2019 #8 – Derek Hadley

by | Sep 18, 2020 | 2019 Tethrd Ten


SADDLE GEAR: Mantis saddle, ring of steps (Cranford T screw-in steps) all covered with Stealth Strips
LOCATION: Manitoba, Canada

I’m from south east Manitoba. I have always been told that we don’t have big deer around here, and if ya want one, you gotta go west close to the Saskatchewan border.

I recently discovered Dan Infalt and John Eberhart and have learned so much from the two of them. It was their brains that got me this buck. I only shot the bow. This year was a whole lot of firsts for me: my first year hunting exclusively mobile, my first year hunting from a saddle, my first year abandoning my scent control regime, and my first year hunting like a BEAST.

A month before the season opener, I took a job in a very remote place. I was only home 4 days a month with a new born at home to boot. I assumed this hunting season was a wash. Well I managed to get out at the end of October with my old man. I took a walk through this over looked area right beside the gravel pit every one parks at to hunt this big woods/river bottom area. I found lots and lots of hot sign. About 50 yards from the pits, there was a perfect tree to set up in, but my brain said “that’s way to close to the truck…push on”. So I pressed on looking for a better tree a little deeper. The section was clear cut several years back. Every other tree from there out was maybe 6” around. There was no chance to get up high around there. It seems I messed up and should have set up at that first big pine I passed walking in. I scouted the rest of the day, then flew back to work a few days after thinking all the info I learned would be good for next season. I thought to myself that by the time I got home and hunted again, that sign will all be cold as ice.

As luck would have it (I was probably the only guy happy about it), there was a issue between the government and the mine I was working at, and the project was shut down temporarily. We were all sent home after only being up there about 5 days.

With 2 days left in the archery season, I sat that pine I had walked passed the week before. I did an all day sit. I had a basket buck sneak up on me because of the fresh snow on the ground making him ninja-like-silent at about 4:30 pm. He busted out after we locked eyes but he never blew. About 15 min later I heard a deer walking where the first buck spooked. I started to watch as I could only see flashes of deer. Next, I notice some movement over my left shoulder. I looked and this Manitoba monster came walking out, dogging the doe I was trying to watch north of me. I spun around as I drew back. He was moving quickly. I let out a grunt and stopped him right at the end of a small opening 30 yards away and let one fly. The hit looked great.

I backed out and grabbed my brother in-law to join in the recovery. We returned a few hours later and to our surprise we found a bloody bed that we kicked the buck out of. We continued to track it, scared it was going to snow over night and we would lose the trail. The buck was still bleeding consistently, and after about a kilometer we were confident it wasn’t going to snow for the night and backed out.

I came back the next morning and followed him another 500 yards and found him piled up on the other side of a frozen swamp. Turns out he wasn’t quartering away as much as I thought and I punched the liver and one lung. Not the best hit, but we got him and couldn’t be happier about it.

Thanks Dan and John you guys are legends.

And thanks Greg and Ernie for the saddle. There’s no way I could have gotten a stand in that tree.