Saturday, December 31, 2016

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Ken and I would like to wish all our friends and family a Happy New Year and all the best in the days to come! Look forward to more blog entries on the 2016 deer hunt as well as the latest on the ice fishing in our area next month. Cheers and drive safely!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

BULLS, BUCKS AND BEARS

    The Grand Lake Basin has been experiencing some moderate weather this fall and that makes some folks happy but not the die-hard hunters that live in the province. Most hunters like to see minus temperatures and a skiff of snow during the hunting season. A good hunter will make the best of any situation because perfect hunting scenarios don't happen all the time especially in today's world. Hunting in New Brunswick has changed, big time, since I was a young boy and growing up. Weather patterns are slowly changing and our big game numbers have changed dramatically. Our mature forest has been cut, for the most part, and many times conifer plantations replace what was originally a diverse forest. This cannot help but cause conflict with the health and well being of our wildlife.
    Moose numbers remain good and this species has done quite well since the Big Woods have been opened up. They are big, strong animals and can browse very efficiently in most habitat. DNR manages our moose hunt quite closely and the success rate has remained high for many years now. This indicates good management by the DNR. The only wild card in the whole moose scenario is the unregulated native moose hunt. I believe the natives should have the right to harvest a moose but at the same time, we should have the right to get the numbers they harvest in order to best manage this resource. Here is another photo of Kenny's 2016 trophy moose.
    At the same time our moose herd was growing and thriving, we were shooting white-tail deer by the droves. The 80's was the decade to be hunting deer in New Brunswick. I think now, as I look back, that we may have killed too many deer. The collapse of our deer herd is a shameful thing because it didn't have to be that way. Somebody dropped the ball, either accidentally or on purpose and hunters and wildlife lovers are now suffering the effects of this disaster. Deer numbers in New Brunswick have never been lower but yet urban areas have too many deer! The deer are concentrated on private land which has a tendency to be diverse in it's nature. This also affords the deer a margin of protection because access is controlled during the hunting season. Our deer herd in the Big Woods needs help. The two principal players who created this scenario, government and big business, have yet to step up with a plan to fix the mess they made managing our deer herd over the last thirty years. That's too bad because all the information is out there and there is a new consciousness among the citizens in the province. We expect more and I hope we get it, for the deer's sake.
    Black bears are thriving in the province and they have also benefited from the opening up of the forest and the resulting clear cuts. Many times, these clear cuts will produce one or two crops of blueberries.and other types of food before the understory starts to cover the ground and defoliant is sprayed. The many clear cuts done yearly over the last 35-40 years have provided a lot of  food for our black bear population. This has caused an increase in numbers of black bear and DNR feels they have reached the point of maximum carrying capacity. This is one of the reasons we have a two bear season now. I would agree but everyone would have been better served if the government had implemented a split season, one in the spring and one during the fall season. But, it is what it is. Smart sports and outdoor folks will make the most of the situation and harvest their bears with conservation in mind.

    I closed out the salmon fishing season on the MSW Miramichi.  Normally, I would have been on the middle section of the Cains River but the low water conditions held up the fish in the lower stretch of the river. I knew there were some fish around on the MSW and some fishermen were hooking a few so I asked my old fishing buddy Georgie P. to join me for the last two days. We rolled a few and had them jumping all around us but no takers. Georgie had to work the last day so I decided to go alone and give it a final shot for 2016. I got lucky and hooked a grilse on a small Green Machine with orange hackle. I really wanted some photos and video so I had to play the fish with one hand and man the camera with the other. No GoPro here. Here is a short clip of the grilse I landed on the last day of the season. I even managed to get a couple of photos before I sent him on his merry way.
 Note the orange hackle on the bug. Small flies seemed to be more productive the last part of the season.
 It was a great way to end the season and overall it was good from start to finish. I'm already looking forward to the 2017 spring salmon fishing season!

