We have felt for many years that Indiana is another one of those relatively hidden gems for hunting whitetails, and have taken note of some of the truly big whitetails that have quietly slipped into the record books from this state. For example, Tim Beck with his incredible 305” record buck! And with the law change a few years ago limiting hunters to one buck- it just gets better. So when this outfitter from south central Indiana reached out to us for marketing assistance, we perked up immediately and took notice. As this outfitter is brand new to us for 2020, we started our vetting process to try to ensure he was a quality outfitter we could represent. Here is some of what we learned:
“He is a high quality human being. That’s why I believe in them…because he will make extraordinary efforts to put you on good bucks. This will be my third year with him. He’s comfortable to be around and he puts me in locations that could produce a 140 to 170 class buck. I killed a nice 9-point my first year and a good 8-point the second season. I was very close to pulling the trigger on 160 class buck year one. I have seen with my own two eyes the heads of a 12-point, 13-point, 17-point and 18-point that were harvested. The opportunities are there.” Billy S, Michigan
Here is another reference with a truly different story: “I have hunted whitetail in New York (44 years), Pennsylvania (40 years), Alabama (6 times), Ohio, Saskatchewan (4 times) and Idaho. I have killed well over 100 bucks. Not bragging, just giving you an idea of my experience as a whitetail hunter with bow, rifle, muzzle loader, shotgun and crossbow. On opening of rifle, I saw one quality 10 pt that was short on the brow tines, so I passed. I saw 16 deer total, 6 bucks. Four were 10 point and I saw a 4 and spike. Unfortunately, after my opening day hunt, I had an accident in the cabin chasing a bat, and blew out my knee (yes a bat), I was relegated to the front porch of the camp for the next 2 and 1/2 days. I did get the bat. During my day 4 porch hunt, the outfitter phoned me and offered to take me to a parcel that I could hunt from a ground blind, and he would transport me by Gator to get there. A very nice gesture. We sat in the blind an hour and I managed to shoot a nice 164 and 1/4 ten point. We saw 6 deer in the first hour. I really doubt that I would have had a successful hunt if it wasn’t for the offer by him. That is the kind of person he is. He did not know me from Adam, and he went out his way for me. He knew I was hurt, frustrated and very disappointed, previous to his offer. He made this a success for me. I highly recommend him. I am going back next season, I also plan on booking a Turkey hunt this spring. Honestly, the nicest, straight forward and honest outfitter that I have dealt with. With a few more seasons, I expect this outfitter to be one of the best, and one of the best to produce great deer and great properties to hunt.“ Dan L.
When you hear that sort of praise from a very serious whitetail veteran, it counts! Although taking out your knee on account of a 6 ounce flying bat…sheesh…! Dan also pointed out some things we would want you as a client to be aware of. Guiding at this operation is done by taking you to the property and showing you the boundaries; advising on what they know about deer movements from trail cams, etc., and telling you where any existing stands on the property are located. After that, each day you are basically on your own on the property you have assigned, although the outfitter can be phoned for any problems. So you can bring your own stands (you are advised to do so), you can scout, read sign, do all the things you normally do, rather than being put into one spot and told not to move. We like that as experienced whitetailers.
Now obviously, not every hunter will see or kill a huge trophy, but we think 130 to 145 would be the norm with 160 class bucks being do-able. The outfitter told us this in January of 2020: “We took 3 Boone and Crocket bucks (Meaning 160 plus – low book) – off our properties this year and had pictures of 15 bucks that we estimated being 150 Inch or better.”
He has about 46 parcels of ground – various sizes from about 30 to 40 acres and up, with some up to 200-250 acres. About half is wooded on each parcel. This is agricultural country so deer density is good and they are well fed. Rolling hills and crop ground. He takes about 60 hunters per year between bow, crossbow, rifle and muzzleloader. Spread that out over 46 parcels of land plus all of the various seasons and properties and that is not unreasonable. Usually only 1-3 people per parcel and no mixed groups. He has some stands up but also will supply climbers so hunters can move or re-locate on the parcel. You choose your stand. Stands that are up are various types: some are ladder, some are doubles, some are ladder sticks and stands. No charge for a climber if you want to use one. You must supply YOUR OWN safety equipment and sign a waiver. You are prohibited from using screw in steps or bow hangers.
He puts out about a 100 trail cams, primarily checking trails on way to existing stands. He has a north camp and a south camp and rustic cabin for up to 4. He runs one camp, partner the other. Meals and lodging are provided. He provides the supplies for your breakfast and lunch, but they do prepare the dinners. Nothing fancy, but very adequate for most serious hunters. However, the 4-man cabin requires you to prepare all your meals, not just dinner, but they do provide all the food for you to prepare. He does expect hunters to stay on their parcel for hunt duration, but in extreme cases of not seeing anything they may allow a move. He did say that if that a group is on a parcel and someone kills out, and the other guy feels he should like to switch property, they can usually accommodate.
Game retrieval is typically done by the hunters, along with field dressing, but if you need help they will oblige. We think those chores are just part of the fun ourselves, but your age affects that! Game processing in town is avail, but you need to get your animal there. Minimum is 120 inch – no fines but try to not kill anything under 120. Reasonable expectations are 130-140 plus. As we said, he stated he had 15-16 bucks on camera at end of 2019, showing 150” or better class deer. Had 3 over 160 killed in 2019 and 2 the year before. Killed about 25 bucks in 2019, which we think is pretty good for this sort of operation and with such a wide variety of weapons and with all the various levels of expertise he gets.
PARTY SIZE: There is no party size limit, so book solo or with friends and family.
LICENSES: They are the counter and cost around $150. TRANSPORT: Drive; or fly to Indianapolis, Louisville or Cincinnati and rent a vehicle.
2021 PRICES (subject to change without notice until deposit received)
Archery/Crossbow: 5 days, food and lodging included. Monday-Friday – $2,750 per person, archery season approx. October 1 to January 5.
Rifle: Season roughly mid-November to 3rd weekend in Dec. 5 days with food and lodging – $3,150. Hunts are Monday-Friday. Add 2 days of bowhunting to a 5-day rifle hunt for just $1,200 per person.
Muzzleloader: December hunts. 5 days with food and lodging. Monday-Friday – $2,150. A BARGAIN!
Observers: $100 per night.
ALL DEER HUNTS ARE FULLY-GUIDED, MEANING YOU ARE SHOWN THE PROPERTY BOUNDARIES AND ADVISED ON KNOWN DEER SIGN/TRAVEL MOVEMENTS. A GUIDE DOES NOT SIT WITH YOU. IF YOU WISH TO HAVE A GUIDE SIT WITH YOU, THERE IS AN EXTRA CHARGE OF $1,000.
TURKEY: 3-day hunt, includes lodging only – $800. Approx. 90% success and 100% opportunity.
HUNT NATION – YOUR SOURCE FOR GREAT TRIPS AND HONEST ADVICE
307-637-5495; email@example.com; www.hunt-nation.com