop, won’t stop—and can’t wait for next season!”

Editor’s note: Congrats, Luke, on an awesome buck, and thanks for sharing the story with North American Hunter. Luke’s first love is fishing, especially for giant muskies and pike, and he’s on the field staff for ultra-cool clothing company Fishbum Outfitters . If Luke continues to tag great bucks like this one, then hunting companies will soon be knocking on his door, too!

Want a velvet whitetail of your own? Click here for more information on Manitoba’s deer season and regulations.

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