Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 END OF THE YEAR SUMMARY AT H&B

    Once again,Christmas has come and we are looking forward to the New Year here at home on Salmon River. As we look forward,we also take the time to reflect back upon the events that shaped the previous year and learn from those experiences,so that we might take steps to enrich our future.The year 2012 was a good year for most species but there were some species that suffered and faltered. Life is like that.Up and down.Eb and flow.Forward and backward. Change is the one constant that remains in our life on this planet.It might come slowly or quickly depending on the circumstances but things are definitely in a state of change.
    One change that was driven home to me this past year was how serious the melting of the polar ice is. This phenomenon is happening at the fastest rate since the beginning of record keeping. This is putting more water in the oceans and,in turn,puts more moisture in the air. The whole thing adds up to more storms that are more severe in the destructive force they deliver and puts all coastal areas in peril as ocean levels increase.The real scary part is that we are going to have a hard time to reverse this process.It'll probably get worse before it gets better. 

    The ice fishing season is still a few weeks away and if the weather follows the same pattern as last year,it could be a late start because of poor ice. Although the season started out slowly last season because of the mild winter we had,the bite set in good and after we had lots of ice the fishing was quite consistant. Grand Lake and lower Salmon River had good catches of most of the species such as smelt,burbot,pickerel and perch.The whitefish bite was back on after a noticeable lack of caught fish the year before. We fish either fresh cut bait or live bait depending on the species. We use light weight 2-3 man shacks on the lake and portables on Salmon River where there is less wind. If the weather is moderate,a bucket and all your gear is all you need because you will be busy working your lines and catching fish. Our water that we fish during the winter is considered tidal water so a fishing licence isn't required and that makes things a whole lot simpler for visiting fishermen. The following photo shows Ken Hargrove with a trophy sized burbot taken from Grand Lake.
 On average,the burbot will run a bit smaller than the one Ken is holding but the chance is always there to hook one in the twelve pound range. The smelt in Grand lake can run quite large,up to twelve inches but again the averages are smaller than that. Many times we will use cut smelt for bait and it works quite well. The next photo shows some smelt taken in one of our shacks on Grand Lake. The yellow perch we catch vary in size according to where they are caught. Usually,the perch in The Grand Lake system run larger than the ones caught in the lower Salmon River. One visiting fisherman from Rogersville catches buckets full on a very small white jig. We usually put on a small piece of cut bait for added attraction. The following photo shows my son Curtis with a couple of yellow perch caught in McLeods Pond on Salmon River. As you can tell by these photos,we have some very good ice fishing opportunities in our area and the coming season should provide some great days out on the ice.
 
    As winter gave way to spring,the anticipated spring salmon season was everything one could expect. I personally never had such an opener, with fish that were literally stacked up in the deeper pools. My fishing partner and I were both done fishing for the day by lunch time,having both hooked our limit of ten fish each. There was no shortage of fish and the hook-ups were coming fast and furious, especially on the opener. This video clip was taken early in the morning of the first day.Many salmon fishermen turn their nose up at black salmon but I think that is a mistake.Last spring the fish were in excellent condition and put up a very good fight. We caught a mix of salmon and grilse,with a higher percentage of grilse landed. The next photo shows me with one of the salmon I landed on the first day. My fishing partner for the day also landed s few salmon. Donna A. is from the Doaktown area and is no stranger to the great salmon pools near her home. The next photo shows Donna with one of the fish she landed that didn't want it's picture taken. The next photo shows Donna with a nice salmon that was a little more co-operative when I took the picture. I can honestly say that last years opener for spring salmon was the best fishing I have had in my entire life.And I've done a lot of fishing in my lifetime,so don't take that statement lightly!
 
    Later on in the spring ,around the first of June,my good friend, Allen Davidson and his niece Donna,decided to float the river down to Doaktown and try to get some sea-trout and maybe get a few fiddleheads that weren't popped out yet. While we didn't land any really big trout,we did catch some very nice pan sized trout in the 10-14 inch range. While we were busy catching trout,Allen managed to gather up some fiddleheads to go with those delicious sea-trout.The next photo shows Allen and I with some trout taken on that day.
 The next photo shows Allen gathering up some fiddleheads while we were taking a break from the fishing. The larger sea-trout seemed to have run very early in May and there was a smaller run than usual. This run turned out to be a forerunner for a dismal and disturbing run of bright salmon that just failed to arrive in any numbers. After experiencing some of the best runs in decades,the bottom fell right out of it and the salmon just didn't show up. I like to think that the salmon were just too smart to enter the river under such terrible water conditions and stifling heat and decided to sit it out until more favourable conditions. Hopefully,next year the runs will be back at full strength.  
 
