Do not Sleep on Canadian Whitetails

The far more I believed about it, the weirder it seemed. In my 15 years as assistant editor of this magazine, I’d in no way hunted whitetails in Canada. I’d bowhunted north of the border for black bears, caribou and moose, but never for whitetails.

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So, when I got an invite from Mossy Oak Director of Marketing and advertising Dustin “Shed” Whitacre to hunt deer in Saskatchewan with him in October 2015, how could I possibly say no? We would be hunting with Brandon Schreiber’s Buck Country Outfitters, one particular of Saskatchewan’s premier operations located in the tiny town of Goodsoil. This hunt would be filmed for Bowhunter Tv, so joining me was my good buddy and cameraman Bob Theim.

To get to Brandon’s location, you can fly into either Edmonton and then drive 4½ hours northeast to Goodsoil, or into Saskatoon and then drive 4½ hours northwest to camp. We ended up going the Edmonton route.

Shed and I had hunted with each other in the past, so I was not only seeking forward to my initial Canadian deer hunt but also obtaining the opportunity to share camp with a guy who is a real hoot to be around. The hunt was scheduled for October 18–25 — a time of year when the weather can be fickle.

Seasonal temps usually variety from lows in the 30s to highs in the 50s, but it is not uncommon for a sudden cold snap to plummet temperatures to close to zero. So I was advised to bring adequate clothes to cover the gamut, specifically because I would be sitting in a ground blind from dark to dark each and every day.

At initial I wasn’t really certain why I’d be sitting all day, every day, given the time of year. Then it occurred to me that baiting deer is legal in Saskatchewan, and it is the preferred strategy of hunting for most if not all of the province’s outfitters, such as Brandon’s operation. And, while deer could show up at the bait at any time of the day, peak activity at the bait web sites was generally amongst ten a.m. and 2 p.m., which is why all-day sits have been required.

This would be my 1st expertise with hunting deer over bait — alfalfa to be exact. I know a lot of hunters don’t agree with the practice, and I myself have always sort of been on the fence about it. But I’m also not 1 to argue with any approach of hunting, so lengthy as it is legal.

The number-one particular reason for Brandon’s use of bait is the vast Canadian bush his customers are hunting. How vast? Effectively, according to Brandon, he has access to around a half-million acres of Crown Land. By employing bait, Brandon and his guides are capable to draw deer in to specific areas and preserve them coming back, thus increasing his clients’ probabilities for a close, ethical shot chance at a mature buck.

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Buck Country’s lodge alone is worth the trip.

Arriving in camp on October 18, I was right away blown away by the accommodations. The lodge is absolutely nothing quick of spectacular, and it speedily became apparent that Brandon and his great crew of guides and cooks (do not get me began on the culinary abilities displayed by Brandon’s new bride, Amanda, and his partner Dean Kuypers’ wife, Janda, during my stay there) operate collectively like a effectively-oiled machine to make confident everybody in camp has a excellent hunt, and a memorable encounter all the way about.

Following a great night’s sleep, we awoke Monday morning and had been treated to a amazing breakfast and a packed lunch that integrated a Thermos of homemade soup. My guide the 1st day was a young man by the name of Dub. He was a great-natured, huge-time hockey fan, and we hit it off appropriate away.

Access to bait internet sites was by means of ATV, every of which pulled a small cart. I have to say, the way Dub handled the cart-towing quad on the narrow and winding trail in the dark was quite darn impressive. On the ride in, I asked him what he knew about the bucks going to this particular bait. He told me there have been numerous very good bucks there that would meet Buck Country’s 140-inch minimum.

Then he stated, “Oh, yeah, a single more issue. There’s a 5×5 in here that, whilst he exceeds our minimum, we ask that you do not shoot him because he’s only 3½, and he’s got the possible to be one thing truly spectacular in another year or two.”

“Fair enough,” I mentioned. “Does he have any recognizable characteristics that will assist me identify him?”

