Outdoors Guy – Memorable Hunts

- September 26th, 2012

I thought perhaps a fun way to gear up for the moose and deer season would be to recount some of my more memorable hunts, and I invite you to do the same.

Here’s one of my favs that goes way back to November, 1996- the story featured in Rack: Adventures in Trophy Hunting magazine the following year:

 

STORY OF OL’ TOOTHLESS

Our hunt camp is nestled in the woods two hours north of Montreal in Argenteuil County, Quebec. It has been a hunting and fishing camp in my family for close to 50 years and the saying, “knowing the woods like the back of your hand” would be an apt expression for our hunting gang.

Even though it is situated on public land and host to many other southern Quebec deer hunters each fall, we are still quite successful in our deer hunting endeavors. Our strategy of finding “quiet corners” to pursue whitetails has really paid off for us, as we have been rewarded with some nice bucks over the years. It seems Quebec’s increase in deer herd since the early 1990s also have helped our success. Most mature bucks harvested, albeit very few, are usually found on private land with the private landowner getting first dibs. This is why the story of “Ol’ Toothless” is even more surprising.

Alarm number 1 shatters the silence at 5 a.m. on that fateful morning. Since I was assigned the job as catalyst for the gang, I dragged myself from my bunk and began preparing my “last breakfast” for the boys, while pondering our morning destination. It being my last morning to hunt for the 1996 season and last chance at a buck, I was eager to get to the bush.

I thought maybe starting with a small chase closer to camp would be wise. This drive formed a natural funnel between two lakes, flanked by a stream on the east side. We also have taken deer on this drive, but have not pushed it recently due to the amount of hunters frequenting the area.

As the drive began, I made my way along the creek bottom and back up on the ridge, slowly moving through the funnel. Approaching the middle with a lake on either side of me, shots started sounding off across the lake. Bang! Bang! Bang! They echoed off the lake. Then two more shots followed. Sounds like the old man’s .30-.06, I thought to myself. Something told me to run to the lake’s edge to cut off any escaping deer.

Making my way to the lakeshore I ran full out, clearing spruce and balsam branches from my face. That last shot seemed a lot closer for some reason, I thought, just as I broke into the open lake edge. Wondering if my father got one, I could not believe my eyes when I arrived!

At the lake shore I watched in disbelief as the largest racked deer I had ever seen was swimming across the end of the lake, at about 80 yards. Staring for a moment in disbelief, I saw a shot hit the water about 30 feet behind the deer. I thought I had better nail him or he will be up on the other side and gone in a second. A well-placed shot in the back of his neck and the big boy was down instantly.

 I sprinted my way around the end of the lake and across an old beaver dam, like a mink jumping from log to log. The buck was lying in a few inches of water when I yanked him up on the bank, just as my father arrived. Neither of us could believe the size and beauty of this buck’s crown. He was a heavy 13-pointer with long tines and sweeping beams. As we hugged and shook hands all we could say was, “I can’t believe it!”

Diamondbuck3

The rest of the guys finally made their way to where we were with the buck. None of them could believe a deer this size existed up here. After we field dressed the deer, I examined him more closely. Having recently finished the Fish & Wildlife Biology program at SSFC, I was interested in determining the big fellow’s age. To my great surprise, I found that he had no front teeth whatsoever, and his molars and pre-molars were extremely worn. “An Ol’ Toothless One!” Harold said. We all chuckled. I estimated the old boy with his sunken face to be approx. 8.5 years old, based on dental condition. We measured the main beams at just fewer than 26 inches each, the outside spread of 23.5 inches and both G2s between 11-12 inches.

Diamondbuck1

Diamondbuck4

I subsequently had the head caped out and mounted, but it was not until I scored it myself that I knew it could be a new provincial record, for the Buckmasters Trophy Records. Under the BTR system, the inside spread measurement is not included as it is deemed to be a measure of air not antler. Rick ‘Whitetail Guru’ Poulin of Barrhaven scored the old boy officially at 141 4/8 inches BTR in the typical category and discovered that it was the new Typical Provincial Record whitetail for the Province of Quebec.

It was a day I wouldn’t soon forget and I was grateful to have shared it with my Dad.

Diamondbuck2

Categories: Hunting

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15 comments

  1. keebler says:

    Great story Jeff!

    Mine has to be the time I got “bang bang”.

    It was late in the day and 2 guys were pushing a short L shaped chunk of bush in between beaver ponds. I was at the middle, another guy was at the end.

    All of a sudden I heard the guy yell , “HEEEEYYYYYYY” so I spun to look at him. He was spinning around with his hands in the air waving and yelling Bang Bang Bang Bang to this doe who was bouncing along the pond to the other side away from us. *

    My rifle immediately went up and started to scope her, but then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw (and this image is forever burned in my brain), my buddy standing there with his back to where he had been looking, arms still in the air and then the huge body of a deer with the unmistakeable white/yellow antlers fly by him, low to the ground, hooves over the ears like a greyhound.

