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."

DEER SEASON 2017--A SMALL GAIN

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