Kenauk Deer Hunt a day to remember


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


38 thoughts on “Kenauk Deer Hunt a day to remember”

  1. Congratulations on a good deer Jeff and thank you for sharing the experience with the rest of us. The memories of such a perfect time spent with one’s father can not be fathomed by anyone except other hunters. It is a way of life that sadly anti hunters are trying to destroy.

  2. Congrats Jeff…nice deer and I bet he’ll be good eatin’.

    Awesome story also, thanks for sharing.


    1. Thanks Guys….it really was a special day as you can tell…but I suppose any day you spend in woods is a great day!


  3. Congratulations Jeff, definitely was a great day in the woods for you and your dad. As exciting as the hunt was and I am sure you will never forget it, I am sure it was the time spent on the back of the truck that is priceless.

  4. Nice buck. nice to share the time and the thrill of the hunt with your dad. i got a 6 pt. this year, but my dad and daughter did not have the luck i did. there is always next year. still she enjoyed her time out with her grandfather eating kit kats and sharing stories. that is what it is all about. bet you are already looking forward to next year. great story, keep it up. cheers jaye

    1. Thanks Jaye..and congrats on your deer too..yes, thinking ahead to ‘next year’ is what keeps us all going.

      Man, I always wished the ‘Antis’ could look beyond the blood on the ground, and realize there’s way more to it than that..and that it runs much deeper…its about tradition..and sharing…and getting back to nature..and hey, its about sitting on the tailboard shooting the shite with your oldman!

      Its the way its always been and I enjoy the fact so many people here at the Outdoors Guy understand – first hand – what hunting and conservation is truly all about!

      Take care,


  5. I’m sorry to say, in todays world tradition is becoming a thing of the past. Take remembrance day.Now they want to make it a holiday. What will the kids remember about other than it’s a holiday. The government get’s the day off and where are they,- busting down the doors of your local food store and getting pissed when they don’t open early. I know because i work in the retail biz. Peacenics want to pass out white poppies now. Again to alter what remembrance day is meant for.It’s like everyone wants to reright history. That’s what the muslims are doing in the middle east not what we should be doing here. I guess all we can do as hunters and conservationists is continue are own traditions and hopefully have an impact on our kids and some of their friends. Nice deer jeff, congrats.

  6. paul the reason they want to make it a holiday is so that we can all celebrate Remembrance Day, close the stores, just like Christmas. Right now for 95% of the people, it’s a shopping day.

    Nice deer Jeff, way to go, now get out of the bush you’ve used your tag. Silly kind of eh.
    I went out yesterday and enjoyed a really fun day of walking through the bush, might do it again tomorrow

    1. Dont worry Iggy, we left the woods right away..but it was such a beautiful day I hated to..

      Perhaps one day QC will introduce party hunting..

      As you mentioned ‘walking around the woods’ with with your friends deer hunting..we had guys who did that for us year’s ago and were told it was completely legal when stopped by a CO.

      Thing was, though, they still found it weird to see men walking thru the woods with orange on and no rifle…they really questioned my brother-in-law’s one year…asked them where their gun was hidden and everything..even checked the knife they had on them for blood..

      None-the-less, there was nothing they could do as it wasnt against the law…


  7. I may as well stop commenting if every one of my posts are going to say

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Doesn’t matter what I say, it is awaiting moderation 🙁

    1. I wouldn’t take it personally Iggy, its not you..for some reason it just picks up on certain words people write..

      Cant say Ive actually figured it all out yet…


  8. congrats on the deer jeff.. 2010 will be known to our group as where are all the deer. We saw 6 bull moose all different and only 2 deer…one of which was a big doe and i got her free hand at a walk, at a lazered 258 yards. We had dogs that last year we would not shoot does till Wed. This year after the first 6 pushes we did not see one deer. We had lots of red wolf tracks, it is going to be a interesting meeting in feb with the mnr and bruton and clyde hunters assosiation. Even though the daughter did not get a shot or seen a deer, she did see more moose on this trip.

  9. Congrats on the deer jeff

    Home from the Deer hunt…

    2010 hunting season was a sucess!
    – 1 bull moose
    – 4 white tail deer
    – numerous grouse

    time to put the guns away and start getting ready for the winter travel months ;o)

  10. went out again today, no gun, no knife, just wondering, jumped a deer and another guy jumped 4
    but no deer shot. still had fun, it’s fun and quite a challenge

  11. congrats Jeff! it’s the thrill of not knowing when you’ll see our quarry that keeps us going! Sitting and enjoying a snack/lunch with a buddy/relative is the perfect epitome of what we do and why we do it 🙂

    I’ll send you pics, but we had a super fantastic hunt. Plenty of deer in our area. We got 9, including 3 solid bucks. 1 was 320 lbs before field dressing and 220 after dressing and skinning! His G2s were 10.5 inches. I shot 2 does myself – managed to track one solo in the snow still hunting which has to be one of my hunting career hilights. We ‘greenpeaced’ (let them go) another 14 deer. I also managed to film both of my harvests using my headcam, which was interesting as I was able to capture various clips of the woods. Now to start editing! 🙂 lol

    But it was the visiting at night and the camaraderie throughout each day which is the real hilight. I’m sure we’re not the only camp who wished hunting deer was an entire month 🙂


    1. Keebler, I’m noticing that deer numbers in Northern/Northwestern ON are probably stronger than they in other others we’ve heard from so far…ie. Eastern ON, Western QC, Southcentral Ontario…etc

      Would you say there’s more deer sign where you go this year than last year??