    We are in the midst of our annual deer hunt and there have been some nice bucks taken during the first two weeks of the season. Again this year, many lady hunters scored early on in the hunt and they took some good bucks. Gentlemen put ladies before men so I'm going to show some successful female hunters that scored on a buck this year. Each year it seems as if more and more women are participating in the deer hunt. I really like seeing women heading to the field.and harvesting game right along side their male counterparts. This can only be good for the sport and I hope this trend continues into the future. The following photos are deer harvested all over the province by residents, primarily on private ground.This first photo shows a young woman that ranks at or near the top of all female deer hunters in the province. I don't know her whole story but I do know she took two nice bucks the last two years on the same date on October 26th. That's quite a feat especially in these times.
 The next photo shows a young lady with her first deer.
 Here is another young woman with her first buck.
 This lady harvested a nice little four point buck.
 The next photo shows a lady hunter with a five point buck she got the first week in zone 8.
 The next lady hunter got her buck at nine forty-five in the morning over apples.
 The next photo shows a happy lady hunter with her first buck.
 This lady hunter harvested a unicorn doe that dressed out at 170 lbs.
 This next girl got it done in style by taking a nice nine point buck with her bow. This buck was taken in the Saint John area.
 Finally, one of the lady hunters close to home got her first buck this year. Brooke was hunting out of Jamies blind when this nice seven point buck stepped out. This was one of the bucks our sport and friend, Nils,was hunting during the first week of the season. The bucks started following the does three days after Nils went back home to Germany. Here is a photo of the buck Brooke got this year.
 All these gals are to be commended for their accomplishments and I wish them all success in the future during their days afield. Look for more bucks taken across the province in my next post.

   I guided a sport and his wife during the first week of deer season and the end of bear season where they overlap. Nils Otterpohl and his wife Elli stayed at the Pioneer Lodge during their visit with us and we had an adventure filled week during his hunt. I really didn't know what to expect because of the language barrier, different styles and customs and such but it turned out Nils not only spoke excellent English but he also spoke the language of the hunt. That was apparent very early on during his stay. Ken, Jamie and I were very impressed at how well Nils conducted himself in the bush and it was a pleasure to guide him and travel with him during his hunt. Nils is an experienced hunter, having taken many game animals such as wild boar and roe deer. He handled his firearm safely and was a skilled shooter on targets and game. He wanted to handle his animals and jumped right in when the time came and did a good job helping with the gutting and skinning. Nils really impressed us with his ability to read signs and take a blood trail. This was a great help when we had to track his second bear. 
    Nils really wanted to take a bear on this trip and I had run six baits for him to make sure we had lots of bears around. All the baits were being pounded on a regular basis for six weeks before his hunt. All the baits had at least one trophy sized bear on it and some had bears of all sizes. Black bears are notoriously hard to judge and many times even with photos and video it is hard to tell the size and sex for sure. Big bears are harder to catch in daylight hours and many times will hang back if they are suspicious at all.
    Nils also included his wife Elli at his post for his second bear and it was quite exciting for her. It's really nice to meet couples today that share a love of the outdoors and take trips together that build memories into bonds that last. This was a photo taken during their last night in New Brunswick.
 Nils killed his first bear on his first night in the stand. I had a camera set up on the bait he was hunting so we have photos of the bear coming in, fleeing at the shot and the recovery. This bear went no more than ten meters from the bait and was recovered very quickly. The following sequence of pictures tells the story. Note the time on the trail camera.
     


 This bear was an above average sow that looked as if it had never had any cubs. It was in beautiful shape with a very nice coat. After skinning and freezing the pelt, we will send it off to the
 taxidermist to be made into a rug. After taking this bear Nils wanted to hunt white-tails. This hunt was tough. Even though we had bucks and does coming to our baits, the bucks preferred to travel at night, We all hunted hard but Nils just couldn't get one to step out for him. I think he seen does on three days of his hunt but the bucks stayed hid. They started checking the does just a few days after Nils left for home. That's when Brooke got her deer and Dallas killed a nice eight point a few days later in the same area, This buck came in to the bait when Dallas gave a call.
 After a few days of hunting deer,Nils thought he would try for a second bear at another one of our baits. He asked if it would be possible for his wife to join him and I told him she was welcome to join us. After re baiting and setting Nils and Elli up at their post, I added  some special ingredients to the bait and moved off a bit down the road. I hadn't been down there long when I heard a shot but I didn't think it would be Nils that quickly. As it turns out he had taken another bear after watching a smaller one for a while, We had to track this bear about two hundred meters from the bait but it ended well when Nils put a finisher in it. A good job all around! Here is a photo of Nils and Elli with his second bear.
 This was one tough bear and it was quite a job to finally bag him. It's the stuff memories are made of!
    I want to thank Nils and Elli for choosing to hunt with us this fall. We all had a great time and we would love to do it again sometime in the future.

