Outdoors Guy – Ice Bucket Challenge – stay tuned!

- August 21st, 2014

This morning I was challenged by Eric the Intern, of CHEZ 106 FM’s Doc & Woody Show, to the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of ALS.

Thank you Eric, I gladly accept this challenge!!

Although he did his Ice Bucket Challenge completely nude (no mental image please) I have no plans of doing the same. Perhaps a camouflage loincloth ala Uncle Ted Nugent, but nothing less than that.

Stay tuned to the Outdoors Guy for a glimpse of Eric the Intern’s ass video, I mean ALS video, and my own Ice Bucket Challenge to follow!

Also, be sure to listen to the Doc & Woody Show on CHEZ 106 FM tomorrow(Friday) morning for more details.



Follow me on twitter: @ThatOutdoorsGuy 

SeaWorld invests $10 Million in Killer Whale Conservation

- August 19th, 2014

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. recently announced its plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments and that it will fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild.

The new projects will build on SeaWorld’s legacy of providing state-of-the-art, innovative homes for its animals, and will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come.  As part of its vision for the future, the company also pledged $10 million in matching funds for killer whale research and is embarking on a multi-million dollar partnership focused on ocean health, the leading concern for all killer whales and marine mammals.

“For 50 years, SeaWorld has transformed how the world views marine life. The unprecedented access to marine mammals that our parks provide has increased our knowledge of the ocean and inspired generations,” said Jim Atchison, Chief Executive Officer and President of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “Our new killer whale homes and research initiatives have just as bold a vision: to advance global understanding of these animals, to educate, and to inspire conservation efforts to protect killer whales in the wild.”

Transformational New Environments

The first of the new environments will be built at SeaWorld San Diego where the killer whale environment is planned to have a total water volume of 10 million gallons, nearly double that of the existing facility. With a planned maximum depth of 50 feet, surface area of nearly 1.5 acres and spanning more than 350 feet in length, the new environment will also have views exceeding 40 feet in height, providing guests with the world’s largest underwater viewing experience of killer whales. 

Named the Blue World Project because of its size and scope, the new environment will allow for increased engagement with SeaWorld experts through new enriching experiences and other interactive programs. The environment will enhance the educational experience for guests, foster deeper knowledge of killer whales and their ocean environment and inspire them to celebrate and conserve the natural world.

Expanding on SeaWorld’s legacy of leading-edge animal environment design, the enlarged environment will provide killer whales with even more dynamic opportunities.  It will support the whales’ broad range of behaviors and provide choices that can challenge the whales both physically and mentally. 

Among other things, it is planned to include a “fast water current” that allows whales to swim against moving water, thus functionally increasing speed and diversity. Innovative features focused on husbandry and animal care will offer SeaWorld’s animal health professionals and independent scientists unique access to the whales that can lead to a better understanding and care of the animals both in the parks and in the wild.

The San Diego environment is expected to open to the public in 2018 with new killer whale homes to follow at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio. 

Killer Whale Research

 As part of the Blue World Project, SeaWorld has committed $10 million in matching funds focused on threats to killer whales in the wild, especially those identified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration related to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale.  That includes new projects already funded this year: one that will help to understand the hearing ranges of killer whales and the other that will provide insight into nutritional status and reproduction of the Southern Resident Killer Whale.  The matching funds will be in addition to killer whale research conducted by SeaWorld’s scientists, which includes nearly 50 studies to date. 

 Recognizing that ocean health is a leading concern for killer whales and all marine mammals in the wild, the company also announced it will be embarking on a major multi-million dollar partnership focused on protecting the ocean.   

Advisory Panel

SeaWorld will also engage an Independent Advisory Panel to bring new perspectives and ideas to the project. The panel will focus on the creation of an environment that maximizes the health and wellbeing of the animals. Given the particular expertise of current panelists and those expected to join, the panel will further advise on integrated research projects that can be conducted within the new environment and foster partnerships within the science and academic communities working in the wild. 


