top of page

BUCK FEVER, BETTER BUCK NEXT TIME!

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

Written by Pat Gatz (A.K.A. Little Eagle) is a First Nation Algonquin native born and raised in beautiful Northern Ontario, where the most isolated, dense forests and miles of freshwater lakes run as far as the eye can see. I am proud to share my native heritage & culture and hunting story that embarks on the greatest hunt of my life!


I would like first to say, “Thank you, Canada in the Rough, the Beasley brothers Keith, Paul, and Kevin, for the best deer hunting magazine Ontario Monster Whitetails. It is an honor and a privilege to be chosen to share my life-changing Northwestern Ontario Whitetail hunt with my fellow huntresses & hunters of Ontario! I would like to thank my father for buying my first pellet gun for Christmas when I was 6 years old. That started my hunting journey, and I have never looked back. Last but not least, I would not be as successful as a hunter being mentored by two of the most knowledgeable hunters I have ever known is my best friend since we were three years old from the beautiful town of Matchewan, Ontario A.J. Saul (A.K.A. Moose Whisperer) and his older brother Byron Saul (A.K.A. Byron The Great) from Saul Outfitters. These two gentlemen have hunting blood flowing through many family generations, from their father, Ed Saul, to their grandfathers and beyond. I have learned so much from them and would not be the hunter I am today without my Northern brothers from different mothers! Byron Saul got me addicted to Whitetail hunting two years ago. I have never been the same! LOL! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


Kwe Kwe. Hello. My Name is Pat Gatz, and I am an Algonquin First Nation native from the Eagle Village First Nation Reserve, also known as Kebaowek, a First Nations reserve in Abitibi - T’emiscamingue, Quebec. I’m a father of three beautiful daughters, a full-time firefighter, an author, the owner of Hunting for Greatness, and I try to hunt any chance I get. I own 100+ acres of beautiful Northeastern Ontario property called, “ Gatzville Estates. I run my Hunting for Greatness publishing company www.patgatz.com. I have written two hunting books that are worldwide. My best-seller on Amazon.ca, “ The Simple Hunting Guide - Beginners Quick Start Into The Sport With Ease - Tracking, Scouting, And Survival Skills,” shares his hunting experiences that take you on a magnificent journey through the hunting world that will provide you with a unique learning experience. On this journey, explicitly designed for beginner hunters and those who never hunted, you will learn everything a beginner needs to know to start hunting like a pro in no time. My second book “ Eat My Meat - A Beginners Field Dressing Guide For Small Game,” teaches you step-by-step how to field dress the 12 popular animals of North America. 80 percent of hunters know how to hunt but do not know how to field dress. I want to change that and make every huntress/hunter into a professional butcher. I have a 20’ x 8’ x 8’ steel sea can that I turned into a field dressing shop located in WMU 29. 12 feet is cooler, and the rest is the processing facility, where I fully skinned my very first Northwestern Ontario Monster Buck. I am getting it mounted at Advanced Taxidermy & Wildlife Design LTD, "THE BEST IN THE WORLD.” I built an authentic 20 ft high teepee. I plan on covering the whole teepee with various animal hides I hunt throughout my hunting career. I am writing the first-of-its-kind First Nation Algonquin book about my heritage, culture, and traditions. I want to show the world I am proud to be a true Canadian living off the land. We live in the most beautiful country in the world, Canada. I have been to many places, and Northern Ontario is my most beautiful spot. We have everything from millions of freshwater lakes to lushes forests, breathtaking mountain ridges, and thousands of various magnificent animals! We have it all! OH, CANADA, OUR HOME, AND NATIVE LAND!


