Hunting season now takes priority

The leaves finally are starting to drop and temperatures are not getting any warmer.
So, if you’re like me and you like to take advantage of the awesome outdoor activities we have available here in Sunset Country, then it’s just about time to hang up the fishing rod and get in the woods.
Just like we have more fishing opportunities than most other places, we also have more hunting opportunities.
I was lucky that my dad introduced me to hunting at a young age—and it has become a big part of my life. These days, I put aside a lot of time in the fall to spend in the woods and I have a great time throughout it all.
What follows is a report on some of my findings from the first couple of weeks of the season.
Grouse numbers seem to be pretty good despite the poor weather we had back in the spring, which usually is hard on the young.
I’ve spent a couple of days walking some of the old trails my dad used to take me on and have had some good success. If you put in a few hours of walking, you’ll likely see a few birds.
The best days are when it’s sunny and calm. That’s when they will get out and strut their stuff on top of logs and boulders.
Grouse do not like wind so if you head out on a windy day, try to find some thicker cover, where grouse will be hiding.
Cedar swamps can be hot spots.
Waterfowl numbers seem to be marginal this fall. I’ve actually seen some big flocks of ducks, but they have been in unusual places (i.e., in the middle of big bodies of water, not in the typical back bays and swamps).
I think all the high water we had early in the summer drowned out a lot of the wild rice ducks love eating, so some of the birds that usually stop here kept heading south.
If you head out duck hunting, try setting up some decoys in a little bit deeper water, outside of the typical shallow bays you usually would set up in.
There are still plenty of ducks around, and some geese, but the time is now as they’ll be hitting the road pretty soon.
I spend more time chasing deer around than anything else, but things have changed from a few years ago. Numbers are down substantially.
In Kenora District, I’ve heard MNR estimates that numbers are down 60 percent from what they were a few short years ago—and I believe it.
The main reason for this is we’ve had two tough winters in a row and some of the deer just don’t make it, especially large bucks.
I think the big bucks really get rundown more than any other deer because they run hard for a few weeks during the rut period in the fall and when we get those long, cold winters, they just don’t have enough gas in the tank to make it through.
They are a pretty tough animal, though, when you think about it, to survive the long, cold winters and the bugs and heat in the summer. There are still plenty of deer around, you just have to log a few more miles to find good sign and numbers of animals.
I have had trail cameras up for a few weeks now and have captured plenty of good photos. My favourite so far is a good shot last week of two bucks sparring right in front of the camera.
If you head out hunting this fall, have fun and remember to always be careful!

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