Hunting season ramping up for me

While hunting seasons for most birds and animals have been open for weeks already, for people like me who like to get in every bit of fishing we can, the hunting season only is starting to ramp up now that the fishing has begun to cool down.
Over the past week, I’ve spent much of my time in the woods getting ready for some deer hunters that I have visiting me this week. I really enjoy spending time in the woods, scouting for deer sign and keeping my eyes peeled for all of the wildlife I can.
It doesn’t seem like there are as many ruffed grouse (or partridge) as there have been over the past few years, but there still are good numbers around the Kenora area. I’ve managed to stumble across my limit fairly easy some days while other days they are more elusive.
I have said it before but grouse are one of my favourite things to eat, no matter how they are prepared. I most often batter them, fry them, and then dip them in honey dill sauce (I don’t think I ever could get sick of eating these little birds).
Deer, meanwhile, seem to be just hanging in there. The numbers are still way lower than they were 10 years ago, when the deer population seemed to peak, but there still are good pockets of deer out in the woods.
Of course, the numbers of deer are almost annoying in city limits in most communities across Northwestern Ontario but out in the wild, harsh winters, a high wolf population, and hunting pressure all have taken their toll on the deer numbers–and they are not bouncing back overnight.
Hopefully we’ll get a nice winter and that should help wildlife across the region.
I usually do a little bit of guiding for deer each fall. I started my guiding career way back in 2005 when our deer population was exploding and most of us did not realize how good we had it back then–it truly was world-class deer hunting.
I have some hunters visiting me this week from Minnesota who have been coming since I started taking people out deer hunting. They have experienced some awesome trips in those early years but also have had some tough hunting these past few years–sometimes sitting all day without seeing a deer.
But they love the beauty of Sunset Country and they enjoy hunting in the remote, quiet, big woods that we have here. There also still is a chance at a trophy deer.
I don’t get out to duck hunt as much as I would like but it’s prime time right now as many of the northern bodies of water are starting to freeze, sending their waterfowl residents south.
Over the past week, I’ve seen plenty of ducks flying around and the occasional flock of geese. It’s a fun activity to do with your buddies because you all can sit relatively close together and share some camaraderie, hoping that some birds will notice your decoys and fly over for a closer look.
Finally, we all know the moose numbers in the southern part of Northwestern Ontario are not good but in the traditionally good moose areas, numbers seem to be hanging in there OK. I have heard good reports from friends hunting around Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, and Atikokan.
The calf season is open right now through the next two weekends for those of you who were not fortunate to draw an adult tag. It seems like if you are willing to work hard and cover some ground in a good area, you can run into a moose.
Hunting is not for everyone, I understand that but it is part of our heritage in Northern Ontario and it’s an activity that gets people out of the house and into the wilderness, which is never a bad thing.
It’s not about killing an animal; it’s more about enjoying nature, spending time with family or friends, and, if we are fortunate to harvest an animal, the reward is some of the finest eating you will ever have.