By Michael Duff
Saskatchewan is home to some of the best whitetail deer hunting in North America as well as some of the biggest. The world record typical whitetail otherwise known as the Milo Hanson buck was taken in this province of Canada and why the Sportsman’s News team purchases one of these great hunts each and every year for their Pro Membership Sweepstakes.
I’ve known Mike Deming the President of Sportsman’s News for many years now and have helped him film a few things on occasion. So, when he asked me if I could possibly go to Canada for him with North 49 Outfitters and film this years’ hunt winner, I was super excited to help out. The cherry on top was if we got the lucky hunt winner killed out and on film, I would be able to spend the rest of the time trying to fill a tag of my own. I was all in before I even got the chance to hunt, but this was going to be extra special now.
The lucky hunt winner from the Sportsman’s News Pro Membership Sweepstakes was Michael Duffelmeyer who traveled from Morgantown, West Virginia for this hunt. Dufflemeyer has been an active Sportsman’s News Pro Member for the last three years and was in total disbelief when Deming called him to let him know he won a trip of a lifetime and all he needed to do was show up to North 49 Outfitting and lay the hammer down on a big Saskatchewan buck. One of the questions I asked Mr. Dufflemeyer the day I met him at the lodge was, what he thought when Deming called him to let him know he had won the hunt. Dufflemeyer’s response was “I couldn’t believe it and was in shock, I looked at my wife saying, pinch me honey this can’t be happening. I never win anything.” Dufflemeyer had plenty of time to prep for this hunt to get the proper gear and plan his trip to Canada. One question he had for Deming was what gun he should shoot his deer with? Deming with a quick response answered a “Browning X-bolt .26 Nosler topped with a Leuopold VX-6, using DoubleTap ammunition” He assured Dufflemeyer that this would do the trick. Dufflemeyer did not argue and a short time later, he had a Browning .26 Nosler and was dialed in and ready for this hunt.
This hunt took place mid-November and when hunting this time of year, it is important to know the elements you will be exposed to. Although you will be treated to a large, enclosed 360-degree view, heated tower blind, tucked away in the thick forest of pines, good insulated clothing and boots are necessary in these very cold temperatures.
After spending a few days in the blind and passing up buck after buck our patience was tested. Finally, on the early morning of day five, as I was looking out the frosted window, I spotted a buck in the 160 inch range; one that Dufflemeyer had been dreaming of. The buck was running towards a group of does at our bait station. We had very little time to get set up, as this deer had come in behind us. As Dufflemeyer set eyes on the deer, I asked him if this was the one he wanted. He assured me with “yes, definitely, this will be the biggest deer I have ever killed.” So, with that being said, I was able to get my video camera on the deer and wait for him to drop the hammer. After one great shot with his Browning .26 Nosler X-Bolt, the buck didn’t go too far. After knowing the job was done, the look on Dufflemeyer’s face was priceless. He couldn’t wait to get a closer look and wrap his hands around those dark heavy antlers. After celebrating, we were able to tag the deer and capture the moment by getting some great field photos. We then made our way back to the tower blind. Once we arrived we used a Spot GPS unit that North 49 provides to let Doug and Rita know that Dufflemeyer had tagged out and we were ready for pick up. Within 30 minutes Doug arrived, we loaded the deer whole and made our way back to the lodge.
After returning, the deer was placed on a digital scale and weighed in at a whopping 268 pounds. (Doug and his crew will actually get the total weight on these harvest deer before and after being dressed and caped out.) Dufflemeyer’s comment was “that will definitely fill my freezer and put food on the table.” Doug and Rita have a large walk-in freezer where their guides cape, skin, process, and package the deer and would have it ready the next day for when he would make his long trip home.
Before Michael left to head back home, I asked him if this trip was worth him being a Pro Member with Sportsman’s News. He laughed and said, “absolutely; I will be a member for life.”
Since we had utilized the full week of hunting to get Dufflemeyer the buck of his dreams, I was only left with a day and a half to hopefully fill my tag. As I set out the very next morning and made my way to the blind, I was anxious and excited. Doug placed me in a tower blind and assured me that I would definitely kill at this location. The trail cameras were showing that this was the current hot spot. I had many opportunities with multiple bucks that were in full rut. I was patient enough and tagged out on a nice mature 9-point buck with giant eye guards. It was actually my first whitetail buck ever. I am very thankful for the opportunity and experience that was offered by Doug and Rita Hayes with North 49 Outfitting and Michael Deming and the Sportsman’s News team. I am hoping to make my way back to Canada in the future to hunt again with this great Platinum Approved Outfitter.
If you are new to hunting, or even if you’re an experienced hunter, I am here to tell you that the owners, Doug and Rita, along with their staff and guides have you covered in all aspects of hunting. They oversee a phenomenal operation that includes your hunt and all of its entirety, lodging, and all meals. From the moment you walk in the door you are treated like family. Rita prepares an amazing breakfast each day before you head out and sends you with a well packed lunch to eat while in the field. After returning from your long day, you will be greeted with a top notch 5-course meal to end your day. I highly recommend booking your next hunt with Doug and Rita and North 49 Outfitting. You will not be disappointed.