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White Tail Deer at Rainy River Outfitters

• Credit: Babe Winkelman
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White Tail Deer at Rainy River Outfitters

Babe Winkelman heads North of The Border in Search of Ontario Bucks

Without question, the largest bodied whitetail deer I have ever shot came from the northwest section of Ontario. This year’s “hoss” was no exception, weighing well over 300 lbs on the hoof. Looked like a hereford laying on the ground. Felt like it when we tried to lift him into the back of our UTV as well! 

A lot is genetics. If you polled all the outfitters in this section of Ontario, there are many killed each year that dress out over 300 lbs. Those are giants! That’s good news, but it’s not only big bodies. One of the deer shot by a customer at Rainey River Outfitters had 19 points and scored over 190 B & C points. Bigger ones have been seen in the areas they hunt. You can check out this entire area on the Go Hunt in Northern Ontario Facebook page.



Where they live folks call the “bush.” Try walking through it, and you’ll find out why in a hurry. But it’s not all bush by any means; in some areas, they have lots of farms with open fields and plenty for the deer to eat. Ontario also allows baiting for deer, and that can be a big plus for pulling them out of the bush sometimes.

However, when the rut is going hot and heavy, the big bucks are mostly in the bush with the does and don’t worry about eating. Such was the case when my ranch manager Wayne Enger and I decided to go on a hunt together. The week prior, they were seeing quite a few bucks sniffing around does, so they were all excited because they expected the same activity would happen for us. But the big bucks had found the first hot does and were off keeping company with one another. About the time he’d finish, another hot doe would come around and most all the bucks stayed in the bush. My first three sets showed me only a couple of young does still with fawns. 


On day two, we went to a different area shooting across a hayfield. The morning proved cold and empty, but Pete and Dave convinced me to give it another try. I’m glad I listened. Late in the afternoon, I noticed a doe coming out of the corner 200 plus yards away, then three more does, but I could see brown back in the bush, so I was ready when this huge 10-pointer moved into the corner, no question a shooter. I whispered to the cameraman that if he stopped I would kill him right then. 

He did, then I did, we captured this monster going down in slow motion. Lots of mass, more than three inches past his ears, but medium-length tines. My guess is a 4 1/2-year-old animal. His score? Big buck!! My score? Him stopping and not taking a single step after I squeezed the trigger! The rush that goes through a person is something else!  Yes, I still get very pumped, start shaking, get hyperventilated, thank God a couple of times, and just sit there a moment to let it all soak in. Mind you, I stay very calm and totally focused ahead of time. After the shot is a totally different story!

After Babes Shot

Rainey River Outfitters has a lot to offer and is located in a great area of Ontario, with nearly 2,500 acres leased up in a 10 square mile radius. They have 10 box blinds, some elevated, others not, 14 two-person ladder tree stands for bow hunting or gun hunting in decent weather. They only bring in six hunters at a time for a five-day hunt, so there are plenty of options, and they have ground blinds that can be set up if they see a new area the deer are using. 

For the 2019 season, all hunts will be five-day. The food was all home-cooked and delicious, the housing was great, and they made you feel at home. They have a strong repeat business so you might want to get to them early. 



Talking With Other Hunters

Contact Information

John Semeyn, Owner
Traverse City, Michigan

Bill Kersaan, Owner
Hudsonville, Michigan

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