John's Journal... Entry 69, Day 1
Where Does Whitetail Outfitters Hunt
EDITOR'S NOTE: "I finally did it," Charlie Tobias said. "I got that deer of a lifetime." This week you'll meet Charlie and several other deer hunters who have taken the bucks of their lifetimes while extreme whitetail hunting this year in Manitoba with Whitetail Outfitters.
On this my first trip to Manitoba to hunt wilderness whitetails, I quickly learned that wilderness was where we were. We never saw a road, another hunter or any other reminders of civilization in the area where we hunted. I never even spotted an airplane flying over the place where I hunted.
I had as my guide Wyman Sangster, a retired member of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (Mounties). He was as tough as boot leather, friendly as your pastor, strong as a young ox and thought like a deer. He hailed from Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada, and had hunted and patrolled the wilderness in this region for many years.
"The hunt by Whitetail Outfitters takes place in the North Interlake region of Manitoba, between Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba," Sangster said. "Our camp is located about a quarter of a mile off the west bank of Lake Winnipeg. This wilderness area, which was burned over in 1989, has no human population but has a young, big-deer population in this 1200-square miles. The three hunters in our camp this week have 200-square miles to hunt."
When I asked Sangster what made the deer in this section of Canada so big, Sangster explained that, "The severe winters, the abundance of forage, the thickness of the cover and the lack of hunter pressure breed big bucks. Since the deer in this region have plenty of food, they don't move much. To find them, hunters must scout a lot and look for thick bedding areas of willow or spruce next to open spots where the deer can feed. Our average 10- or 12-point buck will weigh from 210 to 265 pounds each, but we see and take many deer that weigh more than 300 pounds."
The trip into your hunting camp involves a true adventure. You can spend two hours trying to go 6 miles on snowmobiles and ATVs to get to your hunting site. The temperature will range from 32 degrees to -20 degrees, and you often will spend 12 hours at a time in one tree stand. However, the wait and the severe weather will prove well worth the trip when you take one of the monster bucks that you'll see this week. So, let's get on with the week, and let the hunters tell their stories."
"On the second day of the hunt, I was in the stand before daylight after getting up from a warm bed and enjoying a good, hot breakfast. At 8:00 a.m., I saw a doe and a small 8 point walk right under my tree stand. I'd have shot that 8 point in my home state of Pennsylvania, but up here in Manitoba I knew I was looking for a bigger deer. At 9:30 a.m., three does came within easy range of my stand. Then at noon I saw three more does.
"At 12:45 p.m., a doe ran in front of my stand, and I could hear a buck grunting behind her. As the buck moved from my left to my right, I saw his huge antlers 75 yards from my stand. When I spotted those antlers, I knew he had to be the biggest buck I'd ever had the opportunity to take. While the buck ran through the brush, chasing the doe, I looked for an opening. Once the buck ran through the opening I fired. I saw the buck hunch up and knew that I'd hit him. But he kept going. The second time I shot, the buck went down and came up again. Finally, I put him down.
"I got out of the tree and started walking toward my downed buck. I could see his big beams coming out of the snow and prayed that the other side of his rack was as big as the side I could see. When I finally got to the deer and pulled his head up, I almost started crying I was so proud and excited. I thought to myself, 'I finally did it. I got the deer of my lifetime.' I'd been searching for this buck all my life. The buck scored 140 points Boone & Crockett.
"I would recommend this hunt for a black-powder hunter, a bowhunter or a gun hunter. The trip with Whitetail Outfitters was both an adventure and the hunt of a lifetime. I took my biggest buck ever. You can bet I'll try to go back."
If you're looking for the deer of a lifetime and an adventure you'll never forget, contact Whitetail Outfitters, owners Doug Grantham and John Nixon, at Box 1052, Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada ROC 220; call toll-free (888) 398-3459; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit the website www.whitetailoutfitters.ca. Whitetail Outfitters' hunting dates and costs for 2001 include: archery -- 10/29 - 11/10, $2200 US; muzzleloader -- 10/29 -- 11/10, $2200 US; rifle -- 11/12 - 11/24, $2400 US. Canadian government licenses and fees cost $125 US for hunting, including archery, muzzleloading and/or rifle.
Tomorrow: What's Hunting With Whitetail Outfitters Like