Sunday, November 27, 2011

N.B. 2011 DEER SEASON ---A TIME FOR CHANGE.


    The 2011 deer season just ended last week-end and the numbers are now in. A total of 4755 deer were killed, with 137 being taken with a bow. These figures are slightly lower than last years kill of 5101. DNR and many hunters had been predicting even lower numbers so I guess we are supposed to be happy with those results? Nope,I don't think so! This years deer kill is the fourth worst on record and that's not good! Of course,there were some nice bucks taken around the province and the Grand Lake area produced some very nice trophies for a few lucky hunters. As a matter of fact,there were at least three nice bucks that I know of that were taken just a few kilometers from the Pioneer Lodge. One of the Phillips girls got a nice eight point buck in her back orchard in New Dominion and a nice nine point and a huge ten point were taken in Cox's Point.It should also be pointed out that all of these bucks were taken on private ground. That's where the bulk of our deer herd lives now. The Big Woods have really seen a drop in numbers in our areas we have hunted in the past and that is why we have to change our tactics from now on when pursuing deer.Roughly two thirds of this years kill came from the south and western areas of the province and this is where most of the private ground is in New Brunswick.
    Our deer hunt this year was cut short before we really got started. Ken's brother-in-law,Bob Urquhart,passed away half way through the season.Bob was Dallas and Jamies father so that effectively ended the season for my hunting partners for 2011. Jamie did manage to set up a spot close to town and he seen quite a bit of action at this site. He had about a half dozen does and kids and one young buck that he had a chance at but chose not to shoot because of poor light. Jamie said he would rather let him grow than risk wounding a nice deer.Good for you,Jamie! The following photos are from Jamies new bait site in town.
We are in the process of setting up five or six sites such as these in and around the village.These sites will be bow sites because of their location. This is a trend that will be on-going as we move our hunting efforts closer to the village and to points further south.For my part,I travelled to the southern end of Grand Lake and scouted some of my old stomping grounds that I hunted years ago when I was growing up in that area.I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of deer sign I was seeing but a lot of the activity was does and kids. There were some bucks around because I found some scrapes and some nice rubs in a couple of locations. My son Curtis lives in the area so it makes it convenient when hunting there because we use his place as a base of operations when in that locale. It's only an hours drive to these hunting grounds,which is about how far we travel when hunting the Big Woods to the north of us. I went in to check out a spot I found on the last day of the season and took a short video clip of the spot where a nice buck and a few does are coming out to an overgrown field.This spot should be good for a bow hunt next fall over bait. The deer in this area take bait well,with the locals using apples carrots and pumpkin with good success. It has been our experience that big bucks will show themselves more readily if you set up for them back in the woods rather than on the edge of the field. They don't like exposing themselves during daylight hours but if they can sneak into a bait located in good cover,these big bucks will sometimes come in during the twilight hour before dark.
    The next two photos show one trophy class buck and a nice up and commer buck at a wilderness food plot constructed next to a beaver dam. It proves the theory that if hunters construct food plots in wilderness areas,the deer will utilize it.
This year was the first year in memory that there were no deer hanging on the game pole here at home on Salmon River. Ken and the boys certainly weren't in very good spirits for this years hunt and they just didn't get into the hunt like they usually do.I found myself being rather bummed out at the low numbers of deer in our traditional hunting spots so I never really got excited about this years deer hunt.I'm not trying to make up excuses for our lack of success during this years hunt but there were unusual circumstances to deal with this year and I thought I would best use my hunting time scouting new areas. At least I found some nice bucks while changing areas during the 2011 deer season. Hopefully,this will bode well for next years deer hunt and we will get a crack at some of those big bucks we know are in our chosen areas.
    As I already said,there were still some nice bucks taken in the grand Lake area and two guys who work at the local saw mill score on a couple of trophy bucks.Shaun S. from Minto was hunting with his son in the Salmon River area (for some reason he didn't get too specific about where he got his buck). He had a hunting partner who pushed the deer right out to Shaun. Now that's what I call a good buddy! The next two photos show Shawn with his 2011 buck.
This buck had a nice high rack and Shaun said the experience was certainly enriched by the fact his son was with him and got some first hand experience hunting with his Dad and seeing him take this nice N.B. buck.
