John's Journal...

Manitoba's Extreme Whitetails with Whitetail Outfitters

The Dad Takes a Fine Buck Too

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: Yesterday we saw the hunt through Christopher's father's eyes, what made the hunt so special for both of them, and why a wilderness hunt in extreme conditions could be the biggest adventure in both the man and the boy's lives. Today we're going to learn about the father's buck. Anthony Messina from Wallkill, New York, is 34-years old and works in his family's scrap-metal recycling business. Messina's been hunting for 22 years, and this year he took his 13-year old son, Christopher, on his first blackpowder hunt, his first hunt out of the United States and his first man hunt with no women in camp.

Question: Anthony, you took a deer too on this hunt, didn't you? Messina: Yes, I did, the morning after Christopher took his. Christopher stayed back at camp and helped Lennie, our guide, do some scouting. I really appreciated Lennie taking Christopher with him and teaching him how to find a buck, what to look for and taking him on this big adventure in a wilderness area like Christopher never has been in before. Click to enlarge

I was on the stand for a couple of hours before three does came by. Then about 30-minutes later, my buck came in, and although he wasn't as big a buck as I'd taken up here before, he was a nice buck. I watched him for about 30 minutes, before I decided to take him.

Question: Anthony, I know you've taken much-bigger bucks up here than the one you shot. Why did you decide to go ahead and take this buck? Messina: This hunt wasn't about me or my taking a big buck. The hunt was about my spending time with Christopher. I knew if I went ahead and took this buck, then I'd have more time to spend with Christopher in camp, which was why I brought him with me this year. I knew the buck was worth taking, so I took him. But I mainly wanted to be in camp when Christopher was there so we could spend as much time together as we possibly could. My dad took me hunting all the time, and those memories arClick to enlargee some of the best ones I have. Iwanted Christopher to have those same kinds of memories. I wanted to pass on the hunting legacy and the love for hunting that my dad gave me to Christopher.

Question: Anthony, have you called your dad yet and told him about Christopher taking his first buck? Messina: Not yet, but I know he'll be very excited for both Christopher and me. I know that because of this trip now I've got me a hunting buddy for life, just like my dad created a hunting buddy for life with me.

Question: Anthony, what gun were you using on this hunt? Messina: I used a .50-caliber Thompson/Center blackpowder rifle with a 300-grain bullet and a Nikon 3x9 riflescope with a bullet drop compensator.

Question: How many times have you come to Whitetail Outfitters in Manitoba to hunt, Anthony? Messina: This trip is my fourth up here. I have a group of friends who enjoy cominClick to enlargeg here to Canada and hunting. We like to hunt together and all enjoy huntingwith Whitetail Outfitters. We usually see and take big deer here in Manitoba.

Question: What did your friends think about your bringing Christopher on this hunt, Anthony? Messina: They were all excited about his coming and probably were just as excited as I was about Christopher then taking his first buck. I think that's one of the secrets of taking a boy on his first hunt - making sure the other people on the hunt are o.k with the idea that you're bringing your son. What I've learned is my friends are much like me. I'd be just as excited if any of them brought young boys with them on the hunt, as they were for me and Christopher. Christopher and I both already have decided that we're coming back to hunt with Whitetail Outfitters. This hunt has been absolutely great for both of us. I've already told Christopher that if he keeps his grades up, I'll get him out of school and take him on another of these family-enrichment trips.

For more information about hunting with Manitoba's Whitetail Outfitters, write Box 70,  Stonewall, Manitoba, R0C 2Z0, call (888) 398-3459, visit, or email

Check back each day this week for more about "Manitoba's Extreme Whitetails with Whitetail Outfitters"

Day 1: What a Whitetail Outfitters' Hunt Is Like
Day 2: He Hunts Monster Whitetails
Day 3: Christopher Muise's Rite of Passage
Day 4: Through the Eyes of a Dad
Day 5: The Dad Takes a Fine Buck Too


Entry 433, Day 5