“Yep…one of his brow tines is extremely brief,” Dub stated. “So if a massive 5×5 comes in, please make certain you get a appear at him from the front or rear just before you determine to let the air out of him.”

As soon as settled into the blind, we sat there in the dark for a good hour, eagerly waiting for it to get light. It had been a whilst given that I’d hunted in Northern Saskatchewan, and it is a diverse kind of quiet there — downright eerie to be completely truthful with you.

Shortly soon after sunrise, numerous does and young bucks came in to munch on the alfalfa. As this was my initial expertise with Canadian deer, I couldn’t believe just how huge-bodied they have been, and I’ve hunted deer several times in the Midwest! In reality, several of the does I saw each day produced the bucks back in my house state of Pennsylvania look modest!

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Bruce Levy’s buck is one particular of the most significant-bodied whitetails I’ve ever seen in particular person.

Modest bucks and does came in and out of the bait all through the morning and into the early afternoon, maintaining Bob and I entertained and alert. Then, for what ever purpose, the action came to a comprehensive stop for about two hours. Just as I was beginning to doze off, Bob whispered that he saw movement off to our left. There had been two bucks, and a single of them had me immediately reaching for my bow.

As both bucks slowly made their way to the alfalfa, I could see great mass and four extended tines on every single side of the bigger 1. Now I just necessary to make certain it wasn’t the mid-140s 5×5 Dub had asked me not to shoot. Just before getting into the clearing where the alfalfa had been placed, the massive buck turned his head and looked right at our blind. Drat! It was the “off-limits” buck!

Each bucks fed for far more than 20 minutes, during which time the big buck gave me lots of wonderful shot opportunities. But I’d provided my word not to shoot him, so all I could do was sit and watch him. He really came back twice a lot more that evening, as daring me to break my word.

Bob and I returned to the identical blind the subsequent day, and just like the very first day we had action all day long. And, the massive 5×5 with the quick brow tine came to the bait 4 times over the course of the day, also. But, we had yet to see any of the other mature bucks Dub had photos of on his trail camera.

To give us a change of scenery, Dub took us to a various bait website on the third day. Just before we hopped on the ATV for the extended ride by means of the bush to the bait, Dub gave us the skinny on the region.

“For starters, you are in tight to the bait — like 17 yards tight — and you will not get considerably footage of deer prior to them becoming at the bait simply because it is truly thick in there, so you actually want to be stealthy with your movements,” he said. “There are a couple of great bucks in right here, and there’s also a buck in right here that, like the other bait, we ask you not to shoot because he is only 3½. You are truly going to want to shoot him also, since he has a four to 5-inch droptine off his appropriate beam…”

Shortly right after daybreak, a couple of does and fawns showed up to feed. All of a sudden the does picked their heads up, looked to my appropriate, and then bolted out of there. My initial believed was coyotes, but then Bob whispered that he could see a buck approaching via the thick brush to our proper, and it appeared to be a good buck.

Gradually, I picked up my bow and clipped onto my D-loop. When the dark-horned buck reached the bait, he turned and looked at us and, you guessed it, it was the droptine buck. This was only the third droptine buck I’d noticed in particular person in virtually 30 years of bowhunting, and it took all I had to restrain myself from shooting him as a outcome. At some point he left, and the rest of the day turned out to be slow, with only a few does and fawns observed.

Day 4 identified us at a new bait, and with a new guide — Josh Belyea — who took more than for Dub because he had to attend his grandmother’s funeral in Calgary. The bait was located in an location that Brandon said had not been hunted in a couple of years. It was a stunning spot, with excellent visibility in every direction. My only concern was that when I ranged the bait, I got a reading of 35 yards. Although that’s a shot I can make, I would have a lot preferred something in the 20 to 30-yard variety.

