Summer fun in the Great Outdoors

My July column is now out in the Pembroke Daily Observer. Check it out:

Jeff Morrison, the Daily Observer's newest columnist, offers up his take on the great outdoors.

Regardless of what outdoor adventure you embark upon this summer, the rest and relaxation of spending time the Great Outdoors is the ultimate reward.

Summer is meant to be enjoyed leisurely with my family and friends in an outdoor setting. Camping, cottaging, and of course fishing are a few of the things I enjoy. One day, I could be casting for northern pike and bass with my daughters at the trailer in Cobden or putting up trail cameras, and the next I might be scouting the deer woods or checking on the hunt camp.

Holiday season is all about getting back to basics and enjoying things that really matter. So, do yourself a favour this summer, turn off that boob tube, and try to forget about gas prices for a week or two. We are fortunate to live in a region that offers such a wide variety of recreational outdoor activities at our doorstep.

Testing, testing

The new Danner Steadfast hunting boots I field-tested recently are a great addition from a company who’s been making high quality hunting boots since 1932. The 8″ Steadfast model I tested were form-fitting, solid and according to Danner are custom made for hunters who enjoy stalking. The footbed on these boots is positioned low within an all-new platform to provide ground-sensing traction, much like a high performance Porsche race car engine with a low center of gravity.

These boots combine nubuck leather and 900 denier nylon for lightweight support, and feature a great waterproof dry liner which pulls moisture away from the foot for improved comfort after a long day of sneaking along that deer trail. A roomier toe-box at the front also ensures warmer feet come late November. Overall, I found the new Danner Steadfast to be solid, comfortable and lightweight; a perfect fit for the upcoming deer or moose season. For more information, check out Danner products:

Food for deer

At a time of year when many sportsmen are out on the water, Dave Smetana is out working his deer fields. Dave isn’t a farmer by profession but more what you might call an agricultural conservationist. He has been managing food plots for several years and has a variety of different feed options spread around his Carleton Place property.

Nurturing crops for deer is a growing trend and our region is no exception, with food plots offer supplemental nutrients throughout the summer and later in the season after farm crops are cut. Earlier this summer Smetana got things started with the ATV and a Plot Mule, which is a small set of discs hauled behind an ATV. From there it’s a matter of spreading the seed evenly.

According to this deer farmer, once the seed hits the ground, it needs to be covered with soil immediately. Some seed requires ¼ inch of coverage, while others need more. Managing your own food plots might be time consuming, but for dedicated conservationists like Dave Smetana, it is a labour of love. As summer progresses the food plots really come into their own providing great nourishment for white-tailed deer.

Bear awareness this summer

Each summer cottagers, campers and municipalities are urged to do their part to avoid nuisance bears. Black bears are attracted to any food source, and in areas where berries and other natural forage is not available, bear’s will eat whatever they can get including pet food, compost and even garbage. They will also return to food sources they remember from last year so be mindful when spending time in bear country. Although bear encounters are rare they do occur, so be sure to keep your wits about you this summer.

If you have a nuisance animal around your property, report it immediately to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in Pembroke: (613) 732-3661.



20 thoughts on “Summer fun in the Great Outdoors”

  1. Well, I just back from the Dumoine in Quebec and once again we did very well!
    We caught in the range of 150 to 200 walleye, letting most go but we had a great fish fry and brought home 6 each. We caught a lot of big ones this time, the biggest at 5 lbs but a couple 4.5 pounders and lots of 2 and 3 pounders. We had one day where the fishing was nearly impossible with rain and wind and white caps, but the next day the fish must have been hungry because they were after everything we through at them. Great time had by all.

    Now its time to start contemplating the moose hunt

  2. Yup, been going there for 25 years now, back in the early days it was a fly in, but now we drive. The road is bad but we just poke along.
    Got stopped by Fish and Game on the way out and checked. kind of surprised me though, they were about 20 km from 10 Mile Lodge instead of the the Swisha checkpoint.
    We stayed at one of their outpost camps called Park Line

    1. Iggy, was that a ZEC Dumoine or ZEC Pontiac person who stopped you, or was it an actual QC Conservation Officer?

      The ZEC people patrol the roads etc within the boundaries of that particular ZEC..and in case of 10 Mile, you need to travel the ZEC roads for a piece.