Current Advisory Panel members include:

  • Dr. Paul Boyle, Senior Vice President for Conservation and Education, Association of Zoos & Aquariums
  • Dr. Heidi Harley, Professor of Psychology, New College of Florida
    • Dr. Dorian Houser, Director of Conservation and Biological Research, National Marine Mammal Foundation
    • Dr. Linda Lowenstein, Professor Emeritus Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
    • Dr. Shawn Noren, Associate Research Scientist, Institute of Marine Science, University of California Santa Cruz
    • Mr. Tom Otten, Chief Executive Officer, Reef Experience
    • Dr. James F.  Peddie, DVM, Distinguished Faculty Chair, Exotic Animal Training and Management Program, Moorpark College
    • Dr. Paul Ponganis, Research Physiologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    • Dr. Kwane Stewart, Chief Veterinary Officer and National Director, Film and Television Unit, American Humane Association
    • Dr. Pam Yochem, Senior Research Scientist and Executive Vice President, Research, Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute

For more information on the Blue World Project, please visit www.seaworld.com/blueworld


Another summer of Urban Coyotes in Ottawa!

- July 30th, 2014

Another summer is here and my trail cameras have once again snapped into action!

I am always interested in monitoring the white-tailed deer situation in my area, but of course the marauding coyotes always seem to steal their thunder; showing up on all my cameras with great regularity!

Then the missing cat signs start popping-up around town. Two such signs have gone up near my place since June. No, not every missing pet in Ottawa is the work of wile-e-coyote, but these predators do have a hand(or paw) in many of those disappearances.

I received a sad letter this week from a distraught lady out in the Bridlewood area of Kanata who’s beloved cat disappeared without a trace, so she decided to Google ‘Ottawa Missing Pets’ which brought her to the Outdoors Guy Blog and a previous post about coyotes in our region.

Of course her worse fears were all but confirmed!

She told me she felt that Ottawa may be experiencing a ‘coyote outbreak’ and that residents should be ‘warned’ of the potential dangers these animals pose in the suburbs.  I explained to her that this isn’t really an ‘outbreak’ per say, but that managing and controlling ‘urban coyotes’ has been an ongoing problem here and in many other metropolitan areas.

I am thankful that, out my way at least, a handful of famers located outside the ‘no discharge zone’ are helping control the coyotes through hunting and trapping, whereas most residents like myself are forced to stare out our back doors while these four-legged killing machines run-off with our pets, if we’re not careful.

But then the animal rights people would say this is ‘their land’ and ‘they were here first’, so we should leave well enough alone.

Blah blah blah

Go tell that to the lady from Bridlewood who’s cat was ‘undoubtedly’ snatched-up by a yote. Or the two families down the road from my place who just lost a beloved family pet! My neighbour witnessed her own cat being torn apart by a coyote in her backyard about 6 years ago. Not something that anyone needs to experience!

Yep, another summer is here and the fear of coyotes in Ottawa continues- on unabated with no real solution in sight!

Welcome to the National Capital Region – enjoy the scenery but watch out for yotes!


Follow me (as I learn how to use) twitter: @thatoutdoorsguy

Maintaining Food Plots for Deer

- July 25th, 2014

My Outdoors Guy column for July is now available in the Pembroke Daily Observer:



Maintaining food plots for deer a growing trend

Jeff Morrison, the Daily Observer's newest columnist, offers up his take on the great outdoors.

Maintaining food plots for white-tailed deer is a conservation technique gaining interest among the more ambitious hunters of our region.

At a time of year when many sportsmen are out on the water, Dave Smetana is out working his deer fields. He is not involved in the agricultural industry by profession; but more what you might call an agricultural conservationist. Smetana has been managing food plots for several years and has a variety of different feed options spread around his Carleton Place property. Nurturing crops for deer is a growing trend throughout North America and our region is no exception. Food plots offer supplemental nutrients throughout the summer and later in the season after farm crops are cut.

Deer farming 101

Smetana gets his sprayer during early season to kill off weeds and unwanted nasties like Milkweed. Then he returns with the ATV and a Plot Mule – a small set of discs hauled behind an ATV. A few small passes over the area is generally enough to prepare the seed bed. From there it’s a matter of spreading the seed evenly. He uses a broadcast spreader but has also used a walk behind spreader for smaller plots. According to this deer farmer, once the seed hits the ground, it needs to be covered with soil immediately. Some seed requires a quarter inch of coverage, while others need more. Managing your own deer food plots might be time consuming work, but for dedicated conservationists like Dave Smetana, it is a labour of love.