Buck fever, better buck next time! Buck fever is real; anyone can get it by hunting the elusive Northern Ontario Whitetail Monster Buck. Buck fever is when you get your rare opportunity at your dream Northern Whitetail Monster, and you choke, missing your one & only chance. It happens to the best of us if you say, “No!” I call you a liar. I have been hunting since I was 6 years old, and I am 37. I have been hunting for 31 years, and friends, I still get buck fever. I hunt bull moose, wolf, bear, wild boar, but to-date the Northern Ontario Monster Whitetail has proven to be the hardest, smartest animal I have hunted, equally to the Northern Timberwolf. I have learned all my Whitetail deer hunting skills from the one & only “The Great Byron Saul from Saul Outfitters,” who has a couple of beauty Northern Ontario Monsters mounted on his wall. I only started hunting Whitetail deer two years ago, and what a ride it has been!


2021 was the first year I started hunting the addicting Whitetail, but it wasn’t a good first experience. Our deer camp is in Northwestern Ontario Rainy River WMU 10, which is a 15-hour drive. You need to be careful at all times. Hunting is a very dangerous sport. On my drive up, I was taking a washroom break, and I stepped in a pothole and broke my foot. I was not letting a broke foot ruin my very first deer hunt. With my firefighting background, I wrapped my foot up and continued my journey to deer camp. I don’t need to mention it, but as you folks know, my first deer hunt did not go well. I was hobbling along, in constant pain, and couldn’t be stealthy if my life depended on it! LOL! Even huntresses/hunters at their best Whitetail deer make professionals look like amateurs. That year I researched & scouted Whitetail deer hunting to become educated for the following years. All that knowledge prepared me for what was to come this 2022 deer hunting season.


The 2022 Whitetail hunt came up quickly, and I came up late to deer camp because I was on a wildboar hunt with my compound bow in Corisca, France, which is an island south of France and off the West coast of Italy. It is a little piece of heaven! It was a success! I ended up shooting a 100 lb wild boar with my Blackout NV-32 Compound Bow. Those are the craziest animals I have ever hunted. They are very aggressive. I hunt bears, wolves, and if you come across those animals, they are more likely to run away, but if you find yourself in the vicinity of wild pigs, they don’t run away! That’s why the French found out I was hunting with a compound bow they called me, “ Crazy Canadian! “ because everyone hunts wildboar with guns, and this Canadian from the North is using a bow!LOL! It was an amazing time hunting in +24 degrees weather and swimming in The Mediterranean Sea. If you ever have the opportunity to hunt wildboar do it!


November 17, 2022, early morning, I start my 15-hour drive to Rainy River, Ontario, WMU 10. It is Rainy River First Nation territory. Our deer camp is a farmhouse on 600 acres. Byron Saul has been up there since October, and there was only one more deer hunter left his cousin Stephan Landry another fellow native brother. Stephan Landry shoots a beautiful 8-point Northwestern Ontario Dakota Monster with perfect chocolate horns. Byron has been tagged out since the 7th, and I am the last one left to try my luck on a Northwestern Ontario Dakota Monster Whitetail Buck. Now because last season was a right off this year, I was going hardcore and putting every bit of time I could hunting these elusive animals of Ontario.


Day #1, November 18, 2022, I sit for 10 hours in Stephan Landry’s blind, where he shot his beautiful stud! I did not see anything. It was cold winter temperatures of -18 degrees celsius, and you needed even in a ground blind a winter snowsuit in a heated body suit. Not moving for hours on end is something my body does not like as I get older!LOL! I was so focused this year that nothing was going to stop me from hunting hard to try and get my dream buck.


