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."
Charlie Tobias of Danville, Pennsylvania, took a huge whitetail that proved to be the best buck of his life. "The ride into camp was quite an adventure," Tobias reported. "We broke through the ice several times as we came across the beaver pond. I learned quickly why I'd been advised to wear hip boots. I had to keep getting off the four-wheeler to help push it out of the ice and mud.
"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
What's Hunting With Whitetail Outfitters Like
EDITOR'S NOTE: Hunting the wilderness area of Manitoba, Canada, in the Interlake region provides an opportunity for a sportsman to hunt and take the biggest deer of his lifetime. These deer receive no hunting pressure. Too, hunters have extremely high chances of bagging a monster.
According to the Whitetail Outfitters' guide Wyman Sangster, "Deer will travel along a snowmobile trail -- if it goes through thick wilderness or deep snow. The trail makes deer walking from place to place easier."
On the second day of the hunt, I bagged a really nice 8-point buck that crossed the snowmobile trail we'd made to get to my tree stand. The next morning Sangster put Myron Jorstad from Wisconsin in my same stand.
"Because friends and I had taken as many as three deer from the same stand in one day, I wasn't too concerned that a deer had already been taken from the stand that I was in," Jorstad said. "We could tell by the sign that plenty of bucks were in the area. On the first morning of my hunt, I was on a different stand where a very large 8 point walked right under my stand just before first light. When the buck reached 15 yards from my stand, I could tell he had big antlers -- but not how big. Although the buck had a huge body, he just didn't have the rack I wanted.
"On the second day of the hunt, I had two does come up under me, but they spooked and ran off. That same afternoon I got in the stand where another hunter had taken a buck, and a doe and a buck came within gun range in no time. Because snow was falling, and the wind was blowing, a flap on my tree stand blew in the breeze and spooked both of the deer. When the deer stopped about 50 yards from my stand, I could tell that the buck only had 6 points. So, I let him go on his way.
"About noon on the third day of the hunt, I spotted movement off to my right in the burn-off area. At 150 yards away, I could tell that the buck had nice antlers. I moved to the stand, looked through the scope and decided to take the shot. When the deer took the bullet, he didn't move. I fired again, and this time the buck went down. The buck was 150 yards away, and I could see his antlers without my glasses. What was unusual about this buck was that he fell right on the snowmobile trail where Wyman Sangster had turned around his snowmobile the day before. So, the buck was easy to load. We put him in the sled and brought him back to camp.
"Since this was my first guided hunt, I didn't really know what to expect. I've hunted for more than 40 years, and this hunt was one of the best hunts I've ever been on. I look forward to hunting up here again in Canada as soon as possible. The accommodations were really good: you stay warm and dry; they feed you well; and they give you a place to sleep. The only thing I missed was Monday Night Football on TV. I saw three bucks in three days and had to pass up two of them before I took the deer I bagged. Because sometimes I'd gone the whole season without seeing a buck. This hunt was great, and I can't wait to do it again."
Other Big Bucks
EDITOR'S NOTE: This week you'll meet several deer hunters who have taken the bucks of their lifetimes while extreme whitetail hunting this year in Manitoba, Canada, with Whitetail Outfitters.
Bill La Francoise from Thompkins Cove, New York, took his biggest buck of a lifetime on his trip to the wilderness of Manitoba with Whitetail Outfitters. "I've hunted with Whitetail Outfitters for 13 years. I've taken two 150 B & C bucks up here. However, the buck I took this year scored 165 points, the biggest buck I'd ever bagged.
"I found a lot of tracks in one area. Although I didn't see any scrapes or rubs, the tracks told me this was a really big buck. On the first morning with the wind blowing hard, I saw a small buck at about 8:15 a.m. The wind finally died down after about two hours. I could hear the buck coming from behind me, making plenty of noise as he came through the willows with his face into the wind. Then I could see the deer moving through the thick brush out of the corner of my eye when he was about 60 yards away. Thirty seconds after I saw the deer, I got off the shot. I'd picked an opening along the line of travel that I knew the big buck would take. When the buck stepped into that opening, I squeezed the trigger. The buck went down.