    Took about a nanosecond for me to leave the doe and I started to scope the buck. I was waiting for my buddy to shoot, but he didn’t. I waited what seemed like an eternity, but it was probably a half second! lol Then opening up with my 300 Savage lever. I just kept trying to lead him putting out the hail of lead.

    The buck kept running around the pond until he started up the hill right across from then he staggered and I put one between his shoulder blades.

    Turns out I missed the first shot then hit him 4 times after then the last shot.

    It was, bar none, the most insane, 5-7 seconds of my hunting experiences.

    I yelled at my buddy asking why he didn’t shoot and he said the buck was hidden by the taggies at the edge of the pond so once it got past him, he never saw it. I told him it was down.

    He knew I wanted to fill out some tags for a few guys who hadn’t gotten a deer yet that season so when the doe came to him, he wanted to push it my way. Little did he know that the buck was maybe 25 yards behind the doe.

    He’s a very experienced hunter and fully admits that it’s the dumbest thing he’s ever done and told me, “no more nice guy”. lol

    I mounted that 8 pt buck in a full sneak. That was a great year because the day before, I had shot a nice 9pt buck.

    I paid him back last year chasing a nice 8 pt to him and then that real big buck we got which broke the 30 year camp record.

  2. Eric says:

    Class act. Shot while swimming. Very sporting of you.

  3. jeff.morrison says:

    Hey Eric, I think you had better re-read the story…the buck was across the other side and up on the edge of the shore when he was taken. He was not swimming. But thanks for reading:

    “The buck was lying in a few inches of water when I yanked him up on the bank”

    Outdoorsguy

  4. Rob St Denis says:

    Eric, an animal that isn’t moving, or isn’t moving very fast is an easy more ethical kill. Why risk wounding an animal for some twisted sense of sport? hunting is about putting meat in the freezer, not about putting a notch into the ole egos bed post.

  5. chessy says:

    ERIC – Everybody Reading in Class, this is something you should do

  6. jeff.morrison says:

    Good one Chessy!

    Here’s one for all the moose hunters out there:

    http://blogs.canoe.ca/outdoorsguy/hunting/podcast-moose-hunting-on-chez-106-with-doc-and-woody/

    Outdoorsguy

  7. bob m says:

    I’ve shot a number of deer with both rifle and bow. I’ve shot 4 moose with a bow and arrow, but none with a rifle. each and every one is memorable What was my most memorable hunt ? I have to go back a lot of years, 1954 to be precise.We lived way out in the country. Hunting and trapping were a necessity to make ends meet in a family of 8 kids. Hunting was not only a way of life , it was who you were.I I remember the first time I was allowed to go hunting by myself .What did I shoot that day ? A grouse. But you know I remember every little detail.the weather the smell of the bush, the exact location, and I can still picture the bird strutting through the trees. I had become a hunter. I was contributing to my family’s welfare. I had joined the ranks of a fraternity that only other members of the group could understand. I was 12 years old !

  8. jeff.morrison says:

    Hey bob, I know exactly what you’re saying..and it was from the heart, I can tell.

    Some things you never forget, eh?

    Outdoorsguy

  9. Eric says:

    I actually did re-read the story; a few times. The line “The buck was lying in a few inches of water when I yanked him up on the bank, just as my father arrived.” doesn’t fit with the rest of the story. I was surpised to see this story in print, given it is illegal to hunt big game while they are swimming. Perhaps it wasn’t back in 1996…..

  10. jeff.morrison says:

    Eric, the lines “I thought I had better nail him or he will be up on the other side and gone in a second.” and “A well-placed shot in the back of his neck and the big boy was down instantly.” shows that the deer was on the shoreline on the other side of the lake about to take off. Pulling him from a few inches of water on the lake’s edge further shows that he was no longer swimming as he went down instantly. Kind of hard to swim in a scant few inches of water…and to say he went ‘down instantly’ implies that he had been ‘up’ previously…ie standing.

    Anyhow, for what its worth, I was there and I pulled the trigger, and can tell you with 100% certainty that the deer was not swimming when he was harvested…besides the fact that, in QC, I am quite sure it is legal to shoot an animal in the water, provided you are not using a motorized vehicle.

    If you can read French, this is only restriction involving water:

    “Il est interdit de chasser, de blesser ou de tuer volontairement un animal à l’aide d’un véhicule, d’un aéronef ou d’une embarcation motorisée”

    Outdoorsguy

  11. chessy says:

    “Il est interdit de chasser, de blesser ou de tuer volontairement un animal à l’aide d’un véhicule, d’un aéronef ou d’une embarcation motorisée”

    translation
    “It is forbidden to hunt, injure or deliberately kill an animal with a vehicle, aircraft or motorboat”

  12. jeff.morrison says:

    Actually Chess..a better translation would be..”"It is forbidden to hunt, injure or deliberately kill an animal ‘while using’ a vehicle, aircraft or motorboat”

    Outdoorsguy

  13. chessy says:

    google translate sucks lol… here how it should read.. if the hooves are off the bed of the lake in a swimming motion … its not fair game

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