Day #2, November 19, 2022, I sit for 11 hours in a different ground blind 40 minutes away, deep in the bush. It was -24 degrees celsius in the ground blind. I was downwind, and it was blowing directly at me with 15 km winds. I saw 2 does, 2 fawns, and a little 6-point buck. I passed all deer up. I stayed still for so long that my muscles tightened, my heart started raising fast, and I started having trouble breathing. Being medically trained as a Firefighter, I knew I was at the beginning stages of hypothermia. I had to leave immediately because I had to make it to warmth before I fainted. I packed up right away and started walking to my truck about 1 km away. I had to eat snow to get some liquid down my throat. I was very close to passing out and would not be found hours later when I didn’t show up to camp. I made it to my truck, thankfully. When I got to my truck I chewed two 81 mg aspirin to help if I was going to have a heart attack because that is how fast it was beating, and chewing two 81 mg aspirin thins the blood to help it flow. I took off my snowsuit and put on warm clothes. I slowly turned on the heat, so I wasn’t warming my body up to quickly because that is not good if you have hypothermia. You are supposed to warm your body slowly. I made my way back to deer camp safely and told Byron about my near-death experience. That hunting experience would of sent most home packing, but I was determined to put in the time no matter what. The advice I want to pass on to others is to listen to your body. It will warn you that something is wrong. No hunt is worth your life! There is always another day! Be careful out there brothers & sisters, Mother nature is a very dangerous place! I made sure that the next day if it was going to be cold, I was going to be better prepared with a Buddy Heater in the ground blind. Thankfully the weather was cooperating on November 20, 2022, Day #3, and the warmest day so far. I saw 4 does, 2 fawns, and I sat for 8 hours. After almost dying yesterday from hypothermia, not seeing anything worthy to shoot, and I have been hunting for the last month and a half, so I was completely drained out. I went back to the farmhouse and told Byron I was ready to go home and see my daughters. Byron said,” Alright, buddy, we will take tomorrow and pack things up, clean the farmhouse, and leave the day after early morning to get back home to Northern Ontario.” I said,” Sounds good, brother!”

Day #4, November 21, 2022, is the day I get my rare chance at my dream Northwestern Ontario Monster Buck. That morning I was working on my Hunting for Greatness website: www.patgatz.com. It was around 9:45 am, and Byron went out to the kitchen to make a coffee when he yells,”Theirs a big buck walking across the far back field!” I did not hesitate a second! I threw my laptop, grabbed my gun & ammunition, threw my running shoes on, and ran out that door as fast as the Gingerbread man!LOL! Well, a piece of advice is to try not to get buck fever and take your time because what happened next made me choke in the most crucial time! I was running in the snow with running shoes and both shoes fell off, and I kept running, not thinking about anything except gaining some distance so I could get a good shot on this big buck cruising across the field in daylight! A once in a lifetime time opportunity! Let's recap the situation. I am now 100 yards in a field, -15 degrees celsius, with no coat, no shoes, bare feet, and buck fevering out! Not my proudest moments, fellow Huntresses & Hunters. I never experienced a Northern Ontario Monster Buck walking right into my lap before. I am now in position, resting my gun on a fence, and I notice the buck is about 100 yards away, standing on this little hill staring right at me. I look through my scope to see the rack on the deer to confirm it is one I want to shoot. I can’t see too well, so I turn my Burris scope to 5 times magnification and look again, and I see a huge rack. I am now in full buck fever!LOL! I’m trying to control my shaking, but it’s not working! I’m sighting the buck up to take a shot. The buck is standing broadside, but the sweet spot is covered by some popular trees. I need him to step another foot or two to get a perfect shot. You smart deer hunters are thinking, did you turn your magnification back to normal? No, I did not, friends. I rookied right out! Not that only I was on 5 times magnification, my 30/06 is sighted bang on at 200 yards and 1 inch high at 100 yards. As I was waiting for the buck to move a couple of feet, which by the way, felt like a lifetime. He wasn’t budging, but then I notice he is lifting his huge whitetail, so I know from my knowledge he is getting ready to take off running! OMG as my 5-year-old daughter would say! I have to take the shot. I have him sighted right at the base of the buck's neck. I decide this is my only chance, and I steady myself and FIRE! The deer turns around and runs off into the thick swamp. I run back to the house, grabbing my shoes on the way to tell Byron, “I shot the Monster Buck!”