Until next time, this is Dale Bauer saying " Happy Trails to You....Until we meet again."

Monday, October 31, 2016

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

    We have been very busy the past month and I haven't had a chance to complete my report for the period. Please stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for some great action in New Brunswick's forests and rivers. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 MOOSE HUNT....BIG BULL DOWN!

It finally feels a bit like fall here at home on Salmon River. The warm summer weather has been hanging on and we are just starting to get a little frost. This has caused a delay in the leaves turning and they are just starting to show a blush of red. This photo was taken at my place a few days ago and the trees are still pretty green!

Our area also received some much needed rainfall to freshen up the brooks and streams. Water levels were getting low and some wells were drying up. Hopefully, this recent rain event will get things back to normal.
    The fall run of salmon has started on the Miramichi River and some nice fish are being caught in the MSW and her tributaries. If we have good water levels over the next two weeks, the fishing should be excellent. I will be making one more trip over to Doaktown and run the river from Carrolls and bring my gear and boat home for the winter. I expect to be spending more time fishing and guiding on the beautiful Miramichi in the coming years. My partner and I have a fully equipped,comfortable, three bedroom house in the heart of the best stretch of open water on the system. This location is perfect for doing float trips or wading and fishing pools close by. We are also a very short drive from the Cains River with it's world famous dark water pools.Since my partner and I are acting as guides as well as hosts, we can provide excellent opportunities for fishing sea trout and salmon at a very reasonable cost. Please feel free to contact me for details on fishing trips of one to five days duration. Here is a photo of a local guy, Mike T. with a nice fall salmon he caught recently. He said it still had sea lice on it so it must have been a fairly fresh fish.
 The pickerel fishing is over for this year and in retrospect, it was probably one of the worst years in recent memory for catching pickerel. I haven't really figured out why for sure but I'm guessing dirty water had something to do with it. The jury is still  out but I'm just hoping it's because of a natural occurrence and not some man made event. 
    The trout season has also ended for the year and by most accounts it was a good year for fishing brookies. It seems like almost every trickle of water holds some trout in our area. They may not always be big but they make up for it in numbers. A limit of five brook trout can be caught quite easily and makes for a nice shore lunch with all the fixings. It's a tradition among most fishermen to have at least one trip with a shore lunch along side the brook. I know I really enjoyed the many trips and shore lunches I've had with fishing buddies throughout the years.

   Now that the hunting season has officially started, most sports are going over their gear, sorting and replacing items as needed. If you are a serious hunter, you should also be putting together your game plan for the upcoming hunt. My grandson recently asked his mother when hunting season started and she told him it had just started. She asked him why he wanted to know and he replied he was going to go hunting. She told him he couldn't just go to the woods without being geared up and he told her he was all rigged up and he would show her. Here's the photo of Jack all decked out for his hunting trip.
 There's a boy on a mission right there! He must be going to hunt Africa or maybe he's headed for the Middle East. Either way, he sure looks like a Hollywood Hunter to me. As long as he's having fun, all is well.

