Thursday, October 21, 2010

NEWCOMER SPECIES,THE BITE AND VINTAGE STUFF

The brilliant colors of fall are slowly fading as the brisk winds we have had over the last couple of weeks takes a toll on the remaining leaves.This will open up the coverts and will no doubt provide a bit more shooting for bird hunters looking for a few grouse for the pot. The changing seasons once again remind me that nothing stays the same and that change is inevitable. The question is whether the change is for the better or not. Each fall, I make several trips to the Harley Road outside of Chipman, mainly to take in the kaleidoscope of colors the landscape provides in that part of the country and check out the deer sign,while keeping an eye out for some partridge. Each year, I notice changes made by the wood harvesting operations and this year was no different. New clear cuts and evidence of re-planting in one of the nicer areas we hunt.Normally,I don't get too upset at this type of activity because it's just a fact of life in this neck of the woods but this time I've really got my back up about what's going on out here. What I find upsetting is the fact that the "tree growing company" that manages this area has seen fit to replace the large stands of hardwood it has harvested with plantations of softwood.This whole area has been predominately stands of hardwood for hundreds of years,created by Mother Nature in a place she has seen fit to grow these magnificent stands of maple, beech and birch. The Harley Road has long been an ideal habitat for deer and grouse and many trophy deer have been taken here over the years. I was there when this country was first opened up and I recall that the first year there was around one hundred and seventy-five deer taken that fall. The next year another one hundred and twenty-five were taken. The following years deer were still taken but in ever shrinking numbers. And each year,more and more Jack Pine plantations were planted to replace the stands of hardwood being cut. We are now to the point where most of the Harley Road has been cut and the huge stands of virgin hardwood are no longer standing. The deer herd has also shrunk to the point that there are only a handful of deer taken there each year and the grouse have all but disappeared.How could a company and its foresters do such a morally corrupt thing as to totally go against what Mother Nature has seen fit to create?How do you justify changing a huge expanse of hardwood into a tree farm of Jack Pine,a species that is no friend to any animal? I could understand if the ground were allowed to re-generate naturally and let nature take its course. If nature seen fit to produce large stands of softwood in these areas,so be it. But to purposely impose stands of softwood on ground that wants to grow hardwood,at the expense of the game and the hunters that pursue these animals,is nothing short of criminal. Oh,and don't forget,these jokers are spraying herbicide to kill off the young succulents coming up that the game feeds off of.Shame on you all! Big business and government both. I hope I live long enough to see the pendulum swing the other way.It will be a great day for all New Brunswickers when our forests are once again managed properly.
There are a couple of new species making news here in N.B.The big news is the pending re-introduction of wild turkeys to the province.We already have some Maine birds crossing into the province as well as some free ranging birds that are slowly spreading from their point of origin. These birds have survived two brutal winters here  and are thriving so there is no question we will have a huntable population some time in the future.The question is how long will it take to get a huntable population if left to expand naturally? This process will be speeded up considerably if the government OK's a stocking program.I urge all hunters to be vocal and contact your MLA,asking that the government move forward with this stocking program as quickly as possible.Here is a photo of some birds sunning on a mud dump in the Midlands area.

