Monday, October 30, 2017

2017 N.B. MOOSE HUNT--A RECORD HARVEST!

    The leaves have all turned and are starting to fall as our temperatures begin to drop to seasonal values. Here at home on Salmon River, we are still experiencing higher than normal temperatures for this time period. We have only had a few days of frost and the weather is more reminiscent of late summer than fall. I don't like our Maritime winters very much but I would prefer to have cooler temperatures during hunting season. It seems our fall temperatures have been consistently warmer the last few years and it makes for a tougher hunt.
    New Brunswick has so many photo opportunities at this time of year it's hard to pick a favourite  but this shot of the Miramichi River from the bridge in Doaktown is a nice one.
  I mentioned in a previous post that Grand Lake Photography on Facebook has some terrific photos of the scenery and wildlife in the Grand Lake area. This next photo was taken by a very talented lady who posts regularly to that page.
 Here is a link to that FB page to view more photos. https://www.facebook.com/groups/331519736986527/

 Salmon fishermen had a terrible year this season. The weather was too hot and dry and this didn't allow very many fish to ascend the river in a normal fashion. I have to say I can't remember a year with so little rain. Most fishermen just shrugged their shoulders and played the hand Mother Nature dealt us while waiting for the fall rains to bring the fish in. Unfortunately, the rains didn't come and neither did the fish. Oh, there were a few fish coming in on the tides and any little bump in water levels but for most fishermen it was too little and too late. One bright spot was on the Northwest Miramichi where the fishing was a little more consistent. Outfitters located further downriver on the MSW Miramichi also had a little better year because of being located closer to the tides and having access to low water pools. Even with that advantage, it was a year of tough fishing for these outfitters and their sports alike.
    Atlantic salmon are in a precarious position in their existence because there are so many factors that are impacting them negatively. Warming temperatures, over fishing at sea, predation from seals and fish such as striped bass,escapes from fish farms and the list goes on. This is not an easy fix but there are programs at work to address at least some of these issues affecting the survival of our beloved Atlantic salmon.
    Sea trout numbers were also down this year when compared to previous years. many avid trout fishermen either missed the run because the fish went early or they just didn't appear on schedule as in previous years. This can be very frustrating for sports who plan vacations around this yearly event. This is a photo of a nice trout from the MSW Miramichi River.
 Striped bass fishing is heating up with some huge ones being caught in the lower Saint John River system. Each year, more fishermen are gearing up to pursue these great game fish. They can be caught at many locations along the coast and the lower Miramichi River has some hot spots that can be fished from shore with good results. Grand Lake has produced some good stripers this year and my good friend Marlon C. tells me his visitors to his rental cottage in Douglas Harbour were catching schoolies off of his dock. Grand Point has also been fishing well for fishermen. This is a photo of a huge striper taken near Saint John recently.
 Fishing for stripers has been gaining in popularity in recent years. The spring spawing frenzy on the lower Miramichi River has done a lot to further the interest in this tasty fish. Social media provides up-to-date information on fishing trips that are often measured in hundreds of fish hooked! It doesn't take long for good news like that to travel and there are more and more boats out there every year. 

The 2017 moose hunt can only be described as a success with 3801 animals taken. That is a harvest record and and I think the first day had record high temperatures of 30*Celsius.It did cool down a little later in the week but most hunters will agree the temperatures were way too warm. The harvest was the largest since 1960 and the success rate was over 80%. These figures verify that moose numbers are at least holding their own or growing in most zones. Southern zones have seen their numbers fall over the last few years whereas the northern zones have seen an increase on average. Still, overall herd numbers are good and that makes moose hunters and wildlife enthusiasts happy!
    I hunted in zone 18 with the Doherty family and we had a lot of fun over the week. Brad had a tag and had never killed a big game animal before so Steve and I really wanted to give him as good a chance as possible to get one. We set him up in a stand in a chopping that was grown up but was still being used regularly..There were lots of tracks and trails with raked trees at intervals throughout the area.. There was a nice little wallow about fifty yards from his tree stand that he could keep an eye on. It was a good place. Brads sister, Chelsie, stayed at the base of the stand and called while Brad was perched up fifteen feet in the stand. Stephen and I heard a moose bellow at day break but that was it. Meantime, Brads moose was circling them and making what Brad described as prehistoric sounds! I guessed that to mean bellows and grunts with breaking branches. That moose circled and hung around for three hours before finally showing himself at 10:20 of the second morning. Brad took his time and made a perfect shot. Here is a photo of his twelve point bull where it fell.
 This bull was in beautiful shape with lots of fat and no sign of rut. We had a feed of tenderloin the first night and it was some tasty! Brads bull dressed out at 728 lbs on the scale. A dandy bull that Brad and our hunting party was very happy to get. Here is a group photo taken before we hauled him out.
 The next photo shows us hauling the moose out with the bike.
 Luckily, we only had to go 100 meters to the road. Once we got to the road we got the moose loaded with the help of  two brothers from Coal Creek who were also hunting in the area. That good deed was payed back in spades later on in the hunt when they took a big bull that we were also hunting. Here is a trail cam  photo of that same bull.
 We had photos of three different bulls using one of the four trails where we were hunting. The bull in the next photo had horns like a deer.
 This next bull may or may not be the bull that Brad shot.
 Any of these moose were on our hit list but the big guy in the first picture was the main one we were looking for. Remember the two brothers who helped us out? Here is the bull they got later on in the hunt.
 That's a trophy bull by any standard. It couldn't have happened to any better guys. Congratulations Gerald and Robin.

  Jamie and Dallas were hunting with other family members in Bronson. This area of zone 18 has been a great producer of moose for many years now. The Hargroves hunted this same area for two years now and there has been ten moose taken in that time by them and others. I taked to Jamie after the hunt and he said there were still lots of moose in the general area. Along with several cows, there was a monster bull that managed to elude the hunters for the five day hunt. The next photos show the bull that Jamie shot for his cousin Debbie.
 
 Jamie killed this bull with an old octagon barrel single shot 45-70 that a friend had given him. Pretty good job for a gun over 100 years old.

  There were many moose of this calibre taken right across the province but the northern half produced the most. Here is a photo of one of the better bulls taken in the northern half of the province this year.
 This huge bull is about as good as it gets in New Brunswick but each year there are a few taken that are of this calibre. Our moose herd is in good shape and non -residents would be well advise to get their name in on the draw for next year when it comes up next year.
    The rifle season for deer has started and there have been some nice bucks shot already. We have been packing away boats and motors and all of our fishing gear this past week .Salmon season ended on Oct. 15th and this is when we start putting our summer gear away and getting ready for deer season. We have some good stands this year and I'll have some photos in my next post.

    If any sports out there are looking for a day or week in our woods or on our waters, please contact me through  the links provided. Our adventures are affordable and Ken and I will do our best to insure our guests have a great time during their visit to the beautiful Grand Lake area.

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

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