    The 2016 moose hunt just ended and there were some real trophy bulls taken right across the province. It never ceases to amaze me the caliber of animals taken during New Brunswick's annual moose hunt. The hunt was held at its earliest point this year for the newly implemented five day season. Personally, I like the five day season better than the former three day season. I enjoy the hunt more and it seems less pressured. The numbers of moose harvested haven't changed much because the hunt traditionally has a high success rate and the number of tags hasn't increased much over the years. The kill is down around 20% this year from preliminary numbers and already the dip is being attributed to the season being too early and the weather being too hot. I told one of the DNR officers at the registration station that I thought the moose population was down in zones 13, 17 and 18 and he looked at me like I had three heads! These zones are where I travel and hunt and I know what I see. I'm seeing less moose. Period. Even with the numbers staring them right in the face some people and organizations refuse to acknowledge change or facts. One big problem in these zones is the unregulated native moose hunt. There have been large numbers of moose harvested in these zones by natives over the last ten years and I don't think DNR really has a handle on that number and that's why the number of tags hasn't been lowered. I have reports of two native hunters taking over fifty moose in one year. How many more moose were taken by other natives? That's the big question. Another big factor especially, during a mild winter like last year, are ticks. They can be a big killer of moose under those conditions. I wouldn't be surprised to see less tags in these zones next year.

    As I said in my last post, Kenny was lucky enough to draw a tag for zone 18 this year. Kenny likes to hunt this zone and knows the area like the back of his hand. This years hunt was a family affair with nephews Jamie and Dallas along for the excitement. Jamie was chosen as second gun and that later proved to be a good choice. I also said in my last post that Kenny was a meat hunter and would be happy with any moose. I should also add that the Hargrove clan likes trophy horns as much as the meat from an animal and that's how they roll when on the moose hunt. There was a thirty-four point monster bull on one of the trail cams and that was the moose they were looking for. There were also a couple of other bulls and cows in the same area. After deciding where to start in the morning, Kenny and Jamie began cruising the choppings at day break. A few minutes after the start of legal hunting time, Jamie spotted the dark silhouette of a bull over two hundred yards away at the back of the clear cut. They both eased out of the truck and fired at the same time. The big bull seemed to hump up and disappeared behind some brush. Jamie, being younger, leaped across the ditch and sprinted across the chopping to where he last seen the bull. Looking around, he couldn't see it anywhere. so he gave a  grunt and the bull stood up a short distance away and answered before staggering and falling over dead after \Jamie hit him again. Jamie whooped for Kenny to join him and soon high fives were going all around. They were both surprised at the size of the bull. They couldn't tell what the rack was like when they first seen it and it grew when they got up to it. Here is a photo of their 2016 moose.
 The bull had nineteen points and a good spread. It's weight was estimated at 785 lbs.
 The whole family was in on the celebrations and this next photo has the boys showing Ol' Wes the moose they got.
 I like this photo because it shows three generations of hunters starting with Wes. Jamie seems to have really caught the hunting bug and he has proven time after time that he can get the job done when hunting all of our game species. Two big factors for Jamies success in the woods is his shooting prowess and the amount of time he spends scouting. Jamie loves the hunt and he gets out there at every opportunity. He also spends a lot of time at the shooting bench target practicing. This is important because the more time you spend handling your firearm, the more naturally you will handle your gun when the time to act comes. Many times, this period will spell the success or failure of any hunt. Jamies has it down tight. He's a great guide and has the vigor of youth going for him. 
As I said previously, there were many trophy bulls taken right across the province this season and I've got a few photos of some of the nice bulls taken. This bull had 15 points and weighed 790 lbs. It was this hunters first moose.
 This next moose had 16 points and weighed 800 lbs. This was this young hunters first hunt and he got his bull on the first day.
 The next photo shows a trophy bull with 24 points and weighed over 1000 lbs.
 The next big bull was taken by a father and son team.
 This next photo shows a nice bull with a 51" spread and 27 points.
 This photo shows a hunter who accomplished a very rare feat by taking a trophy bull moose with a bow. His arrow passed through the bull at a distance of 10 yards!
 The next photo shows a bull with a 52" spread taken in zone 3.
 Here is a photo of a beautiful bull taken in zone 7.
 The next photo shows a big bull taken in zone 12 that weighed 958 lbs. and had 22 points.
 This bull weighed 860 lbs. and had 14 points. It was taken in zone 16.
 Finally, this great bull was taken on the last day of his hunt. What a great way to end it!
    This is just a sampling of the great trophy bulls taken by residents right across the province this year. New Brunswick's moose hunt is one of the best deals around for non-residents who are lucky enough to get drawn. We have the trophy animals and success rates are very high. Interested sports should check our website or the NBDNR web site on how to enter the draw for a tag to hunt trophy moose in New Brunswick.

