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Another Magical Kenauk Deer Hunt

- November 27th, 2014

November’s Outdoors Guy column is now out in print in the Pembroke Daily Observer, or available online for folks who dont live up the valley. Congratulations again to Jordan Durocher, winner of this year’s Great Outdoors Trivia Contest:

 http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/2014/11/24/another-magical-deer-hunt-in-montebello-que

 

Another magical deer hunt in Montebello, Que.

Deer hunting season may be deemed successful for a variety of reasons, ranging from a sagging meat pole to no meat pole at all.

My annual deer hunt to Kenauk Nature always brings with it a lot of emotion. The famous Montebello, Que. deer woods which was recently sold by Fairmont Hotels, is a hunter’s paradise with rolling hills, rugged terrain and majestic old growth forests. Climbing the peaks each autumn with my hunt gang in pursuit of a whitetail buck is always exciting, and this year was no exception. On one hand, I am in a paradise living a hunter’s dream of chasing whitetails in one of the most scenic woods in the region. Then on the other hand, my Kenauk trip marks the last kick at the hunting can for the year. Thank goodness for a lot of great trail cam images this fall as, sadly, most of antlers I saw were travelling at night after legal shooting hours.

Harvest’less hunt part of conservation

This deer season, unlike some previous ones, I was not presented with the opportunity to harvest a mature buck and that’s fine with me. It is why they call it hunting after all. Like last fall, however, I did have an opportunity of looking through my scope at a fat four-point buck which, as nice a deer as it is, was still shy of Kenauk’s six-point minimum. Not that I would have taken this young buck anyway and I trust other hunters also keep conservation in mind these days. The idea of allowing lessor bucks the chance the mature and disseminate their progeny is a ‘growing’ trend; especially as deer herds continues to rebuild in Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario. I do not personally need freezer meat so badly that I would pluck a smaller animal from the gene pool before its prime. Perhaps next year I will have the opportunity to harvest a nice whitetail but until then, I am left with the satisfaction of another fulfilling hunt. Thanks to Bill Nowell, Lynda Melanson and Celyne Fortin of Kenauk Nature for facilitating yet another trip to this little slice of heaven. To experience wilderness at its best with top notch accommodations, check out: http://kenauk.com/ For more information on deer hunting across the river a short drive from the Valley, contact Quebec’s Ministry of Tourism at 1-877-266-56871-877-266-5687.

Safety first

This time of year with some hunters still on the go, outdoor enthusiasts are reminded to be vigilant and take the necessary safety precautions. Remember that hunter orange of a minimum 400 square inches is required and for Ontario residents, a hunter orange cap as well. Be sure to keep your firearms and ammunition separated and locked away when not in use and never shoot unless absolutely sure of your target and beyond. It is illegal to shoot from a vehicle or carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle, and remember that any hunter who harvests a deer must immediately attach the game seal. A safe hunt is a happy hunt and a careless accident can turn a wonderful day in the woods into tragedy.

Contest winner

Congratulations to Jordan Durocher of Pembroke – winner of this year’s Great Outdoors Trivia Contest. Jordan was the first person to correctly answer all three trivia questions and will receive a generous hunting scent gift package courtesy of Terry Rohm of Tinks. Thanks to everyone who participated this year.

Next time

Check out next month’s Outdoors Guy column for another product field test, highlights from this year’s deer season and your Valley ice-fishing primer! Drop me a line anytime with your hunting and fishing news or stories: theoutdoorsguy@rogers.com.

2015 Toyota Tacoma tackles the Laurentians!

- November 27th, 2014

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(2015 Tacoma 4X4 Limited Edition - test vehicle – BEFORE heading off-road into the mountains)

 

Fresh air, clean water and nature’s wondrous beauty all at your doorstep in Quebec’s Majestic Laurentian Mountains.

I consider myself fortunate to be a country boy; fortunate to have an upbringing which brought me deep into God’s country and back, on more outdoor adventures than you can shake a stick at.   

Hunting, fishing and exploring nature were always a huge part of my life and pursuing wily mountain whitetail deer was at the top of that list!

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This fall, thanks to Toyota Canada, I had the pleasure of taking the 2015 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 Limited edition double cab on two separate trips, off the beaten path high into the fabled Laurentian mountains of Quebec.

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The 2015 Tacoma, as I discovered, is not unlike the Tacoma of days-gone-by, nor is it remarkably different from the 2000 Tacoma 4X4 sitting in my own driveway at home. (I am already a Tacoma owner)

Ok, so there are a few subtle differences between the 2015 and my 15 year old (yet still solid as a rock) pick-up truck. First off, the overall footprint has changed considerably compared to days of old, and this full double cab version I tested offers more than ample room in this small but scrappy Mid-size truck category.

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The already slim mid-size truck market grew even narrower when the Big 3 all but pulled-out. Tacoma sales now account for nearly 70% of this market competing mostly with Nissan, GM’s re-entry with the Colorado & Canyon, and to some extent the Honda Ridgeline; although with the Ridgeline’s unibody construction I would place it more in the crossover category. Tacoma’s have maintained a traditonal pick-up truck ladder frame construction.

