John's Journal...


Memories at Garden River Outfitters

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 from 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.
Let’s 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: What’s the biggest buck you’ve ever seen on this land?
MO: One of my returning hunters, Billy Brooks, took a deer that weighed Click to enlarge409 pounds. Even though this buck was big, he didn’t score very well, only scoring 135, because he was on the down cycle of his life. This buck had 12 or 13 points and was really heavy- antlered and massive, but, his points were short. Up until three or four years ago, the majority of our deer were dying of old age, but in recent years, we’ve seen signs of wolves killing a lot of our older-age-class bucks. The wolves have always been here, but more of them seem to be coming down from north of here. I’m afraid this region is becoming overpopulated with wolves.

QUESTION: Can hunters take the wolves?
MO: No, only the trappers can take the wolves.

QUESTION: What’s the weather normally like here?
MO: We very rarely get below zero-degrees Fahrenheit in the month of November. Occasionally, the temperature will drop below zero, but up until 10 years ago, the November temperatures often were 30 to 40 degrees below zero. Today in November, 2005, it was only 4 degree below zero, which is generally the average. However, I always tell my hunters to dress warm.

Click to enlargeQUESTION: What’s one of your most-memorable deer taken here at the lodge?
MO: I guess that would be a deer taken by Jimmy Jurch from New Jersey, who took a deer a few years ago that scored 204 B&C. Nick Karas, a writer for Newsday in New York City, had sat in the same stand before Jimmy. Although Nick had sat in the same stand the week before and saw the same deer, he never had an opportunity to take him. When Jimmy Jurch came in the following week, he took that big buck, and we had quite a celebration. Jimmy has hunted with me for 10 years, but after he took that big, solid buck, he never got another one as big or better. John Grando from New York, took a buck that scored 188 on the B&C scale. At 3:00 p.m. on a Saturday. I was on the road taking some of the other hunters back to their hotel. When one of the hunters I was taking back heard about the big deer John took, he said, “Stop the bus, and take me back. I’m staying another week.” And he did.

Click to enlargeQUESTION: Can you say that once the hunters come here they rarely go somewhere else to hunt?
MO: Once a hunter comes to this lodge to hunt, most of our hunters return year after year to have an opportunity to hunt with us. I have two hunters at the lodge now, who have hunted with us for the past two years. Most of the time, when people come to this lodge, they want to bring their friends back with them the following year, and so we rarely have to advertise. Most of the hunters who hunt with me now, have been hunting here for 10 to 14 years.

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.

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 3