    Another saw mill worker,Ivan B. of Chipman,took a tremendous buck while hunting out of his brothers camp on the western side of Grand Lake. I didn't get any photos of this buck but Ivan told me it was a twelve pt. buck that dressed out at 248 lbs. That's a big buck by any standard! Congratulations to Ivan and Shaun and all the other hunters who managed to take a buck this year.
    One of New Brunswicks on-line hunting sites,NBHunting .com has a thread that shows some of the nice bucks taken around the province by the members of that site. These photos show that New Brunswick still has the potential to be the white-tail buck mecca that it once was. Even now,with our deer herd numbers at near historic low,hunters across the province managed to take some really nice bucks. Here is the link to the photos of those nice bucks.http://newbrunswickhunting.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3230-2011-whitetail-harvest-pics-only-no-comments/
    My own thoughts,upon reflecting back upon this past deer season,is that change is inevitable.It's part of our reality and is the basis for our evolution as a species. But for some strange reason,most humans have a tendency to resist change,even though it is an integral part of our existence. Imagine how far we have come in a relatively short time,both as a species and as hunters. As our fore-bearers had to change their hunting areas as game was diminished in their traditional areas,so do our modern day migrant hunters from the north and east pursue our deer herd ever further south. This is an entirely natural occurrence and one we must accept in the hunting community. This season,I saw much less hunter activity by visitors from away and I'm assuming the less enthusiastic hunters just didn't bother travelling this year. Many of the more serious hunters travelled further to the south and hunted on or near private ground in hopes of increasing their chances for success There was also less hunting pressure from the locals because many didn't bother to even by a licence. This made the woods much quieter this year and I really liked that part of the hunt. So in the near future,Ken and I,as well as the boys,Jamie and Dallas,will be changing our hunting efforts by hunting closer, with bows and a little further south,towards the southern end of Grand Lake in hopes of increasing our hunting success on those big N.B. bucks.
    The ruffed grouse hunting this year was very good in our area and many hunters limited out on good days when the weather co-operated. There were some good sized flocks at the start of the hunting season  which indicates a good nesting year with a high survival rate. Of course,after the young of the year got thinned out,the older wiser birds that were left weren't nearly so easy to bag.
        The woodcock flight this year was considered average this year but the northern birds were here but at times it was feast or famine,depending on the locale and how hard the coverts had been hunted.Jamie spent this season doing a lot of training and less shooting as he tries to finish off his English setter to be steady to wing and shot. These little birds are great sport and we are fortunate to live in close proximity to some very good coverts around Grand Lake and its tributaries.
    For this post,I have dug out a couple of ornaments to show my readers.The first photo is of a pair of black panthers. The larger cat has a stylized, elongated body with red paint around the mouth.The paint is pretty good on this one but this type of ornament is notorious for loosing its paint because it is applied over the glaze and gets worn or flaked off from being handled and cleaned. The smaller cat resembles the larger one but is fashioned in a more realistic fashion. Both of these ornaments are Japanese in origin and are from the late Fifties or early Sixties.
 The next photo is one of a ceramic string holder fashioned into an owl. I have several string holders fashioned from different things. Manufacturers employed a variety of figures into the making of string holders including one of the more popular ones,a black mammy face. Back in the day,string was used a lot in everyday life and most households had one on the wall,usually in the pantry. This nice little owl has under glaze decoration with two sized holes for the string to come out of. If you look closely,you can see the holes for the string under the beak of the owl. I'd peg this little item from the late Fifties or early Sixties. The manufacturer was an English pottery. Here is a photo of the mark. 
The last item I have to show my readers is one of a N.B. wardens badge from 1939. This badge is in very good condition and shows very little wear. These badges,along with guide badges, are becoming very collectible and the early ones are commanding high prices. I know I probably paid more than I should have for this one but it was an earlier version and had the significance of being issued in the year WW11 was started.
    In closing,I would like to urge any of my readers who are looking for a vacation hunting ,fishing or just relaxing in the Grand Lake area to give me a call or shoot me an e-mail for more information on how to arrange a day or a week in Gods country! This is Dale Bauer saying 'Happy Trails to You....Until we Meet Again!'

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