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- Prostaff Member Steve Johnson
Wildwoods Outfitter is located about 3 hours north of Winnipeg, in Manitoba Canada. Wildwoods Outfitter offers hunters a true wilderness whitetail hunt... Some of these deer have never seen hunters and have no fear of humans and during my hunt I experienced this first hand as you'll see in the video below.
Date: November 5th - November 12th 2011
Hunt: Whitetail and Wolf
2 weeks prior to our arrival a "Burn Ban" was issued for the entire area we were hunting. This limited us to hunting from the Wildwood Lodge instead of the wall tent camp as we had planned. The lodge was constructed in a metal building on the farm. It had a nice sitting area complete with couches, large flat screen TV and even satellite to watch the games! The lodge has a single bathroom which wasn't an issue even with the 4 hunters in camp. The kitchen was stocked full of snacks and sodas and just about anything you could ask for. The bedroom consisted of one large room with multiple bunk beds and a warm sleeping bag on top of clean sheets! Overall the lodge is all you could ask for in a wilderness hunt. It is not the fanciest place I've ever stayed but it was clean, warm and more than inviting after a long day on stand.
Meals were prepared by the head guide most days. Breakfast was served hot upon waking and consisted of eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, toast or some combination of those every morning. Since our hunts lasted all day, lunch consisted of sandwiches and snacks that we packed out with us every day.
Dinner was served shortly after arrival back to camp in the evening and ranged from steaks and pork chops, to fresh walleye. On top of Gage (owner) and Tommy's (head guide) cooking, Chelsea's (Gage's wife) deserts were a welcome treat every night. She seemed to stop by just about the time dinner was wrapping up with some kind of treat that smelled too good to pass on even if you were already stuffed. Needless to say I didn't lose any weight while I was in this camp!
On this hunt we had the help of the owner, Gage and two guides, Tommy and Shane. Gage made most of the plans for the days hunt as far as which stands we were going to hunt. Tommy and Shane were good about getting the group to the stands and making sure we were setup and comfortable for our extended sits. The guides took care of the dressing, skinning and preparation of the animals we harvested. They also hung out each evening and enjoyed the conversations and were generally engaged in every aspect of the hunt.
This whitetail hunt was to last for 5 full days of hunting. The mornings started early and we hunted all day most days. The first few days we saw many deer during each seat but not the monster bucks we were hoping to catch cruising. I averaged seeing about 12 deer per day during my 5 days afield. Up there it's important to sit in the stand as much as possible because the deer seem to move all hours of the day and especially mid-day. There were lots of young bucks cruising throughout the day and bumping any doe they ran into but it didn't seem like the rut had really caught fire yet.
During my hunt I saw quite a few two and a half year old bucks and a couple up and comers I would love to run into in a couple years. Deer seemed to be moving and it seemed it was only a matter of time before the right buck came cruising through. Every hunter in camp came home with similar stories each evening, lots of young bucks cruising but not quite the bucks we had come to hunt.
On Thursday morning I found myself perched in a box blind overlooking a slew waiting for deer to cross. It wasn't long before a doe strolled across the slew and into the woods on the other side. Shortly after that what I believe to be a year and half old 8 point came by following the same trail. This buck has HUGE potential, he is a stud of a young buck and in a few years he will be a true monster I'm sure. About lunch time I talked to Gage and we decided I should move because the afternoon movement at this particular stand was slow. Gage showed up on the rhino shortly after lunch and we rode over to another stand he thought had potential for the afternoon sit.
Not long after the rhino pulled out I had 3 does come running across the slew and I thought for sure the buck I had been dreaming of would be closely following their trail, however nothing. Not sure what they were doing or why, but I never saw any reason for them to be running. None the less, they moved across the opening and into the stand of small pines where they settled down and began to feed.
I was perched in a tripod stand in what I would call in the "Wide Open" if I was hunting at home in Maryland. As the deer fed towards me I thought for sure they would see me sitting in the stand and bust out of there. As you can see in the video below, the deer walked to within 5ft of the leg on that tripod stand, they were directly downwind of me and clearly knew I was there. This is a testament to the lack of pressure that Wildwoods Outfitter puts on these deer. They walked by, looked at me, smelled me so close I could see eyelashes and never once spooked!
As they fed past me, I turned to watch them go behind me when I heard the soft grunt of a buck. By this time they had moved far enough away I felt comfortable getting out my grunt call. I hit the grunt a few times and immediately heard a much louder grunt in the trees to my left. It wasn't long when the mainframe 10 point stepped into view and with a quick glance through my binoculars I knew this was the shooter I was looking for. I raised the muzzleloader and got a solid rest for the 70 yard shot and the buck stumbled 20 yards. Below is a picture of a great Canadian buck taken with Wildwoods Outfitter!
As the trip came to an end Friday at sunset, we had 2 guys of 4 tagged out and another with a great story of seeing the biggest buck he's ever seen in the wild. That buck got within 70 yards of him but never offered a shot. He ended up seeing the buck twice during our trip but just couldn't seal the deal on him. This hunt is not guaranteed but Wildwoods Outfitter has a great success rate for scoring on a Giant Canadian Whitetail.
Overall I think Gage and his crew do an awesome job of taking care of you while in camp, putting you on deer and making sure you have a great hunt. They have everything needed to make getting in and out of the woods comfortable even if some of the stands are an hour ride in the Rhino's. The food is great and they are great people that truly want to make sure you have the hunt you dreamed of. All 4 hunters who hunted with me, included myself are booked again for next year and I'm looking forward to it already!
Check them out online at Wildwoods Outfitter