By Gord McDonald
First, let me set the stage for the following story. I have been Guiding for the past 11 for Alberta Wilderness Guide Service, in my home Province of Alberta, Canada. Their trophy Whitetail hunting operation is owned and operated by three partners David Bzawy, Dean Bromberger, and Tyler Shyry. Dean and David have been longtime friends of mine, and I have been able to do a fair bit of hunting for Whitetails, Elk, and Moose with Dean over the years. My Guiding each fall has been out of the Northcamp operation, so I have not had the pleasure to work with Tyler.
The 2003 season for my Guiding began much like other years, with mild temperatures and a skiff of snow on the ground. One of my hunters that I was again slated to Guide for that hunt was Greg Walker from Pennsylvania, and he had again booked with AWGS for his customary 12-day hunt. This was his 8th hunt with us, so he was prepared both mentally and physically for the diversity of Alberta weather, along with the long sits p stand. Our Ambush style of hunting deep in good Deer habitat had proven itself for Greg over the years, so he new what he was info again
He began his hunt on a quiet cutline in a 14-foot Texas Style tri-pod, and by the end of the first day, he had passed on a 160” class buck, he also tallied numerous does and smaller bucks. This continued steadily for the whole week, with a flurry of rut activity showing itself around his area, although he did have to sit through a couple of slower days. By the end of the week, Greg had given positive reports of bucks squaring off both on the cutline for his view, as well as in the woods near him, along with sightings of numerous does. When a Guide hears these sorts of daily reports, it leaves no question where we are going to hunt the next days. That first week ended with four opportunities on bucks in the 150” class or better, and a total of 50 deer tallied!
Greg’s second week started stated off with a ‘bang’…the first of two! Early in the afternoon on Monday, he spotted a non-typical buck moving across the line about 150 yards away. He got leveled down and had the scope on him, so he squeezed off a round as the buck entered the woods. After Greg called me on the radio, David and I proceeded into Greg’s location to check for signs of a hit. After an extensive search, we concluded that the shot was a clean miss, and put Greg back on stand to resume his hunt. Greg described the buck as a solid 170”s N/T, with a droptine off its’ left antler.
Tuesday began a bit colder with a good wind out of the east. Greg had been now sitting on this hunt for over 70 hours, and it began to snow at 10:00am, and continued until around 4:00pm. About four inches of snow had accumulated during the storm over the course of the day, both on the ground as well as on him. After such a rough day, Greg decided to get out of his stand a tad earlier than normal (cardinal rule ‘no no’ up here!), but it was understandable why he felt he wanted to. He gathered up his gear and was about to climb out of his tripod, when he looked back towards the south, and saw a doe at the top of a ridge about 100 yards away. He swung his rifle around and waited, hoping that M. Big was close behind. About a minute later, a monster buck came across following the doe’s tracks, and as there was no question this was a shooter, Greg made no mistake this time, and dropped him just before he entered the woods at the edge of the line.
Greg waited for any sign of movement, and after a few minutes, he climbed down and walked over to where the buck lay. He studied the rack and noticed a long drop on the right side – not the left, as on the buck from the previous day. Daylight was now starting to fade, so Greg hiked back to his gear, grabbed the radio and call out to inform me of his success. He then made his way out to the pickup point and proceeded to tell me the whole story. I asked him what he thought the rack would score, and his response was “at least 170, and it had about a 7“ droptine on its’ right side”.
Dean heard the excitement on the radio during the ‘check in’ time, and said he’d be there shortly to help retrieve the deer. As we neared the stand location with the quad and sled, our anticipation grew, a Greg was certain he’d killed a really good buck again. Our excitement grew as we approached the buck, and realized very soon after looking at it, that it would score higher than Greg’s initial estimation. The buck was a ‘bruiser’, carrying around 300 pounds on the hoof! We loaded him into the sled and headed back for the truck. As Dean is an official measurer for B&C, he has a difficult time letting a deer get back to camp before a quick taping on the tailgate of the truck. We taped him quick and headed back to the lodge. Greg and I added the numbers as we drove, and as I was chatting with Dean on the radio, I said to Dean…” you’re not going to believe this…201” inches!”
Later, after dinner at the lodge, we more closely scored him, and after a couple of sessions, the score sheet still read 201”! After many years of hunting with us, and taking some great bucks, he finally was rewarded with a world class Whitetail. Greg really does deserve a buck like this, because he has put in so much time and effort over the years, along with seeing so many good ones that he did not put on the ground – including a buck that he saw on a previous hunt, that still is the biggest he’s ever seen.
It took Greg over 80 hours on stand, and his ability to weather the storm both physically and mentally, along with trusting us and our system, allowed Greg to fulfill a lifelong dream to take a 200” class buck.