When you think of Northern Canada, hunting and hockey are on the short list of words that come to mind. From an early age, Jarrett Deuling had a passion and talent for both. Blessed to follow his father, Paul, around the mountains of the Yukon, he took his first Dall ram at the age of 14, with many more sheep and moose to follow. He was also pretty good at hockey. Drafted in the third round of the 1992 NHL draft by the New York Islanders, Jarrett played professionally for 7 years. After retiring from a successful career on the ice, he returned to Whitehorse to pursue his first love: hunting. After guiding in the Northwest Territories and Yukon for many years, Jarrett finally realized his dream of owning a hunting concession in 2007 when he purchased Area 9 in the Yukon.
Operating not far from where he grew up, Deuling Stone Outfitters has developed a reputation as a top area for Stone sheep, moose, and caribou, specializing in traditional horseback and backpack hunts.
Jarrett and his wife, Carmella, have two sons. When Jarrett isn’t on the mountain, he’s watching his kids play lacrosse and baseball, coaching their hockey teams, and taking them hunting.
- Name: Jarrett Deuling
- Age: 42
- Company: Deuling Stone
- Outfitting Area(s): Central East Yukon, 10,000 square mile area
- Animals/Species Guided: Stone Sheep, Dall Sheep, Moose, Mountain Caribou, Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, Wolf
- Years Outfitting: Owned Deuling Stone since 2007
- Hometown: Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
- Vias or Verde?: Vias
- Favorite piece of KUIU clothing: Super Down Jacket
How did you first get into hunting?
I was very fortunate- my father was a huge sheep hunter, and that got me the bug. He was dragging me around the mountains at 6 years old. It’s a great gift he gave me—It’s a great way to spend time with your family. It developed my work ethic, because if you don’t work hard you don’t get up the mountain.
What’s your philosophy on gear? What made you choose KUIU?
My philosophy is pretty simple. Where we’re located at in the Yukon we have to have gear that works, and KUIU works. We don’t have options to go down the street to the store—if we don’t have gear that works we’re in trouble. Just about every one of my guides wears it, and most of our hunters as well. If you don’t have the right equipment, 12 days up on the mountain can be pretty miserable.
How did you get start outfitting? Did you start off as guide first?
I started guiding in the early 1990s. It was something I always wanted to do and was fortunate enough to be able to become an outfitter.
How did you end up at Deuling Stone? What path took you to where you’re at?
I started guiding in the Northwest Territories, and wanted to work for someone I thought might eventually sell their outfit. I started working for an outfit in the Yukon with a standing agreement that if they were to sell they’d give me the opportunity to purchase. I worked for them for 6 years, and when they wanted to sell we got a deal done.
How does the prep differ from the backpack hunts you offer vs. horseback hunts?
I always try to warn the hunters that the backpack hunts can be more of a survival trip—you’re eating oatmeal and freeze-dried food. You have to be careful what gear you take because you can only take so much. We’re fortunate with horse hunts because we can take extra gear and food. It comes down to comfort of camp—but either way you have to have good quality gear. There can be a lot of hiking involved.
What’s the most challenging hunt you’ve been part of—either guiding or for yourself?
There have been a lot—sometimes it’s weather, sometimes the animals are just hard to find. In general, stone sheep are always the most difficult—it’s a mental battle. It’s not so much about hiking all over the place, it really comes down to spending days and days and days behind your binos glassing from a high spot. Because those sheep are so difficult to find, and they’re low density, they’re a challenge to find. Where Dall sheep would be all over the place and stick out, Stone aren’t and don’t. There’s a lot of mental toughness that comes into it. If someone doesn’t have that toughness they can have a difficult time.
What’s the most unconventional piece of must-have gear that most people would be surprised to find in your pack?
I use a little piece of foam like gardeners use for their knees—I have that in my backpack because I spend so much time glassing. I use it as a seat. We’re spending hours and days glassing and it keeps you warm and dry.
What’s the best advice you can give to a client getting ready to go on a hunt with you?
Obviously you have to train physically and get into the best shape you can. But you have to get mentally prepared as well. I’ve had a lot of clients who physically have no business being on a sheep mountain but mentally they have the will to do it. The mental battle on these hunts, when you’re in the tent for 4,5,6 days, you have to be prepared. You have to be prepared to go with the punches, because there are some that are going to get thrown at you. You have to keep a positive attitude and a flexible attitude.
How do you stay in guiding shape?
I’m a huge advocate of P90X. It almost kills me but it’s amazing. I really try to push that to my hunters—it’s 30 minutes, minimal equipment. I love it.
When you aren’t guiding, what’s your favorite animal to hunt for yourself?
Being an outfitter and a guide I don’t get to hunt very often for myself, but it would have to be sheep, even though I haven’t killed one in 20 years! It’s a little tough when you’re an outfitter and you’re working during those months!
When it comes to hunting, what’s more challenging: the mental or the physical?
What’s your favorite wild game to eat and how do you prepare it?
Sheep. They’re all good, but sheep is my favorite, because you have to work so hard to get them. It doesn’t matter how old it is—it’s tender and good.
What optics do you use? Straight or angled?
I use a Zeiss—an angled eye piece. With what we do, the angled eye piece is much more comfortable than a straight. I never would have though that before I used one.
There are a lot of opinions on what makes a good guide outfitter. What makes a good client?
A good client is one who comes for the hunt–the kill isn’t a priority. The “tape measure” hunters miss the whole point. The attitudes of some hunters are changing: kill something, get it off my books and leave. We’ve been fortunate to have clients looking for the true wilderness experience—it’s a pleasure to have them hunt with us. Sometimes the more miserable the hunt is the more you end up and enjoy it. If you’re looking for something that needs to be a certain measurement size, you’re missing the point. It puts too much pressure on the guide and the hunter. You should hunt to enjoy yourself, not to appease a tape measure. It should be fun.
What’s the best advice you can give new guides looking to get in the business? What do you know now that you wish someone would have told you when you first started?
You’re not going to be able to hunt for yourself very much! If you think you’re going to be hunting for yourself, you’re in for a shock. Once you become a guide or outfitter, it’s just hard to find the time. You have to have a passion for the outdoors. If you’re doing it to collect a paycheck you’re never going to be successful in this business. You have to love wild places, mountains, and the critters you’re hunting. You have to have a passion for it, or you’re not going to be successful. It gets in your blood, it’s a fever. You’ve gotta have a passion for it or you won’t do well in it.