Winter deer feeding, ice-fishing & more in the Great Outdoors

Backyard deer feeding is a fun winter past-time and can be of great benefit to these animals as snow depth increases.

I currently have seven deer feeding regularly at my backyard feeder – four bucks and three does and fawns – but I have had as many as 16. We just love watching them out the back window! The key to supplemental feeding is to distribute feed in early winter and continue feeding until spring or until your deer decide to move on. A whitetail deer’s digestive system will adapt to the supplemented diet, along with the usual browse that makes up their winter diet. Here in Ottawa, Ritchie’s Feed & Seed makes a terrific pelletized 14 per cent protein deer feed I’ve been using for years with success. I’m sure other feed stores up the valley make a similar blend. Another way to assist whitetail populations during winter is by increasing access to natural forage by creating trails with snowmobile, ATV or even snowshoes. Even if you’re not able to provide supplemental feed, it’s a good idea to offer a helping hand in any way you can.

Hunt camp camaraderie shines!
Did anyone else enjoy an awesome deer hunt this year? Though it was not a season of sagging meat poles or big bucks running amok, the fun and camaraderie in our hunt camp was better than I have ever seen. As anyone who hunts knows well, the deer hunt is not just about pursuing whitetails. For us, it is more about team work, strategic planning and functioning as a fine-oiled machine, in the woods and back at camp as well. With four new members in camp this fall including two of my nephews who never hunted before, the season had failure written all over it. Much to my surprise and similar to the Ottawa Senators, our rookies and new recruits came together in the most wonderful way. Every member had their place, pulled their weight with chores and contributed to hunt, making for one exciting season indeed. I am looking forward to next fall already!

Newfoundland/Outdoor Sportsman Magazine
I am pleased to announce following a long absence, that I am contributing again to a publication near and dear to my heart – Outdoor Sportsman, the pride of Newfoundland’s hunters and fishermen. For nearly a decade I was a feature writer for this fine publication, which runs both a provincial version called Newfoundland Sportsman and the National version called; Outdoor Sportsman. With Dwight Blackwood at the helm as Publisher, and Gord Follett as editor for over 25 years running strong, Sportsman is what I would describe as an ‘enthusiasts’ read with stories, news and features direct from the guys and gals who celebrate our hunting and fishing heritage firsthand. Although it boasts a definite Atlantic Canada flair, there is more than ample content from the rest of our great country to make it feel ubiquitous. The winter issue, with my return article on ice fishing in Central Canada, will be out early January. For more information:

Ice hut reminder

Before you hit the hard top this winter in search of your favourite game-fish, consider registering your hut. The Pembroke MNR wishes to advise area anglers that, not only is ice hut registration a requirement by law, it goes a long way in preventing wayward huts later in the season. Abandoned ice-huts which end-up in waterways after the thaw will create havoc for boaters and early season fishermen. For improved visibility, registration numbers on all huts should be at least 2 ½ inches in height. You do not need to register tent-style huts made of cloth or synthetic material, provided base measurements are less than seven square metres. Ice hut registration is longer completed by contacting the local District Office, but rather through an online registration process, or by mailing an online form to a central office in Peterborough. Full details on both processes are available at:

Next time
In the next Outdoors Guy, we take a peek at what’s hot for the 2018/2019 ice fishing season. Be sure to send in your ice fishing reports or big fish stories to

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