Days two, three and five of my hunting holiday over the Thanksgiving Weekend and the week that followed with my new hunting buddy, Nick Schäfer, were taken up with grouse and woodcock hunts in the Marlborough forest and on a farm near Spencerville with Hera, my Brittany. Nick is from Germany, he is here in Canada studying at Brock University in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. I met him when he posted a request on the Facebook Group Ontario Hunters Unite, asking if he might accompany a hunter here in Canada on a hunt. I responded to his request, inviting him to Ottawa for some upland bird and wildfowl hunting. He accepted my invitation and I introduced him to the pleasures of grouse and woodcock hunting in Eastern Ontario. Each day we set out at 7:00 am bound either for Schäfer’s Wood and Lester’s Square in the Marlborough Forest or a farm near Spencerville it was a cool, sunny morning with a light wind blowing. We grabbed coffee at a Tim Hortons on the way and timed it so we arrived just after 8:00 am to take to the field.
An integral part of my passion for hunting is my love of the natural world. I spend the bulk of my time in the field viewing, studying, taking photographs and videos of wildlife in its habitat. Of the various ecosystems I explore it is wetlands that are my favourite. There is always so much to see in a pond or a marsh. Here I offer some video footage I shot in the spring of 2013 of a red-winged blackbird feeding her chicks. I spied her nest in the cattails at the edge of a pond early in the spring on my daily training run with Hera and watched, without disturbing the birds, as they raised their brood.