André van Hilten's
Willow Creek Outfitters
2017 Hunting Season
Francois St. Louis
Willow Creek Outfitter's
2017 Hunt Report
Another big game hunting season has past here in Alberta. First of all I would like to thank all of you that came up for a hunt with us this year as well as those that have joined us in the past. If it wasn’t for you I would not be able to enjoy the great way of life that the outfitting business has provided me.
We started the 2017 season with our spot and stalk black bear hunt that takes place during the month of May. This is an amazing time of year to be out enjoying what nature has to show us. The landscape comes to life and the bears are out of hibernation! We had 10 clients join us this year and harvested 7 bears. Jaxon Melhoff took the largest bear for the season, a true, battle scarred warrior!
Our summer months are dedicated to preparing for the fall hunting season. Gear is packed in by horses, camps set up where we hunt sheep and deer are found and patterned in our home area. There is a lot of time and effort put in by the crew at this time so that details that we can control on our fair chase hunts are taken care of by the time the first hunters arrive in the beginning of September.
On our summer scouting trips to the mountains we found a number of good rams. When we returned with our sheep hunters mother nature played her hand and it was not in our favour. Between the smoke from British Columbia's forest fires, the worst in recorded history, to the heat and then later excessive and destructive snowfall our time spent on the mountain in favourable hunting conditions was significantly reduced and we were unable to harvest a ram. Most of the other Alberta sheep outfitters that I talked with after the season had to deal with the same conditions and sheep harvest was quite a bit less than past years.
Archery mule deer hunting in our area is an amazing experience if you are a bowhunter. This will test a hunters skills of stalking and executing a perfect shot when matched against a mature mule deer buck. All our bowhunters had opportunities at Pope & Young class bucks and all but one hunter had one or more shots. Carl Rossi connected on our best mule deer of the season, a 199” giant! Carl has bowhunted with us for the past six years and is 100% with six awesome mature bucks.
Rifle deer season started in late October and continued until late November. We started the season just hunting mule deer and then in the second week of November through till the end of the season we hunted whitetail as well. Our spot and stalk rifle whitetail hunts are becoming more popular as the years go by. Hunters that love the spot and stalk style of hunting are embracing the challenge of trying to harvest a good mature whitetail buck during the rut in this fashion. We harvested some good representative whitetails for our area but we had some close calls and missed shots at a few giants. Our mule deer rifle hunters once again experienced a 100% harvest.
As another season comes to a close I am thankful for the great crew that helped to make it all happen. Their dedication to putting the extra effort forward and professionalism to each hunter is greatly appreciated and is the reason why many of our clientele return for multiple hunts with us.
Now the booking season is upon us, filling our remaining openings for the 2018 & 2019 seasons. We still have some openings for all species in 2018 except for our rifle mule deer hunt which we are now booking for 2019. We will be attending the Wild Sheep Foundation show in Reno and will be in booth #624, I will also be at the Grand Slam show in Las Vegas the following weekend. I can be reached also by cell phone during these show dates at 403-652-6655.
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
After another real mild winter, the 2016 season looked promising in respect to mother nature being very easy on the animals in our areas.
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.