Updated 09/25/2012
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15 Point Non-Typical Whitetail

Bear 1

Bear 2

15 Point

View from Treestand

15 Point Non-Typical Whitetail

     In late August, I made the 15-hour drive from Seattle to Grand Prairie, Alberta, to spend a week trying to take a large Whitetail buck with my traditional archery gear.  My friend and outfitter was Lowell Davis (Alpine Outfitters), and I had previously spent a week with him in 2009 trying (unsuccessfully) to take a wolf over bait.  Though Whitetail bucks can be almost as wary as wolves, they are not nearly so nocturnal and thus can be more easily outsmarted.  

     The night I arrived at Lowell's home, he couldn't wait to show me numerous trail-cam photos of a dandy Non-Typical buck, all in velvet, which had been pretty regularly visiting a little field of turnips Lowell had planted — completely surrounded by woodland.  In one corner of that field, stood a box-blind on the ground he'd built three years earlier.  In the middle of the first day of hunting, Lowell took me in there to show me the set-up, and with a staple-gun we stretched Saran-wrap tightly over all three shooting windows.  On the backside was a door which closed tightly also, and once ensconced inside I knew my scent could not drift out into the field.  The evening sit was thought to be best, and I proceeded to spend the next three afternoon/evenings inside that blind.  Five hours at a crack.   I managed to photograph several nice bucks, but the one we were hoping for never showed himself.

     On the fourth morning of the hunt, I snuck into the turnip-patch blind in the pre-dawn murkiness, via a skinny, backdoor forest lane.  About 200 yards short of my destination, I noticed a large dark blob up ahead of me — traveling the same lane, but coming my way.  Since I had seen a massive, boar Grizzly on the second morning of the hunt just at daybreak, my heart leapt into my mouth.  I slowly nocked an arrow and froze.  Once the distance between us had shrunk to less than 50 yards, I decided to force the issue, so the bear could quietly depart before "the macho factor" had a chance to come into play.  "GO ON, BEAR!  GET OUT OF HERE!" I shouted.  In the deep shadows, I saw the dark silhouette stop, lift its head, freeze for ten seconds, then turn and shuffle off into the brush.

     Needless to say, the turnip patch was empty when I got there, but then I had hoped it would be, anyway.  Closing myself quietly inside the blind, I settled down for a four-hour sit.  Mid-morning brought several does and fawns out to feed in front of me, but no bucks were to be seen.  After a big midday meal and a two-hour snooze, Lowell took me down to a tree he wanted me to sit in till dark.  Using the Viper climbing Tree-Stand he provided me, I elevated myself about 20 feet off the ground in a big poplar and settled in to await whatever might come my way.  The first ferocious visitor, ushered in by violent winds, was an absolute downpour— backlit by brilliant, unfiltered sunshine.  Before long the liquid diamonds turned to painful hailstones, and then — just as suddenly — it was over.  No more wind, no more rain; instead, total tranquility.  

     My tree sat on the edge of a giant pea-vine field.  Twenty yards away was the forest lane coming out from the turnip patch.  Twenty-seven yards away, across one neck of the pea-vine field, was a small pond, freshly refilled with new moisture.  A good hour or more passed.  Then, all of a sudden, a very large Black Bear materialized out of nowhere, and, by the time I could extract my camera from the daypack hanging next to me, the bruin had already slaked his thirst.  I realized as soon as I saw him that this was undoubtedly the same animal I had shooed away in the pre-dawn shadows.  Not a Grizzly, after all, but a possible record-book Blackie.  About an hour after he ambled off, I noticed two bucks about to exit the turnip-patch lane into the field below me.  A quick glance through my binos told me that the lead buck was the big one who'd gone missing for four days.  During his disappearing act, however, he had become totally hard-horned.  Even absent the velvet sheathing, his 15 distinctive points made it impossible not to recognize him immediately!  

      As things were turning out, I had almost no time to get my act together.  The two bucks were not stopping to feed but proceeded to pass right under my stand.  By the time I could remove my bow from its hook and come to full draw, the big boy was already at 11 yards and starting to quarter away.  Somehow I got my vocal cords to emit a sharp, cow-elk bleat, and my prize stopped dead in his tracks, looking up.  The arrow was away instantly.   A quick death-run of perhaps 110 yards, through the thickest of brush, took him almost back to the cloistered turnip field.  Though I didn't see him go down, I knew he wouldn't last long, so I texted Lowell on my i-Phone about the exciting turn of events.  Before long he arrived on the scene, and after giving it 30 minutes or so, we began the tracking job.  Darkness was not far away.  Skimpy for the first 30 yards, the spoor increased rapidly after that, and soon the handsome buck was ours to take in hand and admire.  Eighteen points in all, fifteen of them scoreable.  By far the nicest Whitetail I've ever been privileged to harvest — with any bow!
Dennis Dunn




Dedicated to Wildlife Conservation, Education, Humanitarian Efforts and Protecting our Hunting Heritage