    While Kenny and the boys were concentrating on their moose hunt in zone 18, I was busy tending bear baits and and scouting for deer in zone 17. It's nice to see some more deer sign this year because our deer herd needs help...badly! I'm almost ashamed as a New Brunswicker to report these numbers but here they are. Our deer herd has shrunk from 270,000 animals 30 years ago to 70,000 today. Where are most of those 70,000 deer? On private ground in the southern half of the province. Deer cannot live in our crown forests as they are now managed. The good news is this has caused hunters and other stakeholders to band together and demand change. I think it's going to take a new party with a new leader and a new style of governing. The peoples voice is not being heard and that has to change.
    As I said, I have found a couple of pockets of deer that have some bucks in the mix. I have just narrowed down three good ambush spots where I have set up baits and I'll have some photos in a week or so. I caught a couple of twin bucks in an orchard when I was out getting bait. The bucks are still together and will tolerate each other around the bait at this time of the year. I try to spread the deer bait out more so there isn't too much competition for a bite of food. Here are a couple of photos of those bucks.
 After the deer moved out of the orchard, they wandered back towards the road and I got a good photo of one of the bucks. These twin bucks are 1.5 years old and one of the bucks is sporting branched antlers in his first year. New Brunswick's deer have good genetics with "northern vigor".
A 4.5 year old deer here will sport 8+ points and dress out over 200 lbs. IF they can get to that age in good condition. That's the challenge for both micro and macro managers of deer. Trophy bucks are a tough hunt here in New Brunswick these days but that doesn't mean there isn't a few smaller but still decent bucks around. We know we have deer like that here but those big boys are scarce. The nice thing about the younger bucks is they aren't so apt to be nocturnal. They haven't developed that fear that comes to a buck after a few close calls. Young bucks are also real suckers for bait. This makes them a lot more vulnerable and they can be taken quite easily with the right set up. Having said that, sports must remember that you are hunting free range, wild animals and things can go sour real quick if care isn't taken. I love deer meat and I have never had a problem taking a young buck. I can almost taste the tenderloin right now!

    Mother Nature was very generous with her bounty this year and there is a lot of food around for the animals and birds. The apple trees are so heavy with fruit that the limbs are breaking. There was also a bumper crop of blueberries. and raspberries this year. This is all good news for the critters but it can make it a little tougher when baiting fall bears. Black bears are gorging on food sources right now and many times they are reluctant to leave a natural food source until it has been depleted.
    Kenny and I try to keep lots of bait at our fall bear baits. Each bait is actually in two parts. We have a bulk bait to keep them there and a "honey hole" bait that keeps them coming back for more. This system works extremely well for us and we always have some nice bears coming to our baits. All of the baits I've been tending in zone 17 have been hit hard and on a regular basis. What surprised me was how many nice bears were hitting the baits. From the few pictures I have so far on the cameras, it looks like there are at least three or four trophy sized bears and a few in the 200-300 lb. range. I can tell from their scat that some of the bears are still feeding at natural food sources but there are others that have our bait in their scat. The trick now is to try and hold these bears at our baits and hope they don't wander off or go to hibernation. Ken and I are sticking to our program and keeping our fingers crossed.as the season unfolds. Here are a few photos I managed to get off of my two screwed up cameras before I pulled them and reformatted them. I added a third camera on another bait so I should finally get some good photos with the right time and date.
 This bait has a couple of nice bears on it. They had been feeding heavily on blueberries but they are nearly done so they seem to be switching over to black cluster berries. This next photo shows a trophy sized bear at the same bait.
 This bear has a nice head on him. There's lots of air between the ears and he would score well if measured under the Boone and Crockett system.
 This next photo shows another huge bear at one of our baits in zone 17.
 This bear has been coming in for the past month but he acts a little different around the bait. The first time he hit the bait I saw that he was very fussy and just picked at the bait. He had a few choices at the bait but invariably he would pick one thing and snack on that before leaving. This bears "take it or leave it" attitude is worrisome but he's a real nice bear so I'm sticking with the program. He knows where the bait is and I've got a few tricks I haven't tried yet. Time will tell.

