SUBSCRIBE NOW AND SAVE 3 months just 99 ¢/month



Bill Marchel: Appeal of the whitetail

White-tailed Deer Buck 00274-33812BD.JPG
Sometimes the rut brings even a wise old buck out during daylight hours, like this heavy-antlered monarch. Photo by Bill Marchel

This weekend approximately 500,000 orange-clad hunters are dispersed into the fields and forests of Minnesota to pursue white-tailed deer, and to once again allocate time afield with family and friends.

Related: Bill Marchel: Good hunting on the 2020 duck opener
In Minnesota, the whitetail thrives in every habitat type our great state has to offer, from the aspen parklands and bogs of the north, to the rolling oak bluffs and farm fields of the south. Deer are even common in our backyards, although often not to our liking.

White-tailed Deer Buck 00274-32615BD.JPG
Some bucks, like this big bodied brute, travel extensively during the rut, seeking does in estrus. The peak of the rut, usually between Nov. 8-12, will fall during Minnesota's firearms season. Photo by Bill Marchel

For the hunter and non-hunter alike, just spotting a big buck sporting marvelous antlers and a bulging rut-swollen neck is a lasting memory. Even the view of a graceful doe beneath your deer stand, or leaping skyward with its huge white tail waving from side to side, is not soon forgotten. When we spot a freshly made scrape, or a tree sapling torn to shreds by an amorous buck, we pause and wonder about the animal and its whereabouts.


Related: Discover fascinating facts about deer antlers
If you are a deer hunter, or an outdoor enthusiast, and the images on this page don't quicken your pulse, call 911.

Hunt safely and enjoy the 2020 Minnesota firearms deer hunting season.

BILL MARCHEL is a wildlife and outdoors photographer and writer whose work appears in many regional and national publications as well as the Brainerd Dispatch. He may be reached at You also can visit his website at

What to read next
Tribal officials haven’t received any formal response from the state.
The forecast for Saturday, Jan. 29, calls for partly sunny skies with a high temperature of about 26 degrees and winds 5-10 mph with gusts up to 15 mph possible
The Crosslake Chamber of Commerce will host the Crosslake WinterFest from Feb. 3-5, including the SoupFest, fireworks display and outdoor activities such as snowmobile Radar Runs.
Temperatures will be warmer this weekend, but a breeze is expected for the area.