Valley turkey hunters gobbling up a storm!

My April column in the fabulous Pembroke Daily Observer newspaper is now out!

Thanks as always to Anthony Dixon and Tina Peplinkie who bring the daily news to folks in the upper Ottawa Valley!

Check it out online:


Valley turkey enthusiasts gobbling up a storm!

Wild turkey populations have rebounded in Ontario. As with Canada geese, the species was in serious decline a century ago because of over-hunting and habitat loss. Efforts to re-establish the turkey in the province from the 1980s forward were successful. (MIKE HENSEN The London Free Press)

With next Saturday’s start to the annual Ontario turkey season, hunters from across the Valley are gearing up for another exciting kick at the gobbler can!

April 25th each year marks the launch of yet another coveted spring gobbler season. Thanks to reintroduction programs dating back three decades, 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 game species around, so you had better get used to them!

Note: The annual April 25th Turkey Opener moves to Monday April 27th because opener falls on a weekend. Sorry for the confusion

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 least 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.

Moose tags way down!

This winter, a proposed moose project was undertaken by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry dealing with harvest, predation, parasites, and climate and changing habitat of our beloved Bullwinkle. The following moose management strategy was proposed:

1) limiting calf moose hunting season across northern Ontario to a two week period.

2) a two-week resident and non-resident open hunting season for calf and adult moose across northern Ontario, beginning on the Saturday closest to Oct. 22. Outside of this two-week season, calf moose could not be harvested. Hunting for an adult moose would still be permitted for the remainder of the open season with a valid moose licence and in accordance with existing rules. Also, a delay to the start of 2016 resident and non-resident moose hunting season across much of northern Ontario by one week, is very likely.

Scribe heading for trout

In a few short weeks as I head-off on my annual trout fishing adventure with my dad and brother-in-law’s, my mind will filled with visions of crystal clear lakes and behemoth brookies. It doesn’t matter how far you travel, so long as you bask in Mother Nature’s springtime spectacle. Enjoying the peaceful serenity in the delicate call of the white-throated sparrow, or the courtship rituals of the common loon. Playing cards and horse-shoes with family 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 monster ‘specs’ as far as the eye can see!

Great online camping resource

Anyone who enjoys spending time camping at one of the many Ontario campgrounds – whether travelling with a 32-foot 5th wheel or pitching a two-man tent – should do themselves a favour and check-out this comprehensive new website. The new Parks Blogger Ontario site includes useful information on camping and travelling into copious Ontario Parks. The new site, I began contributing articles to this spring, features scads of camping tips and tricks, as well as stories by fellow campers. Happy camping this summer and do yourself a favour and check out:

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 we always carry a can of bear spray and although I’ve never used it, it is always there at the ready! Statistics show there are a dozen or so bear attack attacks in North America each year, 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 when travelling or camping in bear country.

36 thoughts on “Valley turkey hunters gobbling up a storm!”

  1. Saw some nice strutting in the field opposite Capital Dodge.

    Also saw on Lower Aylmer Rd, the other morning going to work, a wounded turkey flapping in the ditch. Guess a car struck it. Next morning driving to work, I can see it there lying in the ditch dead. Never stopped to have a closer look. Still there this morning, starting to bloat.

  2. After reading your article on the upcoming wild turkey hunt I’m a little confused. The Ontario MNR website lists the 2015 turkey season as commencing April 27, 2015. Your article indicates April 25 which is how it used to be. Are you sure about April 25?

    1. John, although April 25th is the usual opneing day of wild turkey season, I believe the rule is, if that date should fall on a weekend, the opening day gets pushed to the Monday.

      So sorry for not including that detail…



  3. tags are way too pricy they should lower the costs, hey jeff whats up with the extra 2 dollar charge for the deer tags small game and fishing licences i thought the liberals took enough of our money

  4. And the Turkey money grab continues. Ask any farmer in our area and you’ll learn that not only does the MNR not care if they cull nuisance turkeys from farm land they aren’t worried whether the farmer harvests the meat or not…….Nothing like poached turkey.

    1. Iggy, that sort of ‘goose management initiative’ is totally rediculous..and actually flies in the face of our own Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act!


