André van Hilten's
Willow Creek Outfitters
2016 Hunting Season
Ginger & Shannon
Willow Creek Outfitter's
2016 Hunt Report
After another real mild winter, the 2016 season looked promising in respect to mother nature being very easy on the animals in our areas.
This mild winter transitioned into a real early spring which posed some challenges for our first big game hunt of the year, our popular spot and stalk spring black bear hunt. Spring was a good three weeks early and by the time our first bear hunters arrived there was so much lush feed and cover for the bears it was tough to find them unless they came out into the open. With a little persaverance we got opportunities for most of our clients. The highlight was having three different fathers, who each brought their son, witness their boy harvesting a black bear! I also had a great time guiding Ginger Chandler and Shannon Lansdowne, both came up to film an episode for the Remington Country television show.
In late July we starting scouting for our deer hunts. Having a mild winter and good amounts of moisture in July sure proved to be the key factors in producing some great antler growth on our mature deer. Then in early August we took a two week trip into our bighorn area to haul in gear and set up camps for our upcoming bighorn hunts. This year we took two bighorn hunters. Jay Geddie on his first sheep hunt ever took a great bighorn on day five of his hunt. Charles Key came as well and was looking to complete his Grand Slam of North American wild sheep with a bighorn. Charles did pass on what appeared to be a small legal ram and could not find another larger ram by the time the hunt came to an end.
Our bow season was amazing, we took a week of hunters in September and another group in October. A total of 10 hunters harvested 8 bucks that had an average score of 181”! For more information on our 2016 bow season please check out our 2016 BOW HUNT REPORT
Late October marked the arrival of our first rifle deer hunters. We still had a number of mature deer that we had found during the summer out there for our rifle hunters to hunt. Thanks to the persistence of the guides the rifle hunters were able to harvest six of them.
Bob Austin was successful on his first hunt with us and brothers Tim and Jim Lee came for the third opener in a row and like last year, both took great bucks. Mule deer and sheep fanatic Jerry Tyrrell came next. Jerry has harvested some giant mule deer in his day but did not pull the trigger here. He passed some great deer and waited for a giant to come off posted land. This deer did not move to property we could hunt until the following week when our client Bruce Horn, who hunted whitetails with us last year, was able to seal the deal on him. It ended up being our best deer of the rifle season and taped out at 192”! Bruce’s son Eric successfully harvested his first deer ever as well! Tom and his father, Lee, both took nice bucks and Dave Heitsman took his fourth and best mule deer to date with us as well. Bob Hodson and his son Matt had such a great hunt last year that they decided to return this year and were accompanied by Matt’s wife, Melissa, and their son Hunter. All were rewarded with nice bucks. Bob had a tag for both whitetail and mule deer, even though he did not harvest a mule deer he was all smiles when he put his tag on an amazing 171” whitetail! Rick Nelson and Gary Marietti were in the same week for whitetail and both tagged out by day four. The last week of the season brought grandfather John Brogan and his grandson Nate Smith once again for mule deer. They both took nice mature bucks by day four. Last year they were joined by Nate’s father Jeff, who sadly passed away this past summer. Our prayers are with this family during these tough times. Milo Ravndalen, on his third hunt with us and Chad Turner who took a nice mule deer with us a couple years ago. This time they came for whitetail. The challenges of warm temperatures and strong winds
I would like to thank each hunter for coming to hunt with us this year as well as all the guides and cooks, without you, none of this would be possible!
Until next time, good luck!
Andre van Hilten
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Read more about each hunting season, the excellent time our hunters had on our hunts and the animals harvested in previous years.
past hunting seasons
The 2015 season has just wrapped up and I can't believe it is over already! This year marked our 15th year of offering fair chase hunts in Alberta, to make it even more sweet, it was our most successful year for quality animals taken.
Opener for the rifle deer season here is Oct. 25. Joining us this week would be return clients Francois St. Louis (QC) and Milo Ravndalen (MN) who brought his friend Chad Turner on his first western spot and stalk hunt. All three guys harvested real old bucks with Francois' being a 188" monster!
Hunting trophy class mule deer in open country with a bow! Seeing Pope and Young class bucks every day and sneaking within bow range is an excitement hard to beat. I guess that is why many of our bowhunters return multiple time to take in this action packed hunt!
The season was filled with many new hunters as well as a number of repeat clients. We harvested some really nice animals and made some good memories for all. We also acquired some more whitetail and black bear tags in our area early this fall and both are spot and stalk hunts, the whitetail in the rut in November and the black bear in the spring during the month of May.
We just finished another fantastic bow season for mule deer and again it was an exciting one with many repeat clients and some great bucks harvested. Overall 12 bowhunters took 8 bucks with an average score of 171"! The average shot range was 43 yards and everyone had a shot opportunity at a trophy class muley. The 2013 bowhunting season an unforgettable one!
Another hunting season is in the books, they seem to come and go faster every year! We had another exceptional year, a full slate of good clients and some great trophy animals that we could pursue. Conditions for the animals in this part of the province has been nothing short of amazing. The animals had no shortage of feed and once again we saw great antler growth on the bucks.
We just wrapped up another very successful archery season here at Willow Creek Outfitters! We specialize in trophy mule deer hunts and had 14 bowhunters join us in 2012 on this exciting hunt. We invest endless hours every year scouting and patterning the mule deer before our clients arrive. This pays off huge once the season starts as we can spend less time locating the deer and more time stalking them.
Another season has come to an end here at Willow Creek Outfitters. Eleven years now that we have been outfitting here in southwestern Alberta and it was the best year I have seen for antler growth on our deer and beautiful color phased bears. Our hunters took 5 mule deer bucks that scored over 180" and 7 that were in the 170's!
We just finished our archery mule deer hunts, and what a season it was! This was by far our best bow season yet, as far as clients harvesting bucks. With good moisture in the spring and early summer this area had quality antler growth! Of the 10 bucks our bowhunters took we have live video footage of 9 of them.