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Saskatchewan’s Boreal Bruisers

The cold morning air was silent, and the noise of the quad leaving my hunting blind slowly faded into the distance. I quickly organized gear and sat back to listen to my surroundings. Minutes later, hooves crunching snow filled my ears, growing in intensity. It was still an hour before legal hunting light, and the dark frame of a massive whitetail emerged on a trail right out my window. My heart was beating so hard I swore the deer could hear it. The buck paused for a second, looked in my direction, then turned and continued on its way.

Saskatchewan is well known for giant white-tailed deer, and the bucks of the boreal forest can sport huge antlers. I was hunting with Safari River Outfitters and staying at a beautiful lodge on Green Lake. We were hunting the November rut – and by the looks of the early traffic, bucks were on the prowl.

Dressed for the cold conditions, I prepared to sit all day. The daylight hours are pretty short in November, and deer can move at any time. My first day in the blind proved interesting with a steady parade of deer. The young bucks were chasing does continually, often running past the blind in a blur of activity. The dark frame of the big buck from early morning stuck in my mind, even when a nice buck showed up with five even tines on each antler. I looked it over carefully and decided to wait, as there was plenty of hunting time in the week.

The second day started similar to the first, with deer moving early. There were more does and fawns on the move, which meant more bucks. The view from my blind was like watching a documentary on the circle of life of the white-tailed deer. The vocalizations, posturing, displays of dominance, and endless chasing were the best show I had seen all year. The does were on high alert, and it was inevitable that a buck or two was not far behind when one showed up. 

I had seen several nice bucks by late morning when a tall, heavy antlered deer showed up through the trees without warning. My heart rate increased as I watched a huge-bodied buck saunter up the trail like it was the king of the forest. The elusive buck was scent-checking the trails, and I wasted no time finding him in my scope. There was little doubt in my mind that I was looking at the same animal that had visited me in the dark the first morning. The buck took a step, offering a broadside shot, and at the report of my rifle the deer bolted forward and crashed into the trees. 

Saskatchewan never disappoints when it comes to hunting and fishing, and well-managed hunting areas continue to fulfill the dreams of deer hunters worldwide.

 

Author: Brad Fenson

 

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