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Paynesville Press - March 23, 2005

Hunter bags four record-book bucks last fall

By Michael Jacobson

From a blind, Glenn Thompson was watching a group of deer feeding at a bait station in northern Saskatchewan. The deer seemed to be enjoying their Thanksgiving Day feast, until they froze.

Two young bucks, who had been fighting in the clearing, stopped; and the does feeding at the bait station raised their heads.

Glenn Thompson with mule deer Thompson and his camera man, an avid hunter who Thompson had trained to be a videographer, knew there was a big whitetail buck in the area. One of Thompson's clients had seen it earlier. And the deer at the bait station were acting strangely. "You could tell they were nervous," Thompson explained, "like there was another big deer in the area."

His camera man, who had a better angle, saw it first and told him to get ready. It was just before noon, and it was about to become the best Thanksgiving of Thompson's life.

When the mammoth buck emerges from the woods, captured on film, everyone who watches his videotape says, "," explained Thompson. Once the buck gets into the clearing, Thompson shoots it from a range of about 50 yards. The buck runs about 20 yards into the poplar woods, hooks its antlers in a prone tree, and expires.

Glenn Thompson of Paynesville shot four record-book bucks last fall - two mule deer (including this one in Arizona), an antelope in New Mexico, and a whitetail deer in Saskatchewan, which is believed to be the largest typical whitetail ever killed on film.

The deer - which netted 190 on the Boone and Crockett scale - is believed to be the largest typical whitetail deer ever shot on film. That's what Thompson has been told by industry sources. Several companies that produce big bucks videotapes have contacted Thompson about selling the film.

"It's hard to kill a big deer. It's hard to film a big deer. It's really hard to film shooting a big deer," said Thompson, who feels lucky to have shot four record-book animals in four months last fall and even luckier to have gotten so many of his kills on film.

Thompson, who has lived near Paynesville close to Lake Koronis for eight years, owns and operates North America Outdoor Adventures, which is basically a "travel agency" for hunting trips. For the past 21 years, Thompson has arranged hunting trips for clients, securing licenses, especially hard-to-get permits, and lining up his customers with local guides in good hunting locales. Thompson arranged 300 client trips last fall.

Through 12 years of entering special drawings, a service he performs for clients, Thompson accumulated enough "preference points" from entering special drawings himself, without getting a license, that he got seven special tags last fall.

Since most of his work in booking trips is done from February through April, Thompson spent from August to December crisscrossing the country, going from one hunting spot to the next. He got a record-book antelope in New Mexico in August, a record-book mule deer in Arizona in November, that record-book whitetail deer in Saskatchewan also in November, and another record-book mule deer in Kansas in December.

All the while, Thompson was filming his hunting adventures, as well as those of some of his clients, for a new television show. The show - for The Sportsman's Channel, a new 100 percent hunting and fishing channel - will highlight trophy hunting and should start in the fall of 2005 or winter of 2006, according to Thompson. In all, his videographer got 90 hours of film from the last fall, including seven of his ten kills.

Thompson with whitetail deer His fall hunting adventure started in New Mexico in August, where a total of ten resident/nonresident tags are issued for a special archery antelope season. Using a local outfitter as a guide southwest of Albuquerque, on the fifth of an eight-day hunt, they spotted and stalked a large male antelope. Its antlers totalled 81 inches, surpassing the Boone and Crockett minimum of 80 inches.

Thompson bagged this record-book whitetail buck on Thanksgiving Day near Sled Lake in northern Saskatchewan.

Then Thompson hunted in Nevada - about 100 miles north of Las Vegas, near Caliente - in a special muzzleloader season for mule deer. This hunt has three resident tags and two non-resident tags over 400 square miles. It took 11 days for him to get his deer in Nevada.

Then he took a group of clients to Ontario on a moose hunt, spent a week in Iowa, bowhunting for whitetail deer near Guthrie Center, about 50 miles west of Des Moines, on 1,100 acres of leased land, and helped three clients bag mule deer in southeastern Montana - near Broadus, which is about 75 miles south of Miles City - where they hunted on 100,000 acres of leased land through an outfitter.

After going back to Iowa for more bowhunting with clients, Thompson headed to Alberta to an Indian reservation to scout a new hunting location. These three-quarter Native Americans recently were given full, unlimited hunting rights like other tribes, said Thompson, but they only like to hunt elk and moose. They don't hunt deer because they don't like the taste of venison, said Thompson, who hopes next year to lease 200,000 acres of their reservation for hunting.

Then Thompson went to Arizona - via Las Vegas - to hunt in "The Strip," a 50-mile wide strip of land north of the Grand Canyon and bordering Utah. These 50 tags for mule deer are the "premier" tag, according to Thompson. "That is probably the hardest mule deer tag to draw in the entire United States, and it's the most coveted," he said.

His guide had scouted for a month before the season, which is during the rut. Does tend to eat acorns, said Thompson, and then bucks chase the doe. They passed up his big buck on the first morning, but it looked better that night. Its antlers scored 193 for Boone and Crockett recognition, 190 needed.

Since he finished this Arizona hunt early - on the first day - Thompson wanted to go back to Iowa but changing his ticket would have cost too much, so instead he went to his next stop early. That brought him to Sled Lake, Saskatchewan, before Thanksgiving.

Because part of his show will feature women and children hunting, they were filming a 19-year-old double-leg amputee who was hunting for the first time since his accident. His attitude was just "unbelievable," according to Thompson, including jokes about turning the heat down in the blind because "my feet are starting to sweat."

Thompson was very pleased when this 19-year-old got a ten-point buck. With that tag filled, Thompson did some hunting himself, which is when he shot his record-book whitetail deer on Thanksgiving.

Thompson finished his fall hunting season in December. First, he shot another whitetail buck in northeastern Colorado, in a hunt that has two non-resident tags out of 20 total tags. It took eight years for Thompson to draw this tag. Hunting on 26,000 acres of private land, they stalked the buck for 250 yards through a cornfield, and Thompson hit it from 267 yards.

Finally, in Kansas, near Goodland, in northwestern corner of the state, Thompson got another record-book mule deer. They spotted a large, limping buck about a mile away, bedded down in a CRP field. They got downwind and stalked the deer to within 250 yards, but Thompson had no shot. They stalked again to within 63 yards, and grunted and whistled to try and get the deer to stand, but "he just wouldn't move," said Thompson.

Finally, watching its head turn, Thompson figured out how it was sitting and took the shot. (With a regular firearm, he would have been able to shoot at the sitting deer and would have been ready to fire again by the time the buck stood, but with a muzzleloader it would take him 15 seconds to reload and fire again.)

Thompson, who grew up hunting in northern Michigan, got into the hunting booking business through a college friend. After working for his friend for four years out of college, Thompson started his own business. He previously has appeared on television shows, and last fall, with the help of a financial partner, Thompson used his fortunate hunting schedule as the basis for his new series. He hired a hunter and taught him to be a videographer because he thought it would be easier to teach a hunter to film than to teach a videographer how to hunt...masking scents...rubbing clothes with cedar boughs...stalking or being quiet in a stand...etc.

His partner also has shot a 10-foot brown beer in Alaska for the show, a Marco Polo sheep in Russia, and a big horn ram in the desert.

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