I took up whitetail deer hunting in earnest in 2011, and every following season I learn more about the sport and become more proficient as a deer hunter. I hunt with a “Gang of Four.” There are four of us in our cadre of deer hunters: myself, my friend and hunting buddy Omer and my friends and hunting buddies Jason and his wife, Fran. Jason is a seasoned deer hunter, and under his tutelage, I shot my first deer, a nice little doe, in the 2012 rifle season. One of the first things I learned from Jason is that you make certain to enter the antlerless deer draw every spring. Antlerless deer tags, or doe tags, are doled out by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources by lottery every year. The advantage of having a doe tag is that you are licensed to harvest any deer you see while hunting. Having a doe tag increases the odds you will bag a deer, so I make sure I enter the draw every year. I was disappointed when I was unsuccessful this season, so much so, I considered not hunting. Jason firmly reminded me that one does not get a deer sitting at home and not having a doe tag does not mean you will not see a buck. I heeded his words, but in the back of my mind remained pessimistic. As fortune proved, Jason got to tell me “I told you so.”
This morning I set out with my friend and hunting buddy Jason Quinn to the farm outside Spencerville where we hunt deer. Our original plan was to bring our dogs and take them into the field after grouse and woodcock, then set about moving one of the deer stands, make adjustments to another and put more corn out as bait. We changed our plan because rain was forecast and decided to call off the upland hunt. We left the dogs at home and made our way to the farm, leaving Ottawa at 8:00 AM. We arranged to meet with one of our hunting buddies, Omer, and his friend Ehtisham at the farm as it was Omer’s stand that needed adjustment. Jason and I arrived before them as they stopped en route to pick up additional sacks of corn. Jason and I set out on Jason’s ATV with its trailer in tow laden with sacks of corn and the tools Jason needed for stand maintenance and relocation. We stopped by the new location for the stand slated for relocation and set out one of the sacks of corn. Then we moved on to my stand and when we arrived we were in for an unpleasant shock. Continue reading
The heatwave continues as the small game and upland bird seasons get underway. It was Sunday morning, September 24, 2017, the day after the opening of duck season, and the temperature is expected to reach 40 C again. I arranged to meet with another of my new hunting buddies, Mike, who is training his first gun dog. He is the proud owner of a 17 month old German Shorthaired Pointer named Maggie Mae, Maggie being her working name. I met Mike last season while out running Hera and after chatting he and I became hunting buddies. Maggie was still a puppy last season, too young to join us in the field and not gun conditioned at that point. It was really too hot to stay out for very long with the dogs, but we thought we could at least introduce Maggie to Hera and let them get acquainted on a grouse hunt. Woodcock season opens on the 25th of September this season. The objective for this morning was to run the dogs together after grouse on the property near Spencerville where I also hunt deer with three friends. Mike is a seasoned deer hunter and I took the opportunity to show him the areas I hunt deer with my friends. We had a good, albeit brief, morning afield with the dogs on this all too hot day.
I woke up this morning later than planned, filled with enthusiasm for another day afield with Hera, my Brittany. These days I find my body lags behind my enthusiasm for getting up to go upland hunting. Usually, I am ready and on the road by 7:00 am hoping to start the the hunt by 8:00 am. This morning I woke up sometime after 8:00 am and undaunted, had breakfast, loaded my shotgun, hunting gear and Hera into the car and got underway. The objective for the hunt today was to check on the deer stands on the farm near Spencerville where some of my hunting buddies and I hunt whitetail-tailed deer in the rifle season. This year rifle season opens November 7th and runs two weeks. I grabbed a coffee at a Tim Hortons on the way to the farm and arrived shortly after 9:00 am. I noticed on the drive to the farm that the recent rainfall was sufficient to fill the swamps that were dried out when I first hunted the farm at the end of September. “Good,” I thought, “hopefully, the wetlands on and adjacent to the farm are holding water again.” Hera was raring to go when we got to the farm and off we went. Continue reading
Is there a remedy for buck fever? The reason I ask is because before yesterday afternoon I foolishly thought I was immune to this affliction that sometimes strikes deer hunters. Yesterday afternoon’s deer hunt with my friends and hunting buddies Jason and Fran, a happily married couple who share a passion for deer hunting, started full of promise. Omer, our friend and hunting buddy, shot his first deer (a button buck) on the opening day of the rifle season in Ontario. I saw a doe that same afternoon, but passed up a shot as I had a buck tag. We tagged Omer’s button buck with my tag, leaving us free to fill Omer’s doe tag in party hunting. I saw another deer the second afternoon Omer and I sat, but not enough of the deer to risk a shot. The third afternoon we sat, I did not see any deer from my stand, but as we made our way back to the car two deer bounded across a meadow ahead of us in the dark. There are deer in the area.
November 2, 2015, opening day of the rifle season for whitetail deer in Ontario and what a memorable opening day it was for Omer and me. This hunt goes into memory as the culmination of camaraderie, sportsmanship and teamwork between me and my hunting buddies, notably Jason and Omer. By the end of legal shooting time at 5:18 pm, we had a button buck and a coyote in the bag. I saw a doe from my stand too. It is going to be very difficult to top this hunt in this and succeeding seasons. Continue reading
Taking a moment to write these words before I make final preparations to go sit in my stand this afternoon. It is the opening of the rifle season for whitetail deer in Ontario. I am going to a property near Spencerville where my hunting buddies and I have our stands set up. Jason and I were out yesterday with our dogs, combining upland gunning, checking the trail cameras and relocating my stand. Until yesterday my stand was located overlooking a ridge on crown land adjacent to the property we hunt. We found a group of hunters operating a camp on the crown land and the last time I sat in my stand the previous season there was a hunter seated on the ground about 100 yards right in front of me. Even if a deer wandered into view on the ridge in front of me I could not very well shoot with another hunter down range. We moved the stand to the edge of the property, well away from where the hunters from the camp should be trying their luck.
We swept through some decent grouse cover with the dogs on our way to the first two trail cameras, but turned up no birds. Once we reached the cameras, Jason put the chips into his camera and we viewed what the trail cameras caught since we last checked. There were deer, coyotes, raccoons, Val and Peter (the owners of the property) and most interestingly, two young black bears. We hunted the property starting in 2011 and to date took three deer (two bucks and a doe) in following seasons. Never have we seen a bear or sign bears were in the area. Jason has a bear tag this season, so maybe he will put a bear in the bag.
We decided to move the trail cameras to cover the area closer to where our stands are located. We continued the hunt, working our way to check on the deer stands and reset the trail cameras. I hoped we would get into some woodcock and maybe a snipe in the bog next to Rick’s stand. Rick is a neighbour of our host and hostess who hunts the property also. No birds were turned up, but as we approached Fran’s stand Jason noticed deer trails crossing in front of it. We placed one of the trail cameras on a tree overlooking one of the trails. We moved toward Jason’s stand and the dogs got birdy. As I approached Jason’s stand a grouse hopped up before taking flight. I called to Jason “grouse!” I did not shoot as Jason was in front of me in the direction the grouse flew. I heard two shots from his autoloader. He thought he winged it, but we searched with the dogs and turned up nothing. We made our way back to Jason’s stand and carefully placed a trail camera to watch the area.
We concluded the hunt after moving my stand and resetting a trail camera to watch the area. Now we have our stands set to cover the hardwoods and cedars at the edge of the swamp the deer use to travel across the property. This season everyone has a doe tag except me so I hope a buck sees fit to amble past my stand before the season closes. Time and fortune will tell.
Posted by Geoffrey