Some people simply hunt for white-tailed deer. It’s just something they do most years after the other big-game seasons have shut down and the bug to get outdoors still burrows its way into their daily thoughts. Others, however, live for whitetailed deer. They’re out scouting and setting up stands before the end of August. They’re in treestands swatting mosquitoes during September’s bow seasons, and by October’s black-powder season, they know every deer in their area on a first-name basis. And if they’ve filled all their tags by November, well, they start to think about the great deer hunting in neighbouring provinces and states.
To some degree, I fall into the latter category. Sure, I hunt other big game, but frankly, my favourite quarry is whitetails. I tagged my first deer 40-odd years ago on October 31 at 7:30 in the morning on a snow-checkered hardwood ridge in Quebec. Since then, I’ve pursued whitetails in eight out of 10 provinces—I would have hunted them in Newfoundland and P.E.I., too, if they had any—as well as several states. And I still chase them today.
Through my travels, I’ve identified a half-dozen regions across the country as my favourite hunting grounds, places that routinely call me back, both in body and spirit. For my money, these are Canada’s best places for white-tailed deer. Here’s why—and how to successfully hunt them.
How I Chose Them
In a couple of cases, picking my favourite hot spot was pretty straightforward—no fuss, no second-guessing. But for some places, such as Saskatchewan, it was a tough call because there’s so much good deer hunting to be had. So, rather than flip a coin, I used the following criteria to make my final selections:
- availability and access to the hunting area
- density of white-tailed deer
- reasonable expectation of success
- aesthetics of the hunting area
- availability of services, guides, outfitters
- low levels of hunting pressure
- overall enjoyment of the experience
- diversity of terrain and conditions
As always, be sure to check the local regulations and seasons before heading afield.