Wednesday, September 4, 2019

SPRING/SUMMER REPORT 2019 GRAND LAKE AREA

    So far, the weather this spring has been pretty good. It has been a slow and steady melt with warm days and cool nights. That's just the way we like it here at home on Salmon River. The ducks arrived pretty much on time this spring. I saw the first puddle ducks on March 27th. I have seen them arrive as much as a week earlier on other years when warm weather early on opened things up quicker These dates are within normal parameters, so as long as the rain stays away, maybe we won't get any bad flooding. After last years mess, I don't even want to think about it. We're about two weeks away from the peak of the freshet so we will just have to wait and see what Mother Nature brings.
     Fast forward to the first week in June!
    I had to abandon the post I was writing because we got hit with a flood again this year! This years flood peaked about six inches less than last years historic level. Still a level that, once again, caused damage and hardship for all involved. Most folks in the flood zone were at least a little better prepared this year but some residents were still struggling with the after effects of last years mess, myself included.
    Fast forward once again to the end of August. I had to stop writing my blog after starting back up after the peak of the flood because of the tremendous amount of work on my plate. Severe flooding two years in a row and some health issues had my activities outdoors slowed down considerably. Ken and the boys didn't get hit but Jamie did have some water in his basement that needed tending.
    Most of the locals I talked to felt that the flooding of the Saint John River system didn't help the fishing for most species. The late, cold spring slowed runs down by as much as two weeks. Things did seem to get back to normal in July but what is normal these days?

   The 2nd Annual JDI Fishing Derby was held during the Chipman Summer Festival and attendance was doubled over last year. That means this tournament is being well received by the fishing fraternity and will continue to grow. The proceeds from this tournament goes to the Chipman Fish and Game Club to fund projects. JD Irving is the corporate sponsor for this tournament and they have spared no expense in organizing this fishing derby. Volunteers from the fish and game club were out in full force, with help from Irving's work force in Chipman. Doug Tyler was MC for the event and is always a popular speaker at the microphone. He was helped out by Jim Lawless, GM of Woodlands and Robert Fawcett, head of Corporate Relations for JD Irving. The overall tournament was a success and the weather held off until the end of the day. Tents helped to ward off the heavy rain showers and kept the closing ceremonies dry. Here is a link https://www.facebook.com/Chipman-Fish-Game-Club-217555511667995/ to the Fish and Game Club. Look for the live feed and other details of the tournament. I'm not going to go through the list of winners but I did want to mention Lucas Leavitt because he cleaned up in the youth category and also did really well in the kids derby held earlier in the summer. This young man loves to fish and it's starting to show. His name is in the winners circle on a regular basis and is someone to watch at future events. Honorable mention goes to Keith Murray and Adam Mountain for their catches. My old buddy George Palmer took third place in the yellow perch category. Congrats buddy! Here is a short clip of the storm as it hit Chipman at the end of the tournament.


    JD Irving is to be commended in his efforts at funding every celebration in the province, large or small. This is a great way to win the hearts and minds of all New Brunswickers. In the past, JD Irving would fund bigger projects that benefited New Brunswickers as a whole. Nowadays, the new strategy is to fund all the smaller activities and celebrations all over New Brunswick. I think this is an attempt by the corporation to reach the little guy in N.B. Social media has proven to be a mighty tool in organizing common people against a perceived threat and JD Irving is very wise to recognize this fact. Hence, the push to reach the little guy and I think this strategy is working, to a degree. New Brunswickers today are a lot more savvy and aware of what is happening in our province and it will take REAL change in the way big corporations do business to sway their opinions in both social media and at the election polls. Change is inevitable. Whether it is good or bad is still to be seen.

