Ok, anyone expecting a loridr type of story can stop reading now. I wasn't born with that kind of talent for writing, i'm more the jack friday type...just the facts ma'am. I got invited on this hunt in sept by a friend after another hunter had to back out, and as dumb as it sounds i really knew almost nothing about how we were going to hunt, but my friend had bear hunted with this outfitter and said he was top notch and did what he said he would without fail.
We left here last saturday and drove to east central saskatchewan, took 32 hours, partly due to pretty snowey roads in mich, wisc, and minn that ate up alot of time. Got there got our liscences and got settled in. Our outfitter has his basement remodeled to accomadate deer hunters, and has a bear and fishing camp further north. We ate with him and his guide and wife, great meals, no complaints. After dinner the first nite he went over some things with us about the hunt. Last weeks group of 4 hunters shot two 150" bucks, a 140", and a 120", i'm thinking that sounds good. He tells us we will be hunting over bait, which i thought didn't sound so great. We'll sit in small box blinds about 100 to 150 yds off the baits, in an hour before daylite, hunt till end of legal time. Ok, the high monday was supposed to be 5 degrees farienheit, around -10 in the morning, i gotta admit i was a little worried about that. I had bought a set of arctic sheild boot blankets, an artic sheild parka, and an artic sheild body suit which is like one of those body heater suits but $200 cheaper.
Anyway, monday morning we left the house at 5 am, it was -9 with about 6 inches of week old snow, and drove about 20 minutes to where we were hunting. Dropped of the first guy about a mile from the road, second guy another mile in, the drove in about another half mile. Got the 4 wheeler unloaded, grabbed my stuff and away we go for about a 20 minute ride to my stand. We stop and i get off, he tells me follow this logging road for 400 yds and you'll see your blind/shanty. Ok. Found it got in, snow on the floor squeeking and every move made some kind of noise in there. Got sat down, put my boot blankets on with a handwarmer in each one. Wiggled the chair in so it mostly quit sqeaking, loaded my .270 and waited for legal time and some daylite. I was in the woods and my bait was 130 yds down the logging road i walked in on, heavy woods on both sides.
It's pretty dark at 6:22 in a wooden box in the woods so i took a little nap. Woke up at 7:04 and i could see a deer feeding on the road, i assumed at the bait. After a little while it starts walking up the road twoards my shanty and it's getting light enough i can tell it's a doe. As it's getting close to my shanty another deer lands on the bait like it was shot out of a cannon, scared the crap out of me. After it gets good daylite i realize theres a fence along the logging road and any deer coming from my right have to jump that fence and it's to thick to see them coming so it looks like they're just falling out of the sky. The deer on the bait is a buck i can see his rack out past his ears against the snow thru my binoculars, but it's still pretty dark and it's 15 minutes till shooting time, 7:32. He doesn't eat but he also walks up the road twoards my shanty then wanders into the woods to my left. A few minutes later he passes close to my shanty and i can see he's about a 130" ten.
Didn't see another deer till about 11 when i see legs moving thru the trees and a deer walks out near the bait. I put the glasses on him and i see...
spikes. This buck also ignores the bait, sniffs around and follows the does track from earlier that morning and cuts into the woods near my shanty. The shanty is 4'x4' with a 12"tall by 24" wide window facing the bait, and a 12" square window on each side, all windows at eye level while seated.
About 1 oclock i see a deer just inside the woods to my right along the fence, 20 yds in front of the stand, heading for the bait. She disappears for a few minutes the slides out under the fence 20 yds from the bait. She eats for a couple minutes the looks into the woods to my left, then vaults over the fence. Buck coming i'm guessing so i get my gun pointed at the bait just as another deer appesrs there, but i can't see horns. Look thru the scope and he's a nice yearling 8, about 12" wide with a dark rack. He follows the doe over the fence and chases her back across the logging road a couple times.
By this time i'm starting to notice the bucks aren't touching the bait, simply checking it for does. An hour later another doe follows the same path as the previous one, goes to the bait but she's too nervous to feed. After a few minutes she looks into the woods and takes off, i get my gun up and pointed down the road. A deer appears in mid air and lands on the bait from the fence side, looks around the starts walking around sniffing the ground. Another nice young 8 point, dark rack but light at the top of the points. Another deer pops out from the left about 30 yds closer than the first and i see rack with my naked eye and he's definatly bigger. I get him in the scope and he's about a 16" wide 8, but his right beam is broken off right past the g2. Both bucks wander around for a minute, then the doe appears back at the bait. Ok, big chase is on instantly and they run off and disappear to my right. Thats the last deer i see monday.