    The spring bear hunt was very good this year with multiple trophy bears at our bait sites. We are constantly on the look out for fresh bear sign in new areas but we maintain our older sights because they have large sows hanging around and this will draw in those rambling old boars for a sniff. I don't usually bother killing any spring bear but Ken loves to bait and hunt bears so he usually takes one every year. We had some real old smashers at our bait sights this past spring and Ken had all intentions of taking one of these larger bears but fate intervened and Ken took a nice average sized bear. This bear was one of about a dozen that were visiting a new bait and Ken decided to take him one evening later in the season. The next photo shows Ken with his 2012 bear. Our area has a lot of bears and many of them live to be trophy size because there is very little hunting pressure for bear in our hunting areas. The biggest problem most hunters have is holding out for a large bear when there are multiple shooter bears on the bait. Those big boars have a tendency to hang back at a bait and check things out carefully,so it pays to wait and judge your bear closely before pulling the trigger. This next photo shows a trophy sized bear at one of our baits. Hunting black bears in New Brunswick is one adventure that nearly always has a successful conclusion. We have a large black bear population and a good percentage of those bears are trophy sized because of low hunting pressure. As I already stated,trophy hunters must wait patiently for those big boars to show up if that's the size bear they are looking for. If a sport has the patience,you should return home with a big- headed New Brunswick boar to display in your game room.
 
    At the same time the bear hunting is starting to heat up,the white perch run usually arrives. It varies from year to year but if I had to pic a date to angle for these great tasting fish it would be around June 1st. We were out there right on schedule again this year and there was a good run of white perch this past spring. We usually have a few people every evening around this time and the fishing can be very good,especially right before dark. The white perch bite really turns on during the last hour before dark. You can catch your twenty-five fish  limit here pretty quickly when the fish are running hard. I can taste those fillets right now as I'm writing this! We aren't long doing up a pail and getting the deep fryer going after we catch a bunch. Done in a good batter,you can really gorge on these tasty little buggers! The next photo shows Josh,a friend of my son Curt,with his stringer of white perch. Curt was telling him about the great fishing we were having and he wanted to try it. As luck would have it,he caught a jumbo female on his first cast. He got enough for a feed in about a half hour and I think he's hooked!
 White perch are not hard to catch but they do require a light touch to hook them. They won't chase a bait so you must reel very slowly or use a bobber set about a foot off of the bottom. It really helps to have a guide or someone with experience fishing these great little fish to increase your chances for success. The next photo shows a bucket of nice white perch caught one evening this past spring. These fish do not require any expensive gear or lures to catch them. As a matter of fact,my son Curt has been fishing them since he was a kid and he says a hook and worm with a small split shot is the perfect set up for fishing off of our shore. He told me that with the current we have here on our shore on Salmon River,this rig will drift along near the bottom and he catches a pile of white perch with this set- up. The next photo shows Donna A. from Doaktown with a few perch taken one evening last spring. 
 
The pickerel fishing last summer was the best we've had in quite a spell. The water was a perfect height for fishing these toothy tigers and we had great fishing all summer long. We are blessed with some great habitat for a multitude of species and chain pickerel is one of them. The pickerel beds line the river from Gaspereau Forks to the entrance of Grand Lake and provide consistent fishing all summer long. The next photo shows me with a nice average size pickerel I caught one evening last summer. Note the lure hanging from his mouth.
 This lure combo works well for us in most conditions but during spring conditions with higher water,we change things up. In low water conditions during the summer,this set-up usually works really well for us as you can see in this short video clip.That pickerel is considered to be trophy-sized in these waters,as well as most water anywhere in the Grand Lake system. This is a very consistent fishery and we expect the fishing to continue in this vein for years to come,with good hook and release practices.
 
The Atlantic salmon fishery this past summer was, by any measure,a huge disappointment. The water conditions were terrible during the summer and the fish failed to return in any numbers. This made for a season that wasn't. As a matter of fact,a lot of the water on our best salmon rivers were closed down or restricted to limited angling for most of the summer. The only fishing to speak of was during the early part of the season and after that most of the fishing was in the lower parts of the rivers where the tides kept the rivers a little fresher. Salmon fishermen are, for the most part optimists.They just about have to be if they are going to hook one of these magnificent fish. All eyes are looking forward to next years runs in hopes of increased numbers of fish and better water conditions.
 
Another high point for sportsmen this past year was the 2012 moose hunt. The province has a very strong moose herd that has been building for a number of years and if you were lucky enough to draw a tag,your odds of getting a moose were very good. I finally drew a tag after many years of entering and Wes had his tag. Rounding out our group was Wes's son-in- law Denis. Wes and I both tagged out on the first morning and Denis got his nice bull at last light of the last day,in the pouring rain to put us at three for three on this hunt. The next photo shows me with my eating- sized bull I took this past season. Wes's bull was nearly identical in size to the one I took.
 Denis had a chance early in the season but couldn't get the shot and after that it seemed like everyone around him was shooting trophy bulls.Actually,there was at least four trophy bulls killed near Denis's location. His perseverance paid off and he shot a nice fourteen pt. bull the very last thing and had a real job getting it out of the cut. The next photo shows Denis's bull in the back of the truck. The photo was taken in a downpour so the image isn't the best.
 The next photo shows a group of Frenchmen who also tagged out early in the hunt. They got two trophy sized bulls,one eating sized eight pt. and a nice sized cow.
 The next photo shows a couple of the trophies that were taken near Denis's hunting area by a couple of local hunters. As you can see from the photos above,the 2012 moose hunt was a resounding success and the odds have never been better for taking a moose in New Brunswick. The coming year looks to be more of the same so get your name in for the 2013 New Brunswick moose lottery.
 