     We may have been dealing with a flood again this spring but we had returning bear hunters from Germany, so we were hard at it tending baits and preparing stands for our bear hunters. We run baits in three zones but this spring zones 17 and 18 got most of our attention. As usual, we had multiple bears at ALL of our baits and there were some nice boars in the mix.
    Our hunting party from Germany consisted of Nils and Manfred and their lady friends. This was Nils' second hunt with us and he is an experienced and capable hunter. Manfred has had some experience hunting roe deer and hogs in his native Germany but that is the extent of his hunting experience. Nils tagged out on two nice boars by mid week of their hunt and Manfred had two very good chances early in the hunt before wounding the weirdest looking bear any of us have ever seen! This bear looks downright creepy! I'm hoping this bear survived and there may be a good chance it did. We had a team of trackers with a dog and couldn't find it after a couple hours of searching the area. Manfred had already missed a good shot at a nice bear earlier in the hunt , so when he drew some blood out of a bear, he decided to call it a day. I thought he was a very good sport about it. Manfred may have gone home without killing a bear but he had some exciting memories to share when he got back home! Here is a picture of the strange looking bear that Manfred wounded.
This bear was at one of Jamie's baits in Zone 17. This bait was really hot this spring and had two other big boars haunting it. Here are a couple of trail cam photos.
This next bear had a bad looking ear on him. I would like to have seen those two guys meet up sometime.
Overall, our German hunting party had an exciting trip with plenty of wildlife photo opportunities for everyone. Nils was accompanied by his lady friend when he killed his first bear and she got quite a thrill out of the bear circling the blind before it came in to the bait. Here is a photo of Nils with his first bear.
This next photo shows Nils second bear after we skinned it out. Nils was hunting with Kenny at a bait in Zone 18 and actually walked in on the bear when they got to the bait.
Both of Nils bears were beautifully furred with no rubbing. They'll make nice rugs and will be fitting mementos of their hunting trip to New Brunswick. Here is a group photo at the end of their trip.
    I would advise any new hunter who wants to hunt bear with us here in New Brunswick to really do your homework and try to familiarize yourself with all aspects of the hunt. Through the years I have seen many hunters, including some experienced hunters, lose their shit when a bear comes in on them for the first time. This seems to happen more often if the hunter is in a ground blind at eye level within thirty meters. We like to have our hunters on the ground for several reasons and if the hunter is prepared, things will favor the hunter. A large bear or bears that close can be intimidating to some hunters and invariably, they won't acknowledge any fear they have. That's not a good thing for the guide. All bear guides would like the bear to drop at the bait and, with a good shot, they will usually die within one hundred meters. Bears are a tough animal and the shot MUST be good or you will never find it. Advise your guide if you have any reservations about your set up or if you are seriously nervous on your hunt. This will help avoid any potential problems during your bear hunt with us. Ken and I want our hunters to be successful and we will do whatever it takes to get the job done, so just speak up and we will make it happen.

I want to mention a couple of aspects about our bear hunts that are different than other bait sites that guides maintain both here in N.B. and other areas. You won't see our bait sites with barrels and pails hanging all over our sites. We have a technique that works for us and our bait sites are very clean and super productive. We always have multiple bears with a good boar or two at all our baits. Our baiting technique has been perfected over many years by Kenny and I and it works! Without giving away any secrets, the type of bait, amount of bait and the frequency of the bait cycle is the key to our success. I might add, we have little or no hunting pressure around our baits and this could be another factor for our success. Don't hesitate to contact me through the channels provided for more information on booking a fall or spring bear hunt with us.

    During this very trying summer, I travelled a little more to other areas of the province fishing for stripers. Mostly, I just wanted to get away for a while to a new area. I am new to surf fishing for stripers but I had some success fishing the beaches in Miscou and Cap Lumiere. Like most outdoor sports, timing is critical. The tides and wind direction and speed must be taken into consideration when fishing for stripers on the beach. I did manage to catch a schoolie at Miscou that I released. Here is a photo of that fish.
There are some nice beaches to fish from around Miscou. Lameque and Shippigan Islands. Here is a photo of a popular spot on the Strait side of Miscou.
I caught the fish on a beach in the Bay side of the island. Locals seem to pick which beach they fish according to the wind direction. Here are a couple of photos of those beaches.
A beautiful spot that has all kinds of room for fishermen.
Here is another photo taken on the beach one evening during my trip to Miscou Island.

