Editors Blog

All-Day Deer Hunts Can Really Test Your Mettle

 NoteDeer & Deer Hunting Editor Dan Schmidt has just returned from a weeklong hunt near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  This is the fourth installment of a five-part blog series on his adventure. Check back each day this week for updates.

Deer & Deer Hunting Editor Dan Schmidt's eyes say it all: These dark-to-dark hunts are starting to wear him out.
It has to be something with the aging process, because the older I get, the more I absolutely dread hunting in really cold weather.

Here I sit, watching the minutes tick down on my third-straight dark-to-dark sit, and I’m really feeling the effects all over. These types of hunts aren’t for everyone. We’re talking solid 11-hour days on stand. My back hurts; my knees ache; my neck is strained. At least I’ve seen some deer.

I’ve been on hunts like this in the past where I’ve seen nothing. A Deer & Deer Hunting sweepstakes hunt in northern Maine in 1995 comes immediately to mind. On that trip, I logged six consecutive dark-to-dark hunts in single-digit temperatures and over 2-feet of fresh snowfall. I didn’t see a single deer on that trip. In fact, I didn’t see a living creature. I heard a raven on the third day. That is going to be the title of my memoirs whenever I get the time to write them.

Despite this cold and so-far unproductive hunt, Saskatchewan is beautiful … everything that everyone has made it out to be. I truly believe this is one of North America’s last true wilderness areas to hunt whitetails. There are deer, wolves and not much else. Earlier today, I had a pine marten or a fisher try to crawl in the blind with me. It kind of freaked me out, honestly, because I thought I was the only one scanning the woods at that moment. When its muzzle pushed against my pop-up blind’s wall, I did the only thing a grown man could do — shriek like a little girl and swat at the intruder with my woolen mitten. Yeah, I’m not too proud to admit that I’m not half the bushman that my outfitter Mo Heisler seems to be. The dudes that grow up hunting and trapping in these woods are real men. Nothing scares them. Well, at least I don’t think anything does. Or maybe they’re just really good poker players.

So, what’s a guy to do when he’s logged 33 hours in the woods and has yet to cock the hammer on his CVA Accura muzzleloader? Be patient. He needs to keep open the continual self-help desk in his head. It will happen. Just got to be patient. Put in your time.

And ask for a new stand site tomorrow. That might not be the best move, but I think I’m going to literally go insane if I have to watch this same patch of woods for another 11 hours.

TOMORROW: Deer Appear, and the Rut Explodes in Saskatchewan

Earlier posts from this series:
Part 1: Big Bucks North of the Border
Part 2: Welcome to the Whitetail Jungle
Part 3: “That Has Got to Be the Biggest Buck I’ve Ever Seen!”