Going Wild for whitetails!

My October column is now available in the Ottawa Valley’s foremost authority on the outdoors; the Pembroke Daily Observer.
Congratulations to Jordan Durocher of Pembroke, this year’s winner of the Great Outdoors Trivia Contest. Jordan takes home a nice Tinks Gift Package!:

Ottawa Valley hunters going wild for whitetails

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

With the coveted white-tailed deer rifle season just around the corner, enthusiasts are gearing-up for the most anticipated week of the year.

Deer hunters of the Ottawa Valley are chomping at the bit with the whitetail ‘pre-rut’ posed for take off. This special time of preparation and anticipation will be followed closely by a full-blown rut in early to mid-November. Remember that ungulates like deer and moose are polygamous by nature with males’ breeding copious females throughout the fall. During pre-rut, bucks begin altering their daily routine in preparation for the active few weeks that follow. As does enter estrus, bucks usually stop feeding altogether to focus on dissemination of their progeny. Love always seems to come before lunch in the Great Outdoors.

Long-standing tradition

The whitetail rifle season is special and sentimental time I have enjoyed now for the past 34 years. From that very first season when my father invited me to deer camp with the men, I was hooked instantly. It was a tumultuous and exciting time for a young green-horn deer hunter. The joy of pursuing deer as an impressionable youth is like the bud of oak tree; not yet developed but primed and ready to go. I believe most hunters, young and old, share this childlike enthusiasm and really understand what it means to spend time afield. How many activities in life allow us to relive those magical carefree days of our youth?

Testing Testing

Looking back on some of the more interesting electronics I field-tested this summer, Magellan’s new Echo Watch was one of the most intriguing. I have tested almost every imaginable gadget over the years, but this particular unit was a first. The Echo is well-conceived wristwatch which allows users to ‘sync-up’ to a smartphone using Bluetooth technology, for monitoring such fitness metrics as heart rate from Magellan’s heart-rate monitor (sold separately), or to act as a remote control for fitness apps on your smartphone. The Echo watch caters to fitness buffs who own iPhones, and who are serious about staying in shape and keeping tabs on a variety of fitness parameters. This high-tech watch I found to be solid and waterproof with a clear and precise display. Although I am not a huge fitness buff myself, I can see there would be a real niche for such a gadget. For more information: http://www.magellangps.com/

Canadian Fly Fishing Championships in Montebello

Anyone who’s anyone in the fly fishing world will be out casting a line today at my favorite home-away-from-home, the beautiful Kenauk Nature in Montebello. The lakes, serving as venue, in this year’s big fly fisher bonanza are Mills, Tauntan, Sugarbush, Otter and Green. I have personally fished every one of those water bodies and trust me, they are spectacular! The competition runs until Sunday, Oct. 19. For more information on Kenauk: http://kenauk.com/ or for a schedule of events, check out: http://www.flyfishingcanada.net/uploads/Schedule_NFFC_12_Oct_2014.pdf

Safety first

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. For many of us the deer hunt can be one of most strenuous activities of the year. After trekking five miles or more up and down the mountains each day, aches and pains are part of the deal and injury more possibility. I find simple stretching exercises in the morning helps get the old body loosened up and ready for an enjoyable day in the woods. Good luck and be safe out there this fall!

Outdoor Trivia

Here is final question in this year’s Great Outdoors Trivia Contest. The first person to send me all three correct answers will receive a fabulous Tinks hunter’s scent package. mailto:[email protected] Question #3: Which of the following is NOT the title of a recent post in my Ottawa SUN Outdoors Guy Blog? A) Ontario wages war on feral hogs B) Hunters Bragging board C) Wildlife Speaker series this week, or D) Stand hunting for success. The winner will be announced in my November column!


27 thoughts on “Going Wild for whitetails!”

  1. Moose down, whitetails to come.
    I get two different hunts for deer this year, one at our deer camp and a second one at the cottage in Quebec. Can’t wait, bring it on.

    1. Good for you Iggs..we finally got you chasing deer on the right side of the river…(Literally as you look at a map, QC is on the RIGHT Side..)

      Wishing you all the best my friend..getting exciting myself! seems to be a few deer around which is nice..and a little drier weather coming in next week just in time for opening weekend of rifle season!

