Thursday, June 23, 2011

BIRD DOGS,THE BITE AND REAL VINTAGE STUFF

    The weather continues to play havoc with any planned excursions to the woods and waters here in the Grand Lake area. A day or two of sunshine and then it's back to the rain,at times a veritable downpour! That being said,there has been lots going on outdoors in our area,starting with Jamies purchase of a new English setter gun dog. Jamie has been bitten with the dog bug and he's got it bad. Along with the golden retrievers Ken and Jamie own to help on our duck hunts,Jamie decided he needed a woodcock and grouse dog.He asked me if I knew anyone who had good upland bird dogs and I told him Billy B. who guides some for the Ledges Inn had some good dogs and I knew he just had a litter of pups.Jamie wasn't long in getting hold of Billy and after seeing his dogs,Jamie purchased a nice male setter. I really like English setters because not only are they great gun dogs but they make a very nice house pet also. Jamies pup is very birdie and is off to a great start,pointing wing and feather and following commands as well as any pup could be expected at that age. This is a photo of Jamies new pup on point using a wing.
I can tell already that this pup is going to be real good on woodcock and with some experience,he will likely be able to handle the more skittish grouse. Grouse can sometimes be a problem for a young dog because of their tendency to run. Many times this will cause the pup to relocate the bird before the gunner arrives to give the OK and will inadvertently flush the bird while moving up on it. With experience and maturity,many good bird dogs will naturally figure out how to handle grouse and learn to stay further back on them to avoid a premature flush. This pup is ready to move on to live birds and Jamie is in the process of raising some quail and pheasant so the pup will have some birds to work on this summer. With any luck,Jamie should have a good working setter by the time fall arrives. Good luck with your pup, Jamie! I will be providing updates this summer on the pups progress and hopefully it will be all good news.
    As I said in my last post,it seems that the fishing is a week or so behind for the various species at home here on Salmon River. The annual shad tournament held on the upper Salmon River saw very few fish landed during the tourney. There were some fish there but the water temperature was quite low and the water was higher than normal. I guess this is what caused the low catch numbers because it certainly wasn't the calibre of fishermen who participated in the tournament. Some of the guys fishing would qualify as expert fishermen no matter what species they were fishing for on any given stretch of water! The white perch were also slow to arrive and were not taking well at all during the usual hot period around the first of June. I did manage to catch a few later on but not in the numbers we usually get them. This photo shows me catching one on my shore at home. Normally,we catch all we want right off of our shore when they are running good and the water is at a normal level.
The white perch bite will continue a bit later this year and I can see us still catching them well into July in the deeper holes. The second run of gaspereau are now flooding the shores of Salmon River and the pickerel bite will continue to be slow until the blue backs start backing out of the river. This is quite a sight to see,as tens of thousands of these smaller gaspereau slowly back down the river in huge schools during the first part of July.
The real big news this year is the very early run of salmon and grilse that are running up the MSW Miramichi and her tributaries. Many guides with  years of experience on the river say they have never seen so many fish running this early. According to some of the data coming in,there are some tremendous runs of fish entering the rivers this year and this will make for some fantastic fishing on the Miramichi River system this summer and fall.
The spring bear season is slowly winding down and this spring was a tough hunt,mainly because of the poor weather conditions. There were some very large bear taken in southern New Brunswick this spring,despite the tough hunting conditions. I know there were a couple of boars taken handy to home that were over four hundred lbs. That is a huge black bear by any standard. We had several nice bear at our baits again this year,including this one we caught on the trail cam.
Although we are just about done hunting for this year,Ken and I will continue to bait a couple of our sites just to keep them around. The bait that this bear was hitting also had a large bull moose in for a visit.This is the first time we have had a moose hit one of our baits and the only thing we can think of was he liked the smell of the molasses and came in to check it out. I want to mention a couple of other oddities I heard about lately. The first thing I heard about was a huge black Russian boar was found dead near Coal Creek. Last deer season I posted a picture of what I thought was a pig in one of my blogs.A local DNR officer said there was no way that was a pig in the photo.He said it must be a bear.Well,he was wrong! It was indeed a pig and a very large one at that! Nobody seems to know where this beast came from or what killed it but everyone hopes this is an isolated incident.We sure don't need any of these critters rooting around in our forests. Another report I just received was a sighting of a seal at Indian Point on the southern shores of Grand Lake. A local gent was out for a drive and spotted something laying on the beach and when he got out to take a look,it was a seal! Now this thing was a long way from salt water and I have never heard of one up this far. The only thing we can figure out is it must have followed the gaspereau up while feeding and got lost or got carried away while feeding. The guy that spotted the seal managed to get a photo but I haven't received it yet so I will post the photo in a future blog. Finally,I have a report by a local outdoorsman from Cumberland Bay who was travelling to work last Sunday and came upon an animal standing in the middle of the road. As he approached the animal,he thought it was a coyote at first but when he got closer he seen the long sweeping tail and the large eyes of what he says was a cougar. As he approached the animal standing in the middle of the road,it took a couple of bounds and was in the woods in a flash. Then,out of the corner of his eye,he spotted another smaller one come bounding out of the ditch and leaped across the road following the path of the other one. This was almost too much for the guy to bear but he swears he got a good look at both of these animals and they were definitely cougars! I usually take these reports with a grain of salt but I know this guy is an experienced outdoorsman and I don't think he would mistake these animals for something else.
If you look at this blogs title,you will see it says 'real vintage stuff' and by that I mean I want to share with you some information on one of the rarest gemstones in the world. This gem stone is called Ammolite and the reason it is REALLY vintage is that it is made from the shell of a nautilus that lived seventy million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. Now that's what I call vintage! A few years back,I dabbled in this stuff,along with some high grade fossils and in the process,learned a lot about the world of gems,stones and jewellery.Ammolite is derived from the shell of a sea creature,so it is classed in with pearls and amber,which also are derived from a source other than stone. Ammolite is only found in one place in the world and that is in the ancient Bear Paw Formation in southern Alberta. This was once an inland sea and the ammonite nautilus that lived there perished in the disaster that befell the earth at that time. After being buried,minerals reacted with the shell material and over time the shell changed into a beautiful gem material that is so highly prized today. Ammolite comes in three forms.They are naturals,doublets and triplets. I have experience with all three forms and I can tell you this gemstone is very difficult to work with. It's complexity won't allow me to go into detail on the making and grading of Ammolite but the finished product is stunning in it's beauty and compares to any of the finest gems on earth. I no longer deal in fossils or Ammolite since the Alberta government tightened up the regulations on this precious material but I still have some raw material that I can turn into gems someday. This is a photo of some beautiful Ammolite that I still have kicking around.
This type is called 'dragon skin ' because of the pressure lines in the raw Ammolite. The triange shaped piece has a couple of lines but it is close to being called a ' clear ' because it is nearly devoid of any lines.
Ken and I are starting to do day trips on Salmon River and hopefully we will get some good weather when the pickerel bite starts in earnest,so if you would like a day or week in the bush or on the water here in the beautiful Grand Lake area,just shoot me an e-mail and we will make all the arrangements. This is Dale Bauer saying Happy Trails to you....Until we meet again!

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