Sunday, November 25, 2018

DEER HUNT 2018

    The 2018 deer hunt in New Brunswick got off to a roaring start that included something not seen in years. We had snow during the first week and that snow stayed on the ground in the northern half of the province for the first two weeks of the season. Temperatures stayed on the cool side with many nights below freezing. Deer hunters took full advantage of the weather and hit the woods in droves. Social media has been showing several nice bucks taken so far and again this year, lady hunters have taken their share.
    I started writing this piece weeks ago but my computer died and I had to get set up again. For someone who is challenged in that department,it's easier said than done. I had a lot of photos on my other hard drive so I had to gather up a few I had left on my cameras. I'll continue to edit this post as I gain access to the saved material on the old hard drive.
    As I was saying, every year more and more ladies are participating in New Brunswick's annual deer hunt and many of them are having good success. Jamies girlfriend, Brooke, took a nice buck early in the first week. This was Brookes second buck since she started hunting a few years ago. This buck had good mass and was a nice, solid New Brunswick buck
 Wes wanted to get his picture taken with Brooke because he got quite a kick out of her getting the first deer in our crowd (and what would turn out to be the only deer).
 This next lady is no stranger to white-tail hunters in New Brunswick. Over the last few years her big bucks have been appearing on a regular basis,usually early in the season. Once again, Sonia G. of Fredericton tagged out early in the hunt after taking another big buck. That's three in as many years that I know of. I guess that's why her husband calls her "the Queen of white-tail hunters" in New Brunswick! Here is her 2018 buck.
 This next lady hunter took a real brute of a buck. Look at the mass on that rack!
 This young lady also took a real nice mature buck.
 This next lady took her first deer that just happened to be a big 10 pt.
 Here is another lady hunter with a nice mature New Brunswick buck
 Finally, this young lady took her first buck which had 8 pts. and dressed out at 160 lbs. That's a 2.5 year old deer. This highlights the potential of the bucks in our white-tail herd. We just need more of them!
 Here is a photo of a buck that was weighed in at a big buck contest this past season. This beautiful buck further illustrates the terrific genetics in our deer herd and the potential to grow world class bucks. This buck weighed 135 lbs. dressed and was 1.5 years old.

 I want to congratulate a young lady from southern N.B. who hunted hard to take her first bear during the fall bear season this year. Kelsey M. hunted hard this fall but was having a hard time getting any bears to hit consistently. There was an abundance of fall forage this year and that makes baiting fall bears a hit or miss proposition. She was starting to fear she wouldn't get it done before the season ended but after some good advice and a "never give up" attitude, she harvested her first bear and it was a beauty. Here is a photo of Kelsey with her bear.

 Although baiting fall bears can be erratic. we always get some nuisance bears at our deer baits. Dallas had an average bear stealing his bait at one spot A nice bear showed up at one of Jamies baits.and when a nice boar like him comes in,it's hard to say that's a bad thing! We'll be going after him next spring when our hunters from Germany arrive. Here are some photos of that bear.