The only guests that day had been a handful of does and fawns, and one particular spike buck, which produced for a rather long, and at instances boring sit. Still, the area looked promising, so I asked Josh if we could go back there the subsequent day. He believed that was a very good idea, and the wind would be right for it, too. He also said he would move component of the alfalfa pile closer to the blind.

The next morning began out precisely like the earlier day, with does and fawns and the very same spike buck on the bait shortly following sunrise. As the morning progressed, a lot more does and little bucks arrived. Bob and I hoped this was a sign of very good things to come — and it was.

About 9 a.m., the deer that were feeding on the alfalfa kept searching down more than the hill behind the bait. “There’s got to be much more deer coming,” I whispered to Bob. “And judging by the way the tiny bucks are acting, I bet it’s a larger buck.”

My intuition was correct, as all of a sudden I spotted a very good set of dark-chocolate antlers moving from left to proper on the edge of the hill behind the bait. When the buck crested the hill, the rest of the deer, save one modest buck, scattered.

Reaching for my bow, I had already created the decision that I was going to shoot this buck if offered the opportunity. Ahead of feeding, the heavy-horned buck started rubbing his forehead on an overhanging limb, and then he feverishly worked a scrape below the limb.

It speedily became apparent that the buck wasn’t going to come to the closer pile of alfalfa. I ranged him at 37 yards, and as he turned broadside, I came to full draw and bracketed his chest between my 30 and 40-yard pins.

Gradually exhaling and then holding my breath, I touched off the shot and watched my Lumenok-equipped arrow streak toward his vitals. My arrow struck the buck in the shoulder, but I knew I got adequate penetration to be fatal. His mule-kick reaction confirmed this, and as he disappeared over the hill, I knew he wouldn’t go far.

When my shaking subsided, I tried to get Josh on the handheld radio he’d provided me. No response. I kept trying over the subsequent several hours to reach Josh, but to no avail. With no deer at the bait, Bob and I took it upon ourselves to recover the buck and shoot some support footage for Tv. Apparently my radio wasn’t working appropriately, as it was almost eight hours before we got a response from Josh.

With my buck loaded in Josh’s truck, we went to choose up campmate Bruce Levy, who had also shot a buck late that afternoon. When we recovered Bruce’s buck, I couldn’t stop shaking my head over the sheer size of his buck’s physique, and it took 4 of us to load the deer into the bed of Josh’s truck.

However, Shed didn’t fill his tag that week, but he saw a number of very good bucks that I most likely would have killed. He was just a tiny pickier than me. I cannot thank him enough for providing me my initial taste of whitetail hunting in Canada, and for introducing to me to Brandon and his crew, all of whom I now think about good pals.

In May 2016, I returned to Goodsoil for a spring bear hunt. But you’ll have to wait for a future issue of Bowhunter to get the complete story. Till then…

Author’s Notes: My equipment on this hunt incorporated a Hoyt Carbon Spyder, Easton FMJ arrows with Bohning Blazer Vanes and Wraps, Rage Hypodermic broadheads, Lumenoks, Spot-Hogg sight, Scott Mongoose XT release, Dead Down Wind scent-elimination items and Tink’s scents, and an Ozonics HR200. My rangefinder and binoculars were from Nikon. I wore Kenetrek boots and Cabela’s clothing in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country. To book a excellent whitetail or bear hunt with Buck Nation Outfitters, contact Brandon Schreiber at (780) 870-6510 or Brandon_schreiber@hotmail.com

Bowhunter

13 New Arrow Choices for Whitetails

Although Dwight Schuh had been kind enough to offer me a few assignments throughout his years as this magazine’s Editor, it wasn’t until I was driving home from a public-land whitetail hunt in North Dakota that my dreams of becoming a part of Bowhunter would come true. Freshly minted Editor Curt Wells was on the line, and he asked me first how the hunting had gone.

I was all too eager to relay the story of the buck that was in the back of my pickup, but Curt was calling for more than just a recap of my hunt.