    I also fished Cap Lumiere a few times this summer. This is a beautiful part of the East Coast whose shores face across the Strait towards the Northern Head of P.E.I. The beach I fished is an hour and twenty minutes from home and has easy access. This spot is gaining in popularity very quickly through social media posts and the best spots are filling up as soon as the tide starts in. I really like this spot because of the rocks which makes structure for the fish. Here is a photo of a small striper Donna A. caught one evening. 
Surf or shore fishing for stripers is a very relaxing activity and the scenery is spectacular. There were tons of gulls and ducks and osprey were constantly hunting and diving for fish along the beach.
     Here is a video clip of an old native guy from the nearby reserve at Indian Island. He looked like Cochise with sunglasses and had an air of nobility about him. I don't know if he was a Chief but he had a few young natives come down to talk with him. Anyhow, he was a very cool old guy. He also knew how to fish stripers. He caught and released one and then hooked what he thought was a bigger one. It turned out to be two keeper sized stripers!  He looked at us after he landed them and asked if we wanted them. We said sure and he handed them over and thanked us for taking them so he wouldn't have to clean them! He said he had caught lots this summer and had eaten his fill. Thank you sir!.

    The 2019 N.B. moose season is just weeks away and we have two tags in our group this year. Kenny and Jamie both have tags for Zone 18. Kenny and I will be hunting the Harley Road area and Jamie will be hunting his private ground along Sisson Brook. These are good areas and with a little luck and good weather, we should be able to knock a couple down. Jamie says he is holding out for a big one but Kenny is like me. If it's a decent size moose, it gets a pill. I really like the meat so I don't worry too much about the horns unless the person I'm hunting with is hunting for horns. Then we hunt the way they want to hunt. We aim to please!
    Both Kenny and Jamie have taken beautiful bulls in the last few years from the Bronson side of the Harley Road. This area has been getting more and more pressure the last few years but still holds some nice bulls. This photo shows Jamie with Kenny's 2016 moose.
I'll have a more complete report on this years moose hunt later on.

    Please contact me through the channels provided if you would like to spend some time with us outdoors in the Grand Lake area. Remember, we have real savings on group bookings.

    This is Dale Bauer saying, " Happy Trails to You, Until we Meet Again "

Monday, February 18, 2019

MID-WINTER REPORT FOR GRAND LAKE AND AREA

    This has been a typical Maritime winter so far here at home on Salmon River. We had a short January thaw that caused smaller streams and brooks to spill over their banks and broke up some parts of the larger rivers and caused the ice to run and pile up on the flats. Localized flooding was reported in some areas but the worst the Grand lake area suffered was a few basements got flooded and water built up on the roads in low spots causing treacherous driving conditions. One curious observation was deer and other wildlife heading for the roads during the rainstorm that accompanied the thaw. There were many comments on social media and observers thought this happened because the soft snow was causing the animals a lot of difficulty navigating in the forest. Our town deer herd in Chipman was seen and photographed around the village in different locations gathered on roads and this was causing motorists some problems. Here is a photo I plucked from a post that shows a small herd gathered on the road in the Redbank area of Chipman during the storm.

 I also scared another group of deer off the highway while travelling to Cambridge Narrows on the western side of Grand Lake. Another motorist also commented that they saw this same group on the day I was travelling in this area. Here is a photo of that group of deer that I scared off of the Fowler Road. You can see the TCH overpass in the background.
This is another photo of deer heading for the road during the January thaw.
 Although not in our area, a person also reported a large group of about fifty sea gulls on a highway near Bathurst. I guess strange weather also causes strange behavior in wildlife.
    I travel to many areas near home and I visit the Boistown/Doaktown area on a regular basis in the summer and winter. I was visiting friends earlier in the month and was thrilled to see Leroy S.feeding his herd of deer he has visiting during the winter months. Leroy has been feeding a group of deer in his yard that has grown to around twenty-five including six big bucks with horns ranging in size from eight points to a monster twelve pointer. Leroy knows these deer individually and he told me it's not hard to tell who the boss is. The biggest buck will dominate the food source even though Leroy spreads the food out. He says this definitely helps but the big buck will still get pushy at times. I asked Leroy if he hunts the deer and he said that feeding them and being in such close contact with the deer, he can't bring himself to kill one. He said he can't even kill one when he goes away to deer camp with his buddies. Keep this in mind if you are a hunter and decide to feed deer. You may find yourself in a place you didn't bargain for. Leroy was a life long hunter up until he started feeding "his deer". Here is a short video clip of Leroy feeding the deer as I pulled up in his yard. 

