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2017 Whitetail Deer Report

Ontario's Whitetail Healthy As Ever • Credit: Jeff Gustafson
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2017 Whitetail Deer Report

A wrap-up of Northwest Ontario's Whitetail Season

After a couple of light winters for our deer, the numbers are coming back, especially in little pockets across the region.

Editor's Note: We'll be asking Jeff for an update and wrap-up for the 2021 Season. Stay tuned!

As we near the end of the deer hunting season in Northwestern Ontario’s Sunset Country region, it's time to recap the 2017 season. While deer hunting is not quite back to where it was in the mid-2000s, it is beginning to rebound after a couple of tough winters that devastated deer populations in 2011 and 2013.  

Heading into this season I was optimistic that there were going to be some nice bucks hanging around based on a few good prospects on trail camera photos from last year. I set up in a few of the better areas from last season, as well as a couple of new ones.  

From 2007 until 2012 I entertained quite a few clients hoping to fill their tags each season. It was a lot of fun and many of these hunters harvested big Canadian whitetails. We did well. However, for the past several years I have not taken a lot of clients. A few of my regular guests who have become great friends continue to come year after year. They've had some tough hunts recently, but they've also had some great trips over the years and know about the area's potential and what Northwestern Ontario can offer deer hunters. The good news is, things are getting a lot better on the deer front here in Sunset Country.  

After a couple of good winters for our deer, the numbers are coming back, especially in little pockets across the region. There have been some great deer taken this fall. It seems to be region-wide, as I have had friends from the Fort Frances, Dryden, and Atikokan areas share photos of trophy bucks with me.  

The fact remains that this part of the world has the potential to produce some of the best whitetail hunting anywhere: history proves it. Look back at the website photos from outfitters and resorts around the region—the deer that were taken in the mid-2000’s were off the charts. The reality was, many of us that live here didn't know how good we had it then!  

For hunters looking to plan a trip, or those who have been to Sunset Country in the past and are interested in visiting again, it is still one of the best places in Canada to hunt deer. Our big woods kick out some monster bucks every year and there aren't many places that have the vast public land we do. If you want to work hard and put in some effort, it's not a stretch to encounter deer that have never seen humans before. Resorts and outfitters around the region can set you up with a place to stay, offer full or semi-guided trips, and lead you in the right direction for your hunt of a lifetime. 

With the population rising, the forecast for next year's deer season is looking favourable for hunters journeying to Sunset Country for their "what dreams are made of" buck.  

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