Whitetail season is upon us

For those who missed my October Outdoors Guy column in the Pembroke Daily Observer, here you go:



This one is dedicated to the legend of Rick Whitetail Guru Poulin:


Canadian whitetail hunters celebrate annual tradition

The Outdoor Guy, Jeff Morrison, poses with a fine whitetail buck taken at Kenauk Nature in Montebello, Que.

The Outdoors Guy, Jeff Morrison, poses with a fine whitetail buck taken at Kenauk Nature in Montebello, Quebec

With the scent of this country’s whitetail season wafting down from the north country, deer hunting enthusiasts are getting ‘hopped-up on goofballs’ for the most anticipated time of year.

Every year around this time a deer hunter’s thoughts transcend everyday consciousness to become ‘at one’ with nature. It is often difficult to put into words what whitetail season means to those who participate annually.  As I celebrate my 35th year in God’s Country with my 84 year-old father and a handful of close hunting companions, I am constantly reminded of some of my most cherished memories from the past 3.5 decades, and they’re numerous.

Behold the dark ghost

I was an impressionable young hunter back in November 1983, the time a truly giant whitetail buck slipped through the Quebec hardwoods like a ghost and appeared before me, larger than life. So large in fact and dark in colour, I was convinced it was a moose and lowered my rifle. By the time this inexperienced 16-year old realized the so-called moose was actually a 300 pound rut-swollen whitetail buck, the beast had already moved down the ridge and melted from view. My uncle, the late Alfred Morrison, was perched over the next hill and put his experience to work. It is memories like this which remain etched in a hunter’s ‘grey matter’ and return to the forefront each fall when they pass that same spot in the woods. I believe each and every hunter shares this childlike enthusiasm along with a full comprehension of the importance of time spent afield.

Testing, testing

Since warm outerwear and cool weather go hand-in-hand like conservation and Canada’s trapping heritage, I recently field-tested some apparel from Canadian company – Canada Goose, in preparation for deer season.  Famous for their luxurious winter parkas adorned with coyote fur collars, the Canada Goose Expedition Clothing Company has been making quality outerwear since 1957. Today, the company offers some of the most sought-after coats and jackets on the market, used by many of the country’s law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately their products have been targeted of late by animMy Sitesal rights groups that take offence to the use of coyote fur in some of the collars, even though animal fur is recognized as probably the most organic and self-sustaining material known to man. The Hybridge Lite model jacket I tested on a scouting and trail camera expedition recently was as comfortable and warm as any jacket I’ve used yet.

Awarded the Best Backcountry Jacket by Outside Magazine, I knew there must be something special about the product.  This ‘lightweight down’ as it’s known in the industry, fit like a glove and stood up to some pretty heavy bush travel. Weighing in at less than 1 pound, the Hybridge Lite was more of a second skin than it was a jacket. The product combines 800-fill goose down with a 10D rip stop nylon shell and stretchy Tensile-Tech fleece side panels. Designed with cuff bindings and thumb holes to keep snow out, the Hybridge Lite is also easily rolled up and stowed away. Be prepared for the slim fit as the product is designed snug with the intention of layering as weather gets cooler. All in all, I was more than satisfied with quality and functionality of this product making for the perfect pre-season outerwear! For more information on this or other Canada Goose Products: http://www.canada-goose.com/

Hunt safely with Rick’s spirit

Statistics show that serious accidents are quite rare during the hunting season, however mishaps do occur. Perhaps our greatest concern apart from falling asleep in the tree stand, would be muscle strain and body fatigue. After trekking five miles or more up and down the mountains each day, aches and pains are part of the deal and injury a possibility. Simple stretching exercises in the morning helps your body get loosened-up and ready for an enjoyable day in the backwoods. Good luck this fall and may the spirit of local legend Rick ‘Whitetail Guru’ Poulin be with you in your travels.


25 thoughts on “Whitetail season is upon us”

  1. Off to the annual pilgrimage in search of Mr Moose (well baby moose again this year) followed by a week of beaver and muskrat trapping followed by 2 weeks for deer hunting followed by another 22 weeks of trapping.

    Happy hunting season fellow hunters (men and women), Shoot straight and be safe…..


