Saturday, December 7, 2019

2019 FALL HUNT

    Winter is slowly settling in here at home on Salmon River after what I would call a typical fall. Temperatures hovered around the freezing point and rarely got into double digits on either side of the scale. The moose hunt was a great success again this year. There was a total of 3,686 moose harvested. That's 152 more than last year. Although these are great numbers overall, there is cause for concern in some of the southern zones. The northern half of the province continues to produce some real trophies each year.  Here is a photo of one lucky hunter from up north with his first moose.
This moose had 20 pts. and a 52 inch spread. It dressed out at 920 lbs. A trophy bull in anyone's eyes! This next bull was taken by a well known hunter from the Sussex area. Brad has taken several trophy animals over the years and this is his latest bull moose which was taken last fall.
This moose was in beautiful condition and is a true trophy. Congratulations Brad! 
    Kenny and Jamie each had tags for Zone 18 which is in the heart of our hunting territories. I was along to do some calling and help out whatever way I could. Ken, Dallas and I set up camp on the Harley Road and when daylight came, we were on stand and calling. The weather turned bad so we did what many other hunters did and went for a drive. We had scouted several different areas and as luck would have it, a moose stepped out in the road at about 75 yards and stopped. Kenny didn't hesitate and both Ken and Dallas fired and the moose dropped right on the road. Dallas was second gun and with his help we soon had the moose dressed and loaded. We even had a couple of hunters from Richibucto give us a hand loading it. Thanks guys! Here is a photo of us with Kens moose.
Ken has taken bigger bulls but he is not a trophy hunter, per se. This was a nice young bull that was in great shape and he wasn't rutted up, so he was great table fare. Here is another photo of Kens moose where it dropped on the road. The hunt was over for us on the first day at 3:30 PM. This was one of the shortest and easiest moose hunts I have ever been on and we really enjoyed ourselves. Good job Kenny!
Jamie was hunting for horns and passed on a couple of smaller moose early in the hunt. On the last day, he had a chance at an old smasher but couldn't connect. Jamie didn't tag a moose but he took it all in stride. He knows that if you want to be a trophy hunter,you must be prepared to take the good with the bad. Jamie still had a great hunt and was happy to have had his chance at a nice bull. Next time Jamie!

    After the moose hunt, my buddy George wanted to get out for some late fall striper fishing. We have been targeting stripers the last few years as this fishery has exploded onto the outdoor scene here in New Brunswick. In the fall, we usually fish cut bait and that's what worked for George and I at the end of the season in late October. We fished the Miramichi River near Red Bank from shore and managed to land a few keepers. Here are a couple of photos of George and I with the stripers we caught.
I hate to admit it but George out fished me in both size and numbers, This fish put up a great fight and it was at the top of the slot size. George caught three more over two days similar to this one.
We used Dan MacDonald's heavy duty Big Rigs with great results, His tackle is top notch and reasonably priced. Please check out Dans gear at this link https://www.facebook.com/Big-Rigs-Tackle-100435508108899/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CP-R&eid=ARDbWyBZf0lns8algzbKD-fTV3HByhbkniccw-hnV8sAZDq4Hqy9qOKyo95lwXMNaMJeg_qNLIMnKl5-

    Mother Nature provided deer hunters with snow for most of the season and hunters across the province were happy to have it. Like last year, the snow cover helped hunters figure out where the deer were and made it easier to find good ambush points. Some of the younger hunters used the snow cover to track big bucks on the move but this type of hunting isn't for everyone. Older hunters, for the most part, just don't have the stamina to stay on a track all day through rough terrain although there are exceptions to every rule. This can be a very difficult way to kill a big buck but when it all comes together, the reward can be an old smasher hanging on the game pole.
     Brooke took the first buck in our group again this year. She was watching Grandpa's apple trees out back and one morning an eight point buck was standing there. This buck was three and a half years old and dressed out at 192 lbs lbs. Here is a photo of Brookes buck.
On the scale.
Kenny and Jamie hunted hard the last two weeks of the season and two days before the end  of the season, Kenny connected on a nice trophy sized white-tail buck. Kenny's buck was taken on Jamies private ground on the Harley Road. He jumped the buck on the edge of a chopping and made a great running shot on it. Kens buck had eleven points and dressed out at 217 lbs.
This was a nice buck to get and Kenny was happy to harvest it. It had been a while since his last one and he felt he was due. He was right! Another nice buck for the wall Kenny!
    Jamie passed on several small bucks waiting for a big one but it didn't happen for him this year. As for myself, my activities were limited due to health issues and personal commitments but I did get out a bit and I was seeing more sign in our hunting areas and that was encouraging .God willing, I'll be in better shape next year and get a chance at a buck. It's been a while for me and I've got the feeling I'm due too!
    I want to mention some other successful hunters from our area who tagged nice bucks this year. These bucks, as well as Brooke and Kens, were taken within ten kilometers of our homes here on Salmon River. 
    This first buck was taken Marley Lemon on her fathers private wood lot. Marley's dad has had a feeding station for many years and only takes mature bucks out of his little herd. Marley grew up sitting with her father and helping with the feeding regiment during the off season. This year with her Dads help , she took a dandy buck. This was Marley's first buck and it dressed out at 242 lbs
Here's another photo of Marley's first buck.
Terry has a few big bucks of his own on the wall but he's super proud to have been there when she got her first one. Congratulations Marley on your first buck! Terry got Marley's hunt on video and here is a short clip  of their special hunt. 
    This next buck was taken by Martin Beers while he was out for a drive on the Harley Road.
Another nice buck was taken close to home by local hunter Randy Dickinson. This was Randy's biggest buck and it dressed out at 226 lbs.
Another local hunter also took a young 8 pt. that dressed out around 160 lbs. As you can see, we have the genetics to grow trophy bucks right here at home. We just need more of them! The common denominator with all these bucks is they were all taken on private ground by hunters who had access.

