I’ve hunted this magnificent game animal all my life, always will. It is the most desirable hunting trophy on at least this continent, and a mature trophy buck is probably the hardest animal to put up on the wall. In fact, of all the trophy rooms I’ve been privileged to be in, regardless of the splendid collections of other species there, the big mature whitetail is almost always absent. They are such a meticulous animal, so keenly aware of their environment, with an uncanny intelligence, that hunting them becomes an education unto itself. And that is why, to be successful, the selection of your outfitter is the most important decision you’ll have to make in your quest to harvest one of these incredible animals.
I’ve hunted this great area of Lac La Biche (wildlife management unit 503) since Alberta first allocated the licenses here. I was one of the first to open a camp here when Alberta reconfigured the outfitting industry about 20 years ago, and I have to tell you, it has been wonderful. I have hunted throughout Alberta, guided through most of Alberta, and outfitted several other areas of Alberta, but I’ll retire here in this area. It is just such a great deer producing zone, with such great genetics, that I cannot imagine a better place to operate at.
When I first came here, I had decided I wanted to build a deer camp with a difference, one where we could give the client the best possible chance for success by looking after all the details that affect the hunt. I decided to pick this area of La Biche (Zone 503) because it was the fringe farmland where Alberta’s rich farmlands meet the boreal forest, giving the deer the best habitat possible. Now in this area of mixed big bush, slough bottoms, and interspersed farmlands, I have scouted around and found the best properties possible to conduct our hunts on. To increase our odds even further, I do not bring in outsiders to guide, but I hire the landowners/ranchers to guide with us. Who better to know the land, the wildlife, and their movements than the people who were born and raised here.
I feel that accommodations are just as important for a hunter as is providing a great hunt. A hunter must have a warm and comfortable lodge (with a first-class cook preparing a great meal) to return to every night. I am sure that you will agree that it is comforting to know that after a tough day of hunting when you may be cold, wet, tired, and hungry as a bear that you are able to retreat back to a warm, comfortable lodge to warm up, enjoy a good meal, and get a good night's rest. A rested hunter is an alert hunter, an alert hunter is a productive hunter, a productive hunter makes for a very happy outfitter. This is why I secure the best accommodations that I can. Our lodge is a 4000 square foot, three-storied, log home overlooking Lac La Biche lake. Three hunters share a spacious room equipped with queen size beds and its own three-piece bathroom. The rooms are quiet and private and, while most hunters retire early, you will not have to worry about trying to sleep while others are visiting late into the night in the dining room area on the lower level. This is truly a first-class facility for you to enjoy.
A lot of people contact me and ask about success rates. I look back over my records and after 25 years I see I run about 80% success. We’ve taken deer over 200 inches, more over 190, quite a few over 180, lots over 170, many over 160, numerous over 150, a few over 140, a couple over 135. I think our average runs probably at about 158 over all these years, and I think, most hunters will take a deer with us that will score at least that, and half of the hunters will take a deer that will score in excess of that, and some hunters will take a deer that will score well in excess of that. Now having said that, I have to tell you that hunter ability is the number one limiting factor in our success. We have to factor in the hunters that miss deer. The harder the hunter works the more success he is going to have. The big bucks are here, the hunter has to put in the effort. I have noticed over the years that some hunters have a bad day every day and some hunters have a great day every day. I give every hunter opportunists at great stands, I comes down to the hunter to make the most of it.
Yes, I’m sad to say that a lot of great bucks get away on us to live another day because of poor marksmanship, but this is just part of the business. A lot of deer escape for a variety of reasons, some more interesting than others. I might add, but the sad truth is mistakes just plain get made. I do know that if you do your part, and pass on lesser deer, and are diligent, given the preparation we do, and the kind of deer country we have, most hunters will have at least one good opportunity, maybe 2, at deer in excess of 160 B+C points gross. Now this isn’t a guarantee, as there are just too many variables, but it is my honest appraisal of our chances to get you a deer of this caliber. Now in these numbers please bear in mind I am a small operator. I am able to maintain this high standard because we are diligently scouting for big bucks on private lands and we have a small clientele.