"After the shot, I had to take a minute or two to catch my breath. I knew I'd bagged a really big buck. However, I didn't realize at the time that it was the biggest buck I'd ever seen. Then as I walked to the deer, I could see his massive horns. The buck which weighed well over 300 pounds, gave me the thrill of a lifetime. I'll tell anyone to come on a hunt like this because you can't find whitetails this size anywhere else in the world. These bucks are just monstrous-sized."
Although La Francoise's hunting buddy Mike Nichols took a nice 9 point, Nichols had bagged larger deer before than this one. "I knew I'd have to leave camp early because my wife was ill. So, instead of waiting until the end of the hunt, I went ahead and took this nice buck. I have taken plenty of bucks bigger than this one while hunting with Whitetail Outfitters."
More Big Deer
EDITOR'S NOTE: This week you'll meet several deer hunters who have taken the bucks of their lifetimes while extreme whitetail hunting this year in Manitoba with Whitetail Outfitters.
Clifford Shultz of Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania, also took his buck of lifetime this year with Whitetail Outfitters. Schultz had hoped to find a buck like this 8-point one with unusually high brow tines. Shultz said, "I really loved the trip into the wilderness. The trailer containing all our luggage flipped over, a couple of the four-wheelers got stuck in the mud and ice, and we had to get off and push them out. We also went through some really deep water holes. Just the ride in was a fabulous adventure. I was really looking for a wilderness experience where I'd be back in the woods, never see another hunter from my tree stand and get the opportunity to bag a really big buck. This hunt more than met my expectations. We had five hunters in camp, and all five got their bucks. We had warm tents to sleep in, plenty of good, hot food and great guides who took care of us as though we were their best friends. I came up here needing to lose weight, and I actually gained weight.
"I bagged took my deer on the fourth day of the hunt. On the first day, I missed a buck even bigger than the one I eventually took. On Tuesday, the second day of the hunt, I spotted four big does and a really nice 8 point that just wasn't as big as the one I wanted to take. So, I let him walk off. On the third day of the hunt, the wind was really blowing. However, I was the only person in camp who didn't see a deer. At about 10:00 a.m. on the fourth day of my hunt, I saw a doe off to my left that suddenly disappeared. I decided to get out the lunch that the guide had packed for me, pour myself a cup of coffee and eat. After I put my thermos back in my pack, I looked at the same spot where I'd seen the deer earlier. When I moved to get a better look, I could see antlers. I thought that this might be the same 8-point buck I'd spotted on Tuesday. I decided to go ahead and take him. Once I squeezed the trigger, the buck began to wobble to his left and his right. But the thick brush kept me from getting off a second shot. I could see the deer with my naked eye, but I couldn't see him through my scope. Finally the deer moved out of sight. I took my time, let my pack down out of my tree and climbed down from my tree stand slowly and deliberately. I had to walk about 100 yards to where I'd shot the deer where I spotted a really good blood trail. I followed the buck's blood trail for about half an hour. I looked at my watch, remembering that my guide was coming to check on me about noon. The guide had made a rule that if anyone shot a deer and went after the deer or needed help getting a buck out, then the hunter was to leave his pack by his tree stand. Once the guide spotted the pack, he'd follow the hunter's tracks in the snow and come to help him get the deer out. I knew I needed to get back to my stand and leave my pack for the guide. I left the trail and went back to my tree stand to wait on my guide. Although I hated to quit following my deer, I felt sure the buck would be down. I knew I'd need the guide to help me get that big buck out. I headed back to my tree stand.
"As I returned to my tree stand to wait on my guide, I became more anxious. When my guide, Ryan Hack, arrived at my tree stand, he told me, 'Come on. Let's go, and I'll help you find your deer.' Since Ryan is much younger and stronger than me, I told him to go ahead. I said, 'I'll never keep up with you.' Ryan finally returned and said, 'You got your buck.'
"We had to take a chainsaw and cut our way through the brush to get to my deer with the 4-wheeler. When I finally saw the buck, I couldn't believe how massive his rack was. He was much bigger than the 8 point I'd seen on the first day and was the biggest deer I'd ever taken in my life. I love this wilderness hunting in Manitoba, and I can promise you I'll be back."
