Hunting enjoyed by many

For many of us who enjoy outdoor activities across Sunset Country, fall always is exciting because hunting season will keep us busy for a couple of months before a long winter sets in.
While some hunting seasons have been open for several weeks now, this past weekend marked the opening of the gun season for moose and deer.
I certainly can understand that hunting is not for everybody, but the experiences that my friends, family, and I share when we go hunting are all about just being out there mostly.
There is so much great country to explore in our part of the world and there is no better place to spend time with someone than in the outdoors (especially when we have great weather like we did this past weekend).
For me, hunting has been a part of my life since I was a young kid. My dad took my brother, sister, and I hunting for ruffed grouse (or chickens as they generally are referred to in Northwestern Ontario).
We ate the ones that we got and it always was something I looked forward to in fall.
As I grew older, I started hunting for moose and deer with my friends. Through the 2000s, my friends and I were very fortunate to experience some of the best deer-hunting opportunities in North America—and we had a lot of fun with it.
Today, our deer populations outside of Kenora have decreased significantly due to a variety of factors, but mostly because of several bad winters with heavy snowfall over the past six years.
There are deer out there to hunt but the numbers are noticeably lower than they were.
This past weekend, my wife, August, and a few friends spent a day doing some drives on some of the islands of Lake of the Woods. And though we didn’t get to harvest any deer, we did see quite a few.
Bird-hunting also has been keeping us busy over the past couple of weeks, for both grouse and waterfowl.
After a late, cold, and wet spring, my thought was that the grouse numbers would be terrible this year but there actually are quite a few around. We’ve been getting out at least a few times a week to go for a walk on some of the many old logging roads around Kenora—and we’ve been getting a few every time.
These birds probably are my favourite thing on this whole planet to eat, so the motivation of a good dinner adds to the fun of hunting these pretty little birds.
I had not hunted for waterfowl in more than 10 years, probably since I was in high school. But this fall, August and I decided we would get into it a little bit more.
We have been out a few times and have been seeing plenty of ducks and geese around. For the most part, though, they are safe from us! We’ve been getting a few but also missing a bunch.
It’s fun, though, and a very social activity with plenty of action. We have been looking in shallow, weedy bays and when we find one that has good numbers of birds, we’ll find a place to set up on shore and set up about a dozen decoys out in front of us.
It’s a lot of fun and I think after a year or two of doing it, we’ll pick up a few tricks to help us find more success down the road. Just figuring out where to set up, how to set up the decoys, and simply getting better at shooting will help.
As I said earlier, hunting is not for everybody but it’s easy to get out and do it in Sunset County. And there’s no better way to load your fridge and freezer with fresh, healthy, and natural meat.
If you have not taken the mandatory hunters safety course, which you need to have in order to get a hunting licence in Ontario, keep an eye out for when the courses will take place this coming winter so you can take part in this great activity next fall.

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