But that certainly doesn’t mean Toyota should rest on their laurels and a reputation of producing perhaps the best small truck ever made.

Or does it?

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So what has Toyota offered the mid-sized truck buyer for 2015?

Despite a few changes such as regular cab being discontinued, and the introduction of Toyota’s popular(albeit somewhat pricey) TRD Off-road package, this solid pick-up has remained pretty much status quo in recent years.

In my opinion, there was really little that needed changing. The Tacoma remains one of the most sought-after used vehicles on the market with an unprecedented residual value. (I was shocked by market value of my 2000 Tacoma)

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The 2015 Tacoma 4X4, I tested, came equipped with the 4.0 litre V6 which kicked-out a more than ample 236 horses and 266 ft-lb of torque.

With a towing capacity of 6500 pounds and a 1500 pound payload, this truck is about the most conveniently-sized pickup you can ask for, and an ideal choice for an hunting trip into the historic hills of southern Quebec.

This truck is not the big powerhouse and workhorse of a full-sized Tundra, but by virtue of its more modest proportions serves as a nice compromise when maneuvering into parking spaces in town.

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My deer hunting excursion was certainly off on the right foot once the truck was packed and loaded on a 5-day adventure to my family hunt camp near Mont Tremblant, followed closely by another voyage to Kenauk Nature in Montebello, an hour or so away.

While on the road, I found time to enjoy the entertainment options the new Tacoma had to offer which included an awesome Entune™ Premium JBL Audio system with Navigation and satellite radio!

The interior layout and comfort level was something to behold. Bright and roomy and I actually felt a bit guilty for getting the truck dirty.

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The Limited Edition model boasts a lot of great amenities including full grain leather, Sirius satellite radio, backup camera, a generous number of drink holders and comfortable SofTex-trimmed seats, heated front sport seats with 4-way adjustable driver’s seat and lumbar adjustment support. (My lower back didnt complain)

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Controls were upfront and clean and as far as seating and storage space, the Tacoma came with a folding rear bench seat that tucks neatly away against the back wall.

The Limited Edition also boasts such standard features such as these 18-in. chrome-clad alloy beauties, with P265/60R18 tires, chrome grille surround and rear bumper, color-keyed front bumper and overfenders, chrome fog light housing, chrome door handles, chrome power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators.

You might say chrome is running amok in this truck, and I had no complaints about that.

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Another feature of the 2015 Tacoma I enjoyed was the convenient 110V outlet located along the back wall of truck bed near the tailboard. A smart idea for plugging-in an extension light while working around outside.

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Once we arrived at our lakeside paradise in Montebello, the Tacoma fit right into the surroundings with its rugged outdoor appeal. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of style and class when you’re roughing it in the wilderness. 

Kenauk’s Chalet Hidden was our home for the second half of the deer season.

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The mood certainly was melancholy as we checked-out of our hunting retreat for another year!

 

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All in all, the 2015 Toyota Tacoma 4X4 Limited turned out to be a more than worthy hunting companion and a head-turner to boot! The truck performed flawlessly, got decent gas mileage and held up like a charm to the punishment of many hours on some tough mountain roads! 

The new Tacoma was a huge part of this year’s hunting season and from I’ve seen, would be perfectly suited for any hunting or fishing trip you can think of. (And I can think of a lot)

After having tested and reviewed several trucks over the years, by different manufacturers, in my opinion the new Tacoma is the pick of the litter!

 

The Outdoors Guy

Charter of Rights and Freedoms, for Animals?

- November 24th, 2014

Ok, now I’ve heard of everything – a Charter of Rights and Freedoms for animals to call their own?

An  animal rights group from Canada has proposed the ground-breaking “Charter of Rights and Freedoms for Animals” as not only a way to further the protection of animals but (in my opinion) further the agenda of this one particular Animal Rights group.

An organization calling themselves ‘Animal Justice’ launched the idea which would “guarantee the rights and freedoms that make life worth living, and give all animals a chance to have their interests represented in court.”

What??

The group claims there is a huge gap between how Canadians care about animal welfare and how the legal system views it, and are hoping a petition draws the attention of policymakers. 

 According to the group’s lawyer: “A charter would give clear guidelines on how animals are to be treated and how we expect to live with them… free  from suffering, live meaningful lives which they can express natural behaviours and socialize.”

It actually took me a few seconds to check the calendar, as I was convinced it was April 1st and this was all a big joke.

Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and I’m a huge proponent of conservation and wildlife management, but come on now people, give your head a shake!

 

Outdoorsguy

 

Whitetail mating ritual captured on film!

- November 17th, 2014

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This weekend, I was presented with a rare opportunity near my place to photograph the whitetail rut up-close-and-personal. To see a magnificent buck, firsthand, as he pursued a doe coming into estrus was a scene I will never forget!