      My new playtoy(2015 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 0 Limited – double cab) coming in next week courtesy of Toyota Canada..just in time for my two deer hunts!

      Iggs, still going to upload that pic of you and the moose..send me a pm sometime with more details on the hunt, so I include that.


  2. Jeff I think it depends which way the map is turned hehe

    Going up tomorrow to the Ontario camp to put up a tree stand in my favorite spot. I’ll also be doing a little grouse hunting and scouting of course

    1. Have fun Iggy..btw, your moose pic is currently up in the bragging board post, just waiting to put your story in there.

      Next weekend, the greatest time of year gets under way..cant friggin wait!!!


  3. hey jeff looks like colder weather is coming took the 2 weeks off hope to get my deer early but will enjoy every cold wet moment of it , good luck to you and all the fellow hunters out there be safe and enjoy what our counrty has to offer , and when sitting in the tree stand when silence falls remember our freedoms and what we are priveleged to have r.i.p cpl cirrilo

    1. Right back at ya Mike..hope you have terrific season regardless if anything hits the ground. I am more than a little envious that you have 2 full weeks..good for you!

      Keep and touch and send me a pic of that big boy


  4. will do for sure i am very anxious and can hardly sleep sunday , i usually take some nyquil to help me out but still up at 3 or 4am with the jitters good luck jeff hope the big one walks in your crosshairs with the wind at your face

    1. tks Mike..I hope so too!

      And I know what you mean about no sleeping before opening morning..for us hunting in QC, that’ll be this friday night! There will be a lot of tired(but excited) faces around camp Sat am!

      Btw, I will be a guest on the CHEZ 106 FM’s Doc & Woody SHow this friday am…just after 7 AM…its my 12th annual ‘Salut to deer season’


  5. good luck jeff and to all the deer hunters out there be safe and smart and may you be blessed with good weather and good winds , get that big one you have been dreaming about , jeff i can’t even sleep and it’s only friday

    1. Mike, I havent really slept in the past two weeks…good luck this fall my friend.

      Tune into CHEZ 106 FM NOW…and Happy Deer Season everyone!!


  6. Have fun Jeff
    Looks like I’ll be playing my last game of golf on Saturday, then head to our camp on Sunday, hunt till Saturday then off to QC for a couple or three days of dogging. Pretty excited but nothing like the old days.
    Good quality time spent with my son, lots of naught and maybe a deer or two
    See ya when I get back with a report

  7. The guys that hunt my place have confirmed my observation. Their dogs can’t even find deer so far in our area and there isn’t much sign anywhere. They got one small buck last night but mostly the dogs are pushing out yotes and rabbits. May have to live on live on skunk and porcupine this winter…

  8. Very few deer in our area between Dacre and Griffith
    The dogs didn’t run well because they had trouble finding fresh scent. The does that were seen we alone, no fawns and that’s a very worrying sign. We better not have another rough winter.

  9. I’ve definitely , noticed alot less sign this year although i am seeing some does and fawns !! good luck everyone !! enjoy your time in the woods

  10. Same report from two groups of deer hunters at the moose camp area two hours away, 3 days and the dogs couldn’t find a fresh track to run. I still haven’t seen a deer, nor got a picture of one on my game cam since July, despite being positioned adjacent to hundreds of acres of standing corn, beans, and beautiful greens. There aren’t many, plain and simple. One of the local dudes passed on a doe last week because she had a spotted fawn with her.
    The problem with wildlife mismanagement and guesstimation based on ‘hunter’ surveys is that it’s too late by the time the problem is realized. Anyone who spends any time in the woods could have easily forecasted the decline in numbers based on spring sightings alone. Hard to tell that to a Torontonian though.

    1. johan, the odd thing is..low deer number reports are commonplace this fall, for both eastern ON and westeern QC..then I hear stories of gangs getting 5-6 bucks, although I believe that to be isolated!


  11. Johan, the MNR knew about this and still gave out way too many doe tags. I hope they cut them in have or more. The MNR new because they know exactly what kind of winter we had. That’s why they hire biologists
    Was in Quebec yesterday dogging for a gang and they have the exact same problem, although I was lucky enough to come across a doe and buck together only 30 yards from me. Kind of Kool to see two deer with a startled look on their face hehe
    I think the deer populations are down across all Ontario and Western Quebec and it could get worse if we get another rough winter

    1. Iggy, did one of watchers take that buck you pushed out on QC side?

      We didnt get any deer this fall..eithr at my camp near Tremblant, or during my deer trip to Kenauk in Montebello. Didnt see too many either…could have shot a fat 4-point in Montebello, but their 6-point or better policy put an end to that thoguht!

