I grew in the foothills of Alberta near the Rocky Mountains. There I did a bunch of hunting primarily on friends ranches or our acrage. I’ve now lived in British Columbia for 12 years and have not gotten back into hunting until fairly recently. Last year I did a weekend trip to Princeton and Osoyoos areas for a Mule deer buck with no success (pre-rut time in October).
Anyway, it’s early November 2019 and I’ve finally gotten the hunting bug again. I’ve got an LEH Mule Doe tag and a 2nd Mule tag for a buck. The LEH draw is in 3-33 area so my good buddy Will and I decide to head out camping at Kingdom lake and do some hunting all around the Gold Brige town.
Gold Bridge Hunting Trip
The hunting trip was scheduled November 7-9, leaving late on the 7th and coming back early on the 9th, so was really like a 2 day trip. We drove to Pemberton then headed north through Pemberton Meadows where we got off on Hurley River Forest Service Rd heading through the mountains to Gold Bridge.
Our base camp was at a beautiful lake called Kingdom. We had the entire campground to ourselves. They have beautiful spots along the lake, see the photos below.
The weather on these dates was incredibly warm! In fact, we had some warm thermal winds near our campsite as we were getting 10-12 degrees Celsius after the sun had set. The warm winds reminded me of Chinook winds we’d get in Alberta. Although this made for some very comfortable camping conditions it didn’t make for ideal hunting temps.
The first full day of hunting we started by driving the mountains all around Gold Bridge. We scouted a ton of great locations that would only be accessible via quad, bike or jeep. Thankfully, Will had a brand new Rubicon Jeep and took that thing all over the mountains and deactivated roads. I don’t know how many miles we actually put on but we certainly have a good idea of the hunting landscape in that area now.
Long story short we didn’t see any bucks or many animals at all. We connected with a few hunters and locals afterwards and they hadn’t seen any bucks this season. It seemed like the rut had not fully started in this area and believe the warm weather wasn’t getting the deer moving.
On the last day of hunting we still hadn’t seen any mule deer. We had seen a ton of grouse where we could each of had our bag in one day but of course forgot the 22 rifle!
On the last day, we did less driving, split up and spent more time hiking. On my morning hike I was ended up spooking and pushing what I believe was a bull moose. I didn’t actually see the animal but was very close and heard it tearing through the thick bush. This particular area I came across a ton of moose sign and found their beds and a antler shed which was pretty cool. Regardless, I didn’t have a moose tag but was cool to see/hear some sign of life.
Thank goodness for my LEH Doe Draw
At the end of a 2.5 hour hike I connected with my buddy Will where we came across some bedded Mule deer. There were 3 or 4 of them all does. They seemed to be relaxing in the warm weather temperatures and didn’t mind us too much as we were able to get fairly close.
We put a single shot in the neck of the largest doe so it was all over very quickly. She didn’t move a foot from her bed.
We gave her a little time and after the adrenaline subsided we made our way to the doe. This ended up being the largest doe I’ve ever seen! Side note: on a later date our butcher said she was larger than most of the bucks he’d been processing that year (he said the body without the head was over 130 lbs, crazy).
It was noon on the Saturday when we finished gutting the Mule doe. We took the tenderloins, liver and heart for eating that weekend. The rest we left for aging and a bunch of cuts for our butcher in Squamish.
That evening I fried up the heart which was some of the most tender meat I’ve had in a long time! I think it was a testament to the entire process with the deer. I was so tired that I didn’t do much for a recipe and kept it pretty basic. However, I did marinate the tenderloin overnight and wrapped it in bacon which made an great dish the following day! I took a photo of the tenderloin wrapped up in bacon before being cooked, it turned out incredible. See recipe below.
Recipe Marinated Deer Tenderloin wrapped in Bacon
This is really simple recipe but does take some time as you’ll be marinating the venison over night or at least 8 hours.
Ingredients & Extras
- 1 tenderloin from deer, elk or moose (approx. 2 lbs of meat)
- 8-10 strips of thin-sliced bacon. Pro Tip: You won’t need 10 strips of bacon to fully wrap the tenderloin but make sure to put these extras on the baking pan next to the tenderloin and coat them in the marinade. They’ll end up being a nice addition as the bacon on the tenderloin will shrink and you may have some pieces without bacon, so having extra is always a good idea!
- 3 cups of dark brown sugar
- 2 cups of soy sauce (make sure it’s not low sodium as you want a salt soy sauce to balance the brown sugar)
- Baking pan / aluminum foil
- 1 large Ziploc bag
- Mix the brown sugar and soy sauce into a large Ziploc bag (I like the large Freezer bags).
- Add venison tenderloin to ziploc and ensure marinade covers all the meat. Put into the fridge and leave meat to marinate overnight or 8 hours. If possible, I’d recommend turning meat over every few hours to ensure all the meat is marinading nicely.
- Take tenderloin out of bag (don’t thrown away marinade) and place onto a baking tray with aluminum foil on it. The aluminum foil is really helpful in catching the marinade sauce.
- Wrap pieces of bacon around the tenderloin. Think of the bacon like a wrist watch and the tenderloin is a wrist. Secure each piece of bacon with a tooth pick (see image above). Repeat process until the tenderloin is completely covered.
- Place the remaining bacon slices around the tenderloin on the pan (as mentioned in the pro tip above).
- Take the marinade and drizzle the bacon wrapped tenderloin and the extra bacon (use up all the marinade).
- Set oven for 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place tray on center rack of oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. This cooking time is dependent upon how big the tenderloin is.
- Final step is optional, but if you like a crispier crust of bacon (which I highly recommend) do this last step: With about 5 minutes of cooking time left take tenderloin out of oven and place on a BBQ grill that’s medium-high heat. This will sear the bacon and outer loin. If this seems like too much work, you could experiment with broil for 1-2 mins as well in oven (I haven’t tried this route though).
- Remove from oven (or BBQ), place on an cutting board. Cut the loin in between the bacon slices so that each piece of meat will have it’s own toothpick. Enjoy!
Reigniting my passion for Hunting
This trip has been a catalyst for reigniting my passion for hunting. I’m already excited for next years hunting season planning and trips! Expect to see a few more hunting journals here and you may also see a few hunting videos on my YouTube channel.
Thanks for checking out this site! If you have any hunting stories, questions or anything you want to ask me about. Please check out my contact page. Cheers! Jesse