  I asked Leroy if the coyotes bother the deer any and he told me he kills about six or eight every year when they move in on the herd. He said if he didn't hunt them they would be taking some of the deer out for sure. Apparently, they will dog them hard when they get on the food. Here is one of the smaller bucks with eight points. Click on the picture to enlarge.
 

The ice fishing season is in full swing in our area and most other places in New Brunswick. Coastal areas and the Saint John area concentrate on smelt when ice fishing but hake is quickly becoming more popular with fishermen, especially in the Saint John area. Many fishermen are going out from their smelt shacks to the deeper water to fish for hake during their outings. The hake are usually found in deeper water than smelts but in the same locale so it's usually just a walk out to the deeper water and drilling a few holes and you are in business.
    Around Grand Lake and near home on Salmon River, ice fishermen usually target pickerel and perch but we also have burbot, rainbow smelt, landlocked salmon and whitefish in fishable numbers. This photo shows a fisherman from the Cumberland Bay side of Grand Lake who caught a nice landlocked salmon while fishing for burbot recently.

In years past, ice fishermen would congregate around Goat Island and at times there were upwards of one hundred shacks set up in a small community. The fishing was pretty good at times and the government helped with access by keeping the roads plowed out so that even fishermen with cars could reach the island. With that many shacks and everyone chumming, there were good numbers of fish around and it wasn't unusual to catch multiple species on any given day. Night fishing for burbot and smelt was quite popular during that time but with recent changes to the rules, that will remain a thing of the past. Too bad really. What is needed for the Grand Lake ice fishery is an association whereby members would pay dues and the monies put towards paying someone in the private sector to plow roads and keep access open for the members and public. With the growing interest in this sport, I can see this happening sooner rather than later.
    The number of tournaments is growing each year and when weather permits, attendance is good. I fished the first leg of the Tri-Lake series at the Key-Hole with my buddy George Palmer and his son in-law Doug Barton. We had a pretty good day with about a dozen pickerel and a couple of perch hooked and released. George had the biggest pickerel at 19.75 inches followed by Doug with one coming in at 19.5 inches. These fish weren't big enough to get on the board but we still had some fun. I caught seven fish myself and not one was over 18 inches! That's fishing. Here is a photo of George and I landing a fish.
 It was a cold day so it was nice that we could drive the trucks out to our spot. It saved a lot of work and we could jump in the truck to warm up once in a while.
 As you can see from the photo, we had that end of the pond all to ourselves and I thought we would have caught some bigger fish since this end doesn't get fished as hard but sometimes the best made plans don't work out. Still a great day on the ice.
    I had my Grandson Jack out for an afternoon and we managed to catch a couple of pickerel near home on Salmon River. I got a small one at first and Jack had been telling me he was getting bites but I wasn't sure if that was what was really happening or if he was catching the lip of the hole when he was jigging. I checked his bait after it happened a couple of times and the bait was gone so I thought he might be getting bites for real. After re-baiting and getting back in business, it was just a few minutes before he let out a whoop and said "Fish on!" I yelled for him to pull it up because I wanted him to get used to doing it on his own and sure enough, up came a nice pickerel. It was about 21.5 inches and Jack was a happy fisherman!
 After a quick measurement and photo Jack slid the fish back down the hole. I like the fact he has no problem letting them go. Start them young and it will stay with them when they get older. Here is another photo of Jack with the smaller one I caught.

    My buddy George and I also fished the inaugural Jill Knox Memorial Tournament at French Lake a couple of weeks ago. This new tournament was organized by a well known fisherman from the Grand Lake area,Will Redmond. Will was good friends with Jill who passed away recently at a very young age. Will wanted to do something in remembrance so because Jill liked to go ice fishing , he thought this tournament would be just the thing to host in her memory. There were some prizes for biggest pickerel overall and a draw prize for odd species. The bulk of the entrance fees went to the SPCA in Jill's name. The tournament was well attended and although it was tough fishing, I managed to catch a chub for entry in the odd species draw. No luck there either but it was still a good day and for a good cause. Kudos to Will and his helpers for sponsoring this event. Here is a photo of the winners of that tournament.

