My 2004 Non-Typical Whitetail Deer.
It was a drizzly Vancouver Island November morning when my dads buddy Bob showed up at my house at 6:30 in the morning to pick me up and take me with him up to Fort St. John for our annual Deer Hunt with my dad. We were in a hurry to get the 7am ferry so we could get that long drive out of the way so we could be hunting the next day.
The 13 hour drive to Fort St. John was pretty uneventful but we did spot a semi-decent 4 point mule deer outside of chetwynd in a farmers field. We stopped to have a look at the deer (it was the first of the trip) and then moved on to John. It didn’t really matter though as I was hunting whitetail because I had shot a muley buck the year prior and you are allowed only 1 mule deer every 2 years in region 7.
The year before this hunt I had worked a deal with a local landowner to hunt his private land in exchange for me building him a website and hosting it for his business. It was an offer I presented and this gentleman happily agreed. His house was the first stop I made as I pulled into John so I could say hello, let him know I had arrived and to pick up the key so I could unlock the gates to my whitetail hunting paradise.
After I had acquired the key it was off to my dads house where we quickly got settled in, and decided that we wouldn’t pressure our hunting patch just yet, instead we were going to head out to a different area that we had hunted several times before and had permission from the land owner(s).
The first night there we were seeing bucks mostly smaller whitetail bucks with a few mule deer scattered here and there. I wasn’t hunting for meat and planned on holding out for a really good whitetail buck since my first whitetail was already a great buck.
We hunted these areas for the first few days of our hunt eventually taking a very nice whitetail on
the 3rd day for our hunting partner Brad. He made a steller 150 yard shot on great 4 point (w/eyeguards) whitetail buck. Brad and I had been waiting in the field his buck came into for a bigger buck we knew was there as my dad had seen him on several occasions but when given the opportunity on this one Brad took it. This was his first whitetail.
Now that we had one whitetail down I was back onto the trail for my big buck and after hunting the same area for a total of 6 days we decided to head off and start exploring the private patch of land we had acquired to hunt. Really we just wanted to let things settle down in there because they were hauling hay and the trucks and tractors were going everywhere. The deer were a little skittish to say the least but not as skittish as you may be thinking…
The first day on the fresh hunting patch we drove around and checked the area out looking for buck sign which we found everywhere. And by the looks of it there was some really decent whiteys in the area. We did see some younger bucks that first day and passed on all. The truck and tractor were still going full bore but my dad assured me that we wouldn’t have to worry about them spooking the deer. It turns out he was right.
On our third day of hunting this area it was now the 19th of November and there was only 1 day of
deer season left. The crunch was on. We had checked our whitetail spots earlier in the morning and my dad and I were in one truck and Bob was in another. We discussed our plan of attack and my dad and I decided to work this small patch of afalfa where there was a lot of buck sign but it didn’t seem like the greatest of spots. The road they were hauling hay on ran right through the right hand side of this field and there was a truck going back and forth every 10 minutes.
Bob thought we were crazy and decided to go over the hill a little ways and hunt another field. Fine by us we thought. We found a nice little spot in the field to back the truck into, shut the engine off and just wait… Wait and see what comes out of the bush.
My dad had a feeling about this patch right from the get go. The sign was everywhere and you could see very distinct patterns they were working. The bucks were here we just needed one to make a mistake.
About a half an hour had gone by and the hay truck just went by again, I was getting frustrated as it’s 3pm and here we are sitting in a field that looks to disturbed from the hail hauling traffic I didn’t think we had any chance at a decent buck.
Boy was I wrong… The hay truck went by and not more then 1 minute later a Whitetail doe came swiftly trotting out into the field… Our first clue. “See that” my dad says… “Yeah” “That Doe came straight out into the field without even looking around first.. Whitetails don’t do that” my dad says… “There is a buck right on her ass… I guarantee it.”
I shut up and listened to the old man and we sat dead quiet as the doe started to eat. She would glance back towards the bush every few seconds and we knew that she knew there were more deer there. It was a just a matter of time.
After watching the doe for 2 or 3 minutes she seemed to relax and settle down when all of a sudden out of the bush bursts a little spike whitetail and he you can tell he’s running scared. He gets out into the field and then just stares back into the bush.
My dad is laughing at this point because you can tell by the body language of this little deer that he is in fear of his life right about now. None of the deer have even seen us and this is all unfolding 80 yards away and don’t forget the hay truck is due back in probably 3 or 4 minutes!!!
My dad “says, that little buck just had his ass kicked, your buck is right in there…” I believed him at this point and was poised for action at any time. After a minute or so that little buck slowly went to eating and would glance up every few seconds. I was looking at the Doe and little buck when my dad shouts out “There He Is, Dump’im”
I looked up to see this really dark & heavy old buck, head hung down low, trotting out of the bush, he was panting, and madder then hell that is doe had decided to run out of the bush and go eat leaving him behind. I barreled out of the truck as quietly as I could and threw a shell into my 7mm rem mag and set the scope up on the buck. He had made it about 30 yards into the field by now and as I looked at him through the scope I could see just how old and heavy he really was. I knew right away this was a good buck he was by far the heaviest deer I have shot yet. I set my sights just behind the front shoulder and and squeezed. The buck dropped in his tracks right there.
He was done so we immediately went over to him and had a look. He was a great buck! 6×4 and his horns were really, really heavy as you can see in the pictures. He didn’t score all that well but he is an awesome deer An “Old Campaigner” as my dad called him. He had obviously been fighting heavy, and his ears were torn and he even had puncture wounds on his body. I would have loved to have seen the deer fighting with him. He would have been a bruiser too.
It wasn’t 2 minutes after I shot my buck that the haytruck came back down the road, the old farmer totally amazed at what we had just done in the span of about 10 minutes. It all happened in the blink of an eye but it just goes to show that patience and experience always pays off.
I have to give credit to my guide (dad) for this one as I would have never chose this spot to hunt.
We called Bob on the radio and told him I had just a really good buck, so up the hill he came and congratulated me on my buck. We took some pictures then my dad and I loaded it into the truck to go and gut it and skin it out and Bob decided he would go over the hill again and wait for a deer on his little spot. Sure enough he got a little 3 point meat buck and another deer hunting season in region 7 had come to an end for us.
We spent the next day out at a Buffalo Ranch where bob got himself a nice yearling buffalo to bring back home for meat and then we were on our way home again.
It was an awesome trip, and my last trip with Bob as he passed away January of 2005.