 Our annual fall duck hunt took place at our usual spot on Salmon River. Duck numbers were good this year and we had lots of ducks decoying into our small spread.  The spot we hunt has a good morning shoot but really tapers off in the evening. That's alright though because the shooting is usually good enough in the morning that a limit can be taken,provided your aim is true. The following photo shows our group of shooters and the bag of ducks taken on the first morning of the 2012 duck hunt.
 With favourable nesting conditions,puddle duck numbers should be good in the coming year.in our area. We have a lot of wood ducks because of the good nesting habitat along the river and this provides us with good shooting year after year. The next photo shows one of the nice male wood ducks we took last fall.
 
    The 2012 deer hunt showed a nice increase in harvest numbers and this was expected. We had a low snow pack during the winter of 2011 and as a result many more deer survived. This helped a lot of the younger deer to survive and the older deer were in good shape to survive our harsh New Brunswick winters. Does with twins and triplets was not unusual this past season which was encouraging. There were some very nice trophy bucks taken last season,most coming from the southern half of the province. The hunt was pretty much a non-event for Ken and I because Ken was away in Nova Scotia doing a job and I took ill just before the start of the season and that put me out of the woods for the whole 2012 season.It's too bad because I had a new area with a nice deer herd scouted out and the buck sign looked promising. Hopefully,next year we can take advantage of this new hunting area near Grand Lake. The following link will take you to some photos of some bucks taken around the province. Just click on http://newbrunswickhunting.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4123-2012-whitetail-harvest-pics-only-no-comments/ .As you can see from the photos in this forum,there are still some great bucks taken each fall in New Brunswick. The amount of snow we receive each winter determines if our deer herd is going to increase or decrease. As I'm writing this,we have just received over two feet of snow during the last couple of days and winter is just getting started. Only time will tell if the gains of last year will be wiped out in bad winter this year. One area of encouragement is QDMA's involvement in improving the deer herd here in New Brunswick. If future governments want to stay relevant in improving our environment and keeping people engaged,they had better pay attention to social media and what the people say or they will be served their walking papers. The voting public in New Brunswick will continue to roust politicians until someone gets it right. Big business is doing some things that are wrong here in New Brunswick and the majority of the people want things changed and done correctly.We have already been surveyed and the politicians know what New Brunswickers want,so why not just rule accordingly? I think we all know the answer to that one and I can see changes in the near future,both at the provincial level and federally. I would love to see young Justin Trudeau as our next Prime Minister. But I digress.
 
 As I said previously,I was out with health issues during the deer season and I got to thinking about how hunters have to change their tactics as they grow older or to compensate for some handicap. Around this time,I was contacted by John Conners,who publishes a blog on different lifestyle issues and he asked if I would be interested in linking to one of his posts that he thought would go well with my content. I said sure and the following post on hearing loss is relevant for all hunters and shooters.
 
Why Should I Use Hearing Protection While Hunting?

If you are involved in any sport or line of work that uses guns, you need to make sure to do what you can to prevent hearing loss. You can lose some or all of your ability to hear by shooting firearms without wearing any type of ear protection. Many sportsmen and emergency workers who use guns report losing some hearing with only one or two uses of their guns, so using any means necessary to protect your ears is very important.
    Any time that a hunter discharges any firearm, starting at a .22 caliber, the noise is at least 140 decibels. The human ear can be damaged by hearing one single noise at that level. Most larger caliber weapons are much louder than that and can cause even more damage. Wearing a pair of earplugs with a pair of muffs over them is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to protect your ears from becoming damaged.
    Hunting and being around just one or two guns is one thing, but going somewhere like a gun range is even worse. There are sometimes up to thirty people at a time shooting in a single gun range, so protecting your ears is not just an option, it is a necessity. Many people need to wear filtration devices or hearing aids after shooting a gun without protecting their ears due to hearing loss. Many hunters don't want to cover their ears and lose all outside noises, but many have also discovered the electronic earmuffs that have been designed to keep noises louder than 120 decibels out but allow regular noises to be heard while wearing them.
    It is possible to avoid even more damage to your ears by going to outdoor shooting ranges rather than indoor ones, by hunting in the woods where you have an open space for discharge noise to disperse, and by trying to use a smaller caliber rifle or pistol to shoot rather than the larger weapons that can cause permanent deafness in certain cases. No matter where you are when you are shooting, especially when hunting, you should make a conscious decision to protect your ears during the use of any firearm. You will definitely want to be able to hear for the rest of your life, and this is a great way to make sure that it happens.
    My father who was a hunter for many years often did not pay much attention if any at all to his hearing protection while out hunting or shooting at the range.  Due to this he now is affected severely by hearing loss and uses hearing aids to help him hearing more clearly.  Although hunting was not the only cause of his hearing loss, his doctors did say that it did play a large role in damaging his ears over time.  Protect your ears today in order to ensure healthy hearing for the future. 
    Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss.  My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss.  I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can.  Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!
   