 Ken, Jamie, Dallas and myself were all very busy this fall and we all spent a limited amount of time in the woods this deer season. Dallas fired at a dandy 10-12 point buck that was with two does but he never touched him. Jamie was chasing a nice 9 point he had on camera but couldn't lay eyes on him in the daytime. Jamie also passed on a couple of small bucks. Here is a photo of the buck Jamie was chasing this fall.
Kenny watched a spot on the Harley Road on and off for two weeks but couldn't catch a buck crossing. I had some small bucks coming in but I wasn't there. Here are a couple of small bucks that were on my camera.
 This little buck had spikes about a foot long.
 I also had a doe and a button buck at another location. I was surprised that I didn't have any bigger bucks at the two baits I had in that location because last year there was a couple of nice 6 and 8 pointers at these baits. 
    Preliminary figures indicate a slight decrease in the overall kill in the province in 2018. The numbers increased slightly in the south but the northern half experienced a sharp drop. This was enough to put the kill into the negative zone. What is disturbing about these numbers is the fact that there was snow present for pretty much the whole season in the northern half of New Brunswick. I can't recall a season like that in all my years of hunting. That being said, there was still some beautiful bucks killed this year in some parts of the province. The farm country around Sussex produced some real studs again this year and one bow kill during the gun season was outstanding. Here is a photo of that buck. 
 This buck should score high in the archery section of the New Brunswick Record Book.
As usual, I plucked some of the big bucks that stood out off of various groups on social media to include in this years deer hunt blog. This first buck was a heavy weight with 10 pts. and dressed out at 240 lbs.
 Here is a photo of a farm buck taken late in the season that has it all.
 This next buck also came from farm country in the southern half of the province.
   Please note that these bucks were all taken by NB residents from various locations around the province but primarily on private ground in the southern half of New Brunswick. 
In summation, it is evident that our deer herd is struggling to survive on Crown lands in New Brunswick. It's also quite clear that unless we change the way we manage our Crown lands, our deer numbers will remain low. I have written about what should be part of a recovery plan in the past and these suggestions have also been forwarded to the DNR. This was part of a survey conducted by DNR a few years ago. All that came out of it was a study of the herd to find out what everyone KNOWS is wrong. It's ridiculous to think in this day and age that professionals don't know what the problem is. The problem is mismanagement. Period. I will leave it up to my readers to figure out who is mismanaging our Crown lands to the detriment of deer and other species. 
Any recovery program must address the spraying of hardwoods on Crown lands This important food source provides much needed browse for deer.Conduct specialty cuts wherever feasible. Shrink the size of clear cuts  Implement food supplements such as planting clover on any open areas like log yards or clear trails. Plant cedar along all waterways to increase the buffer and provide food and shelter for deer. Finally,the coyote population must be kept in check, especially during the winter months when the herd is most vulnerable to these predators. These suggestions are doable and wouldn't necessarily be that costly. I feel strongly that if these suggestions were followed, we would see a dramatic increase in our deer numbers. I hope the will is there and these things come to pass in the near future. Our deer herd depends on it.

I didn't spend as much time in the deer woods as I wanted this year but I did get to spend some quality time with my youngest grandson,Jack Now, Jack is nine years old and has been fishing with pretty good success for a couple of years. When hunting season came around this fall. he asked me to take him deer hinting. I said I would but I explained to him that hunting wasn't like fishing. I knew he thought that nearly every time you go out,there's shots fired and game killed. I also think he thought maybe he might even get a chance to fire the gun if all went well. I told him right off that his hunting education would be an on-going journey and not to get ahead of himself. His reply was "I'm nearly ten years old!". I said "I know." Kids always try to get ahead of themselves and I was determined if he wanted to hunt, he'd have to get the basics down first. We went out a few times and I think he was starting to understand where I was coming from. We had a great time! He says he's all ready for next year and I promised him there might be a little more action next year. He gave me the thumbs up so he's all in! Here is a short video clip I made of Jack during one of our hunts last fall. Jack wanted me to say that he also saw some moose tracks and a nice flock of turkeys, just for the record. OK Jack.

Our ice fishing season is just around the corner and we will be out there as soon as we get some good ice. We have good success on pickerel and perch in a few different locations. The Grand Lake system is huge and underutilized but we've been fishing it for decades and I like to think we have some great spots and killer techniques. Please contact me if any anglers would like to fish with us this winter. Please note that any ice fishing trips are subject to weather conditions. Safety first always!

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


Thursday, October 4, 2018

GOODBYE SUMMER......HELLO FALL!