He was fishing around to see if I’d be interested in taking on the Equipment Editor role. Saying yes to an every issue column in the number-one bowhunting publication didn’t require much deliberation on my part.

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What good is a quality bow without a high-quality arrow?

I grew up with Bowhunter, having been introduced to it by my father. The larger-than-life animals and stories were otherworldly to me as a youngster, who could think of few things outside of sitting in a treestand and trying to arrow a deer.

There was no greater authority in my eyes then, and after becoming a part of the publication, I can say that I’ve yet to run across a single source of bowhunting information that draws upon so many true, honest-to-god experts.

It’s not just some of the world’s best bowhunters who grace our pages, however, and that is becoming more important to me. Hardworking hunters find their bylines in this publication as well, and it’s their stories I find myself drawn to these days, because their success is the kind that any one of us could someday find.

Seeing someone with limited hunting time and limited funds come away from the woods with an animal — any animal — and an experience that makes them truly happy, is the foundation of this magazine; and if you’re paying attention, you’ll see that it’s usually one type of animal in particular — the whitetail.

Deer are the glue that binds nearly all of us together. Their availability and aptitude for making us look like silly bipeds who should stick to fast-food is what makes them so special.

Bowhunters are obsessed with whitetail deer, and we are constantly on the hunt for an edge — anything that will give us a little better chance of doing everything right.

This has spawned an entire industry that, as strange as it may seem, rests solely on our ability to run an arrow through an animal that in some ways is simply a crafty rabbit with antlers.

That’s selling a whitetail buck short, of course, because he is a heck of a lot more determined to survive than any bunny I’ve ever run across. A deer’s tenacity to stay on this side of the clouds is one of the reasons we have so many arrow options. After all, if you’re not shooting the best arrows for your setup, you’re in trouble.

The options are many, but a safe starting point for nearly everyone would be Easton’s FMJ 6MM ($ 70/half-dozen).

Whitetail Arrow 1Redo

These small-diameter arrows are designed with a 6mm carbon core and a 7075 metal jacket, which increases both durability and penetration. Choose from three spine options that offer weights anywhere from 8.8 to 10.6 gpi.

Of all of the different arrows I’ve shot over the years, the BLU RZs ($ 90/half-dozen) from Carbon Express rank very high on my favorites list.

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This is largely due to the fact that they feature some of the tightest spine and weight tolerances of any arrows on the market, meaning picking up a dozen BLU RZs is like buying match-grade ammo for your bow.

Beman’s latest, the ICS Whiteout arrows ($ 65/half-dozen), are designed with an ultra-bright, white/gray Realtree snow camo pattern to not only help you see them better in flight but also to examine spoor after you run one through a buck.

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These arrows are sold with precision-machined aluminum inserts and are 100-percent Made-in-the-USA.

Last year I carried Victory Archery’s VAP arrows into the woods, and I ended up filling quite a few whitetail tags with them. I was very impressed with their performance, which means I’m pretty stoked to shoot the new VAP TKOs ($ 95/half-dozen).

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These micro-diameter arrows use Victory’s Low Torque Technology to produce killer flight and penetration, even if you should manage to center punch a shoulder blade.

Gold Tip’s latest offering, the Kinetic Pierce ($ 150–$ 165/dozen), is an excellent choice for whitetails as well, thanks to its micro-diameter design and its weight tolerance of +/- 2 grains.

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A straightness tolerance of .006″ and the Ballistic Collar Insert System round out the highlights of these arrows, which are offered in multiple spine options.

Bloodsport’s 100-percent carbon Hunter arrows ($ 30/half-dozen) are perfect for budget-conscious whitetail junkies.

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Hunter shafts are standard diameter, and they are built with the proprietary Bloodsport Rugged Wrap construction process to ensure they hold up to the nastiest of impacts. Several options ranging from a 500 spine (6.5 gpi) to a 300 spine (9.1 gpi) are available.