      I only travelled those particular roads once…as you may recall, to access my ZEC further to the west, but its such a long haul thru Swisha, we just prefer driving around by town of Temiscaming now.


  3. Iggy, I passed through the main camp at Ten Mile Lodge on the way in to Moose Territory Lodge in May. I know what you mean about the road being bad. The last 50 km are really rough. I have a mid-sized pickup and lost track of the number of times I bottomed out on rocks. Did you catch many blue walleye this year?

    1. fishr, we drove a good portion of that road 3 springs ago and it was terrible! My brother-in-law was so ill on the way back from motion sickness, we had to stop every 15 minutes. Thank goodness I was driving one of the Ford review trucks, instead of my old Tacoma!

      Iggy, wasn’t it Moose Territory Lodge you hunted at one time?


  4. I took 16 guys to fish at Moose Territory Lodge and 6 guys to hunt moose the same fall and as my mom used to say,i if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.
    A lot of people complain about the service at 10 Mike Lodge and I understand the complaints but you can’t beat the fishing. So I go prepared to take care of myself and get past the service
    Richard has owned 10 Mile for 23 years now and sometimes I think he’s lost interest. As a matter of fact he’s hinting at selling in the next couple years. He told me the doctors tell him he’s worn out.
    Anyway I love the place and know it like the back of my hand.
    If you want great fishing and don’t expect 5 star service it’s great.
    Jeff these were defiantly Quebec fish and game not ZEC brownies. Friendly guys and spoke English well. I’d met one of them at a checkpoint at the check in at Swisha a number of years ago and the had dogs sniffing vehicles looking for poachers. They caught a guy with a big cooler full of fish that claimed he didn’t have any.

  5. Fishr we caught between 150 and 175 this year in total. Mostly blues but a few yellows. I sent Jeff a picture of my son with our biggest on a stringer with some smaller. The smaller are 1 to 4 lbs and the biggest weighed in at 5 lbs. We would have done better but one day was mostly a washout with high winds, big white caps and heavy rain. We tried but the wind was just too much. Had an absolute blast though. We of course threw a lot back but we had a great fish fry and brought out our limit.

  6. post some pics of the blues if you could. I have only seen one in real life and that was a long time ago.

  7. I was at the cottage on the weekend and saw a deer and her fawn feeding. Big deal you might say but this fawn as about the size of a dog. Like a Lab, and was still all covered with spots. This seems awful late for fawns to be so small and still spotted. No?

    1. It is a bit late for sure Iggs, but keep in mind the biggest buck I had around my place was born early July and he lived to be king and 7.5 year-old bruiser, last time I saw him. End of July is a bit late though yer right.

      Johan, I’m trying to upload that blue walleye image Iggy sent me..


      1. Iggy/Johan, I finally got that image of Iggy’s son with some blue walleye in the if only I could get it oriented the right way..dooh!!!


  8. Last week I saw a real good sized fawn with spots. It was a fair bit bigger than any German Shepherd. The neat part was that it was bounding away exactly like an spooked adult deer, tail flag and all… Usually the spotted fawns I’ve seen run away kind of like a dog would.
    Maybe this one has some superior genes and will shape up to be a monster buck someday…

  9. Nice looking stringer of fish!! Hit my head on the desk trying to look at it though….

    Buddy who whines he never gets a moose tag finally got one in the mail. Great right!!? Sort of. We are taking a fly-in next year so we decided that the guys who are going on that trip would apply for a cow tag at the camp so that we would be ‘safe’ and remain eligible for the draw up north next year. oops, as fate would have it he drew one of only 15 tags for 61, doh!

    1. sorry Johan, had a bugger of a time with that image, hope yer head feels better soon.

      I must admit that, even though I’ve fished the area where Iggy et al. caught all those ‘blue walleye’, I’ve never seen or caught one myself.

      The only real diff I notice is a dark strip along the back? Is that the only real difference from the regular strain?

      I used to think these blues were just Sauger, but Sauger usually don’t get as big as that..


      1. johan, I assume you have accounted for the moose season being pushed back one week in 2016..for many of those northern WMU’s?

        Is your fly-in booked already?


  10. They have been studied and apparently they are the exact same fish as a yellow walleye other than the colour. They are actually a black colour and the slime is blackish too. There are also yellows in the lake but only about 10 percent

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