Captivating Island - Anticosti

Anticosti Island... If I had to use one word to explain that place, it would have to be “captivating.” I suppose I say this about a lot of the places I’ve been with Ralph, Vicki, The POSSE and Archer’s Choice Media in general, but “The Island” has a unique, “captivating” stigma about it. First of all, it’s an island, and islands are ‘captivating’ anyway. This ‘island’ is located off the Eastern seaboard of Quebec at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.  Secondly, it’s chock full of WHITETAIL DEER!  Thirdly, there are no predators on the island that pose a threat to the deer.  As a whitetail hunter, this DEFINITELY gets your blood pumping.  I have to be honest though, the whitetail, on average, are not carrying massive bone for racks. You go to ‘The Island’ for a fun, relaxing, “captivating” time to enjoy whitetail hunting the way it used to be. No pressure on antler size or score like our hunting society seems to be charmed with nowadays.

This was my third trip to the island, and my second time with a gun in hand and Freddy (The Crier) Lagos as my partner!  For those of you that know us, Freddy and I on the loose with a gun and no size restrictions can pose a hazardous situation for any thing brown, in sight, and within range of our TC!  Freddy was quick to tell me that I was in the shooter seat first and with very little argument from me, I conceded to be first.

We were guided by Stephan, Aka, “Cowboy.”  Cowboy is awesome... plain and simple.  No matter the situation or time of day, this guy is smiling and working.  I think he’s been with Sepaq Anticosti for about 16 years and long ago, he became ‘captivated’ with the island and has worked there ever since!

First day out, we were cruising down the Southern coast of the island on ATV’s as a group, looking for deer feeding on the beach or in the meadows along the coast.  Ralph, Vicki, Gille (their guide), Freddy, Cowboy, and I were all in the crew.  I recognized the area since I had filmed Gregory Cloutier of Quebec Tourism two years before in the very same place.  As we rode through the gorgeous landscape, I reflected back on the successful hunts we’d had on these same beaches in the past.  I recalled my thoughts from two years ago. Thoughts of whether I would ever be able to come back and here I was.  And hunting too!  Little did I know that while I was day dreaming and reminiscing of old thoughts while following the lead ATVs, that the next bend would be the very place I filmed Gregory shoot a whitetail!  And little did I know that there would be a buck cruising the coast line, unaware of our presence.

The next moments seemed to be a blur of people jumping off the ATV’s and moving into position.  My thoughts were we needed to get our camera gear out and ready to film Vicki shoot this buck; however, I was quickly told to grab my gun because Vicki wasn’t miked up.  Needless to say this all happened quickly with Ralph on one camera and Freddy the other. My shooting sticks were resting on an old stump and just as I pulled up the TC Icon and settled the crosshairs on the clearing in front of me, the buck walked out into my shooting lane, and my crosshairs.  With a gentle squeeze of the trigger the buck piled up from the impact of the .300 win-mag.  It was really pretty cool to share this hunt with my group of friends.  It’s not often that you can do that and this is just one more reason the island is so ‘captivating.’

The deer was on a peninsula at the mouth of a river when we shot him, and we quickly realized that the tide had come in and our only crossing was now 3-1/2  feet underwater!  This is when Fred and I realized WHY Stephan is called “Cowboy.”  This crazy Quebecer stripped down and walked across the river to recover my deer!  While wading through the river, there were ice chunks floating by him!  And for you men out there, yes, the water was ABOVE his waist, if you know what I mean!  YIKES!  The funniest part of the whole thing is that as he was coming back across the river with the deer, he proceeded to play in the water!  CRAZY COWBOY I tell you!  But once again, Stephan was awesome…How many people out there can say they had a guide swim across the river to get their deer!

I owe a debt of gratitude to Ralph, Vicki, and Archer’s Choice Media for giving me the opportunity to see such beautiful country.  Not once, but THREE times now!  And God willing, I’ll get there again some day.  I also want to thank Gille, Sepaq Anticosti, and Quebec Tourism for the opportunity to hunt on the island, and Freddy for tolerating me for another week!  And I want to give a special thanks to Stephan, my new found friend.  Not only for his expert guiding, but the new friendship that has developed as well.

Hunter: Joe Rush

Cameraman: Freddy Lagos