Prior to a recent hunting trip to Timberlost Outfitters in Saskatchewan, I would not have thought it possible to use those two words together. I stand corrected. Not only does Timberlost produce out-of-this-world whitetails, but they do it to the extreme.
If you Google Timberlost you’ll learn that it’s located near Leoville, Saskatchewan, which is approximately 2 hours from Saskatoon. What you do not find on Google is that to get to Timberlost, hunters meet up at the Otter Creek Outfitters lodge, change clothes and gear up for an hour-long 4-wheeler ride deep into the Saskatchewan bush. The scenery is breathtaking and the ride enjoyable. I knew as soon as we hit the trail that this was not your average whitetail hunt.
Though the camp is quite remote, it includes every amenity you could need. The main cabin is warm, comfortable and complete with three bedrooms and a bathroom. Meals are terrific and the desserts are homemade. It doesn’t really get better than this. Or does it? While you’re dining at the table, you can watch large whitetail venture into camp. For those looking for yet another twist on the hunting experience, there is a fire-warmed hot tub on the porch overlooking Higgins Lake (named in memory of the previous owner who recently passed away).
We arrived at Timberlost following our quad ride into camp and commenced sighting-in our firearms. Whitetail are so bountiful here that we had to halt shooting as the deer kept wandering behind the target. We were shown around camp and given a briefing of the plan for the morning hunt and rules of engagement.
It’s said that all is far in love and war — and the same holds true for hunting at Timberlost. The guides spend endless hours analyzing trail camera photos to identify which stands are getting the most action. All hunters draw cards to determine who gets to draw first for stand assignment. I drew a 2, then drew an awesome stand. Game on!
Morning comes early in camp, but with it came hot coffee and a delicious breakfast. I grabbed my moose sandwich and a Diet Coke and headed out to the changing cabin. The Timberlost changing cabin is a temperature-controlled, low-scent cabin where all gear used for the hunt is stored. We geared up, sprayed off and loaded down, ready to roll.
We loaded up the quads in the dark and headed out to various regions in the Saskatchewan bush. Timberlost Outfitters hunts an expansive area of 66,000 acres, and they have stands set up all over the region. The first morning ride was 17.5 km in the absolute dark of the Canadian skies. The ride was a rush. No major roads here; all routes are narrow quad tracks ranging from moderate to difficult terrain, and you can easily find yourself going over beaver dams and narrow bridges. After an hour-long ride to the stand, the guide dropped me off, handed me a radio and beat a hasty retreat. I was alone. In the dark. Deep in the Canadian bush. What a rush!
Within minutes, the air was filled with the haunting echoes of wolf howls and cries. There is no describing the awe and intensity of hearing wolves circling the vicinity and communicating to each other with their piercing cries. I thought to myself, “Now THIS is extreme whitetail hunting.”
Even before shooting light, deer were all over the site. Though it was too dark to determine whether they were bucks or does, it was thrilling just to have that activity at hand. In no time, a lumbering porcupine made its way under my stand and waddled through the deer herd. The wolf symphony had abated and light was approaching. The day was filled with doe activity and a couple of immature bucks, but nothing worthy of shooting.
Hours later as darkness converged, I was met by my guide and we picked up other hunters along the way. Another great ride back to camp. I cannot describe how wonderful the smell of pork tenderloin and the heat of the cabin were after a long day in the cold. Following a great meal and a hot shower, the guides determined that some of us would be moved to new stands the following day. Yep, I had been reassigned!
If I thought the pre-dawn quad ride the day before was something, the second day was incredible! The trail was much more difficult to navigate, but I found myself winding deep into thickets, then out into the open, then back through wooded hills and alongside lakes. Another 17-km ride and into the stand before shooting light.
The early morning showed six does in the area, all very skittish and suspicious of the stand. I knew I was not going to be able to move about much. Within an hour, the snow started to fly and the wind picked up, but there was little deer movement on site. Then around 10, I heard some movement in the nearby trees. To my surprise, an 11-point buck walked into the area. I glassed and contemplated. I knew there was one larger, heavier buck in the area, but this guy was not something to pass. I pulled up to view through the scope and stopped cold when he spotted my movement. He soon went back to eating, clearly ravenous from the rut. I considered my options briefly, then decided to take my shot. He was quartering away — I took aim slightly posterior and took my shot. A definite hit.
After a brief wait, I was able to find a blood trail. I found bright blood in the brush indicating a lung shot. I knew he had to be close, and indeed I found him just 25 yards into the brush. He had a split brow tine, giving him a 12th point I had not seen. I was thrilled. I had done it. My first whitetail, extreme style!
I would highly recommend the services of Timberlost Outfitters to any hunter looking for extreme-style trophy class whitetail. This hunt was more than just a hunt; it was an experience throughout. Of all outfitters with whom I have hunted, I found the guides (Devan, Dustin and Tom) to be extremely competent and professional at all times. The camp and cabins were immaculate, comfortable and warm. The food was exceptional, the desserts homemade. It is apparent that a lot of time and effort goes into making each hunter comfortable and successful.
I also consider this camp to be “female friendly.” Yeah, I might require a hot shower and I might want to use my hair dryer, but I will definitely hold my own on the hunt. Efforts were made to ensure we were comfortable with our surroundings and situation, but we were treated respectfully and equally to our male counterparts. We were expected to pull our own weight and were thrilled to do so. That said, it is important to understand that there is a bit of physical requirement to this kind of hunt that might not be suitable to all. Check it out. Ask questions. I can assure you, if you do opt for whitetail hunting extreme-style, Timberlost will provide the hunt of a lifetime.
For more information about Timberlost Outfitters, check out www.timberlostoutfitting.com.