In closing, I would like to say I enjoyed a chance meeting with Kevin S. aka "Grey Ghost" at the local flea market. Although I had Kevin pegged as being older than he was,I was spot on in my judgement of him as both a gentleman and a scholar and it was nice to meet him in person. I would like to wish Kevin and all the outdoor folks reading this a very Happy New Year!
 
    This is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You......Until we meet Again!"
 
 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 N.B. DEER HUNT AND SOME VINTAGE OUTDOOR ITEMS.

   The 2012 New Brunswick deer season is wrapped up for another year and although it wasn't a good year for me personally,the harvest numbers are up quite nicely after bottoming out a couple of years ago. This can be attributed to the low snow pack last year here in New Brunswick and the extra five hundred or so doe tags,mainly is the high density doe areas in the private, southern coastal area of N.B. The final figures are in at 6030 deer killed in 2012 in N.B.,up twenty-six percent over last years numbers. What is especially encouraging is the fact that this years kill numbers is the highest since 2008,which indicates an increasing trend over the last four years.If we can get a few mild winters in a row,it would certainly go a long way towards increasing the deer numbers in New Brunswick. The depth of the snow has a direct corralation to survival numbers of the deer herd here in N.B and we are at the mercy of Mother Nature on that one. I think if we hunters here in New Brunswick can each do some small thing to help the deer in the areas we hunt,then when Mother Nature is harsh with the deer ,our help will soften the blow and likewise,allow the numbers to jump qickly when Mother Nature is kind to the deer. Remember,a three and a half year old buck here in N.B. can be 200 lbs. dressed and sporting a nice 8 or 10 pt. rack. Three years goes by pretty quickly and with any luck at all,there would be some nice bucks around after three or four years of help from deer hunters and Mother natures co-operation during the winter. I think deer hunters who have private ground here in N.B. are already managing their ground to help deer survival rates. Give them food,shelter and control the coyote numbers on your hunting grounds and the deer numbers WILL increase. I think we seen some evidence of these facts in the nice bucks taken in the province this year. A lot of these bucks were taken in the southern half of New Brunswick on private ground. The following photo is one of a nice buck taken by Chris D. of Douglas Harbour near the southern end of Grand Lake. This area has a lot of private ground and has been a haven for nice bucks for as long as I can remember.
 Please note Chris's bandaged hand. He recieved a nasty cut while dressing his deer. This happens a lot more often than you would think.The excitement of killing a nice buck,coupled with cold hands and working in slippery conditions,can result in a cut hand,sometimes severe. Slow and easy wins the day in these situations.
    As I said at the start of this post,it was not a very good season for me personally. As a matter of fact,you could say it was the season that wasn't. After scouting two good areas in the Grand Lake area and finding some very promising buck sign after the duck season opener,I was struck down with a dibilitating health problem that put me down for the whole deer season except for four hours on one afternoon and I had to force myself to go for even that short time. Kenny was called away to Nova Scotia on a job for most of the season so he missed out on most of the hunt. My good friend,Allen Davidson killed a nice little spike horn for meat and guided Steve D. of Cold Lake to a nice four point buck in the Mountain Brook area. I had told Steve if he really wanted to kill a deer in this area to take the first one he seen wearing horns because there are not a lot of deer in this country. Steve took that advice and got a nice little buck for his efforts. On a side note, Steve said he seen a panther while hunting in Mountain Brook ,near the Gaspereau River.
   Because I don't have a lot of photos for this post,I am providing a link to NBHunting so the reader can view some of the bucks killed this year across the province. Please note that most of these bucks were killed in the south and south-western part of New Brunswick. Just click on this link/http://newbrunswickhunting.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4123-2012-whitetail-harvest-pics-only-no-comments/ to view the photos. As you can see from these photos,some very nice bucks were killed this year,with a few being world class trophies. New Brunswick has the potential to grow trophy bucks. We just have to get all of our ducks in a row to realize this potential. If nothing else,these photos provide a glimmer of hope for the future and thats a good thing.
   I continue to pick up outdoor related vintage items during my travels and I will feature three of these for this post. The first photo shows a nice cast iron stag in repose. I don't know much about this item including the date of manufacture or what it decorated when it was manufactured. I do know that I liked it from the moment I seen it and I always buy what I like.
   The next photo shows a nice item made of iron and tin that was used in farm houses and camps to hang kitchen pots and pans as well as kitchen condiments.
 Again,this item is hard to date but I would guess it is from the Fifties. It could be a little earlier or later but I can't say with any certainty.As with the previous item,I liked it as soon as I seen it and bought it without hesitation. Finally,I picked up a nice cast iron hatchet decorated with some red paint. I would say this hatchet is from the late Fifties or early Sixties but that is just a guess.
   There is still a little hunting to be done for partridge,rabbits and coyotes before the big freeze settles in over the Maritimes so don't hesitate to get out there,especially for those deer killing coyotes.
   Until next time,this is Dale Bauer saying"Happy Trails to You.......Until we Meet Again!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 N.B.MOOSE HUNT,THE BITE THAT WASN'T,HUNTING PUDDLE DUCKS