      Funny thing is, I photographed 4 nice bucks less than a mile from our hunt camp and never saw even one of them! All travelling at night..including our big ghost buck who’s evidently alive and well..and MORE frustrating then ever; the bastard!!

      Oh well, glad to have at least caught some animals on the trailcams


  12. back from the park. never seen a tail between 9 guys. seen some moose got one doe on trail camera from the time we left moose hunting till we got back.. all the apples are gone wolf and ravens ate those .. we are in serious trouble up there for deer..

    1. Chessy, your deer report from the Park has been going downhill last few years and at THIS POINT, I would think there is no choice but to close it down for a couple of years!!

      Very sad state of affairs..and I doubdt the MNR has any tricks up their sleeve to rectify that issue in short term.

      What about the rest of eastern ON and western QC…as some have pointed-out, lets HOPE there isnt 12 feet of snow this winter!!

      One of my highlights this fall was having a marten run past me while I was on watch..first one I have ever seen alive. We caught two trapping years ago, but they tend to be a fur-bearer of much more Northern regions! Mr Marten wasnt too happy when I pulled the camera out to take his photo…hehe


  13. Yup I closed it down .. I left on wed. the rest of the camp stayed. I leave tomorrow to go south with daughter (she is paying) thank you Canada post 🙂 I will have pictures that I still need to get from the first trip son caught his personal best striper … deer season starts tomorrow in VA need to fill the freezer

  14. We got a small buck the first week. Dogs ran does and fawns all week. If we would have had a tag, things might have been different. They have been running does and fawns again this week, Pushed out 9 today. I think the rut is late this year. The butcher we use has gone down
    from close to 200 deer, 5 year ago to 67 last year. She has done 30 so far this year.

  15. hey jeff back at work this year was the worst year i have ever seen in deer hunting fortunately i got 2 very large deer but saw very little the last 3 days i saw a monster 8 pt buck that rivalled all of the deer over many years he would lay 50 yards from the highway see me stop immediately get up and run , but on the last day the land owner gave me a one shot go ahead my buddy and me headed over the ditch crossing the highway he started to run very fast like an impala he hit the bushline with his doe we methodically walked stealtly for some time only to drive out a massive doe i took a shot but my scope was wet and blurred my vision, i looked for a blood sign but alas this boy may be popped during muzzleloader but i doubt i can get him with my crossbow he had to be pushing 300 lbs plus . Again this year was poor most of the hunters that i spoke to had virtually no signs of deer in their areas just yotes by the way we are less 2 of them after the first week

  16. Hey folks!
    It’s been awhile! I haven’t been home much the least 3 weeks and with little cell reception where I’ve been.

    I managed to shoot a 3 pt buck opening morning then on the Thursday, I shot a nice 8 pt. He weighed 210. The 3 pt was shot while I was still hunting in the snow. I quietly stepped in between 2 pine boughs to see him walking my way down a gut in between 2 flat rocks. He didn’t even know I was there. At first, I waited because I thought it was a doe and didn’t want to go crazy, but then he flipped an ear and I saw the antlers. Safety was off in a heartbeat.

    The 8 pt was 0 to mach 3 in a heartbeat. We were all walking near each other, hunting them like rabbits and one guy saw 3 does and a buck, but they were headed to the right ( I was to his left 175 yds). I figured I might not have a chance, but where I was standing which was on the far end of a marsh down a hill with part of a hardwood valley in front me, wasn’t good so I ran to the highest point so I could see. There was the buck running through the hardwoods, antlers up high leaving Dodge as they say. It was raining, my scope was foggy with a few raindrops, but I managed to get him. I was pumped. Love that about hunting. Everything happens so fast.

    Also managed to shoot a few bush chickens with my Crosman 2240 air pistol. Well worth carrying it.

    We didn’t harvest as many deer as we normally do nor did we see as many, but the sign was sure there. Other camps were saying and seeing the same amounts. This was near North Bay. I’m sure the winter affected them, but maybe not as devastating as other parts of the province.

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