Author Archive

Maintaining Food Plots for Deer

- July 25th, 2014

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

http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/2014/07/24/maintaining-food-plots-for-deer-a-growing-trend

 

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:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.677725972302563.1073741828.675551532520007&type=1.

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!

(theoutdoorsguy@rogers.com)

Outdoorsguy

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…

When Animals Attack – Goose Edition!

- June 27th, 2014

Kerry Surman after goose attack

Ottawa cyclist Kerry Shurman had no idea what was in store for her during a leisurely ride on the Trans Canada trail between Stittsville and Carleton Place.

All was going well until a family of seemingly harmless geese appeared on the trail before her and suddently all hell broke loose!

After giving the waterfowl some space, Shurman thought she’d just ‘zip past’ them and on her way but somehow misjudged how fast she was pedalling, or perhaps she startled the geese.

In a split second the final goose in the group, which appeared larger and evidently more agressive than the rest, was up in her face faster than you can say cooked goose!

The forlorn fowl wrapped its wings around Shurman’s head, as she recalls, and the next thing she remembered was lying on the ground in pain unable to get up!

Fortunately another cyclist happened-by and brought the dazed and badly injured cyclist to seek medical attention.

Kelly Shurman suffered a concussion, face lacerations, a fractured cheekbone and a loose tooth! She spend 5-days in the hospital before being released.

It just goes to prove, you never know what an animal is capable of until they’re on top pounding the pickles out of you!

A Canada Goose though? Who’d a thunk it!

As a footnote to this story, reports say that while lying injured beside the bike path, Shurman also contracted poison ivy! (If being attacked by a goose wasn’t bad enough)

 

Outdoorsguy

Bass fishing, National Fishing Week, deer tags and more!

- June 26th, 2014

 

My June outdoors column in the Pembroke Daily Observer is now out in print, and available online for those who don’t live up the Valley:

http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/2014/06/25/valley-anglers-kicking-bass

 

Valley anglers kicking bass!

 
Bass may be the last fishing season to open each year but with a growing list of devotees, myself included, it remains one of the most popular sport fish.

Each year, the Valley bass season in Fisheries Management Zone (FMZ) 15 gets underway the fourth Saturday in June, two weeks later than most other sport fish. From a conservation standpoint, the later season allows for warm water smallmouth and largemouth to complete the spawn, and also for young bass to mature so they may fend for themselves. Other species like walleye and trout play no real role in guarding of the eggs so their seasons always open earlier in the spring. Anyone who fishes the Ottawa River, otherwise known as the Fisheries Management Zone (FMZ) 12, may begin bass fishing tomorrow – one day before the rest of the Ottawa Valley. If anyone’s looking for me this weekend, I’ll be in Cobden searching for old bucket mouth!

Deer tags up for grabs!

Valley deer enthusiasts are watching the calendar closely as the antlerless deer tag validation draw closes on June 30. There are three application methods available although your chances at a tag remain the same, whether you apply by telephone, Internet or at a Service Ontario outlet. To apply over the phone call 1-800-288-1155, but remember that if you have already purchased your regular deer license, you’ll not be permitted to enter the draw this way, and must apply either online or visit a Service Ontario outlet. For more information: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/OC/2ColumnSubPage/STDU_137147.html.

National Fishing Week on the way

The goal of National Fishing Week (NFW) is to introduce anglers to this special activity we call sport-fishing. Between July 5 and 14, everyone is encouraged to plan a fishing day at your nearest stream, pond, river or lake. To remind folks of the recreational value of our freshwater fishery, the Ontario government is waving the fishing license requirement for that week each summer. Anglers without a license must still abide by the limits set out in the Conservation permit and all other regulations remain enforced; including size limits and protected sanctuaries. For more information: http://www.catchfishing.com/

Testing testing

This spring I had the opportunity to try out a device which added an all new element to my trout fishing endeavours. Magellan’s new eXplorist 310 – Anglers Edition I field-tested in May proves that no matter how good your fish finder is, it will never bring you to where the fish are! Enter the Magellan 310 Anglers Edition. This handy little gem came with a Fishing Hot Spots add-on, which includes a three lake download as well as 4,000 lakes and waterways included in its database. Such features as detailed shorelines and depth contours are included with every water body. A complete look at physical and biological make up of each lake is displayed, where you can build-in your own ‘honey hole’ waypoints; saved as your own personal points of interest. The 310 special colour screen offered support readability even in direct sunlight or when strapped to the gunnel of my canoe. This unit felt compact and rugged and is completely waterproof as one would expect. Next spring when I begin my ‘trout recon’, I’ll be making a beeline to all the best spots! For more information on the eXplorist 310 Anglers Edition by Magellan: http://www.magellangps.com/Store/eXplorist-Special-Editions/Magellan-eXplorist-310-Angler-Edition.

Big bass, big money

The Lefaivre Lions Club is holding its annual Open Bass Tournament on the Ottawa River on Saturday, June 28 from 7 a.m to 3:30 p.m. With thousands in cash and prizes up for grabs, the town’s Open Bass Tournament has garnered the attention of anglers from across the region and beyond. The Lefaivre Lions Club hosted its first Annual Open Bass Tournament back in 1993, and here we are more than two decades later and the event is bigger than ever. Registration is $200 per boat (team of two) plus $20 for the big fish prize.

Former Canada in the Rough host charged!

- June 10th, 2014

I’m still not sure what to make of Thomas Pigeon and his recent charges…just goes to show that if you do something wrong and someone notices, even years later you’ll pay for it!

 

Pigeon – the former host of the popular Canadian television show; Canada in the Rough, is being forced to pay $8000 restitution for 2 muskox and a wood bison believed to be taken illegally more than 11 years ago!

In March 2003, Pigeon headed to Nunavut and Northwest Territories to capture footage for his hunting adventure show, Canada in the Rough.

Although a lot of time has passed, someone tipped off authorities here in Ontario regarding mounts Pigeon brought back to the province.

Wildlife investigators have since seized video footage of the illegal hunt which had been broadcast as part of Canada in the Rough back in 2003.

Too much time passed to  charge Pigeon for illegal hunting however, investigators used the footage to make their case for the illegal possession charges.

It’s illegal in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories to use vehicles to get within 1.5 kilometres of a muskox for the purpose of hunting. 

In a news release, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources says video footage shows muskox being herded by the guides using snowmobiles so that Pigeon can shoot them.

“The final production depicts the hunters as engaged in a fair chase hunt while approaching the animals on foot and then shooting them,” the release says.

Pigeon has pleaded guilty to the charges and ordered to pay $8000 in fines!

In addition to the fines, the taxidermy mounts were forfeited to the Crown.

Note: It should be noted that NONE of these charges are in any way linked to current hosts of Canada in the Rough, the Beasley brothers. I know them personally and they run an ethical and conservation based series..

 

Outdoorsguy