Jul. 26, 2009
There was a brochure from the 70's that we found a few years back when cleaning out some old boxes around the lodge. That brochure showcased everything that Aikens Lake had to offer. There was of course walleye fishing, pike, and lake trout. They offered canoe trips, camping trips, and also bear hunts. However, what really caught our eye was that they offered deer hunts! We thought that the marketing effort that year was really swinging for the fences! In the 20+ years the Turennes have been here, there was no real talk or evidence that there were deer in the area. A few sightings here and there would never be substantiated with photo evidence. Most of the time these sightings were believed to just be woodland caribou and that the person was confused between the caribou and the deer. However, these sightings increased until in 2007, a veteran hunter was at Aikens and swore that he had spotted a whitetail deer on the shore. He was adamant that it was a whitetail and not a caribou as he'd hunted dozens of deer in his life. This gave us pause and we reconsidered the whole thing. Well, the impossible happened the other day... a deer was photographed on the shores of Aikens! It is the 3rd sighting of the year (there has been a 4th sighting since in Lost Lake). The first three sightings, including the location in the photograph, were all on the big island just outside of the Cookie Jar. Every sighting has always been of a single white(tail) female. No calves, no bucks. Although the picture is grainy (not unlike the classic Bigfoot pics we've all seen!) we can assure you this is not a hoax. It was taken from quite a distance and this is the best we could zoom in on it. The picture was sent to MB Conservation for verification, and they confirmed that that is indeed a whitetail! They are very interested in this piece of news because deer this far north are very, very rare. In fact, deer can carry brainworm disease that does not affect them in the least, but when passed on to moose becomes very dangerous for that species. It is rare for deer and moose to share territory. We have since found many deer tracks and droppings on the island. We believe it to be the same deer we are seeing every time. One wonders how long that deer will survive in this area, as its chances of finding a mate for procreation are going to be extremely low.