    October is going to be busy for Ken and I as we fine tune and put the finishing touches on the blinds in our hunting areas. We are guiding Nils and his wife during the first week of deer season. This couple is from Germany and they will be the first Europeans we have hosted in our area. It should be lots of fun AND exciting. especially if we get up close and personal with one of those big boys!
    
If anyone is thinking of booking a trip with Ken and I for spring bear, don't wait. We run a small operation because we want to be able to give people good service and a quality experience. We take no more than four hunters per week. This way, each hunter gets personal attention and doesn't get lost in the crowd.

    Until then, this is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You.....Until we Meet Again!"
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

DOG DAYS ARE DONE.....FINALLY!

    For the most part, this past month has been hot and humid here at home on Salmon River. We got some significant rainfall in the last week or so and that really brought things back to life again. Nearly every year our area goes through an extended period of hot and humid weather that stifles the movements of both humans and wildlife. At least one lady I know got some temporary relief from the heat by going for a swim at the falls in Midlands. Erika B is an artist who lives on Grand Lake and likes to visit the falls occasionally during the summer.. Here is a photo of Erika at the falls.
 

   The cold water salmon pools on the MSW Miramichi system have been closed for part of the month and just opened back up a few days ago. This is a smart move on the part of DFO because Atlantic salmon are very vulnerable during these periods of hot weather. The larger animals like deer, bear and moose will seek lower elevations along waterways and swamps in an effort to stay cool and avoid bugs. Movement is at a minimum and these animals will often hole up in the best habitat during these uncomfortable conditions and move mostly at night.
    After the cold water salmon pools opened back up and the fish were feeling good again and moving, the fishing really picked up. The principle outfitters up and down the river reported good catches and fresh fish running. This is all good news to everyone involved in "the sport of kings". Weather and water conditions strictly govern the success or failure on any fishing trip for Atlantic salmon. Sports and outfitters alike are at the mercy of Mother Nature and have accepted this fact and will try to make the most of this reality. The fall run will be starting soon so there is still lots of good fishing to be had. The Cains river always gets lots of attention in the fall. This small river is considered one of the best fall salmon rivers in the world. It's size makes it easy to fish and there are miles of open water with dozens of pools to choose from. This photo shows me with a nice Cains river hookbill I caught a few years ago.
 The fishing now is as good or better than it was at that time. I usually fish the middle section of the Cains river because of where I live. It's just a twenty minute drive from my place to the first pool I can wet a line in and another two pools within a five minute walk from there. It's also a great stretch to canoe in the fall with miles of deep, spring-fed pools the full length of it. That's probably the best way to experience this great little salmon river. Here's another photo of a nice Cains river fish with my old friend Alan Davidson. and a camp owner.who fished with us one night.
 Here is another photo of the same fish. These fish were caught back to back. I caught the big male first and Mr.B caught the female right behind me. That was an unforgettable Cains River evening that repeats itself every fall for the fortunate anglers who hit the run just right..
 I've been talking about the salmon fishery on the Cains river but the trout fishing is nothing to sneer at. There is a good run of sea-trout in the spring and there are lots of  good sized native river trout to be caught. In the fall the male brookies have their beautiful spawning colours. They will hit flies aggressively and they fight hard in the cold water. This sure helps on a slow day when the salmon aren't co-operating.
Here is a photo of me with a nice brook trout I caught while fishing salmon. Please don't let the dates on these photos fool you. The Cains river is under strict management and that includes yearly enhancement projects that continue to improve both the habitat and fishing opportunities for fishermen. I've fished the Cains for over thirty years and it continues to provide fantastic angling for both brook trout and Atlantic salmon. I'm sure this will carry on well into the future with continuing good stewardship.
    The pickerel bite was also off for a while and normally they are hitting with abandon. I have been trying to figure this out and the only thing I noticed different was the water has been dirtier and a little higher than usual. This was caused by runoff from some pounding rain storms during the prolonged warm spell. We are going to try to get in a couple of more trips before switching over to fall salmon as summer slowly comes to an end.