We are only hosting 6 hunters per week for the 3 weeks of the November rut this give us only 18 clients for the month. So when I look at how many hunters I am putting out to how many hunters take great deer, I think I am doing pretty good. In fact, I know from being in the loop that my numbers, compared against everyone else’s, are excellent. Having said that, and ask my clients on this, excellent isn’t enough. I have clients that have hunted with me for decades. That kind of loyalty is earned. I am driven, and constantly striving to better these numbers. References available on request; we add positive changes every year, and it’ll never be enough. And that’s what keeps us on top.
All in all, I have tried to build the kind of deer camp that I would want to hunt in. I have tried to create the go-to destination for every serious whitetail deer hunter, and I know that when you get here, you will see the effort, the dedication and the perseverance that you need to give you the best chance possible to harvest this magnificent game animal. You have my word on it.
Now, I need to tell you about our hunting methods. A mature whitetail buck is an unbelievable animal. They have such superb senses and such an ability to survive that hunting them requires a lot of diligence, patience, and a strategy designed to circumvent their defenses. About the only time these deer become vulnerable is the rut, when they will begin to travel and take chances they normally wouldn’t, but outside of some serious lapses in judgment, they still keep most of their wits about them. They are still hard to sneak up on, they are still hard to push out of cover, and they still avoid open fields most of the time. However, they still need to rut, they still need to circulate through the properties, and they still need to be in the relative proximity of the does.
So, the best hunting method becomes a well-executed ambush. If we silently wait for these bucks in the vicinity of where we know the does are circulating, then the bucks will expose themselves to the shooter. It requires patience, diligence, and fortitude, but you will be rewarded with a opportunity at deer, that, number 1 will give you a reasonable chance to estimate his trophy value, and number 2, the buck will likely be undisturbed and will give you a quality shot from a good rest, allowing you to make the best shot possible. Also, throw into this that you will just flat out see so much more wildlife. You will see does feeding, traveling, undisturbed literally under the tower, and other wildlife from coyotes to lynx. This method is a true big-buck killer and represents your very best chance at a true trophy deer. Don’t worry about having enough locations to set up at. We have more than enough locations to be able to move you two or three times a day if needed.
At my own ranch, Antler Creek, which is 1000 acres of deer heaven, I have 19 towers, and I plan to add two more this year! This property backs onto hundreds of thousand's of acres of bush land. And this is just one of the properties we hunt. The guides all have their own lands and ranches and they are as equally as good at producing big bucks. In fact, throughout all the properties we hunt, we have an abundance of these towers. At last count we have well over 100 towers. Even though we have so many, we are constantly adding to adjust to the hunting conditions at hand. In fact, throughout the year we are on the lookout for new ways and places to set up our towers. Whether it’s having a bulldozer cut shooting lanes in July, planting a fall-rye crop in August or alfalfa in May, to building towers in September, scouting for sheds in April, feeding oats in January, or watching fields in October, we are constantly finding ways to improve your hunt.
When you book a hunt with me, it’s not a contract you’ve made with me; it’s a commitment I’ve made to you!
Now on this land, we have found the areas of game movement, feeding, transition, and bedding, and strategically placed shooting towers throughout the properties. Whether we hunt the alfalfa field at first or last light, the transition zone behind the feeding areas, the trails on the edge of the bedding areas, or the bottlenecks, we have a tower situated there for you. These towers vary in height, from 4 ft. to 14 ft. tall and are basically a plywood framed box measuring 4'x4' by 6.5 feet high. They have a very comfortable chair in them, usually a swivel office chair, padded, with arm rests.
The windows in them are 32” wide by 12” high, tinted Plexiglas, and fold down when it’s time to shoot. These shooting towers are ideal in that we elevate them enough to be able to see into all the “wrinkles” in the land. You have a commanding view, your scent is off the ground, and you are totally sheltered from the wind. There is a lot said about toughing out cold weather, but believe me, once you’ve got the wind beat, you’ve got it made. In these boxes, you bundle up for the cold, add a small heater we provide, and you can literally stay as long as needed to take the trophy of a lifetime.
Lac La Biche is a hamlet in Alberta, Canada, within Lac La Biche County. It is located approximately 220 kilometers (140 mi) northeast of the provincial capital of Edmonton, on the southern shore of Lac la Biche.