Even with the cold temps i had no trouble staying warm. Those boot blankets and parka worked so well in never used my body suit. The high monday was 7 and i really never even got what i'd call chilled much less cold. I'm not usually a big beleiver in the latest and greatest gear to keep me warm, but that arctic sheild stuff made me a beleiver.
Ok, day 2, two does on the bait at daylite. About legal shooting time a small buck flies in from the right and everyones running around. Another bigger buck joins in and it's constant choas for about an hour. Quiet til about noon when a decent 5 on right 9 point appears near the bait. Again i'm sure it's a buck but cannot see antlers without my scope cus they're so dark. Probably a 120" buck, not interested in the bait and wamders off down the road on the far side of the bait the loops back past my shanty to my right. At about 2:30 i decide i'm going to stand for a minute to stretch my legs. I look put my left side window first, then the right and there a really big buck already turning to run 20 yds from my shanty. One jump and he's behind a blowdown and gone and i want to kick myself in the nads for being careless and letting my guard down. Last deer i saw tuesday.
One of the other guys had shot a buck but i wasn't down. We came back after dinner and jumped him so we decided to wait till morning to go after him.
Day 3, still cold, does on my bait at daylite. They wander off and nothing happens till about 8 when i hear a distant shot. I figure they probably caught up to the buck from last nite, great. 15 minutes later 2 more shots and i'm hoping for the best. Half hour later 2 more shots, uh oh. About that time a deer appears near the bait but walk thru it without eating so i'm sure it's a buck. Yep, a tall narrow racked no eyegards 6, fat as a steer. He leaves and a doe comes out and follows him, then i hear running. At noon a bb is on the bait eating. 2 oclock the young dark racked 8 with the light tips from monday walks past the shanty from behind down the logging road twoards the bait, looks into the woods to the right, jumps the fence and disappears. Nothing til 4 when a big deer pops out on the road the turns and goes back into the woods before i can really get a good look but i can see he's bigger for sure. I grab my grunter and call once and all i can see is his legs but he stops. I can see his legs moving as he's turning back and i get settled into my gun. As soon as he hits the road he turns like he's going right back the way he came out. Dark rack, a 10 but not huge, gotta decide right now. He's turning, almost straght away, crosshairs behind his last rib, bang he's down without a twitch.
I wait a few minutes, get out of the shanty, and walk down to him. He's dark, beautiful against the snow. I talk to him for a minute then thank god to be able to be in a place like this. I take my gun and parka back to the shanty the come back and grab him by the horns and drag him back. I move my stuff up the road a hundred yards the go back and bring him up, easy drag on that snow. I gut him and move my stuff again then go back and bring him up. I get everything moved up to where i got dropped off and it's getting pretty dark, then the four wheeler comes and we ride out to the truck. He tells me all that shooting was them running down the buck from last nite, and they did get him. Both the other hunters in our group also shot bucks, a great day for sure.
If you had asked me to draw a picture of what i thought saskatchewan would look like, it would have been almost ecactly like what i experienced there. Woods full of white birch mixed with pines, just enough feilds and clearings to be able to see and hunt, absoutly bueatiful i felt blessed to be there.
I'm not going to name our outfitter. I was invited on this hunt and wouldn't feel comfortable sharing his name due to how that might affect the guys that invited me. I will say he was not only competent as an outfitter, but a man of integrety i felt privileged to share a camp with. We were treated like guests, not clients from the monent we met him till the time we left.
For anyone interested in numbers, our biggest buck was a 160, a couple 130's, and a 120. Aside from me i don't think anone in our group knows how to score a buck or cares. We all went more for the adventure than the antlers, but at least for me next time will be different. I saw more 160+ racks than iv'e ever seen in one place, the building where we skinned and cut up our deer was literally full of them. I saw some 200+ mounts and multiple single sheds that scored 100+. And unlike some of the other places iv'e hunted, i never saw anotjer hunter or sign of another hunter, and we hunted public land. I'm already making plans to return.