Whitetail Hunting photo
When you think about trophy whitetail hunting, Saskatchewan is always one of the first places to come to mind. Boasting the world-record typical whitetail, a buck that scored 213 5/8 Boone & Crockett points, taken near Biggar in 1993; and with innumerable entries in the record books, the province has a deserved reputation as being the place to go if you want a chance at a buck of a lifetime. When I hunted Saskatchewan in 2007, I hunted with an outfitter well north of Meadow Lake, and was fortunate enough to take this 12-pointer, one that scored 155 6/8. Jay Cassell
This past November, I decided to go back to Saskatchewan and see if I could get another trophy. After meeting up with our outfitter, Val Popov, and the other members of our hunting group at the Saskatoon Airport, we piled into the trucks and headed north. Jay Cassell
We stopped at a restaurant in Big River along the way for a quick bite. Then it was up to camp. The main road into camp is a logging truck superhighway. Jay Cassell
Here’s the main lodge at camp. That’s my cabin on the right. It was comfortable inside, with two bedrooms and a living room with a wood stove & refrigerator. Jay Cassell
Some of our group needed to sight in rifles in the morning, before heading to their stands. That’s Rusty Elrod sighting in with an Aimpoint Micro H-1 Sight. Jay Cassell
Aimpoint, I later found out, was founded in Sweden as a hunting sight company more than 30 years ago. Many people associate the company as making only military sights. They make many for the military, but that’s not all. Rumor has it the company will be coming out with a new hunting sight after the first of the year. Here’s a view through an Aimpoint Micro H-1 Sight. It’s definitely a different view from what you get in a magnified scope…but once you get used to it, you’ll be surprised at how well you can shoot with it. Jay Cassell
First morning, sunrise in front of my shooting house. Jay Cassell
Bait is legal in Saskatchewan, and all the outfitters use it. There are so few bucks per square mile here that you’d never see anything if you just sat and watched a trail. Here, a couple of does come in for some sweet peas and alfalfa. Jay Cassell
My man box, from the outside. I got in it at 6:30 a.m., in the dark; the guide picked me up at 5:30 p.m. That is one long day. I did get a lot of reading in, though, especially during midday, when no deer were in the area. Jay Cassell
The weather was unusual for Saskatchewan – no snow, and temperatures were in the 40s and even the 50s. The big breeder bucks rarely move then. And when there’s no snow, the deer don’t concentrate on the bait, as it’s easier for them to find food in the woods. Jay Cassell
One good buck did walk in front of Rusty Elrod that first morning – a 10-pointer that eventually green-scored 147 B&C. Rusty was shooting a .243. Jay Cassell
Brian Lisankie, president of Aimpoint, got an itchy trigger finger for this 6-pointer. All of these deer were well over 200 pounds. Jay Cassell
Day 2 – back to the box. I saw a lot of the same deer that came by on Day 1. I did have a decent 8-pointer come by at dark, but I passed, holding out for a Saskatchewan giant. Jay Cassell
Kristi Hinton, Rusty’s sister, got her first deer ever with this nice 8-pointer. Talk about a happy hunter. She shot it using a Remington 700 .243 topped with an Aimpoint Micro H-1 Sight. Jay Cassell
Day 3 – With other folks in camp sleeping late, I’m beginning to feel like I’m jinxed. I spent the third day at a new spot, overlooking a bait pile near a trail leading around a frozen-over beaver pond. Here’s my new house. All I saw this day was one spike. Ouch. Jay Cassell
Back in camp, Steve Giordanno came in with the second 10-pointer in camp. What a nice buck. Jay Cassell
That night, we sat around the lodge, watching hockey, then hunting shows. Jay Cassell
Ruth, the cook, made one mean moose stew that night. This lady knows her way around a kitchen! Jay Cassell
Day 4 – Last chance. Here’s the view from my third house, called the Penalty Box because it’s open to the wind. It was chilly in the morning – in the 30s. Not exactly the type of frigid cold you expect for this time of year in Saskatchewan, but I had my propane heater on. Here’s my view. Jay Cassell
I had a few bucks come by, but nothing really big. At dark, an 8-pointer did come in to the bait, but the shot just wasn’t there. My only recourse now is that I’ll have to go back to Dore Lake, which is not a bad thing. Having spent four days in a box, I only had a chance to see the lodge in the dark. Weird, but it happens. Jay Cassell
Here’s sunrise over Dore. It’s a huge lake, offering trophy pike and walleye fishing. The bear hunting in the spring is also supposed to be awesome. Jay Cassell
If you’re thinking about hunting big bucks up north, I’d definitely recommend checking out Tower. The hunting is superb, the accommodations are comfortable but rustic, and the food is first-rate. towerlodgeoutfitting.com; 615-642-1967. Jay Cassell