Realtree Rewind: A 66-Hour Deer Hunt

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What's the Longest You've Ever Hunted?

 

Hunters Names: David Blanton, Steve Finch, Gregg Ritz and Nick Mundt

Ritz poses with his buck. (Gregg Ritz photo)Game: Whitetail

Location: Green Lake, Saskatchewan

Weapon: Muzzleloader

Rut Phase: Pre-rut

When: October 27 to November 2

Weather: Unseasonably cold

I had been up there last year and killed a nice buck with the muzzleloader. We were really anxious to go back there this year and do it again but we decided to do it a week later. We arrived in camp on October 27 and started hunting the next day. Steve Finch was running camera with me, and Nick Mundt, a freelance cameraman was running camera with Gregg.

It was the week before their rifle season was to open. We were hunting with muzzleloaders. What we were trying to do was take advantage of non-pressured deer and get a head start on the hunting up there. Before we arrived, I was concerned about experiencing warmer weather than usual. This would be the only thing that could hurt our chances of scoring. I was worried that warm weather would suppress deer movement. But the trade off would be us getting some decent pre-rut activity — bucks on the prowl, scraping, rubbing. Even though the does weren’t going to be in heat, we hoped the bucks would be a little more aggressive.

So when we got up there, from a weather standpoint, things couldn’t have been better. It was actually a lot colder than normal. We had lows during the first half of the week in the low-to-mid teens. It was just awesome weather for deer hunting. We hunted from daylight to dark in treestands — 11 hours per day.

Basically, to make a long story short, for Steve and I — we hunted six days, 66 hours, and never saw a buck good enough to shoot. We had the sore butt — I will tell you that. But to tell the truth, in a weird sort of way, those are the type of hunts where you feel relief. Relief, because you know you hunted hard, you hunted as hard as you could hunt, you didn’t fill your tag, and you know that every time you go out there you’d don’t always get one. That’s what people think sometimes when you see the videos, that we score every time.

Gregg on the other hand, he was seeing a bunch of bucks that were borderline shooters. Then on Wednesday he saw a 140-inch, 10-point and passed him up. He got back to camp and showed us the footage. Now here’s Steve and I getting whipped every day and we saw this fine buck he passed on. All I could do was laugh.

So after looking at the footage again, Gregg told us that if he saw that same buck again and they could get good footage on him, that he would try and take him. Wouldn’t you know, he killed that very deer the next day. He shot him at about 70 yards with his Encore and it was simply a beautiful buck. The footage was really good, too. The buck came in all alone looking for does and Gregg put a good shot on him.

Editor's Note: This was originally published on November 18, 2002.

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