    Honorable mention goes to Kevin Sabean for hanging yet another nice New Brunswick whitetail on the pole. This buck wasn't his biggest but it's still a nice mature buck that any hunter would be proud to harvest.
Kevin has also passed on his considerable skills as a woodsman to his sons and together with some friends they have a great FB page full of their outdoor related activities. Please check their page out here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/130516343992260/.

    I want to mention the bucks that Hal Kifillen and his step-son took this fall. Hal was hunting out of his lodge in upper Salmon River and he helped Tanner get his first buck and it was a beautiful 13 pointer. It was taken near the end of the season  Here is a great photo of Tanner with his big buck.
Not to be out done, Hal tagged a beautiful dark horned buck that dressed out at 212 lbs. 
Good job boy's! It's really nice to see bucks of this calibre coming out of Salmon River once again.

    I guess if I had to pick a "sportsman of the year" for 2019, it would be Dave English. Dave first got my attention by posting photos of huge stripers he was catching at the Reversing Falls in Saint John with some regularity. By huge I mean 25lbs. and up. Like this one 
Then I see where he had moved up river from Saint John and posted a picture of a trophy sized musky he landed.
Not too shabby! At this point I'm thinking, this man can fish, big time! I'm getting it. Fishing is his thing. Then I come across this photo of him with a beauty white-tail buck he took this fall with his bow.
I'll let my readers be the final judges but Dave gets my vote, for sure. Congratulations Dave on a great year!

    Preliminary numbers are a total kill of 7,294 deer killed in New Brunswick this year. That represents a 17% increase over last years harvest. This increase can be attributed to a slight jump in the size of our deer herd and a late season with snow on the ground.. Deer hunters shouldn't get too excited because this increase is coming from the rock bottom in terms of numbers of deer killed in past years. I have to say that this is the first year in many years that I can see a light at the end of this tunnel  Currently, we have a Minister of Natural Resources in a minority government who is making any small changes that will move us forward in terms of rules and regulations governing our fish and wildlife. Most of these changes are easy to make and won't cost the government any money. The real test is yet to come and that is nothing short of re-vamping the Crown Lands and Forest Act The large forestry companies are not going to want change because the way it stands, they run the show. Every other DNR Minister and  Premier since L.J. Robichaud has caved into the pressure from Big Business. Groups are organizing and law suits are pending before the courts that are exposing the decades of corruption between Big Business and our provincial governments. This push back by the citizens is why we have a minority government today and I will end this short rant by saying if our present government doesn't come up with a good plan, in short order, to improve our forestry practises, the government will fall. Are you listening Mike?

    There are still some good hunting days left for rabbits and grouse before the snow gets too deep. Jamie and Kenny are still picking up a few partridge here and there but rabbits are scarce in our area. This is also prime time to scout for next years hunt. It's nice to know if there are still bucks that survived the season. There is just enough snow to see a track and animals have been on the move. It's too bad fur prices are so low because the amount of fox, cat and coyote tracks we are seeing is unreal. It's nice to see some species thriving and maintaining healthy numbers. I'm very optimistic that sportsmen in New Brunswick will all do whatever they can to ensure we have a management process in place for our white-tailed deer going forward.

    Ice fishing season is coming right up and the tournament dates are already listed on FB. I love ice fishing for pickerel and perch and I'll be out there every chance I get. If anyone would like to tag along, please contact me through the channels provided. We have reasonable rates and supply everything you need for your ice fishing adventure in the beautiful Grand Lake area!

 

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

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