The 2012 hunting season started off with a bang with a terrific moose hunt,followed by some very good duck hunting. The weather co-operated during our short moose season and this helped boost hunter success rates across the province. We also started to get a little fall rain that put some water back in the ponds and marshes. This made it a little easier for duck hunters to get around in their boats and gave the ducks a little more water to access food and resting areas. As far as this years fall salmon season goes,the water we did receive was just too little,too late. By the time we got some water,the season had pretty much ended.
    As I mentioned last month,we had three moose tags this year and we were all primed up for the hunt because of all the sign we were seeing. I drew a tag for the first time in over thirty years and ol' Wes Hargrove got a tag again this year after having one last year.If he draws another one next year,I'm going to get him to by my lotto tickets! Wesley's new son-in-law,Denis,rounded out the group that held tags for this years hunt. We were splitting up into three hunting parties and we would each be hunting our own area within zone 18. I elected to hunt the same spot I hunted last year as second gun for Stephen Doherty's wife and that proved to be a wise choice. This area is part of the Coal Creek valley as it makes it's way to its point of entry to Grand Lake. Wes and his second shooter decided to hunt the Harley Road and Denis,his brother and a friend from Saint John were going to hunt a spot in Bronson. All the areas we had chosen were showing a lot of sign so we were quite confident going into this years hunt.
    Here is a clip of Allen Davidson calling on the opener of last years hunt. Allen and Stephen Doherty were hunting with me again this year and we had a great time.
    Allen did a repeat of that call again this year and I hadn't gone out of site down the road when the cell phone buzzed and it was Steven telling me to get back up the hill to where they were calling because there was a nice 14 pt. bull had come to within thirty yards of the truck,not more than ten minutes after the start of the season. Somehow I knew this was going to happen, so off I go huffing and puffing back up the hill,only to arrive about two minutes late.Allen said he held the bull there as long as he could by grunting him back each time he started to leave but eventually he faded out of sight down through the chopping. I asked which direction he went and down through the chopping I go,hoping to catch him lingering in the area or maybe grunt him back out. What a mess of skidder ruts and pot holes I got myself into and all to no avail. Mr. Moose was long gone. Back out I come and after talking some more to the boys,off I go again to make my way to my stand. This time I do make it to my stand around the corner and after I get set up,I give a few calls and suddenly,out steps a moose about four hundred yards away. I could tell it was a big moose but I knew I had to get closer. As I duck walked up the road towards the moose,the cell phone buzzed again! It was Stephen calling to say a monster bull with about twenty points and a sixty inch spread was heading my way. I told him I had a moose in front of me,when the moose veered off of the road as quickly as it had come onto it.I tried to call it back out but it was a no show. I quickly made my way back to the stand because if that big bull was going to cross,I had the chopping and road both covered. After I got settled in,I gave a series of calls and stood waiting. It wasn't five minutes and out comes a moose heading right towards me at about seventy-five yards. I moved to get behind some bushes and he stopped and turned broadside. After all the close encounters that morning,I wasn't going to let this guy walk. I dumped him and I walked back to Stephen and Allen and we drove back to the moose.Neither one of them had heard me call or shoot,so they were quite surprised when I told them I had one down. The following photo shows Allen and I with my moose shortly after walking in to where he fell. As you can tell from the photo,I am not a trophy hunter.Period. When it comes to moose and deer,I take whatever the good Lord puts in front of me,as long as it's legal. I love moose and deer meat so on a three day moose hunt,I'll take a young,eating bull like this any day. But,like any hunter,I like big horns, too. So you can be sure,if I'm hunting a spot ,there is usually a large set of horns in the area.A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! The next photo shows Stephen and Allen taking a sup of tea before the work begins. I dressed out my moose and Sheldon W. came along and offered to drag it out for me.I said sure and we had the moose on the back of the truck in no time. I shot the moose about 9:30 a.m. and we were on our way to the Chipman DNR station to register the moose by 11:a.m. The next photo shows Sheldon W. packing up after we had our moose loaded. When we got to the registration station,we were surprised to see Ol' Wes had been the first hunter to register a moose on the first day. Wesley got his picture taken and a short write-up in the local paper and he was pleased as punch with the moose he got. His moose was almost a twin to the one I got but unfortunately I never got a photo. After getting my moose looked after,I suggested to Kenny that we take a run back into the area I had hunted on the morning of the second day, just to see what was around. We hadn't gone too far when I spotted a cow in the chopping. After going a little further,we saw another cow with a calf on the opposite side of the road.We started back out and on the way I saw a nice cow standing beside a pond. That totalled three cows and a calf on the second morning. That told Ken and I that the moose were still in pre-rut and not breeding yet.The bulls were still chasing and sparring and the cows were still feeding and travelling with calves,from what we observed the first two days of the season. This type of situation always provides lots of good moose hunting opportunities,provided the weather is good,of course. This year proved to be a banner year,with a moose kill of three thousand ,five hundred and fifty -six moose killed with sixty-three registered at the Chipman station. I tagged out early so that gave me a good chance to get some photos of the moose as they came in and I wasn't disappointed. All of these bulls were from zones 13,17 and 18 and these photos show the calibre of moose living in our hunting area. This first photo is one showing four moose brought in by a group of Frenchmen.Two large bulls,a smaller bull and a nice cow. All these moose were taken in zone 17. The next photo shows Kenny K. huge, old, one horned bull that proved to be the largest registered at 886 lbs. This moose had one banged up horn and was all beat to pieces from fighting. This moose was taken in zone 13.
    The next photo is the moose my neighbors and long time Irving employees,Greg and Kelly B. took in zone 17. Greg and his wife both drew tags and this is the bull Kelly took. Looking on is ninety years young Glendon L. of Chipman and Gerald B. who is eighty something.
  The next photo shows two trophy bulls taken by two local hunters who were less than two km. apart in zone 18. Sam W. of Salmon Creek took the biggest rack,with 20 pts.. Terry L. of Chipman took the second trophy,having 14 pts. Sam W. had the nicest rack I seen registered this year but I know I didn't see all the bulls taken in our area,so there could have been a larger one taken.
 The next photo shows a very nice bull taken by Linda and Roger A. of Minto. They got their moose in zone 13,near Salmon River.
 This next bull came from zone 18 and was taken by a couple of hunters from Moncton.
 This next bull fell in a pretty rough spot in zone 17 and the hunter said they tried unsuccessfully to get their moose out whole before giving up and cutting the big bull into two pieces to get him out.
 The next photo shows the second bull taken by my neighbours Greg and Kelly.Both their bulls were very nice specimens and both were taken in zone 17. Rounding out the photos of moose for this post is a very nice bull taken in the final moments of the 2012 moose hunt by Denis,Wesley's son-in law. It never pays to give up and Denis was justly rewarded with this bull taken in a pounding rain at the last moment. I could only get a photo when the moose was loaded and in the back of the truck. Sorry for the poor quality of the photo. Denis' moose filled the last of the three tags our group had and Allen and Stephen agreed that our hunt was one of the best we had ever gone on,in terms of moose taken and seen. A lot of other hunters would have to agree this was one of the best years ever for hunting moose in New Brunswick and any non-resident looking for a trophy moose hunt couldn't pick a better time to enter our draw for one of the one hundred non-resident tags available.
 
