John's Journal...


Chris Lalik’s Saskatchewan Buck

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Chris Lalik, the riflescope and spotting-scope manager for Bushnell, like the rest of us came to Canada in search of his buck of a lifetime. “The reason I decided to come on this hunt was because I’d heard all the stories about the really-big whitetails in Saskatchewan, and I wanted a chance to take one.”

QUESTION: Chris, when did you take your buck?
LALIK: I took my buck on the 37th hour of being in my stand. We had hunted for four days, and I had seen the same buck four times. But every time I saw him, he was running and chasing does or running other bucks off. The first time I saw this buck, he ran through my shooting lane, so I didn’t get a real good look at him. The next time I saw him, he ran by my stand. But I didn’t feel comfortable taking a shot at a moving deer. I knew he was a big deer, however, I wasn’t sure how big he actually was. I could see the barrel shape of his rack, and I could tell he had at least 4 Click to enlargebig points on his rack. But I didn’t see all the kickers he had coming off his rack, until I actually took the shot. This buck was the color of mahogany, and I’d never seen a buck this dark in all my life.

QUESTION: Tell me about the day you took your buck.
LALIK: I got in my stand, and as soon as I could see, I had two yearling deer walk right by me. Although the outdoors was still kind of dark, I could see them with my quality optics. Next, a doe with two fawns came in, and a spike came in and chased the doe around. Then, I had two mature does come in and next a small 8 pointer. The 8 pointer and the spike were still feeding, and I noticed the two bucks were getting nervous. They started looking up the hill ahead of them. When I looked where they were looking, I saw a larger deer, and then, in a few seconds, I saw antlers. The buck came down the hill and walked through one of my shooting lanes. I could tell he had good antlers, but I wasn’t as sure about his rack. As he came into another opening, I saw quite a few stickers coming off his main beam, and I decided he was the buck I wanted. I was using Uncle Mike’s Shooting Sticks, so I had a really good rest. I braced my elbow on the side of my seat and took the shot. When I fired, the buck kicked up, his tail went way into the air, and then he ran off.

Click to enlargeI decided to wait for 30 minutes in my stand before I got down to look for my buck. I went to the spot where I thought the buck was standing when I shot, and I saw no blood or hair. We had been cautioned by Mo not to follow blood trails into the brush. So I made a big circle about 50-yards away from where I thought the buck had run. When I was about 2/3 of the way around the area I was checking, I found a spot of blood, then more blood and finally even more blood when I came to a spot where the buck had stopped. I saw that the buck had made a sharp turn to the left, so instead of going any further, I used my binoculars. I made a turn in the direction I thought the buck had gone, and I could see him lying down under a spruce tree. When I got close to the buck, I couldn’t believe how big he was. This buck was even bigger than I thought and was the biggest buck I’d ever taken in my life. Two and a half weeks before, I had taken my biggest buck ever with my bow at that time, and the deer scored 142 inches. This buck gross scored over 150 points on Boone and Crockett, had 9 points on one side and 7 points on the other side.

I took this buck with a .45-caliber CVA muzzleloader, with 3 pellets of Pyrodex and .270-grain PowerBelt bullets. Also my CVA muzzleloader had a Bushnell Elite 4200 2.510 X scope. I had my scope set on 2.5 X, because I knew these deer wouldn’t sit still very long, and I’d have to be really quick to pick them up in my scope. I’m a strong believer that you need low magnification if you’re trying to get a shot off quickly, and this time, my belief really paid off for me.

Click to enlargeAfter I found my deer, and wasn’t concerned about messing up the blood trail, I back-tracked from the deer to my stand and walked back on the trail. When I got to where the buck was standing, I did find hair and blood. I learned that the buck was standing 10 feet closer to me than I originally thought. I assumed this was why I didn’t initially find any hair and blood on the stand. I learned that sometimes you could locate your bullet after it passed through a deer if it made a good hole in the snow. I tried as hard as I could to find the bullet, however, on this hunt, I wasn’t able to find the bullet. But I certainly wish I had.

Check out to learn more about Bushnell’s top-quality optics.

To learn more about Hot Hands, call Howard Communications at (573) 898-3422 or visit

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

To learn more about BPI black-powder guns, including CVA and PowerBelt Bullets, Winchester and New Frontier go to



Day 1: Slaton’s Slugger
Day 2: The Rest of Slaton’s Story
Day 3: Chris Lalik’s Saskatchewan Buck
Day 4: Chad Schearer
Day 5: John Phillips’ Story


Entry 330, Day 3