    2. Trapper, how’d you make out this winter overall? End-up holding on to your fur, or did you send them to the auction?

      I think I know the answer..


  5. like i have said for years its cheaper to hunt in the usa (virginia) then my own province 198 usf gets me 5 deer 3 turkeys and 2 bears

    1. Well Chess..I guess QC is starting to follow ON’s example, both the resident and non-resident fishing licenses went up $10 this year!

      Still nothing as reasonable as in the US..


  6. Can’t wait to get out after turkeys.
    Trapper I once got a special kill license to shoot geese for a farmer that was having problems with them. I could shoot as many as I wanted but I couldn’t decoy them and I couldn’t harvest them. I had to leave them where I shot them . I asked the MNR if they planned to pay me as an employee then. They said no so I never even tried. Imagine no decoding. …. stupid

  7. Iggy, I can’t believe that you had to leave them there to rot.
    “Stupid” is being pretty polite, It seems like everytime you turn around there’s another idiotic rule or regulation…

  8. Hi Outdoors guy,

    I’m from the Sudbury area and am a newbie to Turkey hunting. Is there any crown land in the Valley available for Turkey hunting? If not is it very difficult to find a farmer who will give permission? Any advice would be greatly appreociated. Also, is Sunday hunted permitted in the area ? Thank you

  9. Grab more cash from the rural voter (hunters) while feeding services to the GTA, it’s a Wynne-win. It’s certainly not going into wildlife management unless relocating city raccoons to rural areas counts.
    These same crooks make you believe they are helping micro brewers by selling beer in grocery outlets. Sure it will help small brewers get exposure, but more importantly it will help the gov suck more taxes out of our pockets under the guise of being beer friendly. To pre-address the policing of this process we will of course also require a ‘beer ombudsman’ who’s job it is to oversee and corrupt the process, thereby burning all the excess tax revenue in administration and future scandal, which will perpetuate further tax measures to pay for it. Anyone want to bet on that one? Maybe they can find a way to blame Mike Harris.
    While we are talking about corruption and money grab, how about that Cap and Trade system in Europe?

    Shawn – you will drive down here to Turkey hunt?

    1. MMMMMMmmmmmmm…..Beer Ombudsman

      And I thought I had a good job…hehe


  10. Yes I would drive down to the Renfrew Arnprior area.. It would probably be a Friday to Sunday.

  11. I would be driving down to the Renfrew Arnprior area.. It would probably be a Friday to Sunday.

  12. I was out cutting wood today. A lot of big trees down from the wind. I need 12 singles for the house and 5 for maple syrup. Anyway every-time I would stop the Stihl 360 a turkey would gobble. May have to take a chain saw with me on Monday.

    1. imacdon, your ‘chainsaw call’ reminds me of a story a log-skidder driver told me one time. Up in northern QC, he claims that moose would ‘respond’ to the sound of his skidder…cause they new some fresh tree tops were around!

      Sadly, a lot of these drivers carry rifles with them during the moose season, and ‘pick-off’ the moose from inside the skidders…NOT good!


  13. Since when is the MNRworking with hunters and stakeholders?
    The M.N.R. has sold our hunting rights to the White false metis of Ontario.
    The MNR is solely responsible for the diminishing moose populations with their corrupt tag system which gave rise to a Metis Nation bandwagon to find a loophole to harvest moose indiscriminately.
    And by selling our northern forest biodiversity to retired MNR led logging companies that poison the land and water to proliferate a jack pine monoculture that is sterilizing our Northern Forests that were once prime moose habitat.
    I invite anyone to come out to Northern Ontario and see first hand the genocidal impact that the MNR forestry approved activities are taking their toll on our forest’s biodiversity.
    It’s literally a wave of destruction, loggers clearcut everything, Metis hunters kill off all the resident moose, then the MNR plant jackpine where once thrived hardwood stands and then poisons the land and water so nothing else will survive.

