John's Journal...


Garden River Basics

Click to enlargeEditor’s note: For five days, I watched white-tailed bucks around me that would score from 110 to 130 points on Boone & Crockett Scale as I sat in my stand with my black-powder gun. I saw one buck that would have weighed well over 300 pounds, and every day I had a chance to take a buck bigger than any I’d seen in my home state of Alabama. But, when you’re hunting in the land of monsters, near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in western Canada where hunters regularly take 140 and 150 B&C bucks, you don’t want to pull the trigger on a lesser buck. This week we’ll talk to some other people who have hunted with the same outfitters. The Mo of the Monsters is Maurice Heisler, known to everyone as Mo, who owns Garden River Outfitters, and has 200,000 acres of crown land, 30-miles north of Prince Albert. For 15 years, Mo has taken hunters into the bush to take the Saskatchewan monsters.

QUESTION: How do you determine where to put your stands?
MO: Lots of walking, I’ve spent many, many hours, days and months walking the bush to find the deer’s bedding and feeding areas. I try to set up my stands where each hunter can find an open spot to see and shoot at the deer as they pass by.

Click to enlargeQUESTION: Mo, you folks have some extremely-cold weather up here with –20 below zero temps while I’ve been here. I’ve been living with all my Heat Max heat packs – both large and small in various parts of my clothing. You have some of the most-unique stands I’ve ever seen, Tell me about them.
MO: We’ve created 4 x 4 platforms that are 12-feet off the ground. There is also a metal ladder allowing hunters to climb from the ground to the platform. On top of the platforms, are Ameristep portable tents with zip-open windows in the front and on both sides of the tent. These tents help keep you warm, and if it’s snowing or raining, they’ll also keep you dry.

QUESTION: What time do the hunters go out to the stands in the mornings?
MO: Breakfast is at 5 a.m., and we try to leave the lodge by 6 a.m., to get all the hunters in their stands before daylight. We pick the hunters up from their stands and head back to the lodge by dark.

Click to enlargeQUESTION: How many deer can a hunter take?
MO: Only one per year.

QUESTION: Mo, if a hunter stays on a stand more than one day, will he see the same deer?
MO: Not usually, because we’re hunting deer in the rut, so there are new bucks coming into the area all the time.

QUESTION: Mo, Why do you bait the deer?
MO: Many people think we bait to try and lure the deer to the hunters, but this isn’t the case at all. We bait to keep the does coming into our area. When the bucks are cruising, they know where to find the does.

QUESTION: What’s the best day of hunting you’ve ever had here at the lodge?
MO: A few years ago in the middle of November, six of our hunters took bucks. Four of the bucks were B&C, and two of them were over 150 B&C. That’s never happened before or since. We were just really fortunate that day.

Click to enlargeQUESTION: What do the bucks in this section of Canada usually weigh?
MO: Usually, the bucks weigh from 250 - to 400-pounds each.

For more information on Garden River Outfitters, contact Mo at (306) 978-2307, or you can write to him at Box 929, Martinsville, Saskatchewan, SOK-2TO.

You can learn more about Heat Max Products by checking out or calling Howard Communications at (573) 898-3422.

To learn more about Black Powder Products, Inc. (BPI), the makers of CVA, Winchester and New Frontier Muzzleloading guns and accessories, call (770) 449-4687, or visit



Day 1: The Mo of the Monsters
Day 2: Garden River Basics
Day 3: Memories at Garden River Outfitters
Day 4: You Can Hunt Bear Too
Day 5: Guthrie Gets a Good ‘Un


Entry 329, Day 2