White-tailed deer hunting at the historic Fairmont Kenauk in Montebello is not unlike pursuing deer in other parts of North America, except for:
1) Huge stands of pure sugar maple forest
2) Ancient mountains of rugged exposed bedrock
3) Amazing old growth forest with stunning visibility
4) Dirty swamps and cedar swails ideal cover for deer
5) A much higher whitetail density than most areas of the Province
6) Friendly, knowledgeable staff and top notch accomodations
(Actually, I guess it is unlike hunting deer in other parts of North America)
What a perfect day it was to honour Remembrance Day – a sunny 10 degrees and hardly a breath of wind.
It was also the perfect time to celebrate a 30-year hunting career and the 9th annual deer hunting trip to my favourite home away from home – the Fairmont Kenauk in Montebello.
My father Rathwell and I had big plans for the day and we started out by doing some ‘recon’ of a territory I have never hunted before. What a fabulous deer woods we had this day, as rugged and as beautiful as anything I had ever seen.
The two hunters we met in the office that morning were kind enough to share some big buck info for the territory we would be hunting.
“There’s always a big one hanging out alongside this lake!” the man said in French. “I saw his rubs and scrapes there last year!”
“Thanks for the heads-up” I told him, and my father and I agreed we would sneak into that area after lunch.
After spending an hour or two touring the north part of our woods, we started headed down into lower country when we noticed a great funnel-area coming off the nearby ridge; with two deer runways converging as it crossed the road.
It was the perfect place for two of us to sneak-in and ‘cop a squat’ for an hour. With the frost on the ground and no wind, still-hunting would not be a possibility.
As we quietly parked the vehicles and made our way to edge of bush; standing on yet another rock outcrop, however, our plan to sit would change very quickly…
A nice looking buck, which had been bedded down alongside the ridge, stood-up and looked at me. I could tell he was a nice one, not huge but a taker for sure.
In what always seems like a blur when you look back on it, my trusty old 30-06 Mauser was on my shoulder in one fluid motion and the safety was off.
Before it had really even sunk in, I had a chunky 7-point buck down with one perfectly-placed shot. As we discovered later, it was truly the most perfect shot a hunter can ask for, as I really got to the heart of the matter.
My father arrived a moment later to shake my hand. It may not be the biggest deer I have ever taken, but at 170 pounds field-dressed and a neat little 7-point rack, he was nothing to sneeze at either.
The only drawback though, by the time we finished cleaning the buck it was only 10:00. My Dad and already agreed that we would take one only deer. Sure, we hadn’t gone looking for the big buck the other hunter told us about, or really got a chance to walk to mountains, but that was ok.
Instead, we sat on the tailboard of my father’s truck and ate lunch in the radiant sunshine. We chatted about hunts from our past and discussed our plans for next year. It was great.
With the truck radio on quietly in the background, we sat there and observed the 11 AM moment of silence in the most perfect setting one could ever imagine.
As we sat there, we remembered back on those brave soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. We also remembered all the great times hunting together over the past 30-years.
That, to me, is what deer hunting is all about. Sure, we didn’t spend long hours travelling endless ridges, but we did share a morning of deer hunting and remembering, that neither of us will forget.
Hopefully next year, though, the whole experience will last a bit longer.
A special thanks to Bill Nowell and Lynda Melanson of Fairmont Kenauk for taking such good care of me each year. I really am fortunate to be able to spend time – year after year – in the most spectacular deer woods on earth!
For more information on deer hunting in Quebec, or to order your free brochure of the Province’s hunting & lodging opportunities: 1 (877) 266-5687