 
Temperatures have finally started to moderate here at home on Salmon River and for most folks that's a good thing. This summer was quite dry and hot and as we ease into fall we are finally starting to get some rain and cooler nights.
    You know it's hot when even the pickerel refuse to bite and that's exactly what happened this August. Normally, we have great fishing for pickerel later in the summer but this year it was just too hot for too long. That's not to say we didn't get any fish. What I'm getting at is instead of having days of 15-20 fish, we were catching less fish, more like 6-12. I'll admit that even catching numbers like that is still pretty good fishing. It's enough to keep things interesting and keep the most ardent fishermen from getting fevered up! Pickerel fishing at this time of the year in low water conditions is something everyone should experience at least once. These fish are really aggressive this time of the year and many times the fisherman can see the fish moving quickly on the lure and quite literally parting the water in their effort to connect with the lure. I've seen more than one good fisherman strike prematurely during that initial rush instead of hesitating for a few seconds before striking. As I've said, it's pretty exciting. One particular day comes to mind as I write this. I took long time salmon guide Malcolm McCormick out for a half day of pickerel fishing a few years ago. Now old Malcolm had guided for fifty years or so on the Miramichi and Cains Rivers and had caught and landed countless salmon and grilse. By the end of the day, he told me that catching pickerel was as much fun as catching a grilse. He got quite a kick out of the savage attack of the pickerel when he got a strike. It was the first and only time old Mac ever fished for pickerel before he passed away a few years ago. Here are a couple of photos of Mac landing two of several pickerel that day.
 I liked old Malcolm and learned a thing or two about salmon fishing from him during the short time I knew him. If any reader would like to hear more about old Mac McCormick, just click on this link http://hargroveandbauer.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-bite-hunt-and-vintage-outdoor-stuff.html .

    I managed to get out a few more times with my good friend Jake Doherty before the season ended and we landed a few nice fish like this one.
 Jakes pickerel was taken near Salmon Harbour. This area has been producing some nice fish this year along with a couple of species we don't see very often. Here is a photo of me with a fish I landed late this summer.
Smallmouth bass are starting to show up in numbers as well as the odd striper. These fish are being caught while fishing for other species and I'm sure we will see more of these fish as the sport  continues to grow in our area. Here is a photo of Adam M. with a nice smallmouth he took this summer while fishing the harbour area.
 Adam also caught a small striper earlier in the year at the same location. A friend of mine who rents out his cottage on Grand Lake told me his guests were catching schoolies right off the dock. This is great news for the Grand Lake area and our fishery is only going to grow as we move forward into the future. Jemseg has been producing some nice stripers over the last few weeks. Fishermen seem to be having the best luck after dark while fishing live eels and mackerel. Here is a photo of a nice one caught last week by Captain George Palmer at 4:00AM. This striper was 37 in. and over 20 lbs. Nice fish Captain!

    I wish I could be as positive about the state of the salmon fishery but unfortunately there isn't a lot of good news to report. The only place that seems to be getting any fishing is in the lower part of the main Southwest Miramichi River. This part of the river always fishes better during years of low water and there are reports of some fresh fish coming in on the tides but many fear it is too little and too late for decent fishing up river and on the Cains. Salmon fishing has experienced a serious decline in recent years and some drastic measures must be taken or all could be lost. It has happened before. Just look at what happened to the Saint John River and other Bay of Fundy Rivers. I always look forward to fishing the Cains River in the fall but I don't think it will happen this year unless we get some water before the season ends on Oct.15th.

Our waterfowl season is well under way and Dallas and Jamie set up for geese on Parkhills Bar on the first day. They only got four geese and said that another group hunting across the river from them had about the same shooting. I don't believe in inflating numbers when it comes to hunting and fishing and our area is experiencing poor waterfowling this year. Ducks and geese must have water and the drought this year moved most of the birds in our area out to the big water around Grand Lake. If we can get some water,we may get some decent shooting for migrating northerns as the season progresses.
    There are good numbers of grouse in our area and one of our government agencies is looking for hunters to turn in hearts from birch and spruce grouse for examination to see if any Lyme disease is present. There are some woodcock around but drought conditions have made local birds a little scarce. Hunters will be looking for migrating birds as the season progresses this month.

