Getting ready for white-tailed deer hunting on Anticosti Island

In collaboration with Hooké

Founder and partner of the Hooké company, Fred Campbell has dedicated the last 12 years to documenting his fly-fishing and hunting adventures in uncharted and unexplored territories in order to inspire other folks like himself. Driven by an insatiable thirst for learning and discovery, Fred has made a number of forays to Anticosti Island to hunt white-tailed deer. Each trip had a different mission, but they were all equally rich in emotions and learning.

Sépaq Anticosti Sépaq Anticosti
Sépaq Anticosti Mikaël Rondeau | © Sépaq

A Quebec territory of unparalleled richness, a large part of Anticosti Island is managed by Sépaq and boasts one of the highest white-tailed deer densities per square kilometre in North America. It's a land offering prime hunting sectors for still-hunting enthusiasts. Due to growing demand, deer-hunting sites are in high demand. That's why it's crucial to be good and ready before you leave. By being well prepared, you'll optimize your chances of success and get the most out of this larger-than-life experience once you're there.

Fred's tips

© Hooké

1. Live the Sépaq Anticosti experience

A segment of Sépaq Anticosti's white-tailed deer hunting stay offering is subject to random draws which take place every December. It’s crucial to register in order to obtain priority access to the Sépaq hunting sector that tickles your fancy. First-round winners are contacted at the end of January. If your name is not selected, you can always try again in the second round. Finally, if you're unlucky, you can, as of mid-February, access open bookings and plan a stay based on dates that are still available.

Other stays are sold in priority to hunters who booked excursions the previous year. Subsequently, remaining stays are offered to customers on a waiting list. To register, call 1‑800‑463‑0863.

Sépaq Anticosti
Sépaq Anticosti Charles Boutin | © Sépaq
Sépaq Anticosti
Sépaq Anticosti Charles Boutin | © Sépaq

2. Hunting sectors and conditions for white-tailed deer

Unlike hunting on the mainland, hunting on Anticosti begins in early September and lasts until early December, giving hunters a longer period to harvest game. However, this special feature requires a distinct approach and different techniques. Sépaq’s “Follow the Guide” video capsule series is an invaluable resource to help hunters get prepared.

Since white-tailed deer behave differently throughout the hunting season, it’s essential to listen to the guides' advice and adapt to the situation. Be receptive to nature's signs and remain patient. Certain sectors will be more suitable for harvesting than others, depending on the moment of the stay.

In September, animals feed in all environments, including marshes, bogs, and mature forests where mushrooms abound. At sunset, hunting is fruitful along paths and in clearings. These conditions make most sectors favourable for white-tailed deer harvesting.

During October and upon the arrival of the first frosts, the deer are at full weight and move towards the seashore to eat seaweed. Coastal sectors then boast higher success rates. This is also when the taste of the meat is at its best.

As of early November, the annual rut begins; testosterone levels rise and males begin the process of seducing a female for mating. During this period, males abandon their habits and travel long distances, which increases the chances of encountering them at any time and in any location during the day. Their tracks are easy to spot very early in the morning or after a heavy snowfall. We highly recommend white-tailed deer call imitation strategies and the use of calls at this time of the year.

Hunting lasts until early December in a few sectors to the south where the game finishes its migration. The density of white-tailed deer on the same territory is then very high; it’s the best time for seaside hunting.

Sépaq Anticosti
Sépaq Anticosti Mikaël Rondeau | © Sépaq
Sépaq Anticosti
Sépaq Anticosti Mikaël Rondeau | © Sépaq

3. Equipment and ethical hunting

Because of its geographical position in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, temperatures on Anticosti Island can be more severe than on the same date in mainland Québec. It’s therefore not uncommon to wake up on a rainy, cold, and foggy morning in October or to go hunting in the snow in November. It’s important to pack warm and appropriate clothing, giving priority to multi-layer systems.

Still-hunting requires a great deal of preparation and patience. Hunters have to walk a number of kilometres for many hours before coming across an animal. Waterproof, quiet, and comfortable boots will keep you going longer. A backpack offering good support is also essential. Don't hesitate to stock up on lots of provisions - such as energy bars - and on water to sustain your physical efforts throughout the day. In addition, we strongly recommend that you bring binoculars, a knife, a small first-aid kit, a GPS, and the Avenza Maps application to move around safely.

Contrary to ground blind hunting, still-hunting requires hunters to be constantly on the move. Since animals can appear at any moment, you need to stay focused and on the lookout. For this reason, we recommend choosing a light hunting rifle with which you’re comfortable and which you’ve practiced using a few times before your stay.

When you come across a white-tailed deer, you'll have just a few seconds to brace yourself, release the safety catch, and align the sights before shooting. Adrenaline will be pumping, and a number of hunters will prefer to use a rifle shooting stick to ensure a precise shot that won't wound the game unnecessarily. Hunting is an activity that must be practiced in harmony with nature and not at any price.


To conclude, I've had the opportunity to travel to some extraordinary places during my career but few rival the exceptional nature of Anticosti Island. If you ever have the chance to go there, I strongly recommend that you meticulously prepare your stay in order to optimize your hunting experience, but above all, to make the most of the time spent in this magnificent territory. 

Fred Campbell

À propos de Fred Campbell

A nature-loving entrepreneur who heads up the Hooké company, Fred travels the world seeking wildlife and its artisans, promoting respectful harvesting practices. He showcases adventurers with unique backgrounds and guardians of the environment, as well as offering ecologically and responsibly crafted outdoor equipment.

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