John's Journal...


Slaton’s Slugger

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Slaton White, the editor of Shot Business, came to Saskatchewan to hunt with Garden River Outfitters because he knew he’d have a chance to take the white-tailed buck of a lifetime. Slaton explains, “All my life, especially when I was the editor for Field and Stream magazine, I’ve heard that Saskatchewan is the place to come if you want to take a really-nice buck.”

QUESTION: What was your hunt like?
WHITE: The weather was cold, and the hours in the stand were long. But, I knew to take a really-big buck I‘d have to wait out any bucks I might take. I knew that I would have to use extraordinary patience, and it would take at Click to enlargeleast 11 hours a day of sitting on a 4 X 4 platform stand inside a small tent to get a chance at my buck of a lifetime. I was seeing deer, but not all the time. The deer came in waves, and I had to stay prepared and focused, which really took a lot out of me. We had hunted a couple of days when the temperature was -7 degrees, and the wind chill was -27 degrees. I knew I needed to wear plenty of clothing, and I had a lot of Hot Hands heat packs.

I’d seen the same 8-point bucks all week long, but I could never get excited about his rack. Toward the end of the hunt, I decided to go ahead and try and take him. I got into my stand about 6:40 am, about a half an hour before legal shooting time. I saw two does at the bait, and then at about 7:50 am, I heard a deer grunting. This 8 point was working really Click to enlargebig circles around my stand, and I could see him preparing his scrapes and. checking does until about 10:00 a.m. I also had several other deer come into the area. But at 10:00 a.m., the rut seemed to really break loose. I saw a 10-point buck I’d spotted on Tuesday. As I looked at the buck, I said to myself, “He’s not really that big a deer; he’s a young deer; maybe I’ll take him, and maybe I won’t.”

As I was watching the 10-point buck, the 8 pointer I’d been watching all week created a scrape right behind my stand. Next, a button buck came in about 20 yards from my stand and started looking straight at me. Then, I saw a buck with beautiful chocolate-colored antlers that I’d spotted two days earlier. I thought he was a little small, but one of the things I remembered was that the big bodies on these deer make their antlers look small. In talking to the guys at camp, I’d learned to look at the eye of the buck and then look at the base of the horns. If the width of the antlers at the base was wider than the deer’s eye, then usually the buck had a pretty good mass. When I made that judgment call, I realized that this buck had really, really nice mass and was the buck I wanted. However, this presented me with a real dilemma. The chocolate-antlered buck Click to enlargethat I wanted to take was coming in, the 8 point was behind me making a scrape, and I had a 10 point in front of me and a button buck looking right at me. So, I moved slowly, rested my elbow on my knee, got my CVA rifle and prepared for the shot. Once you decide on the buck you want to take, especially if he’s a really nice buck, your adrenaline kicks in, so, I tried to keep every emotion I was having at bay.
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To learn more about Hot Hands, call Howard Communications at (573) 898-3422 or visit

For more information on Garden River Outfitters, contact Mo Heisler at (306) 978-2307, or you can write to him at Box 929, Martinsville, Saskatchewan, SOK-2TO.

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Day 1: Slaton’s Slugger
Day 2: The Rest of Slaton’s Story
Day 3: Chris Lalik’s Saskatchewan Buck
Day 4: Chad Schearer
Day 5: John Phillips’ Story


Entry 330, Day 1