Cowboy and the .300 - Anticosti

It was 2 a.m. on December 5, 2009, my birthday, when Ralph and Vicki picked me up at my place. We loaded my gear and headed to Joe’s, who lives only a few blocks from me, tossed his gear in the truck and headed for O’Hare Airport. We were starting the first of what would be four flights to get to Anticosti Island and hunt with our good friends up at Sepaq Anticosti. After what seemed like a month of flights, we touched down on Anticosti Island. Our buddy Gilles was waiting at the airport for us and greeted us with a big smile as we got off the plane. We exchanged hellos and again loaded our gear from the plane to Gilles' truck. We now had a 3 hour ride to camp ahead of us. Finally, after a 20 hour day of travel, we arrived at our camp, unloaded the truck, and hit the sack.  We were all exhausted.

The next morning we woke early, had a great breakfast, and got ready to go hunting. Ralph and Vicki were hunting with Gilles. Joe and I were hunting with Stephane, aka Cowboy, and boy did he live up to his name that week. Joe hunted first and we started out hunting on the beautiful shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean. The plan was to catch the deer coming to the sea kelp that had washed ashore from the tide to feed. We saw several bucks that morning but couldn’t make it happen. Sometimes that darn camera can make it rough to close the deal.

We met back up with Ralph, Vicki, and Gilles for lunch. Come to find out, Ralph had shot a buck that morning, and when we met them, they had already dragged him to the shore.  We ate our lunch and quickly headed to our afternoon spot but never got there. On our way there we spotted a buck feeding along a sand bar. Joe grabbed the .300 Win Mag TC Icon, and I hurried to get the camera. We got on the buck as he was feeding, Joe pulled the trigger and dumped the buck where he stood. Little did we know but we were about to find out why Stephane was called Cowboy.

Joe’s buck fell on a sandbar that was across a river that led into the Atlantic. Well the tide was on its way back in and Cowboy had no choice but to strip down to his skivvies and swim the frigid river to get the buck. All of us were cold just watching him. Cowboy swam back across the river with the buck. We had a fire going so he could dry off and warm up, and after a well deserved cup of coffee, we loaded Joe’s buck and headed back to camp. On the way back to camp we stopped to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean and thanked God for the day. What an awesome first day on Anticosti Island.

It was my turn to hunt and early the next morning we headed to the Jupiter River. We rode the four wheelers along the shore of the river until the trail ended. We setup on an area where the river opened up and had a well-used deer trail walking the shoreline on each side. It wasn’t long after setting up we spotted our first deer, and it was a buck. He stepped out to our right and began to cross the river going to our left. I tried to get on him but all I could see in my Nikon scope was a black ring. Well after all the chaos and the buck walking out of site, I figured out that I made a bonehead mistake and had the scope turned on too high of power for my eye. Live and learn I guess.

I made the proper adjustments to get the scope right and we began hunting again. We sat a while longer without seeing another deer, so we decided to get up and slip along the deer trail and look for deer. When we got to the end of the trail we headed back. On our way back I noticed Cowboy frantically trying to get Joe’s attention. He had spotted a buck across the river feeding, that neither Joe nor myself had seen.

After about tackling Joe, Cowboy looked back at me and told me what was going on. Joe slowly got into position with the camera and tripod and motioned for me to come up to him. I slipped past Joe and setup my shooting sticks to get ready for the shot. There was no black ring in the scope to save the buck this time. I could see him clear as a crystal through my Nikon glass. I settled the crosshairs on his shoulder, flipped the safety off on the .300, and asked Joe if he was on him. When Joe gave the green light, I let the TC Icon bark. The bullet hit the buck with a loud “THUD”. He bucked, ran face first into a pine tree, did a back flip, got up and took about 3 more steps, and fell over on the river bank.

The whooping and hollering started and echoed through the river valley. Now, how were we going to get the buck? Cowboy was about to show us. Again he stripped down to his skivvies, but he was prepared today. He remembered to bring along his chest waders. Cowboy waded across the river, got my buck, and waded back across the river with him. What a Stud! We did our recovery for video, snapped some photos, loaded my buck up on the quad and started the long ride back to camp. Another awesome day on Anticosti Island.

I would like to say thank you to Cowboy, our awesome guide on this trip, for all his hard work. Gilles, and the entire staff at Sepaq as well as Tourism Qeubec for having us up there again this year, Ralph and Vicki for the opportunity, Joe for running the camera, and of course the good Lord above for all the blessings He’s given to me.

If you are looking for one of the best deer hunting experiences in the world, you need to look at Sepaq Anticosti. Are you going to kill monster deer? No! But if your looking to get back to the kind of deer hunting that we all love, and have five star meals and accommodations while you do it, Sepaq is the place to go. I promise that you will experience deer hunting like you never have before and have a blast while you do it.

Thanks again to everybody. I can’t wait to go back!

Hunter: Freddy Lagos

Cameraman: Joe Rush