About our hunts: Our guided whitetail deer hunt runs from mid October through November 15 each year.
Our whitetail hunts take place on government land in Wildlife Management Unit 11A & 12B.
Due to a couple of harsh winters and an over-population of wolves the whitetail deer population has been compromised. We are placing our Whitetail Deer hunt on hold until the population rebounds.
There are no farms or fences anywhere in sight. The area we hunt is true Northwestern Ontario wilderness - the Canadian Shield / Boreal Forest at it's finest.
Hunting pressure is minimal. The local MNR office estimates that we only harvest between 1 - 2% of our whitetail population each year versus many areas that run with a 25% - 30% harvest rate. It is well known locally by guides, hunters and biologists that many huge bucks die of old age without ever seeing a human. It sure doesn't hurt being next to Quetico Wilderness Park - which is 2000 square miles of pristine Canadian wilderness where no hunting is allowed.
The hunt itself: Our professional guides utilize a variety of different hunting techniques. Some have stands set up, some still hunt and we also offer great deer hunting action with our deer drives with hounds (see our "Deer Drives" page for info on this exciting hunt!).
Traditional Stand / Blind & Still Hunts: When booking one of our traditional (non deer drive) hunts, hunters can expect to do some walking on rugged terrain as well as stand or blind hunting. It depends on the guide and the current conditions and what they may dictate in order to get that big buck.
While guides do have some stands set up, plan to bring some portable stands and blinds as well. Scouting is ongoing, and new opportunities may present themselves at any time. Guides are prepared to rattle & grunt, but we encourage hunters to come prepared with equipment to do so as well.
Days are long. On average our hunters leave by 6:00 a.m. and are back around 7:00 p.m. Some of the guys that have been up for a week have never seen the camp in the daylight. Make sure you're comfortable & prepared.
Although WMU's 11A & 12B offers us hundreds of square miles of great deer hunting, much of the favored area is located between 15 minutes to an hour or so from the camp. Some of the more remote stands may take a little longer to reach.
Access is mainly by logging roads, then walking or 4 wheeling in a trail. Often the terrain is fresh or older cuts, swamp or sometimes big timber. As I mentioned above, it is a true wilderness hunt.
No farms, fences and very little civilization.
To enhance your opportunities to hunt, we recommend bringing a 4 wheeler (with helmet). This will allow you hundreds of square miles more land to access.
Scouting takes place all year long - tried & true locations are mixed with new spots. Logging is ongoing and opens up countless more hunting opportunities each year.
Our deer are unique in many ways. Local hunters do not "feed" or "bait" deer for hunting purposes, mainly because it does not work with whitetails in this area.
The MNR has experimented with feeding the Atikokan area whitetails, along with local sportsmen's clubs and some outfitters (including ourselves).
The deer would not eat anything you might expect them to. Different commercial deer feeds / pellets did not work, nor did apples, corn, oats or anything that deer in farmland & other areas were known to be attracted to (deer as close as an hour from us in the Fort Frances area respond very positively to feeding / baiting).
What the deer did eat in vast quantities were buds from balsam fir trees. They actually picked them out from the rest of the feed that was tried.
Our guides all have vast experience in this country & with these deer. Their personal trophy rooms are stunning and we encourage you to take full advantage of their expertise. The Northwestern Ontario whitetails are a different breed and our guides have plenty to offer when it comes to hunting them.
The deer you'll be stalking: ...are some of the biggest bucks in North America.
Our success rate seems to be around 65% - 70% with occasional exceptions. We have recently had 100% years, and while that certainly is a possibility, we encourage our hunters to look for that big buck they've been dreaming of. Most of our hunters come from all across the USA and most are from areas where the numbers of deer are staggering.
While we may not have the sheer numbers of whitetails that many of our guests have we do have very large deer. 200 - 300lb are seen & harvested every year in our hunting area, particularly during the November rut. Every year we have a number of experienced hunters who go home with the biggest buck of their lives.
We do have a very healthy population of deer (& growing), but the accessibility is an issue and like I mentioned earlier the bodies of many monster bucks are found after dying of old age. Lots never see a person. You won't see tons of deer like you may back home. There is a vast amount of wilderness that provides incredible hunting opportunities but also provides endless cover for timid bucks.
We do see some great racks each year. Each year there are a number of 140 class racks with some up to 160, 170 +. There have been some amazing non-typicals shot as well. The racks on the bucks in our area are well known for having heavy mass and are darker in color. I was recently at a taxidermist near Cobourg Ontario (about 1100 miles from us in Atikokan) and when the taxidermist heard I was from Atikokan, the first thing he said was "Atikokan - big bucks!" . He showed me a number of great racks from the Atikokan & Thunder Bay areas compared to others frokm many other areas & ours were distinctly darker.
Due to the size of our deer, the ratio of body size to rack size can be very deceiving. We often get bucks that are very large, but have smaller racks because they are still young. Hunters not used to these large deer automatically assume the buck is much older than it is.
The last couple of seasons we have seen a lot of 3 ½ - 4 ½ year old bucks. There have been some older monsters taken & lots of smaller, younger bucks seen ensuring great hunting in future years.
Some Things You should Know:
· Dress warm and in layers. Although some years are much warmer, you can usually expect some really nasty weather including snow, sleet, rain and temperatures below freezing.
· Guides recommend rifles to be sighted in at about 100 yards. .308 or better is recommended. For hunters doing the drive with hounds we recommend a shorter barrel with open sights ( 30 / 30 is ideal).
· Non-Resident Firearm Declaration Forms are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 1-800-731-4000 (Canada and U.S.) or 1-506-624-5380 (other countries) and from all Customs offices across Canada. Visit the RCMP web site for more information
Thanks for taking the time to check us out:
We're a small family run camp. We've been here since 1967, and our commitment remains to run a small camp that allows us to be personally involved with each hunt.
With milder winters and minimal hunting pressure, our area is seeing an explosion in the deer population. We're very fortunate to be located in the middle of this whitetail boom. Although Atikokan isn't as well known in hunting circles as our neighbours in Dryden, Fort Frances & the Lake of the Woods areas, many feel it's just a matter of time before the word gets out.
Then you'll be able to say..."I hunted there before it was cool".
Wherever you decide to hunt this year, have a great trip.
Hopefully we'll see ya in the woods!
· Hopefully you'll be bringing a great buck back home. If that's the case you'll need an Export Permit to do so. The fee is about $35.00 Canadian. We issue them at the camp.