    The salmon season has pretty much come to an end for another year except for three small rivers that are tributaries of the Miramichi.These small rivers will end on October29th. I really don't know what to think of this years salmon season and the very poor returns for the year. Atlantic salmon have to be the most exasperating and,at the same time,thrilling fish that swims.After a banner year in 2011 and a phenomenal spring fishery in 2012,most sports and outfitters where almost giddy in their praise of our Atlantic salmon. Then things started to get a little wonky. We started out with low water conditions at the start of the season and many people were surprised when the larger sea-trout sailed through very early in May,although their numbers were way down.Then in June we got a big raise of water and a run of mostly large salmon came in and very few grilse. A prolonged drought settled in over New Brunswick and sportsmen and outfitters alike waited all summer for runs of fish that just didn't materialize. Now all our hopes were pinned on a strong fall run. This run also failed to arrive before the season ended and now most river people were getting very concerned. Now here we stand,our heads hanging,lamenting our loss for this year after rejoicing over the strong runs of salmon last year. I'm positive if it were not for the sheer love of this fish by anglers,it would have been extinct here in New Brunswick decades ago. The ups and downs of this love affair with the King of Sportfish is sometimes enough to drive you to distraction but at the end of the day, hope springs eternal and we all eagerly anticipate the coming year when,once again,our runs of Atlantic salmon will complete their age old ritual and greet waiting fishermen. Lets just keep our fingers crossed and hope Mother Nature knows what is best for this great fighting fish and their numbers will rebound in the coming year.
 
    We only had a day between the last day of moose season and the first day of duck hunting,so we were rushing around trying to finish up some last minute details before heading out on the first morning. Each fall,I look forward to the waterfowl opener with the same enthusiasm as I did over forty years ago,when I was a young man growing up in Minto. I've hunted a lot of different marshes and ponds over the years in the Grand Lake area. I started out hunting McDonalds Meadows at the mouth of Newcastle Stream and moved on to Grand Lake Meadows,the Portobello,Indian and French Lake and then I moved up to Salmon Harbour and the Mouth of Coal Creek stream.Later still,I hunted up the Salmon River at The McGill Meadows, Mistake Cove, and McLeods Pond.For the last several years I have been hunting a small pond on Moon Island and we usually have a very good morning shoot in this spot but the night shoot is usually a little slower. Today,after killing hundreds of ducks over the years,I find myself not being too concerned about getting a limit but would rather watch a beginner make a good shot and see the look on their face or maybe just sit for a bit,have a sup of coffee and just soak it all in.The meadows and surrounding woods are beautiful at this time of year. Don't get me wrong,I still like to dump a few ducks once in a while but the emphasis of my hunt lies elsewhere at this stage of my life. The following photo shows the group who shot the pond on the first day.
 It was nice to have a new lady shooter join us this year.Cora B. works as an electrician out of Fredericton and has a camp outside of Chipman in Dufferen. Cora shot her share of ducks and kept us in stitches all morning with her dry wit and funny comments. The next photo shows Cora in the background, waiting for some ducks to come in. We ended up taking our limit of ducks on the first morning. It was a mixed bag of woodies,blacks,blue-wing teal and a couple of green-winged teal. We used Maddie for most of the retrieving duties and he did a fair job,considering his age and having no formal training. The next photo shows Maddie with the ducks he retrieved on the first day.  The following photo shows a good shot of a male wood duck with his brilliant plumage.
 
