I am definitely
not a writer nor a great story teller but I do love to talk about
hunting, especially whitetail deer hunting, so here is my story.
This past November I was fortunate enough to travel
to Alberta, Canada for my long awaited whitetail adventure. I was
joined by two good friends, Terry Marshall, and Dr. Bill Bryant. I have
watched dozens of videos of heavy snow, frigid temperatures and giant
bucks running around chasing does with snow on their backs and could
hardly wait to start the hunt.
We hunted with outfitter Bill Machura of Diamond
Willow Trophy Hunts out of Vilna, Alberta, which is 2 hours northeast
of Edmonton. The camp is run out of his home on his farm. The
downstairs has been converted to a relaxing game room/trophy room that
can sleep 6-8 hunters. The morning and evening meals are provided by
his wife, Karen, and were outstanding.
The first day there, a Sunday, was spent in
preparation, checking rifles, getting to know other hunters, and
talking about game plans for the week. The first hunting day brought a
lot of excitement. Generally you hunt from daylight till dark unless
you come out and tie a marker in an area predetermined by you and your
guide. The guide usually comes by and checks at 10 am, 2 pm, and then
dark. After climbing into the stand and watching my guide disappear, I
began to get comfortable for the possible long day ahead. The stand I
was in was a 14 ft ladder with a swivel seat and a shooting rail around
it. Around 10 am I caught a glimpse of a big bodied deer coming through
the bush. As it stepped out, I could tell something wasn't right. This
giant buck had broken the right beam off past the brow tine. I watched
this buck walk away. A few minutes later I thought he was returning,
but when I looked up this buck had both sides! It was only an 8 point
but was over 20 inches wide and very tall. I told myself this is the
first day and you've got to wait to get the big ones, so I watched him
Day two was also exciting as I watched two nice
bucks come to a mock scrape that I had made. The first was a 130 class
that sniffed the dominant buck lure and bolted away never to be seen.
The second buck, the largest I saw and later regretted not shooting,
was a main-framed 10 point with a 3 inch kicker. He came to the scrape
and licked the canister for nearly a minute before slowly walking away.
My guess was mid 150's but this was still just day two.
The next two days were pretty uneventful with the
snow melting away as the temperatures climbed to nearly 50 degrees. I
saw a few smaller bucks from other stands and had been on several
unsuccessful drives (bush pushes).
The fifth day was unique not for seeing deer, but a
strong front was pushing through and winds of 50-60 mph were felt most
of the day. After 10 hours of that and not seeing deer my hopes were
falling fast. I began second guessing about the deer I'd let go.
Well we were down to the last day, Saturday. I knew
chances were slim now but that front that had passed had brought the
coldest temperatures of the week. When we got up Saturday morning it
was a chilly 7 degrees. I had spent nearly 50 hours in a ladder stand
over the previous 5 days and had decided to take the first decent
racked buck I saw that morning, come in, get cleaned up and watch the
Alabama-Auburn game on the couch with a cold beverage of choice.
As it turned out that's exactly what happened.
Because I had seen nice bucks in that first stand, I decided to return
there for my last day. It must have been the only place that still had
on the ground. But now, because it wasn't fresh and was frozen, I
couldn't have made more noise tearing sheets of paper as I walked to
the stand. I was only in the stand for 30 minutes when I heard someone
or something else making all of this crunching noise. It couldn't be
deer, it was too loud. I finally caught a glimpse of a doe running and
not 50 yards behind was a nice buck. At that moment I remembered what
the outfitter Bill had told me. He had said "Don't waste your time
trying to stop these deer with a grunt. They don't pay any attention.
If you need to stop them, just yell, HEY!!" So as soon as the buck hit
the line I yelled, but he didn't stop. So again and louder I yelled
HEY! With that, he threw on the brakes just quick enough for me to get
a broadside shot, and he was off. I knew the 150 yard shot was good so
As I made the walk down to where I had last seen
him, I was relieved to find him piled up. He turned out to be a pretty
nice buck. A heavy 8 pointer which scored just over 140. As I stood
over him, and began to reflect on the weeks events, a light snow began