Byron and I waited impatiently before we went to look for a blood trail. As we were walking to the buck's last position, it was standing, staring at me. Byron was laughing about me running in bare feet for an opportunity of a Northern Ontario Monster Buck! The moment of truth, “ BUCK FEVER IS REAL!” We get to the spot I shot at the deer, and there is not a speck of blood. I knew I missed my one and only chance at my dream buck right away. Let me tell you that was a very humbling experience. I have been hunting since I was 6 years old and acted like it was the first hunt I had ever been on. I felt very small!LOL! I was so frustrated with myself that I told Byron, “I am going to follow the tracks for a bit to see if I could catch him over a ridge, down a hill, or an idea of where he was heading.” I followed him through a thick swamp, and after 30 minutes, he turned East heading toward our bait. I decided not to follow any further because I would compromise our spot that we had a camera and bait. I went back to the farmhouse. I was able to release my disappointment for buck fevering out and missing the shot, and I was thankful I had an opportunity to take a shot at a Northwestern Ontario Monster Buck. When I returned to the farmhouse, Byron said, “ The buck ran past our camera at the bait, and his tongue was hanging out, completely exhausted from running from a rookie shot. LOL!” He was laughing because he has got buck fever multiple times in the past and has missed opportunities before, and knows how it feels. Even The Great Byron Saul familiar gets buck fever from time to time. It happens to the best of us! Byron suggested sitting out in the last ground blind we had set up 100 yards from a bait pile where we had the 10-point buck that I choked on, and an 11-point buck spotted at the bait. After that event, I didn’t hesitate and got dressed to have one last kick at the cat! I had Byron drive me to the ground blind and told him to come to pick me up at last light. 12:30 pm I was sitting motionless, scentless, and hopeless that this year was not my year to get my dream buck! I wasn’t going to give up, and we were not leaving until 5:00 am the next morning, so I still had a chance. A famous hunter’s saying,” I still have a chance, I still have a chance!” Ha, ha, ha, ha! 1 hour passed of complete silence and reflecting on my chance of a lifetime, when 2 does, 2 fawns, and a little 6-point buck comes out from my left side. I was like, come on, “ Why is that little buck with two does? It should be a shooter buck with them, but no, not my time!” They feed for 1 long hour then took off into the swamp. It is approximately 2:45 pm, and it’s back to Little Eagle staring into the bush, hoping a Monster Buck steps out. 1 hour and a bit pass, so it's around 4:00 pm and nothing, when a doe walks out on my right side from a strip of bush 200 yards away. I am watching with anticipation, hoping one of the two big bucks in the area comes out following a doe. Well, she walks all the way to the bait and no buck, but then everything changes in a split second. All of a sudden, a buck steps out from the bush the doe came from walking towards the bait. I cannot believe my eyes! I was actually thinking, am I hallucinating!LOL! I zoom my scope in to take a look at his rack, and the way he is standing, I could only see his rack protruding passed his ears, so I was like, it’s a shooter buck. I was not going to buck fever out a second time, I thought and magnified my scope back down. I am watching the buck walking towards the bait where a doe is eating when he suddenly stops, turns around, and looks right at me! I am like,” Oh my God, he busted me! The Monster Buck is only 50 feet from the bushline and he keeps looking at me, looking at the bush, looks at me, looks at the bush. I am thinking he is going to b-line to the bush any second now! What makes it worst is I hear a vehicle coming up the road behind me. I’m like, I have to take a shot. He is broadside on my right, about 180 yards away. I make the split-second decision I’m taking the shot. I am shooting a Remington 7600 30/06 pump with 180-grain Core-Lokt bullet. I have dropped multiple 1000 lbs Northern Ontario Bull Moose, and 200+ lbs Northern Ontario Black Bears in 1 shot at 200 yards, and when you hit them in the “Sweet Spot,” they usually drop right there. For new hunters just