For the traditional crowd, 3Rivers Archery offers a bunch of great arrows. Anchoring their lineup is the Classic ($ 70/half-dozen).

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These Port Orford Cedar shafts are hand-spined and weight-matched to within 20-grain groups per pack. Spines of 40 lbs.–45 lbs. all the way to 65 lbs.–70 lbs. are available, with each shaft sold at the full length of 32″.

If fletching your own arrows is your thing and you happen to be a traditional archery enthusiast, then it’s definitely worth your time to check out Trueflight Feathers’ new 18 Combo Packs ($ 14).

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Good for six arrows, these Combo Packs contain six Barred feathers and 12 Solid feathers. Choose from either 4″ or 5″ round or shield-back feathers, in a wide range of colors.

Gateway Feathers is another company that will help you trick-out your stickbow ammo. Their Patriot line ($ 14) is full of snazzy feather-fletching options.

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To ensure your fletching stays firmly attached to your chosen shafts, Gateway also produces G1 Glue ($ 12–$ 14). This no-drip adhesive is perfect for forming an incredibly strong bond on all wood, carbon, or aluminum shafts.

Compound shooters looking to enhance the look and performance of their arrows would do well to check out Bohning’s True Color Wrap/Vane Combo ($ 34).

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This kit includes everything you need (wraps and vanes) to finish off your ammo. Bohning has really taken their graphics to new levels this year, with such color patterns as American Flag, Blue Rusted Flame, and White Leopard.

An under-the-radar company that has been producing some quality lighted nocks and other arrow accessories for quite a while is Clean-Shot. New for this year, they’ve addressed inserts with their Lock-n-Load Precision Self-Centering Inserts ($ 11–$ 17).

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These glue-free inserts are reusable, improve arrow flight, and allow for easy broadhead indexing. This may not seem like a big deal, but an awful lot of the broadhead-tipped arrow flight issues we encounter stem from poorly seated inserts.

Lastly, to truly set up a perfect whitetail arrow, it’s always a good idea to install lighted nocks — provided they’re legal in your state. Lighted nocks are game-changers, and if you’re looking for the best and the brightest, you should look no further than Burt Coyote’s Lumenoks ($ 30/3-pack).

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The Lumenok product line has grown to meet the demands of the entire arrow industry, which means that pretty much no matter what arrows you hunt with, there is a Lumenok that will fit them perfectly. Better yet, they are also offered in several colors, are lightweight, and are capable of accepting a replacement battery.

The Nockturnal Helios ($ 35) is another lighted-nock option that also happens to sport an innovative vane design, too. I’ve spent quite a bit of time shooting Helios-outfitted arrows, and have turned into a believer.

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I’ve never had any problems with arrow flight, they are as easy as it gets to install, and they come standard with a Nockturnal lighted nock.

Process Your Own Deer

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DIY: In Pursuit of Velvet Whitetails

When I was increasing up, I could by no means recognize the articles I read about hunting early-season whitetails.

Nearly each 1 followed the identical formula, which we’ve all heard. Locate a bachelor group, watch them, hang a stand for opening weekend, sit there and kill the largest deer in the group.

Simple stuff, proper? For me it wasn’t.

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A couple of states supply OTC nonresident tags and early-enough openers to give the willing bowhunter a true chance at a velvet trophy.

In reality, no matter how many mature mid-summer whitetails I’d watch by means of my spotting scope, they never followed the script in my residence state of Minnesota. In fact, by about September 10th, they seemed to become a various animal altogether.

It wasn’t till I started traveling out of state to hunt deer just before my property-state opener that I realized that several of these articles contained more than a kernel of truth if you occurred to be hunting early sufficient.

Velvet Opportunities
Most states open far also late to even have a possibility to arrow a buck although his antlers are nevertheless fuzzy. Some states open in mid-September and depending on the exact date, may possibly offer you a few days with a possibility of catching a late a single.