    1. Sounds like a busy fall, my friend! Good to hear from you and try to stop-in with some updates now and then.

      We miss hearing from you!


  2. Well its been pushed by 2 weeks for our annual get together. Starting to get pumped up as I leave Friday morning for Whanapetei On.

    Anyone else here going “calf hunting” this year?

    Bringing my camera as a few adult moose have been seen in our area. Hope to post some pics when I return on October 31 and then I’ll celebrate the Canadian whitetail hunters annual tradition (on the second week) at our deer camp in Renfrew County.
    Best time of the year, bar none. !

  3. hey jeff was out deer hunting all last week activity was slow but on sunday I was checking different hunting areas I have and I saw 15 does and 3 bucks boy I was surprised maybe this cold weather will help I hope.Taking the first 2 weeks of November off , sad news though a very good friend of mine had his second stroke I think he isn’t able enough to get out this season fingers are crossed for a speedy recovery .Also the ducks are still minimal but lots of geese in the Almonte area , the northerns are now definitely down will keep you posted on the deer activity , by the way large amounts of turkey one field boasted at least 60 of them some very big too bad I don’t hunt them , had to take down some yotes as well

    1. Really sorry to hear about your hunting buddy, Mike, its very sad when something like this happens!

      Sounds like the cold weather may be getting the deer moving…I cant wait to check my trailcams up in the deer woods..its like Christmas morning when I first arrive at the cams!!


  4. At camp the last two days. Two guys and a wife of one of them in camp hunting bears and moose calves. I did some grouse hunting over a Vizsla. Fun hunting with a super hyper pointer but very few birds. At least with a dog you know the birds aren’t just out-running you. They just weren’t on the ground. I suspect the were still in the trees because it was our first cold spell. We got about 7cm of snow yesterday and not much moves during the first cold snowstorm.

    1. Sounds like lots of fun Iggs..wish I had experience hunting with dogs, there seems to be a special connection between hunter and hound!


  5. I’ve hunted birds with dogs before and it certainly is a lot of fun. I’ve also hunted on pheasant farms with dogs. That too is a lot of fun. I know some people disagree with fenced hunting but there is no other way to hunt pheasants around here.
    I’ve also hunt deer with dogs and as foreign as that may sound who has spent his life in Quebec hunting deer it is my favorite kind of deer hunting. Take the dogs away and I stop hunting deer.
    Funny how Quebec deer hunters have such distain for hunting deer with dogs yet every year I go up and help them and they race through the bush howling like dogs.

  6. Well, just back from our annual moose hunt to SiouxLookout. We went up with 5 hunters and 1 bull tag. First night on arrival, down one hunter, tripped out of camper and broke his heel, not good. All repaired and back in camp by opening day, but no hunting for this lad.
    So opening day we’re down 1 but headed out to see what we could call up. Called in accidentally the largest cow moose I have ever seen. Took pictures, both GoPro and stills…..then the temp rose and the moose stayed in the cooler bush. Sunday spent scouting around and calling to no avail. Monday am out before dark for the caller (me) and the rest followed at first light. Daybreak brought a nice bull out to the brother in law and our hunt was over……..note another buddy was glassing a huge bull 700m away at the exact same time of the first bull’s demise. Just goes to show how easy it would be to accidently shoot two animals and only 1 tag. And yes we use walkie talkies, no cell at all where we are.

    The rest of the week was spent scouting future spots as the forestry department has determined “our” logging road will be closed next year and a huge area will now be off limits for hunters. oh well.. 22yrs of hunting that area coming to an end…..sort of….

    Grouse population took a bit of a hit……lots of grouse brought home for eating….both spruce and ruffed….yum yum

  7. Thanks for the story Mike. For us that didn’t get a moose it’s great to hear success.
    I heard that eating Spruce Grouse was akin to eating Mergansers? Any Chance you could give us all a good recipe for Sprucies?

