February/March 2014 EHJ (Issue 141) - Typically the phrase, "Are we there yet?” is something I ask myself several times on the lengthy journey from my home in Australia to the various wildernesses of North America. I live in a rural community in southern Australia approximately two hours east of Melbourne.
At home I enjoy time well spent in the Aussie bush and keep myself busy devoting days and days to hunting the diverse game animals we have here. In particular, I love searching the backcountry forests for sambar stag but there are six species of deer spread throughout the eastern provinces to hunt at different times of the year. There are also water buffalo and wild boar to pursue in the wilds of the northern tropics.
Over the past few years, much of my attention has been drawn to hunting the astonishing game animals present in North America and Canada. Each and every one of fers their own niche environment to experience and brings about tales of hunting a new species in a foreign land. Everyone has a bucket list and although I have checked the boxes of a few, for some reason mine doesn’t seem to get shorter!
It would make more sense perhaps, since I’m on the other side of the world, to pay the price and go on guided hunts but unfortunately I’m not able to throw money at all my goals. Especially with a wife that enjoys her hunting as much as me, the costs add up quickly. Consequently, most of the hunting I’ve undertaken on previous trips to North America and Canada has been DIY or traded hunts with folks that have wanted to exchange for a trip Downunder. My 2013 Alberta mule deer hunt was no exception.
The lead-up to my mule deer hunt goes back a couple years or so when I began to research the best places to kill a bigger than average buck. Of course, there are the desert states that may take years to draw or a landowner tag that might cost a few thousand dollars, but another option was Alberta, Canada. I had hosted some guys from Alberta on a previous trade hunt who raved about the mule deer hunting there. In fact, they told me that most years they see 200-inch deer.
For a full account of Rob's adventure, go to page 26 in the February/March 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.