Jerry Ward of Danville, Pennsylvania stayed in the same camp as Clifford Shultz. He explained, "I came into camp on a sled and thought to myself, 'Oh, boy.' We were in beaver swamps, water, snow and ice, and I was wondering what would happen to me. At the same time, I was laughing and having the time of my life. The land was wet and sloppy, and I hoped the end of the trail would be better. Then we were really surprised when we got to our tents, which had wood sides and roofs. The tents were warm and comfortable, and the food was delicious. On the first day of the hunt, I saw two or three bucks and several does. I spotted a 4 point, a 6 point and a spike. On the second day I only saw one buck, but I watched a lot of does. On the third day, I'd seen three bucks by 10:30 a.m. -- one a spike, then a 4 point and next a 6 point. After 10:30 I didn't see a deer. The weather turned really cold, and snow began to fall. I used the heater inside the sack that covered the blind and stayed warm - - even though the weather was terrible.
"On the fourth day of the hunt, we rode the snowmobile 20 minutes into the woods and then hiked about 900 yards to get to my tree stand for that day. My guide, Ryan Hack, pointed high in the air and said, 'That's where you're going.' The tree stand was really high on a thin pine, and when the wind blew I got a ride that was definitely something to write home about. The guide assured me that a big buck would come through the area between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. That day I got so cold in that stand. I started to climb down and walk around two or three times, but I stayed in the stand instead. Then at 2:15 p.m. a big buck stepped out of the thicket. I didn't see him at first because I was grunting at a doe. As the doe walked off, I reached in my pack to get my sandwich for lunch when the buck appeared about 100 yards away. That buck had his ears laid back like he was ready to fight. As soon as I saw his rack, I got my rifle to my shoulder. When I squeezed the trigger, the big buck went down and then lifted his head. Since I thought he might try to get back up, I fired one more time. I screamed, 'Yes!' and then watched him through the scope for about 20 minutes, just to make sure he wasn't going to get up again.
"Finally I got out of the tree stand and went to the buck. I thought to myself. 'Good one. This is the buck you've waited for your whole life. He's got 14 points and weighs about 240 to 260 pounds live weight.' This buck is the biggest I've ever taken in my life. I plan to come back here and hunt again. I don't know if I can take a buck bigger than the one I've bagged this time, but the fun comes in the trying. The guides work hard, and they tell you the truth about the deer you can expect to see. The food is great; the accommodations are warm and comfortable. I will be back again."
Tarsal Glands, Premonitions and Trophy Bucks
EDITOR'S NOTE: This week you'll meet several deer hunters who have taken the bucks of their lifetimes while extreme whitetail hunting this year in Manitoba with Whitetail Outfitters.
Tom Runcle of Chetek, Wisconsin, had waited five days while hunting with Whitetail Outfitters to take his buck. "I'd bear hunted with Whitetail Outfitters for the last two years and had a dynamite hunt each time. On the first morning of my hunt, I had a 10-point buck and a 6-point buck come by me, but neither was the buck I wanted. I'd already decided that I would shoot the best deer of my life or go home with a deer tag in my pocket. On Tuesday, I sat in the same stand and didn't see any animals. On Wednesday, I was in the same stand for the morning hunt and had an 8-point buck come up to a tarsal gland I'd taken from another buck bagged on the hunt. I'd used tarsal glands to lure in deer at home but never seen it as effective as it was up here. However, because the deer was smaller than one I wanted to take, I let him pass.
"On Wednesday afternoon, I decided to hunt right behind the camp less than 200 yards away when I saw the biggest-bodied deer I'd ever seen in my life. He was huge, but his antlers weren't very big at all. He could have been an older buck on the decline. My guide, Wyman Sangster, had put out some deer lure, and the buck skirted around the lure. I'd also put out the tarsal gland I'd used the day before. When the buck smelled the tarsal gland, he stopped immediately and came right to it, putting his nose right up to it.
