2017 Hunting Season
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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