    This past month we have been covering a lot of ground and checking out our different hunting areas in zones 17 and 18. There is a lot of scouting and planning that has to be done before ever setting a bait or putting a stand or blind in place. There is a bumper crop of blueberries and apples this year so we have to work with this fact and take advantage of the increased activity in these areas. Our baits in zone 17 are in a semi-circle around Chipman on the western side of Salmon River. Some of these baits are strictly for bear but we also have baits that are placed specifically for deer. Sometimes it's hard to keep the bears out of the deer baits but we try to do things a little different with the deer baits and we can usually keep bear activity to a minimum. One thing we noticed this year was an increase in the number of young deer around. A lot  better than last year. We had a mild winter last year and not as many starved so their numbers took a nice little jump. But New Brunswick is still a long ways from having a healthy deer herd. Too many deer in the urban areas and too few in the big woods. That being said, there are still some nice pockets of deer in our hunting area and we have been seeing a few buck tracks mixed in with the does and kids. The blueberries are being hit hard by the bears and the apples are starting to fall in some of the early wild orchards. These areas are bear magnets and multiple bears will gorge on the apples until the supply is gone. Bears can be harder to bait in the fall because they are pretty well stuffed by the time hunting season rolls around so they can get a little fussy and will lose interest quickly and move on. We try to prevent this by having lots of bait and some special attractants that they can't resist. Here is a photo of a nice bear I killed one fall. He hit the bait as soon as I put it out and the first afternoon I hunted it, he came in within fifteen minutes of being in the stand.
 This bear wasn't a monster but it was still a nice sized boar to take. He had a very nice coat and was over two hundred lbs. I killed this bear in zone 17 in North Forks. He had been feeding on apples and blackberries in the wild orchards and I set the bait up near by. It worked out great.
    With the onset of hunting season, Ken and I will be going flat out for the next three months. Kenny has a moose tag for zone 18 so he will be spending a lot of time in that zone looking for a bull. Kenny is a meat hunter primarily so, like myself, he'll take any sized bull and would take a cow, if his back was up against it. I think many times hunters get so hung up on the size of the animal they want to harvest, they deprive themselves of some of the pleasure and satisfaction that should go with harvesting ANY legal game. It helps to keep things in perspective. Trophy heads represent a very small percentage of the animals in any given area. For every trophy head running around there can be several nice, average sized animals in your hunting area. I guess it boils down to "each to his own".

    We've also been seeing lots of small game while scouting. There are flocks of ruffed grouse with good numbers of birds in them. In certain areas, we are seeing a lot of rabbits on the sides of the road in the evenings. Goose and duck numbers are also up. I have a bunch of ducks feeding on the shore at my place and there is a big flock of geese resting on Parkhill's Bar every night. All signs are pointing to an exciting and productive fall hunting season.

I have a lot of fun collecting outdoor related collectibles and folk art and I like to include some items in my blog once in a while. The first item is a vintage advertising ash tray depicting a duck hunt. I would think this little gem is from the 50's or early 60's. It's in mint, unused condition.
 The next photo shows a wallet I picked up that depicts a big white-tailed buck. The leather in this wallet was hand tooled and the work is quite fine. I would say this item was made in the 60's.
I got the next item mixed in with a bunch of old papers in a trunk I bought. It's a hard board poster of trout flies put out by sportsman cigarettes. This poster has minor issues but would display well.
 I like to pick up old magazines if the front cover is interesting. The next photo shows an Outdoor Life cover of a gentleman hunting quail ...old style. This cover has it all. Age, great condition, interesting scene and the date is prominently displayed.
 Finally, I have a cheesy velvet painting depicting flying ducks. This painting is done on orange velvet so that makes it a bit more desirable....to some people. This work of art must be from the 60's. It's signed and done for the tourist trade in Mexico.
 

Ken and I are always eager to hear from sports or even the curious. To find out more details on the great activities available to visitors to the Grand Lake area. just give me a call or send me an e-mail and we'll get right to it.

    Until then, this is Dale Bauer saying " Happy Trails to You......Until we Meet Again"

DEER SEASON 2017--A SMALL GAIN

    New Brunswick's deer season just ended a week ago and although the official numbers aren't out yet, preliminary numbers indicat...