Another species which has made the local news is a pair Sandhill Cranes that have taken up residence in the Grand Lake area. This is a wonderful event as this is the first time in recorded history that a nested pair of these cranes have been discovered in the Maritimes. The exact location of these birds is being kept under wraps so as not to disturb them.There are a lot of bird watchers that would like to add these cranes to their lists and while this is an honorable hobby,too many onlookers could disturb the birds and cause an unwanted reaction by any commotion made by any interested parties. Hopefully,these birds will
thrive in their new environment and provide some photo opportunities in the future.
The next species I want to talk about is not one we should welcome to this province.I was asked to look at a photo recently and asked my opinion on what the creature might be that was captured on a trail cam at a deer bait. At first glance,the photo looks like a bear but if you look closely at the ears and the hair,as well as the general build of the animal,then you may change your opinion as to what you are looking at. Take a close look at this photo.It isn't the best quality,but it's good enough to form an opinion.To me,this creature looks like a wild pig! I sure hope it isn't but I don't know what else it could be. The big question is where did this thing come from? The only wild boars that I know of in this area were ones raised by a local farmer who raised some exotic species. I had a close encounter with a large boar that weighed about three hundred pounds that escaped its enclosure and ended up in my front yard! At the same time,about eight little piglets escaped and were destroying lawns and landscaping in the neighbourhood.This all took place about six or seven years ago and most people thought they would just die off. I'm starting to wonder about that after seeing this photo. The area where this photo was taken is about twenty kilometers from where the pigs escaped but I have learned that some of these pigs were spotted as far as thirty km. away from where they escaped! Is this one of the original escapees or is this an offspring of the originals? Or is it a totally separate incident where another individual has escaped? Hopefully, these questions will be answered in the near future. One individual from the DNR was shown the photo and he said it was a bear! You be the judge. I just hope and pray we don't have a breeding population of these destructive buggers because there are a lot of places in the south that would dearly like to get rid of the ones they have! This is not a good news event. I will keep my
readers posted on any new developments as this situation unfolds.
The open water fishing is just about done for another year. The diehard striper fishermen are still at it,especially around Reversing Falls in Saint John but everything else is pretty much done. As usual,I finished out the salmon season on the beautiful Cains River. This fall ,I found the fishing to be great but the catching was a bit spotty. If you fished on a raise of water and a day or two after,you had a chance of hooking a fish.After a couple of days,the water dropped like a stone and the bite stopped just as abruptly. Maybe the quick run-off is normal but I find it troubling. Nowadays,the water seems to drop off too quickly. Allen D.,good friend and guide,travelled with me for a few days and he potted a few grouse and I managed to catch a nice ,dark grilse.Before catching this fish,I had numerous bumps and short hook-ups but it was pretty tough fishing. At least there was lots of wildlife around to keep things interesting.A couple of years ago, there was a semi-tame fox hanging around the bridge on RT 123.This year,there was a family of otters entertaining/torturing the fishermen. They showed up early each morning and scolded anyone who was in their fishing hole! I also saw a large male mink on the shore one afternoon. I did manage to get a photo of the otter as they were hissing and chattering at me.
There was an adult and three pups when I saw them but I only got two of them in the photo because they were diving so often.The next photo is me with the grilse I caught .
I also caught a few nice trout while fishing salmon on the Cains. That is one of the bonuses of fishing this beautiful river.If the salmon aren't taking,you can almost be sure the brook trout will be and there are some dandies in that old Cains river.This next photo shows me with one of the trout I caught while fishing salmon this fall.
Overall, 2010 was a very good year for salmon,in terms of returning numbers. The down side to the summer fishing was the brutally hot weather we had for a couple of weeks.It really stressed the fish and the catching was very poor for a spell but when the water did cool off, there was some great fishing for those lucky enough to be fishing during the right time slot. Looking forward,the spring fishing should be very good because of the good numbers of fish in the system.
We had some very good shooting during the early goose season,with Jamie and Dallas bagging several one morning at Randy N. farm. Dallas works some for Randy and he lets us shoot his fields each fall.
The opener for ducks was also a great day afield for us and three shooters each bagged a limit.We had Allen D. along to do some cooking and Jamie's girlfriend,Brook,was along to take photos and help out with the cooking.The shooting was fast and furious and the food was fantastic.
The next photos were taken on the marsh on the first day of the duck season.

The 2010 moose hunt was also a great success for most hunters lucky enough to draw a tag. Dallas hunted again this year with Randy-Micheal,who was the second gun on his mothers tag. Dallas is a popular guy to have along on a moose hunt because he is young and strong and is an excellent skinner and meat cutter. Dal really knows his way around a meat shop and has processed many moose at Chappie's Meat Shop in Briggs Corner.Randy took a beautiful young six point bull on Friday right beside the highway on the 123. Randy and Dal said it sure made the retrieval a lot easier. The next photo shows the boys skinning their moose over at Wes's.Old Wes just loves to see the pole hanging with a fresh kill because he knows there will be some tenderloins frying in the pan later on.
Our local station registered about thirty moose this year and the biggest was a twenty-two point bull taken in the Canaan River area. This moose weighed in at eleven hundred and twenty -five lbs. Adam P. and his family were also fortunate to take a trophy moose and got it on their own property,no less! Adam's mother had the tag and Adam was the second shooter. Adam is a supervisor at the local saw-mill here in Chipman but he lives in the Florenceville area. The next photo's show Adam and his mothers seventeen point bull taken in a beaverdam.
Congratulations to all the successful moose hunters of 2010 and maybe next year I'll get lucky and draw a tag if the new government and DNR change the format for picking tags. This was one of the election promises and it would go a long way towards making the draw fairer and allow some long time applicants a chance at a tag.
Here are a couple of photos of some of the vintage items I have collected over the years. The first photo is one of a TV or table lamp from the late Fifties or early Sixties. These lamps were quite popular at that time and came in many different forms. This one is a Puma standing on a rock ledge.
The next photo is one of a display case I had made for me many years ago to hold some of the early board games I collect. I had a set of horns from a ten point bull moose I had taken and I really didn't think the horns would display well on the wall so I had a friend use them as the legs for my glass case and it turned out quite well.
I will continue to show the readers of this blog more vintage items in the future,including some that I will be selling  when I retire. But if anyone sees something they like and can't wait that long,just give me a shout and we will see if we can come to terms.
Be sure to watch for next months edition of my blog for some pictures of the great New Brunswick bucks that are sure to be taken this season. Myself and the crew are bird-dogging some real nice ones and I'm sure there will be some hanging on Wes's pole.
Until next time, Happy trails to you.....until we meet again!

GOODBYE SUMMER......HELLO FALL!

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