Another moose season is in the books and although we didn't have any tags this year, we always have fun seeing how our friends and folks from away make out during their hunt. This years hunt had cool weather and a full moon which provided excellent conditions for hunting New Brunswicks' largest big game animal. The overall kill was down 8% and the registration station for our area in Chipman was down 15%. That being said, there were still some great bulls killed in our area and in the northern zones, in particular.  Here is a photo of one of the largest bulls taken this year. This trophy moose was killed by a hunter in one of New Brunswicks northern zones. It had 26 points and was 63 inches wide. That's a monster!
 This next bull was taken in Kent County which is a little closer to home. This moose had a very distinctive rack with a beautiful colour
 Last but certainly not least is another great bull harvested this season in the northern part of the province. This trophy bull had a spread of 58.5 inches.

These bulls are representative of the top tier bulls taken each year in New Brunswick. The quality of the trophy bulls taken here in New Brunswick is undeniable.
    The biggest bull registered at our station was killed by Martin Beers in zone 13 near Salmon River. Estimated weight of this old warrior was 920 lbs. His rack had 11 scorable points with boards rounded off considerably. it was felt that this old bull was going downhill but it was still a great trophy. No photo for this one but he's here on the scoreboard at number 3.
 This next shot shows the results of the 2018 New Brunswick moose hunt.
 Another banner year for moose hunters here at home and right across the province.Lets hope this trend continues into the future.

Ken and I have started setting up our deer stands and we are seeing signs that our herd is growing a bit. The southern end of Grand Lake has a thriving deer herd but access is difficult. We have been setting up on Crown land near these expanding herds with good results..As usual, bears are hard to keep off of our deer baits but we take it all in stride. Many times we find trophy sized bears at our deer baits and it's hard to consider that a bad thing. Our area is crawling with bears and it's just a fact of life you are going to get some at sites set up in archery season. Later in the deer season, the bears are starting to den and the problem isn't so severe. I will have some trail cam photos of some of the animals we will be hunting in my next post. Please check previous posts for photos of some of the quality animals we have in our area.
   I want to wish my Canadian readers a Happy Thanksgiving and if any Sport would like to hunt or fish with us, please contact me through the channels provided.

This is Dale Bauer saying " Happy Trails to You.....Until we Meet Again! ".
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Thursday, August 23, 2018

SUMMER 2018--HOT AND HUMID

    This summer was a very nice one for visiting tourists and beach goers but it was, once again, a terrible summer for fishing and many outdoor activities. If memory serves me correctly, this is back to back years of low water and hot days for sportsmen in New Brunswick. Salmon outfitters, in particular, have had an awful time of it and many are struggling to stay afloat. If not for American dollars invested in many of these camps, the damage would be much more extensive and obvious to folks who rely heavily on this influx of money during the salmon season.It's pretty hard to make any money if the river is unfishable, as it was in consecutive springs or if the river is shut down during the summer months, as it was this summer. Add the striper controversy to the weather problems and you have a recipe for disaster.After a hue and cry from the salmon establishment, the Feds finally caved in and granted a limited commercial harvest for natives on the lower Miramichi River. I think this was the right move because striper numbers have exploded and were expanding into territory that had not been seen in modern times. This habitat just happens to be historic salmon and trout pools in the upper reaches of the Miramichi River system. I just hope that this new commercial fishery doesn't go too far and ruin the new sport fishery that has developed for stripers over the last few years. Time will tell the tale on this new situation and I will be keeping my fingers crossed on this one. Here is a photo of me with a limit of stripers from this spring.
    Usually, when things warm up and the salmon fishing slows down, pickerel fishing comes on strong. Not this year. It was very hard to get a good bite going this summer because it was even too hot for the warm water species! It is mid August as I'm writing this piece and things are just starting to cool off enough to put the fish and fishermen back in the mood. Water temperatures have moderated and a nice raise of water has brought water levels back to an acceptable height on the Miramichi and here at home on Salmon River.I guided a couple of Westerners at the tail end of this hot spell and they caught a few fish but we had to work for them. Ryan G.of  Red Deer, Alberta was out for a half day with myself and a friend, Jake Doherty. I think Ryan landed three pickerel, while Jake and I added a couple more. Here is a photo of Jake with a nice pickerel.
 
