ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN
by John Centanni
I first heard of Bill Machura and Diamond Willow Trophy Hunts (DWTH) in the fall of
1995, when a hunting buddy of mine read an article in Big Buck Magazine about the
dedicated deer hunting of the Machura family in Alberta. For me anywhere other than
my local Louisiana-Mississippi hunging lease was something I had never considered. But
with some persistence by my buddy, he convinced me to go with him to Alberta. I
called Bill's wife, Karen, on New Year's Eve 1996 to reserve 2 spots for the upcoming
season and as luck would have it, we were in.
As most American hunters going to Alberta or some parts of Saskatchewan, we arrived
in Edmonton on the Saturday before our hunt. The Nisku Inn was and still is my choice
for the place to stay for those nights when coming and going. Sunday morning came
and I had no idea what Bill looked like, so while eating breakfast we were being alert to
try to recognize people. We were ready but did not want to be late. At some point I
saw this BIG guy walk in looking for someone. In summary our meeting was brief and
to the point, something I have learned to appreciate and count on with Bill. That was
the first time I met my friend Bill.
In the ten years that have passed since then, I have become acquainted with everyone
who represents and is associated with DWTH. This is more than just a hunt with a
guide; hunters are guests of their families, the locals, other outfitters, and all Canadians.
As a hunter I am very keen to my senses. A couple of those are taste and smell. Karen
makes sure that those senses are busy smelling and tasting a wide variety of entrees for
meals and snacks all day long.
Writing this I am about 6 weeks awawy from my next Thanksgiving week hunt. I am
looking foward to seeing all my friends and being in my home away from home and
repeating this year after year. While I certainly desire to continue the success that has
me in The 900 club as described by Jim Shockey, I have learned that hitting my target is
much more than just finding a trophy buck.
John Centanni Jr.
Outfitter's Note: John Centanni has now hunted with Diamond Willow for 10
consecutive years and has killed 10 magnificent bucks. His good fortune can be
attributed to skill (he has never missed a buck in Alberta), dedication (he never
questions his guide), preparation (he is prepared to sit for long periods in the cold), and
of course luck (8 of his 10 bucks were killed in the first 2 days of his hunt).