starting their hunting journey, it is 1” to 2” behind the front shoulder blade, which is right through the heart & lungs is the sweet spot. Let me tell you, friends, no matter how big you are not going too far. They have 90 secs before their lungs fill with blood, so anywhere from 20 to 100 yards. That is the perfect shot! Back to my dream buck. I make the decision to shoot. It is 4:40 pm coming very quickly to the last light, which is about 5:20 pm. I have to make it now! I have my 30/06 on a tripod pointing straight out of the ground blind, and the buck is on my right, approximately 180 yards away. Having my gun rested on the tripod, I spin the gun 90 degrees towards the buck, put my crosshairs on the sweet spot, and FIRE! Well, what do you know? The buck takes running off, and he is gone! I am like,” OMG, did I miss him?” My 30/06 with 180-grain bullets has dropped bull moose in their tracks, and this buck takes off. A doe comes running out of the bush. The moral of the story is the buck didn’t bust me. He didn’t want anything with the doe at the bait, but the other doe in the bush. You just never know and need to be prepared for anything. I think I choked a second time. My whole body is shaking. I am waiting 30 minutes before I go look to see if I hit or choked. 30 minutes pass. I have regrouped and calmed down a bit to be able to go track this deer. I walked down where I thought I shot the buck, and at this time, it’s 5:30 pm, and it is dark. I am looking all around, and I can’t find any blood. I couldn’t believe it! Did I completely buck fever out a second time? I now see Byron’s truck, and Byron is walking to the bait to grab the camera because we are taking off back home tomorrow morning. I can’t find any blood, and I am contemplating if I was going to tell Byron I shot at a Monster Buck and missed a second time. I felt like a loser! I see Byron walking towards me about 100 yards away when I hear him, “ Pat, Pat come here?” I do the walk of shame with my head down, feeling so low. Let me tell you, the highs & lows from Whitetail hunting is nothing like anything I have ever experienced before. I get over to Byron, and he says,” Did you shoot something?” I said in a very low tone, “Yes, bud. I shot at a big buck. I couldn’t tell how big he was, but his rack stuck passed his ears. I can’t find any blood!” I tell you, that is the only time I felt like busting out crying as a grown man!LOL! That’s when Byron Saul, “The Great,” steps out of the way and says, “This blood!” I could not believe my eyes! A big splatter of blood, and the blood trail I was looking for. I was looking at the wrong tracks by 80 yards. I cannot explain how happy I was! We followed the blood trail a good 80 yards until Byron spots him down 20 yards in the bushline, and because I just shot him, Byron didn’t want to spook him if he was still alive, so he said, “Let's go get the four-wheeler, and gear to get him out.” I said,”Yes, right on, man! I am so pumped I got him!“ I don’t even know how big he is.


We return to the farmhouse, get the four-wheeler, field dressing gear, and warm up and head back 30 minutes later. Let me tell you, that was the longest 30 minutes of my life! We get to the deer, and I lift up his head, and what do you know, It is the Monster 10-point Northwestern Ontario Dakota Whitetail Buck, I buck fevered out at 9:45 am, and he gave me a second chance! I was so thankful at that moment. That it took a bit to absorb all in that has just happened! If you want a chance at your Northern Ontario Monster Dream Buck, you need to be patient, persevere, be dedicated, and never give up! I am a true believer in hunting the rut. If it wasn’t for so many does in the area, and some of them being hot, I would never have the opportunity to harvest my dream buck. If you want the rare chance at your Northern Ontario Monster Buck you need to leave the does alone, and build the does population up. The big bucks will come; it is just a matter of time and being in the right spot at the right time! They don’t get that big for not being smart! You need to be one step ahead of them, and the only way that happens is when they let their willy get them in a bowl of chili! Stay safe, brothers & sisters! I look forward to hearing about your amazing Ontario Monster Whitetail adventures! Praise the Lord & God Bless!



10 views0 comments
bottom of page