    As you can tell from this months post,we are off to a roaring start as our fall hunting season gets under way.Our deer season just started and if we can hang a couple of nice bucks on the pole,we will finish out our fall hunting season with lots of good memories with old friends and hunting partners and toasts around the camp fire. Look forward to some changes here at Hargrove and Bauer Outdoor Adventures in the coming new year. We will be updating our web site and Ken and I will be adding some new features to the adventures we can provide here in the beautiful Grand Lake area.In the meantime,if you are looking for a week or a day in the bush or on the water,just give me a shout and we'll have you on your way in no time. This is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You,Until we Meet Again!"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

FALL IS HERE,THE BITE AND VINTAGE OUTDOOR STUFF

    Fall has finally arrived here at home on Salmon River but definitely not in a big way. This year has been very warm and we received very little rain,so that feeling of fall in the air has been a while coming. We finally got some rain that gave Salmon River a small bump of 3-4 inches that was greatly appreciated by anyone travelling the river. That same rain system gave the lower Miramichi a nice little raise but failed to help the river in the Doaktown and Boistown areas. The fishermen and outfitters alike have had what can only be described as a disastrous year on the Miramichi and her tributaries,especially after the great runs experienced last year. Although it was a poor year for our salmon and trout,as usual under these conditions,the pickerel and perch fishing was fantastic. Low water conditions really turns on the pickerel bite and we took full advantage of the great fishing by being out there nearly every day and hooking trophy sized pickerel on nearly every outing.
    To show you how late fall is arriving this year,I will show two pictures taken on the same day one year apart of Moon Island across from my shore. The first photo was taken this year.As you can see,there isn't much color in the vegetation yet.
 The next photo shows the same scene but taken a year ago.As you can see from this photo,the colors of fall were out in full force. That's a pretty dramatic difference from last year. We seem to be running a bit late but the weather has started to cool off some at night so I expect the leaves will start to change soon enough.
    We were out for our last fish of the year for pickerel and we hooked quite a few in the short time we fished. We like to go a little earlier in the evening before the water starts to cool off and the fish get sluggish. For some reason,the fish we caught on our last trip out were all average sized pickerel from 16-18 inches.What the fish lacked in size,they more than made up for in numbers. Several times we had three or four fish chasing our lures as they skipped across the surface of the water.The next photo shows one of the pics I caught on our last trip out.
 I caught a half dozen all about the same size and lost that many or more before we decided to call it quits. The next photo shows me with another small pickerel taken the same evening.
    As I said earlier,the salmon fishing has been very poor this year and we are just hearing of a few fish moving into the system the past few days. If we get some good rains before the end of the season,we could see some decent fishing yet. I'm hoping for enough water in the Cains to bring some new fish up river because I always like to end the salmon season on the Cains River,if at all possible. It's a beautiful river in the fall and can produce some great fishing if the conditions are good. The next photo shows a nice shot of the fall foliage just below ten mile brook. I'm trying to finish this bit of blog up on the eve of the moose hunt and everything is looking good in terms of weather and the amount of sign we are seeing. Allen Davidson and I checked our spot out this afternoon and the road was tore all to pieces,from one end to the other. Dallas called in a fourteen point bull to within a stones throw of his truck in the morning while checking out the Harley Road in his and ol' Wes's moose hunting spot. We will be going right into the duck hunt after the moose hunt and I will post the results of both of those hunts in October. The next photo shows a nice sunset on Salmon River taken a few days ago. This part of Salmon River is very scenic and has some great photo opportunities.
     I have picked up some great outdoor related stuff lately and the first two items are both lamps. The first lamp would be made for a child's bedroom or would work well in the camp. The body is a figural squirrel holding an acorn and is in great condition. Not sure of manufacturer but it dates to around 1950. The next lamp is a fine example of "tramp art" made by an old lad from Kingsclear,above Fredericton. These lamps have become quite desirable the last few years because people like to decorate their camps with stuff like this. The lamp is constructed with Popsicle sticks and is in perfect condition. I would say this lamp was constructed during the late Sixties or early Seventies. Finally,I have a photo of a very nice print of an outdoor scene in a nice,gold colored vintage frame. This print is dated 1939 and is in very good condition. The hunting season is officially started for this year so be sure to look for upcoming posts with reports of our successes and even our occasional failures in the field.That's the way we like to do it - up front and keeping it real! If any readers are looking for a hunt or a day on the water,just send me an e-mail or give me a call at home to make arrangements. We have some great group deals on bear and deer hunts if four or more book together. Hope to see you soon! Until then,this is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You,Until we Meet Again!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DOG DAY'S,THE BITE AND VINTAGE OUTDOOR STUFF