    I got out fishing a few times by myself and had some good luck catching pickerel near home on the ponds.This short clip shows a visitor, Ivan R., hauling up a nice pickerel during one outing.

 Here is a photo of me with another fish I got on the same day.


 We like to release most of our pickerel because we believe this species isn't given the respect it should have as a game fish. Pickerel take a long time to grow to trophy size (over 20 in.) and it is easy to clean them out of smaller habitat such as the small ponds and back guts here at home on Salmon River. We will keep a fish once in a while if it is a bleeder just because we don't believe in wasting Natures bounty and my good friend and neighbor, Wes Hargrove, loves a feed of winter pickerel. The next video clip demonstrates this fact.

 This next short video clip was taken earlier on the same day when I got the first fish. I had fished a previous day without a bite so I moved over one hundred meters and changed bait and technique and landed seven on this day. It pays to change things up sometimes.

    There are at least two more tournaments coming up that I'll get a report on as soon as I get the information. If our weather holds steady, there will be good fishing well into March. The ponds and coves still have around two feet of ice. That amount of ice  usually means safe fishing unless we get an extreme thaw. Knowing local conditions is very important for safety reasons and that's a good reason in itself to hire a local guide if you're unfamiliar with the area you want to fish. Our motto is always "Safety First!"

    I happened to notice a series of photos in a great Facebook site named New Brunswick Upon Days Faded. These photos were about the pioneer Lemon family who settled on the Gaspereau River in the late 1800's--early 1900's. The original farm house is still standing and is in very good shape. Howard Lemon was the most recent owner and would have been a grandson of the original settlers. Howard recently passed away after a long, full life and was in his nineties when he died. I found these photos very interesting because the Lemons worked in the woods and had logging camps in the Gaspereau country and also outfitted hunting expeditions during the season. It has been said that Grover Lemon killed one of the last caribou in the Gaspereau River area and that head still resides on the wall of the homestead, as far as I know. Here are some of the photos I borrowed from the site I mentioned previously that depict some family members at their camps.

From the looks of the following photos, their camps were well stocked with provisions and had a designated Cookie ie. the gentleman with the apron on.

As I said, most times these camps served double duty housing woods workers during the winter months and sports during hunting season.

The next photo shows a sport posing with a black bear that was taken and tacked out on an outside wall to be cured. This was a common practice back in the day.
The next photo is the caribou head that one of the Lemons took before this species was exterminated from this part of the country. 

I'm guessing that this head was done by old Gideon Brown in the early 1900's because he was the only practicing taxidermist in the area at that time that I know of. Gid, as he was called, had a beautiful farm at the Bronson crossroads where he farmed, lumbered,  hunted, trapped and did taxidermy work for locals and sports of that era. The original homestead has been beautifully restored and much of the original furniture has still survived. The present owners are to be commended for their efforts in this regard because many of these historic places succumb to the rigors of time and fall to the wayside to make room for more modern buildings.
    I acquired two dilapidated old mounts of deer that hung for years in the big barn at the Lemon homestead. I knew Mary Lemon, Howard's wife, quite well and I bought many items from her when she would have her yard sales during the summer months. On one occasion, I mentioned killing a big buck in Bear Brook which is a nearby little tributary of the Gaspereau River and she asked me if I would be interested in these old heads hanging in the barn. I jumped at the chance and got the two heads from Mary at a very reasonable price. They were in such terrible shape I tore the mounts apart and just salvaged the horns. it was very interesting to see how these mounts were made from scratch. The neck was formed from a carved board wrapped with excelsior and twine to build it up to size. Plaster of Paris was used around the face with cut pieces of sheet lead for ear liners. I kept the old glass eyes because they would be around one hundred years old and would make great mementos. I was very careful handling the old hides on these mounts because many times they were cured with arsenic if a brain tan wasn't used. Arsenic kept the bugs at bay but was a dangerous method to use. I have the horns from these mounts at home and I was struck by the mass both of these sets exhibit. They obviously came from huge bucks and this was back in the days when deer were just starting to show up in this part of the country. These were NOT farm fed deer but were big woods bucks taken in some very rugged country. Here are the photos of those horns.

This second set has a narrower inside spread but still carries the same great mass as the first one.


