Why do I say this? Because it’s truly an untouched, unspoiled wilderness that boasts an amazing whitetail population. Every deer hunter knows that far beyond skill and gear to harvest a big buck you have to have them in your woods to start with. They key to seeing big mature whitetails grow is lack of pressure. Sunset Country around Kenora, Ontario is full of giant tracts of public land, so vast that there are many places that have never seen a human and many deer that have never seen a human.
The big woods whitetails are magical, they are not pressured by farming or people, they move in daylight. They act like unpressured animals. The age structure is proper where you have young bucks, mature bucks, post mature bucks and proper buck to doe ratios. The rut is more active and the natural habits of deer happen so naturally. That all speaks to a healthy herd.
What does all this mean, it means great hunting. This year I hunted November with Jeff Gustafson of Jeff Gustafson Outdoors. The hunt was located just west of Kenora and an hour from the Manitoba border.
I must admit, Jeff had done months of work prior to my arrival. Years would likely be more accurate. He had grown up in this country and through trial and error and nothing short of miles on boots found what valleys, timber and swamp systems constantly held deer. Before my arrival he had scouted hard and was able to share scouting camera pictures of deer in different areas, sign of deer and give his best opinion of where I should sit and what caliber of deer I could reasonably expect to hold out for.
My tag was buck only and personally I like to see young bucks be passed to reach maturity for the health of the herd. Jeff knew I was after a mature buck and together came up with the strategy to up my odds on one. We decided I would do all day sits in one location. When hunting big mature deer in any part of the world you need the stars to line up to see one, so sitting all day put the odds a little heavier in my favor.
Day one we were in before the sun came up, nestled into a ground blind with a comfortable chair, thermos full of hot chocolate and heavy lunch. The wind was in our face, we were at the base of a ridge so deer would funnel by us and the lake further below. The first stick cracked an hour into our sit and a one antlered 1.5 year old buck emerged from the thick timber. He was beautiful, this pattern continued all day, we seen 6 different bucks, 1 doe and fawn. The oldest buck was encountered was 2.5 years old. We watched deer all through the day and the closest walked by our blind at 8 yards.