  14. it’s a joke what they are charging us to hunt, the fee structure is solely to go back to those sacks of sh&t in toronto , watch over the next few years how the turkey population will explode and how this will put pressure on other types of game , the turkey licence fee is way over priced as well as the new mysterious 2 dollar fee , does anyone know where this money goes . Maybe to a majic wallet in t o ??????. I try to call the mnr about illegal hunting activity in my area but never get a call back rarely get a follow up , i know the mnr is underfunded and staffed poorly , they try their best but i tell you , this year the next poached i catch will be short 2 nuts , jeff enjoy your weekend

    1. Hey mike, you know how it is though..they could raise the rates by $100 and we’d still go hunting & fishing!


  15. Well i know most guys say the mnr is off there tree. and i agree that lots are bad . but in the 37 years i have been a volunteer at the fishway this is the very first year i have been extreamly happy with the mnr staff that i have ever dealt with . the staff is all new and very young guys full of piss and vinagar. its been a very pleasurable experience and i to was pissed at the 2 dollars … but with these new guys. i would pay 4 dollars for these guys

    1. Well Chess, as with most things the personnel can make all the difference and obviously this crue does a bang-up job..SSFC graduates no doubt…hehe

      Speaking of which, how’s yer daugher making out?


  16. The Outdoors Card is another provincial cash grab and a nuisance that just complicates the process of obtaining fishing and hunting licenses.

  17. thanks for asking jeff she did well she was bored in some classes like fish department like how to take scales and odolisps and wildlife identification … she was stressed out and marks could have been higher but first year away from home as she lived up there to many nights at bar…

    1. Chessy, how can you be bored doing Otolith cross-sections, increment sequences and ID’ing wildlife? That’s fun stuff! Of course the partying comes with the territory, you just need to exercises a bit of self control…its hard though, with places like the Grand Hotel, York tavern etc calling your name..hehe

      Ahh..some very fond memories of Lindsay…did I ever tell you that the Late Great Jeff Healey’s sister was there when I was there, and the famous Project Grizzly Bear Suit Man – Troy Hurtubise….he was in my program as well…ah yeah, we had some interesting characters!


  18. Chess, no doubt these workers were very good and worked hard, it’s not the workers and staff it’s the top brass at the MNR and the elected so called leaders

  19. Where’s all the turkey pictures?
    Just bought my moose license, another extra fee sucked out of my wallet.

    1. johan, I have some nice pics of a giant Tom and three of his ladies who’ve been hanging out on my lawn every evening this week!

      This is big one too..must be 10″ beard…but alas he’s protected by the No Discharge law and the fact that I still haven’t ‘re-taken’ my
      turkey course. (sorry Keebler)


  20. the reason she is board is she has been doing stuff like that since she was 12 . its not bored doing it is when the teacher takes two days to explain and shows you how to do it lol

    1. Oh ok Chess..I get what you’re saying.

      Tell her not worry! It may seem simply and boring now…but it gets much harder into 2nd(and 3rd year) if she goes that far. I thought I was a smarty-pants when I got to SSFC, with a University Degree under my belt already when I arrived, but I was shocked to find out I did NOT know everything there was to know about F&W! Third year (F&W Technology Program) Limnology course…pretty tough stuff even for the Outdoors Guy..hehe


  21. My place is crawling with turkeys this year too it seems. I have never hunted for them but I have provided corn for them at times. You can be sure that if I decided to hunt them on my place I would manage just fine without a course. Not against the course, just giving more money away.

  22. Johan, if you need someone to take care of those turkeys for you, I’d like to offer my services! 🙂 lol

    So far, I’ve been shut out – most of the Toms I’ve heard and seen have waltzed over to private land for which permission, I don’t have unfortunately.

    I think right now, they are henned up. Need to wait a week or so until more hens nest up then the toms will come running looking for love 🙂

    And yes, Jeff, take the course you should! It’s fun times!


  23. Keebler – strangely enough they have quieted down and I haven’t seen nor heard one for a week now. I know of at least one 20 that was taken here and I expect one other guy who usually gets birds has taken one or two but I never know for sure. No one seems to ask any more and just assume since they hunted last year it’s okay this year. I still see hens wandering around so the gobblers and jakes can’t be far.
    One thing I have around the place now is a beauty red fox. Haven’t seen many in the last five years for some reason. Nice to see them.

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