After a day of travel, Gary and I settled into the hotel in Montreal. The next day we would catch another flight to the camp of Cerf-Sau Outfitters, this would be my second attempt at taking an island whitetail off Anticosti.
The Flight was very full of hunters anxiously waiting to get to the island, settle in, have one of the meals the island is famous for, and start the hunt they have awaited for such a long time. Many of the hunters have been hunting the island for 10 or more seasons running. Many father and sons, brothers, and friends wait the entire year to spend time together hunting the island's deer. It’s much like the traditional deer camps that are scattered all over the U.S.
We arrived at the airstrip on the island, met our guide Gino, and were taken to the camp where we would be staying. That evening we had a wonderful steak and salad and went to our cabin to prepare for the first day of the hunt. These cabins are actually on the shore of the Atlantic and offered an awesome view overlooking the ocean. Each evening after dark, red and silver fox would visit the cabin looking for food scraps. It was so very special to spend time around these fox, they would actually come onto the porch and take bits of food from your hand.
Gary hunted the first day without an opportunity for a shot. We covered several of the swamps with Gino, who was a great guide to spend time with. Still, it wasn’t in the cards for Gary to take a deer that first day. We came back to camp that evening, tired and wet, but we still had three full days of hunting. It seemed it was always raining or foggy on the island.
The hunting we were doing consisted of taking an ATV far off the roads to the open swamps, and then stalking through them with the wind in our face. Each day the guide and the hunter were assigned a different area to hunt; you never hunted the same area twice. You really got to see a lot of the area this way. At each swamp, we would set up several times to try and rattle a buck out of the very thick cover bordering the swamps.
I was to hunt on day two and we had the same plan as day one, but in a new area. All morning was the same as the day before, nothing but a few does. Sometime in the afternoon we set up in another swamp. Gino, Gary, and I hid in the cover of small evergreens at the edge of a swamp. Gino let the area settle, and began to grunt and rattle. After several minutes, Gino spotted a buck emerging from the edge of the clearing to our hard left. The buck was at least 250 yards away, but was definitely interested. As he came on, he cut to our left even farther, trying to catch the wind of the deer making the commotion. As he came in, Gary and I turned to get into position.
He was still crossing the clearing when we were ready for the shot. Gary gave the ok and Gino stopped him with a shout. He was quartering towards us slightly and the 140 grain .270 bullet caught him on the point of the shoulder. His run only lasted about 80 yards and I had my first Anticosti whitetail, a great 8-point buck. Not one of the monsters of the Midwest, but a great island buck to be proud of.
After we recovered him and were preparing to get him out, we realized just how far we were from the four-wheeler. I think we drug the deer over a mile, at one point, Gino actually carried the carcass by making two slices in the hide on the back and throwing it over his shoulders. Actually it took two of us to get it there. It was very late evening when we arrived back at the ATV and headed for camp.
I really want to thank Cerf-Sau Outfitters and Gino, one of the best guides I have hunted with. The accommodations and meals were awesome, and Gino was an absolute blast to hunt with, thanks again, everyone.
Gary spent the rest of the trip hunting different areas, but never had a chance at another buck. But we will return to chase those deer with the rifles and to spend time on this very special Island.