Manitoba Has Hunting at Its Heart

Manitoba Has Hunting at Its Heart
Sharp-tailed grouse are one of many upland bird opportunities for adventurous wingshooters in Manitoba. (Photo courtesy of Brad Fenson)

Walking along a forest trail, I come upon a large wetland, where a big bull moose stands chest deep in the icy water, eating a breakfast of submerged vegetation. One well-placed shot from my rifle and the bull stumbles to the shore before falling.

Hunkered in a blind, I watch a flock of Canada geese set their wings and finish right in the pocket. Their excited clucks as they land among our decoys is almost deafening, until the roar of shotguns tumbles several of the big honkers to the ground.

Venture far enough north, you'll find opportunities for ptarmigan. (Photo courtesy of Brad Fenson)

As I push a brushy fence line, knee-deep grass conceals a pair of sharp-tailed grouse that flush like rockets sent into orbit. Shouldering my shotgun, I add a brace of the beautiful upland birds to the bag.


Take all of these amazing outdoor experiences and add a whitetail stepping through an oak forest or a heart-stopping black bear encounter in a marsh and one must ask: "Where am I?"


The answer may surprise you.

Manitoba is a hunting Mecca just waiting to be explored, offering great diversity and abundance for bird and big-game enthusiasts alike.

Located at the very heart of Canada, Manitoba has always been rich in natural resources, prized by the people of the First Nations and a magnet which drew European fur traders to the region. The province is about 251,000 square miles in size. It has a saltwater coastline and over 110,000 lakes.

Although it enjoys an abundance of wildlife and hunting opportunities, Manitoba is in many ways the "sleeper province." Saskatchewan to the west often receives praise for huge white-tailed deer and incredible waterfowl. Northwest Territories and Nunavut are to the north, with herds of caribou and muskox. With nothing but lines on paper separating the provinces and territories, you should get an idea why Manitoba is an underestimated producer and a worthy destination for U.S. hunters looking for new and exciting opportunities for everything from waterfowl to moose.


Waterfowl

Manitoba is a waterfowl hunter's dream. With historic destinations like Delta Marsh and Oak Hammock Marsh, hunters can easily forget to look further. (Photo courtesy of Brad Fenson)

Southern Manitoba, once covered by Lake Agassiz, is now fertile farmland dotted with productive wetlands. The Minnedosa pothole region is famous for canvasback nesting and more dabbling ducks than you can wag a Lab's tail at.


The Sandilands Provincial Forest in the southeast has excellent scaup hunting, or bluebills as locals call them. They can be hunted off rocky outcrops on Canadian Shield lakes, where the birds target wild rice and other feed. The Pas area is well known for its huge wetlands and marshes. In the far north, amazing waterfowling adventures await among the Hudson Bay Lowlands. Thousands of ducks and geese stage along the shoreline where they chase the tide for prime feeding.

It doesn't matter where you look in Manitoba, you'll find excellent waterfowl hunting with one of the many qualified outfitters that call the province home.

Upland Game Birds

Sharp-tailed grouse are one of many upland bird opportunities for adventurous wingshooters in Manitoba. (Photo courtesy of Brad Fenson)

Ruffed grouse enthusiasts may find Manitoba to be a mecca. With generous daily limits it's not uncommon to fill your bag, even if you're hunting without a dog. When you hit the high cycle, the hunting is world class.

Bird hunters would be considered spoiled just with the ruffies, but add spruce grouse, sharptails, ptarmigan, and Hungarian partridge to the list and you've got a reason to spend all day in the field. There is endless country to hunt and next to no hunting pressure.

The remote areas of the north are difficult to access without an outfitter, but luckily there are a few that specialize in hunting the far reaches of northern Manitoba.

Canada Moose

In the northern half of Manitoba — a land of countless lakes and rivers, and virtually no roads — there are moose that have likely never seen a human. (Photo courtesy of Brad Fenson)

A remote trip during the calling season, running mid-September through early October, consistently produces mature moose for outfitters and clients. The waterways, or old transportation routes of the Voyageurs that explored the fur-rich area as far back as the 1600s, are still productive moose corridors. Outfitters offer great moose hunting for big bulls in remote fly-in areas, and the combination of floatplanes, boats, and birch bark horns are the essential ingredients for the moose hunt of a lifetime.

