ANTICOSTI ISLAND DEER HUNTING
No other place in the world can provide the virgin-territory whitetail hunting experience of an Anticosti Island deer hunting trip. This huge island, located in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in Quebec, is home to more than 160,000 deer, many of which have never seen a person before.
Less than half a dozen outfitters have the privilege of offering hunts here. This one is our top recommendation.
ANTICOSTI ISLAND HUNTING
You will hardly ever encounter another person during your hunt. Only a handful of people, mostly government employees, live here. You might occasionally come across another guide and hunter, but it’s more likely that you’ll go your entire trip without seeing anyone else outside of camp.
This outfitter has private access to 800 square miles of this northern paradise. You will experience a true wilderness here, with no fences, few signs of humanity, and only the outfitter’s own roads breaking up the island’s natural beauty. If you choose to hunt alone, you can go an entire day without so much as hearing another human being.
Anticosti Island also offers a uniquely high chance of getting in the record books right now. SCI only recently determined the deer here to be a new subspecies. As a new category, the historic competition is light, making the previous records easier to beat. This outfitter claimed the #1 SCI record in 2008 with a buck that scored more than 146”. Requests that the Boone and Crockett Club also recognize this subspecies have been sent in as well.
While SCI says these deer weigh “up to 150 pounds,” this outfitter regularly guides clients to mature bucks weighing in at more than 165 pounds, with the biggest and best tipping the scales at 200. Antlers usually have eight points and a spread of about 17”.
Anticosti Island is the northeastern extreme of the whitetail deer’s range. In fact, it lies outside of their natural territory—they were introduced here, and have flourished as only an invasive species can. Black bears had long dominated this island, but when the deer arrived, they quickly multiplied and devoured the island’s berry crop. The last of the bears died out in the late nineties.
Today, only two things keep the enormous deer population in check: the handful of hunters who come here every year and the harsh Canadian winter. A bad winter can mean fewer deer for a given year, but their numbers are so robust that it would take a combination of a bad winter, bad hunting weather, and bad luck to stop you from tagging out on two nice bucks. You should see plenty of deer in any area and at almost any time of year.
The only time that Anticosti Island deer hunting isn’t great is the month of October. The bucks spend this month resting up and building fat reserves for the rut. They spend most of their days hiding out in thickets and are nearly impossible to find. Because of that, these outfitters don’t offer hunts during this month.
Things are much better in September when the deer are still enjoying a summer lifestyle. You can find them grazing around dusk and dawn. Their favorite places at this time are the island’s enormous marshes and areas left burnt in the aftermath of fires.
For those willing to brave the colder weather, November offers exciting rut hunts. The bucks throw caution to the wind, wandering the island in search of does in broad daylight. Calls and rattles work like magic at this time of year.
Anticosti Island deer hunting gives the first-time hunter a great chance to learn the ropes. Not only will you have access to this huge number of deer and a professional guide, but you will also have plenty of shots at close ranges. It’s a rare occasion when you have to take a shot from 200 yards, and quite common to have an opportunity at 40 or 50. Of course, having the skill to make the long shots will give you an advantage when hunting riverbanks and bogs.
You won’t need to purchase a new gun for these hunts. Your trusty .270, 30-06 or .308 will do the trick just fine.
Whether you use a bolt-action or semiautomatic rifle is a matter of personal choice. Most hunters here find that a bolt-action rifle works best. If you plan to take down a moving target, though, then a repeating rifle might be the way to go.
Your choice of optics may well be more important than your choice of gun. The outfitters highly recommend a variable-zoom scope with 2x–7x magnification.
The most popular hunting techniques here include spot-and-stalk and still hunting. The outfitters prefer to avoid using tree stands and only have a handful on the hunting grounds. However, they are happy to accommodate hunters with physical limitations, and have set up plenty of ground blinds and stands for those who need or prefer them.
With the incredible number of deer on the island, self-guiding can work quite well. You can decide to hunt entirely on your own and further immerse yourself in the wilderness or to go with a guide and increase your chances of taking home a world-class trophy.
The outfitters have spent years refining their trail system to make self-guided hunts easier. These clearly marked trails will bring you to some of the best deer hunting grounds on the island.
Each trail has a number displayed at the entrance, so you’ll always know whether you’re headed to the one everyone was talking about. They also let you easily communicate where you are to your guide.
These outfitters know that nobody likes walking out, reaching the end of a trail, and having to turn around and head back through the same areas. To keep you constantly on the move through new hunting territory, the outfitters designed most of the trails to loop back to their private roads. You can just follow each trail to its end and call in a ride back to camp.
Finally, to facilitate trophy recovery, these trails are wide enough to take an ATV down. If you get a deer, your guide will roll up and drive it out.
ANTICOSTI ISLAND DEER HUNTING PACKAGES
Please note that the following prices are for American hunters. Lower rates are available for residents of Quebec.
The first package, based in the area around Rivière de la Chaloupe, offers a better bargain for hunters who don’t mind unguided hunts. It comes with five full days of hunting and six nights’ lodging, but only one guide for every four hunters. There is room for up to 10 hunters in a tented camp and four hunters in chalet lodging.
Hunts booked between September 1 and November 4 cost $4,090 per hunter, while those booked during the rut (November 5 to November 29) cost $4,455.
The second package places you in the Rivière Bell hunting territory. The hunts are a little shorter, with only four full days of hunting and five nights of lodging, but the guide ratio comes at 2×1 and there’s room for more people. As many as 14 hunters can stay in the tents, and four to eight can spend their nights in the lodge.
These cost $4,805 between October 28 and November 1 and $5,155 from November 2 to December 2. You can reduce the price by $300 by changing it to a 3×1 hunter/guide ratio, and 4×1 hunts are available as well.
INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
The price of either the Anticosti Island deer hunting package covers the round-trip cost of flying between Montreal and Anticosti and driving between the island airport and the lodge or camp. It also covers the use of one pickup truck and ATV per guide, plus the cost of preparing two deer for the trip home and of your non-resident hunting license. All taxes are included.
PRICE VARIABILITY NOTICE
Fuel prices vary dramatically over time. You may need to pay a surcharge to cover unexpected price hikes in plane fuel costs.
In order to reserve your hunt, you must make a 50% deposit. The remaining portion must be paid no less than 60 days before your hunt begins. You will also need to sign a disclaimer/waiver of liability and return it to us as soon as possible.
You can pay at the listed price by personal check, business check, or Bitcoin. Global Sporting Safaris also accepts Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit card payments, but please note that credit cards incur a 3.5% surcharge. Anticosti Island deer hunting is a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s the perfect choice if you want to enjoy a relaxing hunt with excellent chances of success far from the civilized world.