    Summer is slowly winding down here at home on Salmon River and what a summer it has been! Endless days of sunshine and warm weather has made most vacationers very happy. Of course,there has to be a down side to this great weather and that would be the situation our salmon rivers are in. Not good! A summer of low water and warm temperatures does not bode well for wild Atlantic salmon trying to enter our rivers and survive in these extreme conditions. The conditions on the Miramichi and other salmon rivers in the province have been poor all summer and the long range outlook for the fall run isn't looking very good either. Our rivers need rain desperately! Word has it,there are fish waiting to come in when the water freshens and raises but is that going to happen? Only time will tell.
 This is a photo I took of Salmon River last year around this time. As you can see,there was quite a bit more water around last year.
    Although our cold water species of fish have been suffering this summer,the warm water species are loving every minute of it! The pickerel fishing has been hot this summer,especially this past month. When the habitat shrinks back and the pickerel beds stand out,the bite really turns on for these toothy predators. We have been on the water most of the summer and the fishing has been very good for both pickerel and perch. We usually target pickerel but there are days when the bite drops off ,so we usually switch over to smaller gear and toss spinners and worms for perch. Salmon River is full of white and yellow perch and I think you could fill a boat with them,if it was legal!
    My son Curtis took Sgt. Ryan Cains out for a day of fishing on New Brunswick Day again this year and they had a great day. Curt said they landed about twenty and lost as many during the course of the day. Sgt. Cains hails from Cape Breton and is stationed at CFB Gagetown and he likes to fish with us once or twice a year. The next photo shows Ryan and Curt with a couple of pickerel.
    Ryan and Curt practice hook and release on pickerel and after a day or two to heal up,these exciting fish are ready to strike again.
    I recently had the pleasure of guiding Art Barthe of Hamilton,Ontario while he was down here on vacation. Art loves to fish pickerel and he never misses an opportunity to get out on the water whenever he is home on vacation. Art had a very narrow window of opportunity to fish this year but I told him we could still catch some fish. On most days,fishing at mid-day is not that productive because the wind usually picks up and the heat of the day is starting. This was the only time Art could go out but I said we would try and get a few. As it turned out, we caught a few right off the hop but the bite stopped just as quickly as it started. After the first hour,we couldn't buy a bite. Art was still happy with his fishing trip because catching a few was just a bonus after being out on the water and soaking up the beautiful scenery we have on our section of the river. The next photo is one of Art while we are cruising down Salmon River. The next photo shows a pickerel being brought to the boat while fishing with Art.  The pickerel bite will continue to be good right up to the middle of September before it starts to drop off. As the water starts to cool,the fishes metabolism starts to slow down and they start to get a little sluggish. Until then,we will continue to pursue those toothy predators every chance we get.
    The next big event we are planning for is the 2012 moose hunt which occurs the last week in September. The boys will be setting up for the early goose season but the real focus has been on scouting for moose. We have some salt licks out and the moose have been making good use of them this summer. Wes and the boys are set up on the Harley Road again this year but are hunting in a different area than last years location. Ol' Wes has full confidence in Kenny and the boys scouting because they always seem to be in the right spot at the right time. Wes got a dandy bull last year and he's hoping to do the same again this year. There are a lot of moose in their area but the weather can play havoc with even the best made plans,as it did last year. It was very tough hunting because of the heat but we persevered and we all got our moose. I was second gun for Wanda Doherty last season and we had a great hunt! Good company and we got a moose for Wanda, so everyone was happy! I will be hunting the same location as last year in the hopes of seeing one of the large bulls travelling my area. I had one answering but he wouldn't move from his cows side and I wasn't going into that hell-hole chasing him. Hopefully ,this year the weather will be cooler so the moose will be able to move around more. We're all keeping our fingers crossed.
    I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of hard cover books recently to add to my library. The first one I bought at a flea market and although I already had a copy,the price was right. Books by New Brunswick author George Frederick Clarke are in great demand and whenever I get a chance to pick one up,especially on salmon fishing,I always do so. The title of this one is The Song of the Reel. The next photo shows the copy I bought.
  The next photo shows a book I have been looking for over the past few years. I finally found one on E-Bay and I was thrilled to have the chance to own a copy of this book again. This book has special meaning to me because it was the book that taught me the basics of freshwater fishing when I was a twelve year old boy. Although there was a wealth of information in the book,it was the color plates of the many flies used in fly fishing that caught my attention and got me hooked on fly fishing. I would study the flies and if I fancied one,I would try to buy one to use. I recall using a newly acquired Grizzly King to catch a fifteen and a half inch trout from the Newcastle Stream that year. Not bad for a twelve year old kid with his new fly rod. The next photo shows a copy of that book.
  Finally,I bought another outdoor magazine with a great cover depicting a scene from days gone by. This outdoor life magazine has a gentleman bird hunter receiving quail from two setters while his hired help,a black man,holds the horses. The next photo shows the magazine. 
    In closing,I would invite any readers wanting a day or longer out in the bush or on the water chasing trophy sized fish,to give me a call or send me an e-mail for more information on how to book a trip with us. Until next time,this is Dale Bauer saying"Happy Trails to You.....Until we meet Again"

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