Testing testing

Summer in the Valley is not only great for fishing, it’s an ideal time for trying new products. The polarized sunglasses by Guideline Eyewear I field-tested earlier this summer were an eye-opening experience. My Cobden Lake boasts some of the clearest water I’ve seen in this region; making ‘spot and stalk’ fishing a possibility. Sneaking into a quiet backwater bay one evening, I drifted the electric motor to a crawl and slapped on a pair of Guideline Eyewear’s new Keel model. I observed the silhouette of a large northern pike as it skirted the drop-off and then sunk into deeper water. The new Keels offered superb clarity and the ultimate in glare-cutting ability. Each and every minuet underwater subtlety stood-out in solid bright 3D. With double brow and nose pads, and double injected temples, these puppies are built for comfort and durability. I also tested Guideline’s Alpine model which is constructed from Grilamid BTR a 51 per cent bio-based polymer; which I found to be form-fitting with great coverage. Both models come with a durable and lightweight protective case. One pair now rests in my trout bag while the other currently resides in my Ottawa Valley tackle box! For more information on Guideline Eyewear log onto: http://www.glpolarized.com/GEW/index.html.

Duck Junkies Contest!

All waterfowl aficionados out there take note of an exciting contest being held this fall by an organization called Duck Junkies. Thanks to a note from Arnprior’s David Kok – Regional Development for Duck Junkies Canada – I was notified of a neat little give-away with two great guided hunts to be won! The contest is open to Ontario East and Ontario West, put together by Pro Staff Alex Rigby and David Kok of Duck Junkies Canada. Take note that one entry per person is allowed and entrants are asked to indicated either “Ontario East” or “Ontario West”. For more information log onto:


Next time

Check out the next Outdoors Guy for an end-of-summer fishing rundown and an exciting field-test on the latest model trail-camera.

Another summer of Ontario cougar sightings!

- July 11th, 2014

Last summer you may recall my interview with Shawn Heggert; a man who lives in a small town southeast of Ottawa. Shawn is an avid outdoorsman – hunter and fisherman – like many of us are, and is always watching the fields and forests near his house for signs of wildlife.

While driving his vehicle near Mountain last summer, something peculiar caught his attention.

A large brown ‘cat’ with a long tail was running along the roadside in front of him. It was a cougar and Shawn knows wildlife well enough to realize what one looks like.

“I wasn’t hard to tell this guy was a cougar, I mean, he was only 30 yards away and it was  broad daylight!” said Heggert.

Upon returning home, Shawn got on the Internet and began searching Ontario Cougars, which led him to one my articles in the Ottawa SUN from Summer, 2012, with the story of the cougar shot by Police in the Muskoka’s.

Since I interviewed Shawn about his cougar sighting last summer, copious other sightings have flowed, like sap in springtime, to my email Inbox . I have received, on average, 1 cougar sighting per month over the past two years and from all over the place.

There must be something to it is all I have to say! Could it be that all these sightings are from ‘pets’ or ‘formerly captive’ cougars?

Sure, the one killed by police two summers ago in the Muskoka’s had evidently been a captive animal (it had been declawed) but there are far too many sightings, across the province each year to ALL be escaped pets.

It seems no one wants to believe that a remnant population of the (now believe to be) extinct Eastern Cougar might exist in Eastern Canada, yet the sightings continue to grow in numbers. Or perhaps the other theory of an west-east expansion is more plausible? (This is the one I subscribe to)

At any rate, the number of cougar sightings continues to grow and expand into areas of the province beyond the current central & eastern Ontario cougar hotspots.

I mean, I’ve heard of cougars (4-legged) being spotted within ear-shot of downtown Toronto!!

It will be interesting to see what transpires with this one the MNR are actively trying to live trap in Peterborough.(Story by Pete Fisher of the Peterborough Examiner) To my knowledge, this is one of the first efforts the Ministry has made to live trap a cougar. (Not even sure that live trapping was attempted in case of Bracebridge cougar killed by police)

Many of the folks who’ve contacted me since 2012 stated that they got in-touch with their MNR office and were told, flat out, that cougars DO NOT exist in the province.

This live-trapping effort in Peterborough suggests that our MNR now admits, in this case anyway, that we may have some large cats roaming the province of Ontario after all.

Seen a cougar? Drop me a line anytime! I don’t own a culvert trap, but I’m willing to listen intently with an open mind!



Note: Since I know Pete Fisher of the Peterborough Examiner, I contacted him yesterday about this story; which falls close to his backyard. He is providing me with updates…