"On Thursday morning, I went to another stand on the side of a hill and at first light I spotted a 9-point buck coming from the north. But he left as quickly as he appeared. I never had a chance to glass him. On Friday morning, I returned to the hillside stand. I waited one-half hour and then saw a huge buck moving along the edge of the thicket. He had his nose in the air testing the wind, probably trying to smell a hot doe. I was hunting an area riddled with deer tracks. I believe the buck stopped to try and smell a doe before continuing into the opening. when the buck was only 70 yards away, I fired, and he hunched-up. So, I knew I'd hit him. As he ran out into the planted pines, I could tell I'd gotten him. Since he was circling back but still on his feet, I fired a second time. He vanished.
"I got out of my tree stand and found hair where I'd shot him the first time but no blood. I knew that my gun was properly sighted and that I'd shot for his vitals. When I didn't find any blood, I wondered if I'd hit him low. I continued following the trail and found two little spots of blood. When I got to the spot where I'd hit him the second time, I found more hair but still no blood. I walked about 10 yards over the hill and finally saw him piled-up. The buck scored about 152 points on Boone & Crockett and was the biggest buck I'd ever taken. He was huge and weighed at least 300 pounds live weight.
"We had a great camp: good food, knowledgeable guides and some of the biggest deer I'd ever seen. If a hunter wants the hunt of a lifetime, then this is the place to go. I think I'll have to fast for a week to get my weight back down to what it was before I came up here. As quick as I can get back up here, I'll be back."
Walter Appelle of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, had had a tough hunt. During this second trip with Whitetail Outfitters, he was hunting with Mike Nichols and Bill La Francoise, both friends who had hunted with him the year before. Just before the three hunters were ready to leave camp last year, Appelle had taken a nice 10-point buck at 1:30 p.m. on the last day of the hunt. Therefore Appelle had decided to come back and try for a better buck -- again with his same two friends. La Francoise had bagged a huge 165 B&C buck, and Nichols had taken a nice 9 point. Those two left camp early, leaving Appelle to finish the hunt alone.
"After four days of hunting, I'd only seen one doe and had gotten really discouraged," Appelle said.
On Thursday, I went and spent the night with Appelle before his Friday morning hunt. I told him that I had a premonition that he would take a really big buck around 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning. My heritage is Welsh, and the Welsh are known for their mysticism. So, several times I've seen my premonitions come true. Appelle half-heartedly believed that he might take a big buck on Friday.
As Appelle explained, "About 8:30 a.m., I heard some noise in the willows in front of me, but nothing stepped out of the brush. Then about 9:00 a.m., I heard more noise from the brush but still saw nothing. I had a productive scrape line off to my left that I'd hunted the year before. The year before, every day for three days, a doe would come down that scrape line. I'd hear a buck in the thicket grunting and hitting his antlers against a tree, as though he was trying to get the doe to come to him. Then after she left the scrape, the buck would circle around me and go off with her. For three days I knew that buck was there, but I never did see him. Although I could hear deer running through the thicket, I never saw any deer.
"At 9:30 a.m., I remembered what John had said about me taking my deer at that time. I looked at my watch and picked up my gun and thought, 'Maybe John's right. Perhaps I'll get a deer at 9:30.' But nothing happened. However, around 10:00 a.m., I heard a lot of noise in the thicket. At 10:15, I saw a big buck coming out of the thicket headed toward the scrape line. I brought my gun and scope up quickly but couldn't get a clear shot. When the buck was 50 yards away, I knew I couldn't let him get away. I looked for an opening, fired through it and hit him a little bit back from his shoulder. The big buck stumbled, and I fired again. The buck went down. He moved slightly, and I fired a third time. I knew that the deer had a lot of points and a really good rack. I knew that if I didn't get the deer that day I would leave the following day empty-handed.
"I took my time getting out of the tree because I was nervous and excited. Too, I only had one good arm to climb with since I was due to have rotator cup surgery on one of my arms. When I saw the deer's antlers, I said, 'Thank God I waited.' When all my friends went home and left me in camp by myself I really got discouraged. I knew I'd have to stick out the hunt if I was going to get a big buck. This buck was the biggest one I'd ever taken. When I think back in hindsight, I know John was right. My deer was in front of me at 9:30, I just couldn't see him until 10:15. What a great hunt and a great adventure I had. I'm really glad I stayed in camp after my buddies went home. I got the deer of a lifetime."