Anyone who knows the Canada in the Rough crew knows we love whitetail deer hunting. We grew up on it and we continue to pursue these noble animals to this day, some may even say excessively. Though a lot of our deer hunting is done in Southern Ontario where we reside, when we’re looking to hunt whitetail deer out of province, we love to set our sights on Manitoba.
This past November we headed to Michitoba Outfitting, located in Manitoba’s Parkland Region, about three hours west of Winnipeg, on the edge of Riding Mountain National Park. Owners Kris and Nance Wujcik have been long time friends of ours. We started hunting waterfowl with them years ago, but this would be our first deer hunt with them. Their deer camp is beautifully decorated and has all the comforts of home including satellite TV and Wi-Fi. Not to mention all the amazing meals they cook up for you every day.
On this hunt we had the pleasure of bringing Kevin’s father Ken along with the crew. This would mark his dad’s first time hunting whitetail’s in Manitoba. The day after arriving, we all got up at five in the morning and had a filling breakfast. Due to this time of year, Kris encourages all-day sits, as the bucks are out roaming for hot does. Weather conditions can vary when hunting Manitoba’s general deer season in November. We happened to hit a very cold spell during our hunt, but we were prepared with lots of warm layers. We were driven to our spots and hiked into our stands. Kris uses a mix of ladder and hang-on stands, as well as box blinds. With no baiting allowed for deer in Manitoba, the hunting strategy Kris uses is to setup amongst multiple travel routes along agricultural fields and big bush.
For the first full day in the stands, we did not have the ideal hunting conditions to say the least. Minus twenty-one degrees Celsius and up to eighty kilometer an hour winds, made for a tough all day hunt, but even with these conditions Kevin and his dad saw lots of deer. Our second day produced much better conditions; both Ken and Kevin had many great encounters with a number of deer. On this day Ken was hunting in a box blind on a field edge that bordered large poplar woodlands. An hour into the sit he had three does in the field and they were enamored with the full body deer decoy he was using. Then movement in the bush caught his eye. As he focused on the movement, he realized it was a mature buck and he was slowly working towards Ken. The buck soon turned his attention to the does in the field. As Ken tried to get his crosshairs on the buck, the does decided they had had enough with the motionless decoy and headed off into the woods, dragging the buck with them. Unfortunately for Ken he was not able to get a clear shot at the buck and had to watch him walk away. As for Kevin, he had an eventful day perched in a tree overlooking multiple agricultural fields. He witnessed multiple deer throughout the day, many does and fawns, along with a number of younger bucks.
On the third day Ken was back hunting in his box blind. Throughout the morning he had over six different deer venture through his area, including a number of up and coming bucks. As one of the young bucks was walking along the bush line, a larger buck was spotted just inside the woods getting off of a doe he was breeding. The slightly older buck chased off the younger buck, and then continued to breed the doe inside the bush. That is until the deer quickly looked up and stared hard into the timber. Soon a large buck with a dark rack appeared. There was no mistaking that this was a mature buck and Ken didn’t waste any time settling the crosshairs on the vitals. He slowly squeezed off a shot and the buck tore off into the woods. Luckily we were all able to come help him recover his deer, and it didn’t take long to find his buck as he just went thirty yards into the trees. The joy on Ken’s face as we walked up on his beautiful ten point buck is something that will never be forgotten.
As Kevin’s hunt continued, he was having many deer encounters throughout the day, which made the long hours in the stand fly by. The day after his father harvested his buck, Kevin was hunting in a ladder stand, on a small tree line that split two fields. Not long after the sun broke the horizon, a mature buck appeared to his right. Kevin had just finished a rattling session only minutes before, and this buck was coming to check out the action. Like his father, he too was using a deer decoy, which was keeping this buck’s attention as Kevin readied his rifle. The buck, with his swollen neck and huge body, slowly made his way closer to the decoy, completely unaware of Kevin only sixty yards away. Ready to take the shot, Kevin tried a bleat to stop the buck. But the buck was so fixated on the decoy he wouldn’t stop. Eventually, after a few more attempts, he stopped and Kevin didn’t waste the opportunity. His bullet hit him perfectly, just behind the shoulder. The buck ran hard, but within fifty yards he came to a stop and slowly tipped over. The excitement Kevin had when he walked up on this mature buck is something that is hard to put into words. So many cold hours were spent hunting, and to finally put his hands on an exceptional Manitoba whitetail was a true pleasure.
The week hunting with Kris and Nance Wujcik at Michitoba Outfitting turned out to be an amazing time. We always love chasing whitetail deer in Manitoba and this week continued to show us why we do!