As 2008 is drawing to a close I can't believe that another hunting
season has come and gone. Now is a time where we reflect on the hunts
of this past season and start making plans for next year. We experienced
yet another very successful season here at Willow Creek Outfitters.
We had many great experiences in the field and enjoyed the company
of our guests, which almost 50% had hunted with me at some point in
We started in late April with our spot and stalk black bear hunts.
Kent Green who harvested a nice P&Y mule deer in 2007 with us
took a nice old bear with a very thick black coat. The next hunters
were Dale Sowders and his son Joel. We experienced a late spring snowstorm
in the first half of the hunt that shut down the bear activity. Unfortunately
Dale and Joel had to leave after four days just when the weather was
turning nice. Some times Mother Nature has different plans!
After spending a month away guiding for Dall sheep I returned in early
August to scout for the upcoming bow hunts in September. Countless
hours of scouting turned up some amazing trophy mule deer. The first
mule deer bow hunters arrived in early September. Kent Green and his
son Chris returned with friends Ken Tanner and Jason Bradford. We
experienced some tough luck, everyone took at least two shots and
five of the bucks we had shooting opportunities at were in the 170"
to 180" class and at the end of the hunt we only had stories
about the ones that got away! Next group was Nick Trotta and Matt
Whitt. On day one Matt made an 18 yard shot and harvested his first
mule deer, a huge non-typical that gross scored 195"! On day
three Nick waited within bow range of his buck for eight hours until
the deer offered him a 28 yard broadside shot, the huge main frame
4x3 grossed 177". The remaining mule deer bow hunters were Mike
Siegler, Bernard Machabee, Vernon Ray and Tim Baker. All four hunters
all saw 180" plus mule deer but because of missed shots or blown
stalks and bad luck these last four hunters were unable to connect
on a buck.
The two archery elk hunters were Rob Hayden and his friend Greg Koinis.
We hunted hard for six days seeing five or six point bulls everyday
of the hunt. We battled 80F weather everyday and the bulls just did
not want to come into any call. We came close to bow range a few times
but never launched an arrow.
In between the archery and rifle season we fit in a few bird hunters.
Mark Gross, Don Kaas and Russ Bickel got their limit of ducks each
day and said they saw more ducks during their three day hunt than
they had in the rest of their duck hunting career!
The end of October brought the opening week of rifle season, Kent
Green and Peter and Ed Farias each took nice bucks by the third day
of the hunt. Latham Myers was next on a whitetail and mule deer hunt.
Latham has hunted with us a number of times in the past and due to
being in great shape was able to hike many miles and take two nice
bucks. His 4x4 whitetail scored 148" and his non-typical mule
deer was 186". We found a great buck on the first day of Mark
Hoselton's hunt but unfortunately it was in an area were we could
not hunt. Mark was very patience and on the evening of the fourth
day the buck moved and Mark harvested our best mule deer of the rifle
season, a 189 5/8" brute!
The next group included Linda Powell, Rob Lancellotti, Ron Spomer
and Gordy Krahn. At the end of the hunt the group had taken three
dandy mule deer bucks, a couple in the 170's and two very nice whitetails.
With the last week of the season brought two whitetail hunters, Eric
and his daughter Lindsey Johnson and four mule deer hunters; Bob Gonyea,
Dick Swanson, Steve Dice and John Malek. The weather was unseasonable
warm with no snow on the ground and we had a tough time finding good
mule deer bucks but with perseverance we tagged out on mule deer by
day five. On the other hand the whitetails were rutting hard and the
big bucks were showing themselves during daylight hours. Eric saw
a 160" plus buck walking into his blind one day but the buck
did not give Eric enough time to get his crosshairs on him. Eric's
15 year old daughter Lindsey, was able to get two shots, one at a
buck in the 140's and another close to 170" but she unfortunately
was unable to connect. Don't worry Lindsey you will have many years
to get a big one!
We still have a few hunts available for the 2009 season and have now
started booking for 2010 so if we have a hunt that interests you,
do not hesitate to contact me for available dates or other hunt information.
I would like to send a special thanks to all of you that joined us
for a hunt this season or years in the past. Also to the guides that
made it all happen out in the field; Darcy Barrett, Randy Blanchard,
Kelly Wiebe and my brother Hans van Hilten.
The Full Printable 2008 Hunt Report
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