  12. Hi Jeff,

    No. I would say we’ve been seeing the same amount of deer. A few years ago, we got 14 (we have a big gang) and we could have shot more, but didn’t.

    On a related note, we are seeing far more hunters than normal. I guess people are hearing about the area and hunting. It’s crown land so not much we can do, but their hunts definitely took away from ours.

    The only positive note is that we’ve been hunting it for 38 years (me the last 10) so we have the areas honed in as to where to hunt and how to hunt depending on the wind etc..


  13. I know our numbers are down in algoquin park. talked to another gang today and they two only got 2 deer and no bucks as well. dont know where they are or just hiding . but i know they have to do something with the wolf population or they wont have to much left. tracks every where and you can here them singing at night .

  14. without getting too specific keebler, where do you hunt?

    Jeff I never doubted that QC deer would be any less fun than hunting their anglo brothers, just some of the rules are rooted in midevil times

  15. Chessy good luck getting the wolf pops down around Algonquin Park. They even banned hunting them around the outside of the park, the wolves are the new bambi for the socks with Birkenstocks crowd

  16. well I wouldn’t want that and I wasn’t trying to steal your spot, just wondered what area around here didn’t get hit with the devestating snow that killed a lot of the deer two years ago.
    I thought east of NB was Quebec

  17. Hi Iggy,

    lol i’m not that mean 🙂 but you’re right – our area has not been hit with the same bad winter the Ottawa area had a few years ago, which to be honest, I was very surprised about. It’s bound to happen eventually, but they’ve enjoyed somewhat milder winters which is also surprising given it’s Northern Ontario.

  18. Congrats on the successful hunt with your dad Jeff. That’s a very respectable buck. Big bodied. As they say, there’s no good recipe for antlers. What a great time together. That’s what lasting memories are made of.

    For me and my departed father, who served in WW II, Remembrence Day was always a hunting day. When I asked him why he didn’t want to go to the ceremonies with the other vetrans he said

    “Baah. I don’t want to remember any of that war stuff”.

    That spoke volumes. So we always hunted. Ducks, grouse, deer, it was all good. Just to be out together was important. I always stop to remember the sacrifices they made in order for us to be able to enjoy the freedoms we have.


    1. Thanks Maple for the kind words..obviously you’re another fellow who understands exactly what Im saying..

      I’m sorry you no longer have your father…I trust that you enjoyed many great years together in the Great Outdoors!



  19. well your lucky Maple, a lot of the vets, like my Dad, never picked up another gun after the war. Don’t really know why I got the hunting bug, grew up as a kid in Toronto and my father and other relatives didn’t hunt or fish, but I’d have loved to have spent some quality time in the bush with him like I do with my son. I always stop if I’m hunting on Nov 11th at 11AM, if a deer runs buy, it was his/her lucky day.

  20. I am the same way Iggy, no one in my family hunted, but my grandfather was an adamant fisherman and that is where my love of the outdoors came from I am convinced. I loved being on the boat with him while spending summer weeks at the trailer on Rice Lake but only picked up hunting the past few years on my own. My parents have always been city slickers of sorts from Peterborough and I have always found my own ways to get into the outdoors thankful. So many great night nights sleeping under the stars though

  21. I know of another city slicker on this blog from Peterborough, but I don’t think he could find his was north even with a compass hehe

  22. Congrats on your deer Jeff!

    My dad got a doe last week and I am really happy for him. It’s been about ten years since he’s connected. His group did very well in the 60s and 70s but things have been very slow for a long time. We changed it up and did some new things which made it happen for Dad. Now, to work on “me” 🙂

    1. I have this interesting little story to add to my Montebello buck story:

      After my deer was skinned and brought to a butcher in Mont Tremblant-area…my Dad received an interesting (but weird) phonecall from the butcher

      Apparently my father, who graciously kept the buck at his place and made arrangements with our butcher…hadn’t noticed while skinning him, that something was amiss in buck’s ‘upper neck area’.

      The butcher, believe it or not, found a broadhead and approx. 2″ of arrow shaft embedded in the top of deer’s neck..just above the spine and in front of the shoulder…in that area we sometimes call ‘the hump’…the butcher said another inch or two either way and the deer was dead!

      Evidently, my buck had been shot with an arrow during the bow season last year (As a 1.5 year old buck)..and somehow the broadhead glanced off the top of the spine…stopped there…and remained imbedded!

      You hear stories about animals removing arrows out of their back with their teeth..which I guess is what happened to this guy. The amazing part was, a small mass had formed around the arrow head and very little scar tissue could even be seen. I mean, my father never even noticed it while skinning and the arrow head was nowhere near where my rifle shot had entered the heart.

      The truly amazing part is that the buck appeared solid and 100% healthy..well, until I came along I suppose. Its one of those things where, had I known this guy already cheated death once; I probably would have let him walk.


    1. yeah Iggy…I guess the guy might have slowed it down for me..but if he doesnt show up its all mine!


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