White-tailed Deer

If you like chasing big-bodied Dakota whitetails, Manitoba will not disappoint. Deer survive the harsh winters by being big enough to avoid predators and access food. You don't often hear about deer hunting in Manitoba, but hunters in the know regularly have opportunities at one of the many big-bodied, mature bucks that roam the province's rural wilderness. Don't think that the big boys are roaming only in the agricultural areas of the province. The huge forest expanse continually kicks out some of the biggest deer taken in the province.

With archery, muzzleloader, and rifle seasons, there are lots of opportunities, and numerous outfitters ready to help make a trip north a reality. Don't overlook the early seasons, as deer are easily patterned, especially in areas where they aren't pressured.

Black Bears

Black bears do extremely well in the diverse habitats in Manitoba, where big lakes and wilderness areas are the final pieces of the puzzle to grow big bears. (Photo courtesy of Brad Fenson)

You can't discuss black bear hunting without talking about Manitoba. The south-central part of the province, around Riding Mountain National Park and stretching to the north, is well known for producing mature bears of the type any hunter would be proud to take home, including many unique color-phase bears.

The big bears stretch north through the Interlake Region, and into the boreal forest and Canadian Shield, where baiting is the most popular way to target bears. Spring is the traditional time to hunt bears, and often the down time during the hunt can be spent fishing in one of Manitoba's many great lakes. In the fall, outfitters often combine bear hunting with the opportunity to chase waterfowl, deer or moose.

From the rush of the grouse's flush to the spike of adrenaline a black bear delivers, Manitoba is home to a diverse range of hunting opportunities. And, sitting at the heart of Canada, it's close enough for U.S. hunters to take advantage of every opportunity the province offers.

Whatever your passion, Manitoba can feed it with wide-open wilderness and well-established outfitters, ready for your next adventure. Learn more about Manitoba's many outdoor opportunities by visiting Travel Manitoba's educational and informative website.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Fare Game: Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe

Fare Game: Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe

Take your venison loin to a whole new level with this delicious reverse-seared stuffed elk backstrap. Smoking the backstrap on a Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill first, then finishing it on a blazing-hot skillet or flattop, creates a perfectly cooked, medium-rare steak with a crispy, seared exterior. The filling of diced mushrooms and creamy Boursin cheese adds a whole new level of amazing flavors to an otherwise classic smoked venison loin.

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Kevin Steele sights in his CZ .557 carbine rifle that he plans to use on a Colorado elk hunt.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are created equal. Recipes

How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are...

Check out the new fleet of off-road options for hunters. Wheels Afield

2020 ATV Buyer's Guide

Rick Sosebee - June 23, 2020

Check out the new fleet of off-road options for hunters.

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills. How-To

4 Shooting Drills to Make You a Better Hunter

Jeff Johnston

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills.

Learn what freezer burn is, how it occurs, and how to slow it down with these tips. Recipes

Why Freezer Burn Matters

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Learn what freezer burn is, how it occurs, and how to slow it down with these tips.

See More Trending Articles

More Adventure

The easy route for any hunting magazine is to simply tell a traditional Adventure

Showcasing Those Who Share a Passion

Mike Schoby - June 13, 2016

The easy route for any hunting magazine is to simply tell a traditional "hunting" story. A

I'm fortunate to live in a part of the country where hunting is a widely accepted and popular Adventure

Six Great Hunting Trips New Hunters Will Enjoy

Brad Fitzpatrick - September 06, 2016

I'm fortunate to live in a part of the country where hunting is a widely accepted and popular

Walking along a forest trail, I come upon a large wetland, where a big bull moose stands chest deep Adventure

Manitoba Has Hunting at Its Heart

Brad Fenson - January 15, 2018

Walking along a forest trail, I come upon a large wetland, where a big bull moose stands chest...

 When it comes right down to it, we've all got a bit of an adventurer's gene in our DNA. That's Adventure

The Ultimate Hog Hunting Road Trip

Eric Conn - October 12, 2013

 When it comes right down to it, we've all got a bit of an adventurer's gene in our DNA....

See More Adventure

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now