 

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The courting ritual begins as the buck feeds casually near the doe, all the while keeping her close at hand…

 

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He is quite the attentive boyfriend indeed.

 

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The buck took a moment to tear-up a nearby maple tree(easily 12″ diameter), in perhaps the largest rubbed tree I have ever seen!

 

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The buck then starts to make a scrape just as the battery dies in my camera – doohh!

Luckily I had another one available, although the delay did cause me to miss the majority of his scrape making.

 

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As doe made her way across the field toward me, the old buck was in hot pursuit.

 

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I managed to slip my way around and photograph the two deer from another angle, as the buck continued his pursuit of the doe.

 

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In this most incredible image, the buck can be seen scent-checking the doe for receptiveness.

Estrus cannot be far off!

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This is the last photo I have in the series before the two moved off together and out of range.

To be able to witness the white-tailed deer courting ritual firsthand is something I will not soon forget; and without a doubt, the greatest series of photographs I’ve ever captured.

Outdoorsguy

 

 

 

 

Going Wild for whitetails!

- October 20th, 2014
My October column is now available in the Ottawa Valley’s foremost authority on the outdoors; the Pembroke Daily Observer.
 
Congratulations to Jordan Durocher of Pembroke, this year’s winner of the Great Outdoors Trivia Contest. Jordan takes home a nice Tinks Gift Package!:
 
 

Ottawa Valley hunters going wild for whitetails

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

With the coveted white-tailed deer rifle season just around the corner, enthusiasts are gearing-up for the most anticipated week of the year.

Deer hunters of the Ottawa Valley are chomping at the bit with the whitetail ‘pre-rut’ posed for take off. This special time of preparation and anticipation will be followed closely by a full-blown rut in early to mid-November. Remember that ungulates like deer and moose are polygamous by nature with males’ breeding copious females throughout the fall. During pre-rut, bucks begin altering their daily routine in preparation for the active few weeks that follow. As does enter estrus, bucks usually stop feeding altogether to focus on dissemination of their progeny. Love always seems to come before lunch in the Great Outdoors.

Long-standing tradition

The whitetail rifle season is special and sentimental time I have enjoyed now for the past 34 years. From that very first season when my father invited me to deer camp with the men, I was hooked instantly. It was a tumultuous and exciting time for a young green-horn deer hunter. The joy of pursuing deer as an impressionable youth is like the bud of oak tree; not yet developed but primed and ready to go. I believe most hunters, young and old, share this childlike enthusiasm and really understand what it means to spend time afield. How many activities in life allow us to relive those magical carefree days of our youth?

Testing Testing

Looking back on some of the more interesting electronics I field-tested this summer, Magellan’s new Echo Watch was one of the most intriguing. I have tested almost every imaginable gadget over the years, but this particular unit was a first. The Echo is well-conceived wristwatch which allows users to ‘sync-up’ to a smartphone using Bluetooth technology, for monitoring such fitness metrics as heart rate from Magellan’s heart-rate monitor (sold separately), or to act as a remote control for fitness apps on your smartphone. The Echo watch caters to fitness buffs who own iPhones, and who are serious about staying in shape and keeping tabs on a variety of fitness parameters. This high-tech watch I found to be solid and waterproof with a clear and precise display. Although I am not a huge fitness buff myself, I can see there would be a real niche for such a gadget. For more information: http://www.magellangps.com/

Canadian Fly Fishing Championships in Montebello

Anyone who’s anyone in the fly fishing world will be out casting a line today at my favorite home-away-from-home, the beautiful Kenauk Nature in Montebello. The lakes, serving as venue, in this year’s big fly fisher bonanza are Mills, Tauntan, Sugarbush, Otter and Green. I have personally fished every one of those water bodies and trust me, they are spectacular! The competition runs until Sunday, Oct. 19. For more information on Kenauk: http://kenauk.com/ or for a schedule of events, check out: http://www.flyfishingcanada.net/uploads/Schedule_NFFC_12_Oct_2014.pdf

Safety first

Statistics show that serious accidents are quite rare during the hunting season, however, mishaps do occur. Perhaps our greatest concern, apart from falling asleep in the tree stand, would be muscle strain and body fatigue. For many of us the deer hunt can be one of most strenuous activities of the year. After trekking five miles or more up and down the mountains each day, aches and pains are part of the deal and injury more possibility. I find simple stretching exercises in the morning helps get the old body loosened up and ready for an enjoyable day in the woods. Good luck and be safe out there this fall!

Outdoor Trivia

Here is final question in this year’s Great Outdoors Trivia Contest. The first person to send me all three correct answers will receive a fabulous Tinks hunter’s scent package. mailto:theoutdoorsguy@rogers.com Question #3: Which of the following is NOT the title of a recent post in my Ottawa SUN Outdoors Guy Blog? A) Ontario wages war on feral hogs B) Hunters Bragging board C) Wildlife Speaker series this week, or D) Stand hunting for success. The winner will be announced in my November column!