Jake and I also fished the 1st Annual JDI Fishing Tournament. This tournament was held during Chipman's annual festival and was a big hit with all the participants. There were good cash prizes in several categories as well as a nice canoe for the draw prize. Jake and I landed fish in three categories but unfortunately we didn't make the winners circle. I did get drawn for a $50 gift certificate which was great. I can see this tournament really taking off in the future after the sponsors get a couple of bugs worked out. Here is a photo of two of the pickerel we registered during the tournament.

 I also landed a nice smallmouth bass during the tournament. This species has been appearing more and more in recent years and the talk is already going around that this species will be added to next years tournament. I caught this fish while jigging a worm and spinner through a deep hole looking for perch. I thought I had hooked a good white perch and was surprised when the bass exploded out of the water right beside the boat. Here is a photo of that fish.
 I also spent a nice half day on the water with a beautiful lady from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Kristin F. was here for a week and she loved her time spent fishing and site seeing on Salmon River. Here is a photo of me helping her land a pickerel after she broke off a huge pickerel that I estimated at over two feet long!
 She was accompanied by my son Curtis and he landed a couple of nice ones during the same trip. We left from my house and I joked that Curt could probably catch one right off of my shore before we left in the boat. Sure enough, after a couple of casts he brought a respectable pickerel to hand. Here is a photo of that fish.
 Later on, we fished one of the pickerel beds nearby and Curt landed a nice fish that taped out at 23.25 inches. Pickerel this size put up a great fight and it takes some skill to keep them out of the weeds and lead them to the boat. Here is a photo of that fish.
 This is a trophy sized pickerel in any waters and Curt caught a few this size while he was out. The next evening Kristin wanted to go out again because she was awestruck by the beautiful scenery and the abundance of wildlife. Curt took her out once again and he landed another good pickerel that she got a short video clip of. Another trophy sized pickerel. These sized pickerel aren't caught every time out but there are enough of them to keep things interesting. We can usually land a few and rarely strike out. Kristin thanked us and said she would return and next time she would bring her Mom and Dad. Hope to see you next year Kristin!
    Salmon River is beautiful during the summer and fall months and there are so many photo opportunities it's hard to take it all in. Here is a photo of Kristin taken on the beach near the pickerel beds she was fishing.
During the warm weather this summer, I travelled a lot during the evenings after things settled down and the temperature started to drop a bit..It was more about the scenery and visiting friends on the river than it was about the fishing but I always caught a few. Here is a short video clip I took near Stewart-McLeod Park which lies between my place and Chipman.

    Fall is fast approaching and we will soon be putting out our deer and bear baits. This is a great time to be out in the woods, scouting and setting up cameras and blinds. There seems to be a few more deer around our hunting areas and the bear population remains strong. Hopefully, the weather will co-operate and not get locked into a hot spell like last fall. The first couple of days of the moose season last year were almost unbearable and many successful hunters were left scrambling to save their meat. Preparation is the key to saving your moose meat (or any other big game animal). Get your game dressed quickly and into cold storage. If you have the option to hang your meat for a week, all the better. I find ageing the meat for 7-10 helps tenderize it and improves the flavour. Although we don't have any moose tags this year, we still have fond memories of our hunt last year with Brad Doherty and family. Brad took a nice bull and the meat was delicious! Hear is a photo of Brads bull.
 

If any sports or vacationers want to spend some time on our waters or travelling our hunting grounds in the Grand Lake area, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me. We will put a nice package together for you!

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

DEER HUNT 2018

    The 2018 deer hunt in New Brunswick got off to a roaring start that included something not seen in years. We had snow during the first ...