In my latest Outdoors column in SUN Media’s Pembroke Daily Observer, I discuss several springtime activities such as; wild turkey hunting, fishing for brook trout, being bear safe and perhaps most important, sifting through details and implications of the Ontario moose tag draw.
Thanks to our pal Keebler for sharing his thoughts and information on the 2014 Ontario Moose season draw which, by some accounts, may indicate a population be in peril.
You be the judge…
Area sportsmen busy gobbling up wild turkeys!
Jeff Morrison, the Daily Observer’s newest columnist, offers up his take on the great outdoors.
With the start to the annual Ontario wild turkey season, gobbler enthusiasts across the Valley will be out hot pursuit of trophy beards and spurs.
For thousands of wild turkey hunters, April 25 marks the kick-off to another coveted spring gobbler season. Thanks to successful reintroduction programs dating back 30 years ago, wild turkey populations across the province have reached sustainable levels. As we have witnessed over the past few years, there are more bird sightings than ever in the valley and around eastern Ontario, and the hunt is improving each spring. The glorious gobbler has evolved into one of the most prolific and tastiest games species around, so you had better get used to them!
Although most hunters are aware, it is illegal to hunt turkeys within 400 meters of any place where bait has been deposited, unless the place has been bait-free for at one week. Bait is described as corn, wheat, oats or any other feed that may attract wild turkey or any imitation of such feed. Standing crops, crops stacked in accordance with normal farming practices and grain scattered as a result of normal farming operations are not considered bait. Following the rules is part of the game and it would be a shame to ruin a great hunt by pushing your luck. I wish local turkey hunters all the best and feel free to drop me a line with news from your area!
Moose tags way down!
Bullwinkle enthusiasts are scrambling to take part of the moose draw which runs until June 2. The province recently announced a substantial reduction in adult moose tags for 2014. The reduction, said to be approximately 18 per cent overall, is in response to a declining moose herd in northern Ontario, as noted by Ministry of Natural Resources winter aerial surveys. Some areas of Northwestern Ontario will see upwards of 88 per cent fewer tags this fall; which comes as a shock to moose aficionados. Hunters like Brian Houle, of Stittsville, are very concerned indeed and left with more than a few questions.
“Why didn’t the MNR implement measures a few years ago?” says Houle, who hunts WMU 37. This hunter wonders what effect predators have had on the province’s moose.
“Bears have been unregulated for 15 years since they took the spring hunt out,” Houle adds. “North of the French River you need a tag for wolf/coyote and only a maximum of 2, what is the impact of those packs on moose?”
With the current state of Ontario moose, Brian Houle is considering Quebec this year to give our province’s moose population a chance to rebound. For more information on the tag draw: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/OC/2ColumnSubPage/STDU_131065.html
Scribe heading for trout
In a couple of short weeks as I head off on my annual trout fishing adventure with my dad and brother-in-laws, my head will abuzz with visions of tall trees and behemoth brook trout. It doesn’t really matter how far from town you travel, so long as you bask in Mother Nature’s eternal glow. Enjoying the peacefulness found in a delicate call of the white-throated sparrow, or the courtship ritual of the common loon. Playing cards and horseshoes and scouting the backwoods trails on ATV are part of the experience. For all the avid trout anglers in the Valley, here’s to tight lines, bent rods and brookies over three pounds!
Being bear safe
When travelling in bear country this spring, be sure to keep your wits about you. When portaging up north during the trout season I always carry a can of bear spray and, although I’ve never used it, it is always at the ready! Statistics show there are a dozen or so bear attacks in North America each year, and some of which don’t end well. Bear spray can be purchased at local hunting and fishing stores and, keep in mind, that there may be some paperwork to fill-out. Bear spray provides a bit of extra insurance in bear country.