Q&A with deer hunter Dylan Bruursema


Courtesy Photo/Dylan Bruursema

Bruursema with the first deer he ever shot. While success has been hard to come by in recent years, Bruursema still appreciates the sport for what provides in other ways.

Sam Woiteshek, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Junior Dylan Bruursema is an avid deer hunter whose family has been hunting for generations. Dylan was able to share some of his hunting experience and wisdom with me.

Q: How long have you been hunting?

A: “Probably eight years now.”

Q: How many years have you been going up north for opening day?

A: “Five, since I’ve had the time to do it.”

Q: What do you like most about hunting?

A: “The woods itself, being able to get out in nature and get away from the real world a little bit.”

Q: What makes hunting so personal to you?

A: “I feel like it’s something that people don’t necessarily do a lot nowadays so it’s something that I can personalize myself with. It’s something that I can say that I do and it’s kind of unique.”

Q: Do you know anyone else that hunts as much as you do?

A: “Not as much as I do. I know I take a lot of time off for hunting – it’s a big part of my life. I know other people who hunt, but not necessarily to the extent that I do.”

Q: Do you consider the time spent off to be worth it?

A: “Yes.”

Q: What is your favorite hunting memory?

A: “Probably the time I shot my first [deer]. I mean it was just a doe but it was my ecstatic feeling, the look on my family’s face when it happened, I was just ecstatic. It’s the one word that comes to mind.”

Q: Describe the scene to me.

A: “It was with a bow and arrow, I think I was eleven at the time. It was a pretty cool night, November, just before dark. I was just starting to lose hope when a couple of deer come in, one of them gave me a good shot and I took it. We didn’t really know how good the shot was at first, but when we got down there was a good amount of blood. It was the first one I hit, so that was exciting in of itself. We tracked it and when we found it, it was pretty surreal.”

Q: How many yards away was it?

A: “About twenty.”

Q: Where do you hunt most often and why?

A: Manistee, Michigan. We have a cabin around there and it’s pretty decent hunting.

Q: Do you have a treestand or a trail-cam?

A: “We have multiple hunting spots we go to, depending on which way the wind is going. We have multiple trailcams out – it’s the first year we’ve used trailcams – and they’ve proven to be quite useful.”

Q: What method do you use when you hunt?

A: “The most common routine is that we don’t necessarily try to call them in all the time, we try to get between their food and their cover; where they’re going to be traveling. We just try to make it seem like we are not there at all. Be as quiet as you can, try to set up in a tree where you’re well-covered, just so when deer come in it’s not an instant red flag.”

Q: Over generations, what has changed over the years for your family about hunting?

A: “A lot. The method itself – what I just described – is completely different, because we used to hunt on the ground, then it evolved to trees over time. But, something a little more personal I suppose, for tradition perhaps. Among the family, we get all the guys up there for deer camp now and hang out in the woods.”

Q: Hunting on the ground or trees? Which one do you like better and why?

A: “Absolutely trees. It’s a lot easier to let the deer go by you. Say it’s something you don’t want to shoot – you’re looking for a buck and a doe goes by you – there’s a lot better chance it won’t notice you as it goes by. That’s the main reason. Not to mention, the view’s amazing.”