Anticosti Island has long been a big draw for whitetail hunters. With only a little over 3000 square miles and more than 160,000 deer freely roaming the island, this island is a hunter’s mecca.
Dale and I had the opportunity to travel there the fall of 2011. You are limited to only 70 pounds of clothing and gear, which makes packing a bit difficult. We arrived on the island in a downpour of rain, making us wish our rain gear was on our backs and not in our bags. We were met by a school bus, and transported to the lodge that would be our home for the next week. There were 5 other hunter’s besides us, 4 were longtime friends and longtime hunters on this island, and a Canadian who was paired with Dale and me. Martin was extremely easy to get along with and we had a great time together. Christian was assigned as our guide, which was also a good fit!
The first morning I got to hunt alongside Christian, while Dale and Martin hunted on their own. We must have seen 50-75 deer that morning. Putting a stalk on several nice bucks, but with 100-150 eyes on you, it is not as easy as you would think. That evening I was on my own. At home I mainly hunt stands, so the spot and stalk was not what I was comfortable with. I found a stand of pine trees that were on a shelf about 75 yards above a river. I waited while 2 doe to come out to feed, and waited, and waited. I could have shot either of these doe many times during that hunt, but I wanted their boyfriend. Right before dusk, he came out. I let him settle in feeding with the does, which put him about 80 yards from me. Finally he gave me the shot position I was waiting for, and I squeezed the trigger. I watched as he crossed the river, and then lost sight of him in the tall grass.
Since my guide and Dale would not be back for another hour, and the light was fading fast, I decided to go looking for him. Finding the blood trail was easy, until I got to the river. I marked the last location with orange marking tape and crossed the shallow water. I looked up and down for 10-15 yards before I finally found the blood on some tall weeds. I had to cross the river a second time, before I found him buried in the river muck. He must have died in mid leap and buried himself up to his chest. I couldn’t even see any of the antlers. I quickly dug enough muck off of him to get his head out, and was thrilled to see my nice big 8 point in the velvet. Other than digging him out, I could not move him at all. After marking his spot with orange tape and with my GPS, I headed back up to the road to wait for Christian. After a lot of dragging up the face of the shelf we finally got the buck to the quad. When we got back to camp, several other deer had been shot, but mine dwarfed them!
The next couple of days were in the 80’s. The deer were not moving and the hunters were moving slowly. We were all hunting hard, but it just wasn’t happening. It took the rest of the week for our tags to all be filled. I took a doe the last day, a perfect broadside shot at 20 yards. She fell right where she had stood. That last day our group took a buck, a doe, a salmon and a whale bone. Dale had been hunting the ocean side and found the remains of a whale. That had to be the coolest find all week.
Our group of 7 filled all 14 of our tags, and had a lot of fun doing it. I look forward to returning to the island to hunt with our new friends again.
Photo Credit: Diane Hassinger
From the archives of Huntingmotherearth.com http://huntingmotherearth.com/?s=anticosti