I’ve observed this in my property state, and across the river in Wisconsin exactly where I hunt. I’d never plan a trip to a mid-September-opening state, nonetheless. Even if the season kicks off by the 11th or 12th, most of the bucks will be difficult-antlered.

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Exactly where early-opener whitetails will be on public land is exactly where the very best cover and food meet, which typically means river bottoms.

Other states offer you a significantly much better chance. North Dakota and Nebraska, for example, both offer nonresidents assured whitetail tags and openers early adequate to have a very good possibility of tagging a velvet buck. Travel farther west, and you will locate a handful of more states that give you a good possibility.

The great factor about the head-west technique is, at least in my opinion, western whitetails are the easiest whitetails to kill. Their more-desirable four-legged counterparts draw most of the interest, leaving the lowly whitetail largely unpressured. This modifications some throughout the rut, but is a gift during the early season when most other hunters are starry-eyed more than elk and mule deer.

The eastern hunter may possibly uncover a chance at a velvet buck in a state like Kentucky, but possibilities east of the massive river are much tougher to come by. No matter what, if you pick to choose up an OTC tag and devote a few days hunting velvet bucks, you will locate that they can be the most bowhunter friendly deer around.

Basic Hunting
The initial year I set my sights on killing a mature buck on public land, I did it in North Dakota. After glassing bucks for 4 days, I set up on one of the far more predictable deer and arrowed him the first night I hunted him. At the time, it was the easiest massive buck I’ve ever arrowed.

Because then, I’ve been back to North Dakota a couple of times, and other than occasional hunting stress or poor shooting on my component, it has been a high-opportunity hunt. I’ve killed two velvet bucks and two that had just rubbed their velvet. Each deer was arrowed whilst heading out to meals in the evening, which is a quite basic pattern to figure out.

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Even although you may have 100,000 acres to hunt early-season deer, most of them will live in a quite modest portion of that and it’s your job to locate them.

I’ve also had some genuinely good opportunities at bucks in the morning, as they left the agricultural fields and traveled back into the thicker stuff to bed. And each single time I’ve sat in a stand in North Dakota, it has been on public land. That is a massive 1 to me, since I adore the challenge of arrowing a mature buck on public land, and I really like the reality that I feel like I have a possibility to do just that where any individual can.

Exactly where They’ll Be
Because I have a tendency to hunt velvet bucks west of the Mississippi I can count on a handful of items. The very first is that most of the public land I hunt will function concentrated whitetail populations. They’ll reside exactly where the cover is and where the food is. That also tends to be in creek bottoms or river bottoms.

There may possibly be one hundred,000 acres of public land in a single area, but the whitetails will occupy a quite, really tiny portion of it. From aerial photos, you will see the very best cover is along the water, and the food that your deer are concentrating on will be effortlessly recognizable as properly. These food sources will, of course, be big agricultural fields.

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If you see a velvet-racked buck do anything today, he’ll possibly do it tomorrow. Move in and set up immediately if circumstances permit.

It is essential to remember that when the deer are walking to and from those location meals sources, they’ll also be browsing away the entire time. Some of the bucks I’ve killed in North Dakota had been browsing on sweet clover along the river even though they waited for decrease light to head out to the principal groceries.

They’ll stage where the browse is excellent, and in early September, the browse is normally fairly excellent in a lot of places. This necessitates a bit of scouting, but the good point is if you see a deer do some thing these days, he’ll most likely do it tomorrow. Move in on that buck quickly and hunt him as quickly as you can.

Conclusion
Of the mounts I’ve got on my wall, a 150-inch velvet whitetail quickly draws the most consideration from our houseguests who hunt (and some who don’t).

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When the hunting-crowd houseguests locate out he was killed on public land, they usually can’t think possibilities to kill velvet bucks of that caliber exist, but they do. There are numerous states that will sell you a tag appropriate now to give you a chance at your personal distinctive trophy.

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