    In closing this report, I want to remind my non-resident readers to put in for bear tags this month until February 28th. This guarantees you will have tags for your hunt and simplifies the process of buying your tags. We still have openings in prime time if any hunters are interested in joining our European hunters coming from Germany. We are looking forward to seeing Nils again and his buddy Manfred who will be coming for the first time. We have some choice baits again this year in Zones 17 and 18 so don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail or give me a call. I can also be reached through our Facebook page. Here is a link for applications for the draw. https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/nr-rn/pdf/en/Wildlife/BearNonResFactSheet.pdf  There are lots of tags available in both Zones we hunt and you are guaranteed to get drawn in Zones 17 and 18. We also have do-it-yourself hunts for residents who don't have the time or knowledge of how to bait and hunt bears. This is a great opportunity to hunt bears at a reduced price. We do all the work. You do the shooting!
    The application period for non-resident moose is also open until April 4th so if any sports are interested in this hunt,  please apply in the same fashion as for the bear application. Be aware that all non-resident hunters MUST have an outdoor card number before applying or buying any licences to hunt in New Brunswick. Here is the link for the non-resident moose application. https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/nr-rn/pdf/en/Wildlife/MooseNonResidentFactSheet.pdf  Success rates are near 100% for non- residents for both of these species in our Zones 17 and 18. For more information on either of these hunts just reach out to me through the channels provided.

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

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018-END OF YEAR REVIEW

 
As 2018 comes to a close, I was reflecting back on what was different from recent years in the outdoor world in the Grand Lake area and I was struck by how little things had changed. In some instances, that was a good thing. In other areas, not so much.
   The year started off with what I thought was one of the best ice fishing seasons in years. After just one thaw early in the year, there was lots of ice and good weather right through to the end of the season in late March. I spent a lot of days on the ice and I had great luck fishing chain pickerel near home and occasionally at the Key Hole on Grand Lake. I usually don't bother going all the way to Indian, French, or Maquapit Lakes simply because there is great fishing closer to home. A lack of snow fall made for some easy travelling and I didn't even bother with a shack just because the weather was good and I had the luxury of being able to pick my days. Here is a video from last season. I thought this fish was a lot bigger than it was. Just excited, I guess!


The biggest pickerel we got this past year through the ice was one my son Curtis caught. It was 24 inches on the board. We released that fish to be caught another day. Here is a photo of that fish.

 If fishermen practice hook and release, the fishing stays good all season. On smaller bodies of water such as the ponds and coves on Salmon River, the catching goes south very early in the season if fishermen keep too many pickerel. I hear the arguments every year. Oh, the limit is ten pickerel. I only kept six. Well, if you keep six and the other ten guys that fished that day kept six or more, that adds up to over sixty fish out of one small area. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what the fishing is going to be like in a very short time. We have seen this exact scenario being played out over the last few years and it's really frustrating. If any fisherman takes more than two pickerel a day, you are either a moron or a pig. Please don't be either of these!

    The 2018 New Brunswick salmon season was nothing short of disastrous. I don't believe in sugar coating any of my reports and this is how I see the past season. The spring, summer and fall fisheries were all plagued by a shortage of fish and terrible weather conditions. How could that possibly add up to even decent fishing? If DFO doesn't get a handle on what's happening with this fishery, we may well be seeing this great sport in it's death throes. Striped bass are having a huge impact on smolt survival. Global warming is also having a negative impact on our cold water species. One bright spot is Greenland agreeing to be bought off to cease their annual rape of our fish off of their coast. This will allow more large spawners to return to their home waters. Hopefully, we will soon turn a corner on this issue before all is lost.

Striped bass have exploded in both numbers and popularity and last season was another fabulous one on the lower Miramichi River and the Gulf coast. With numbers approaching one million fish, sportsmen pursuing this species had lots to cheer about. We had very good fishing every time we were out and reports were positive right across the province, Most of the tidal rivers had good runs and as I've already said, the Miramichi had tremendous numbers. Too many really. Steps are being taken to reduce their numbers such as increasing the daily limit to three and allowing natives to have a limited commercial fishery. These are good steps but lets hope the pendulum doesn't swing too far the other way. One fault of DFO is their slow response to changing conditions. Keep a close eye on this situation.Here is a video clip of my buddy Jake Doherty landing a fish on the Miramichi River. We both got a limit of fish in the upper slot bracket. A bonus of this species is their delicious table fare. This next photo shows my three fish limit for the day.