    1. Hey Iggs, it is somewhat true what the say about sprucies..had them couple of times and they’re a tad stronger tasting


  8. As you know Jeff, our deer camp is somewhere near Dacre Ontario. You can get a calf tag for moose in this area but you can’t get an adult tag. When the MNRF was phoned in Pembroke Ontario, to inquire why there was no adult tags available, the call was transferred to Peterborough (there was no one left in Pembroke) the person said “there’s moose in that area?”
    When one of our member explained that we are seeing more and more moose in the area every year the MNRF person was surprised and somewhat unbelieving.
    Anyway a couple of our guys went up this week for a moose hunt and a cow and two calves walked out in front of one of the guys and he shot his first moose. Commonly known in our camp as a button bull (male calf)
    Congrats to DM on his first moose

  9. Just got back from park missed a big bull a little to thick to be shooting through a hour latter on second dog it ran out the diggers got 5 shots ran to one of the standers and that was the end of the hunt nice double lung at 60 yards open draw road. There is no water up there and lots of birds. And once again in our area no deer

    1. Iggy, looks like that rain will be arriving tomorrow(Wed)..remnants of Patricia.

      That’ll make the bush nicceee and quiet for opening of deer rifle season this weekend(QC-side)

      Woop Woop!!


  10. Hi guys. No hunting for me this year. Health issue (long story). Good luck to everyone.

    Anyway, colleague at Office going to start a course at Algonquin College (small engine repair) and is looking for a small gas boat outdoor motor to work on while doing the course. He has 3 lawnmowers, but would prefer to take down an outdoor boat motor (personal interest). So if you know of anyone who wants to get rid of a broken one. Let me know via e-mail. Thanks.
    Jeff has my e-mail for anyone interested.

  11. Yes lots. We had them all over us Monday. Talked to the warden on Wednesday for his one of many trips in he had checked 20 camps so far that day and seen 18 moose hanging last year in park he seen 40 over the week there was lots of banging all week all around us so there should be more than 40 this year.like I have said before it’s not the bear and wolves taking the moose down its hunters. Daughters boyfriend in ear falls no calves but you can shoot the calves. They had two cow tags they could have shot the cows but have caves who in there right mind would come up with that. They eventually got a dry cow and a big one at that. And when they were coming out with her to lockup freezer a group of natives had 4 calves hanging.

  12. Can’t wait. All reved up.
    Last minute running around.
    Washing all my son an my hunting clothing. I usually leave it outside to air dry but it’ll have to hang in the shed instead.
    My neighbour asked me last night what I enjoy most. Moose hunting or deer. The two hunt are so different I didn’t have an answer.

  13. Outdoorsguy – you really need to post a different deer pic soon, that one is worn out… 😉
    Back from the moose hunt, saw a few sets of tracks and a little sign, but no moose. I think we were the only ones with a tag and everyone else was stalking that one cow and calf that was seen up there. We hunted harder than normal but you can’t will a moose to be in your area when they aren’t numerous to begin with. Saw a few deer this year, snakes, beaver, and a barred owl up close. The first one I have seen live. Weather was good for the most part and all in all it was a good trip. Nothing like being in camp during a Blue Jays run, AND an election to add some coloured ‘discussions’.
    Still no deer around my place so not sure what is up with that. Feed everywhere and nothing but hundreds of geese. No one has been banging the geese at the lake or the fields so they flocking up. Flock of 9 swans fly over occasionally too. That’s an interesting noise.

  14. Iggy, the best way I have found for eating spruce grouse is to make up a slow cooker stew and add a couple ruffed grouse as well. We have been using this recipe for awhile and I love it. You’re right, plain, they are very similar to eating mergansers, I won’t want to live on either, they are also good as “gifts” to non-hunting neighbours…….hee hee….

    Bring on the deer hunt……!!!!

  15. We are counting the days to the deer hunt. We will be hunting the second week as usual, working around my son’s university schedule.

    We have four grouse in the freezer right now and hoping to get more after the deer hunt. We missed many many others. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with finding the birds. Our dog is getting quite good at that. But shooting them is another matter entirely!

    I hope everyone has a great hunt.

  16. good morning jeff I was lucky this year to bag an 8 point buck for a hunting buddy massive rack weighed in dressed at 248lbs and sat am at 7:10 am I managed to pop a nice 6pt buck a small rack for a really big deer and of course got road kills for extra meat but the last 2 days were by fat the best as it was very warm, I hope your gang did well

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