Native brook trout on inland waters continue to do well but sea trout on the Miramichi and her tributaries have taken a huge drop. The Cains River run failed to appear and many fear it may be lost. Stripers are the most logical problem but the annual trout derby in Redbank is seeing a lot of trout being taken out of the system each year. This could be hurting the population to some extent. Hopefully, as the high striped bass numbers are being addressed we will see our sea trout numbers rebound. Keep your fingers crossed on this issue.

Our black bear numbers remain stable for now and success rates remain high for non-residents. The fall hunt is usually a little more unpredictable but if you start early and  have a consistent baiting regime, good results are almost guaranteed. One of the biggest problems at our deer sites is keeping bears off of our bait. Bears will push deer off of a bait because they have a habit of staying right on the bait and the deer will just find other feeding areas. Sometimes this situation takes a positive turn when a nice boar shows up like this one did. It's hard to get pissed when this happens!
We have a two bear limit in New Brunswick right now and I can't say I am a fan of this situation as it stands. I think the hunt would have been much better if the season was split with one bear in the spring and one in the fall. This would have benefited the outfitting industry and controlled the population in a more fitting fashion by reducing the number of bears shot recklessly just because of hunters knowing they can get another tag if the first bear is too small for their liking. Perhaps DNR will see how a change to the hunt such as I've suggested would benefit all concerned in the near future. Time will tell.

Moose numbers remain steady over much of the province but there is cause for concern. This years hunt was held during a period of excellent weather. Cool days and frosty nights made for great calling conditions and many nice bulls were taken in all areas of the province except for the extreme south. Kill numbers were up slightly in the north but down a bit more in the southern half to give a slight decrease in the kill overall. I find this concerting because the weather conditions were near perfect yet there was an overall decrease in the kill. This tells me that the moose population has slipped in the southern half of the province and this fact has been borne out by our sightings during our travels in our hunting zones in the central part of the province. Hopefully. DNR will make the necessary adjustments to address this fact when allotting tag numbers for the southern zones for next year. Here is a photo of a tremendous bull taken in one of the northern zones.
This bull had 26 points and a 63 inch spread. 

If there is one place where New Brunswick's  DNR has failed miserably in it's mandate as managers of wildlife, it is in the care (or lack of) our poor deer herd. How bad is it? It's that bad that the DNR/government won't even release the kill numbers in the same calendar year! This past season was also the first one I can remember where we had snow that stayed for most of the season. This should have optimized the kill numbers but that didn't happen. This situation borders on being criminal and I don't make that statement in jest. I'm being serious. New Brunswick's former deer biologist quit in disgust and pointed the finger squarely at the culprits who are to blame. Still,. government refuses  to act on any recommendations put forth by their own people and the wildlife federation. To act in this fashion is unconscionable. I'm not going to point fingers. I don't have to. The cat is out of the bag. Every deer hunter in this province knows what the problem is and who bears the blame. Things had better change soon or there are going to be a lot of old style politicians standing on the side lines twiddling their thumbs while their newer, younger comrades are seizing the day. We seen the beginning of this scenario being played out in our last election. The status quo will no longer suffice and sportsmen across the province are exercising the power of their vote. I say good for them! It's about time!
     We had a grand total of eighteen deer registered at our local station this past season. I can remember when we had successive kill numbers of over one hundred deer just out of the Harley Road area back in the 80's. What a sad state of affairs! Brooke was the only one in our group to take a deer although we had some misses and close encounters. Here is a photo of Brooke's buck taken a few days into the season.

I hope this post doesn't come across too negatively because I am an optimist by nature. I think things can and will be better in the future if we all work hard and remain vigilant in our care for our wildlife. This should be a labour of love for all sportsmen in our beautiful province and I truly believe we are up to the task.
I want to wish all my readers a Happy New Year from our crew here at home on Salmon River and we hope to see you in the coming year!

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

SPRING/SUMMER REPORT 2019 GRAND LAKE AREA

    So far, the weather this spring has been pretty good. It has been a slow and steady melt with warm days and cool nights. That's jus...