Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Thoughts on hunting’ Category


It has been several weeks now, since I first saw Canada geese fly in over the river. They are officially back, actually some of them never really went that far. All I know is that Charlie and Charlotte are back, set up in the creek next to my residence. It has now officially been three years, and just like clock work they work their way up the bank, this time a year to feed on my lawn at seven in the morning and around seven in the evening.

Last fall by the time they were ready to head off, I had accommodated two families for a total of sixteen birds on my lawn. This year, I will keep track of their numbers again.

Depending on the days, if Charlie is feeling courageous enough and is not too bothered by all the others buggars like the local wood duck, Mergansers and Mallards, the mink, beaver, squirrels, groundhog, and finally the deer. He might just hang out for the afternoon and soak up some sun. I can go about my business and even communicate with them by making deep faint honking sounds or just simply talk. I get back the odd a head wave from Charlie showing off his chin strap letting me know he is aware.

There is something magical and very rewarding about sharing our everyday lives with waterfowl and other mammals. Observing and capturing their every detail, in this never ending quest to learn. The deep understanding and connection with them that I have acquired over the years, is the very reason why my mastery of the wetlands has become part of my very fabric.

Read Full Post »


Shortly after noon, my friend and I breached the Southern forest making it to the road and then continuing into the rich northern territory of the farm. We were headed deeper into the white wilderness, the sights were simply breathtaking with the majestic evergreens covered with their imperial winter coats.

There was a consistent snow fall with a slight North-Easterly wind. As my bare hands gripped my shotgun keeping the barrel clean of debris, the snow from a nearby tree fell onto my shoulders as I leaned under the ever green canopy and disappeared further into the bowels of this raw Canadian wilderness.

As I turned for a last look at the road, I knew we were not alone, there had been a lone coyote, walking right down the middle and you could see his curious pauses along the trail as there were paw tracks heading right towards the trees, then back stepping into his trail and continuing North.

His presence was a positive sign, as both him and I had successful harvested the famed snowshoe hare in these woods in the past. My friend and I finally found some fresh hare tracks and began our tracking, which lead us to an abandoned barn full of great hiding places for snowshoe hare.

The droppings were harder to find, but we focussed on the leads and on all possible hidden spot a hare could be found. Time seemed to accelerate as we looked into our environment and the tracks, our focus was consumed.

I suggested we work our way to the Western side of the forest because I knew there was a high probability that a hare would be in its freeze pose amongst the low hanging spruce bows.

With my friend on my right, we pushed forward.

I got down on one knee to get a closer look at the ground level and under the spruce. I was looking East and in an instant, as soon as my friend pushed through the pine, moving at an incredible speed the white ghost sprung diagonally in front of me from right to left. I immediately raised my shotgun and pushed it off save, but did not have a clear shot, the hare had already covered lots of ground and zigzagged through the trees and gave me no opportunity for a clean shot.

The pursuit was on, I yelled out to my friend that I spotted one and took off after it, kicking up snow as  fast as I humanly could. I pushed my safety back on, and started pushing through the wintery trees, keeping my eyes locked on the fresh tracks and hare leaping forward, he was a good size hare.

Just like a grouse chase, I was being drawn deeper into the wintery woods and I had maintain my bearings on the road as to avoid getting lost. This chase was classic and reminded me of the opening hunting scene in the movie “Last of the Mohican”.

The flush was on and by the time, I would catch up to the fresh tracks, I could see him ahead of me and in an out of wide trees, I could not get a clean shot off and he was starting to circle back to the road toward my friend.

With no clear shot, I turned back and met up with my friend and we began our push toward the abandoned barn, this triggered another snowshoe hare, who burst in from the east to the west in matrix move worthy of Neo, I swung around and released my shot and by the time the snow burst settled it was a confirmed miss. I saw him fly into the deeper trees. The sound of my shot was not that of a usual shot in the open, the trees muffled it like was confined in a cylinder, like a “Whammffff” sound. Just incredible!

The silence that followed in the cold wintery woods, ended my hunt and I must admit it did sting not to harvest, but this was my reality and I had to accept it for this day was coming to an end. On the drive home, I could see the hare “Neo” flashing in front of me, at speeds of around sixty five kilometres an hour through trees, and that on this day the flush was not going to produce a snowshoe hare harvest.

I can’t wait to hit the wintery woods again soon, to continue my pursuit of this famed white ghost, the snowshoe hare.

Read Full Post »


It was raining heavily with the winds howling all around me, in an Easterly direction. I had been walking for several minutes now through the wetlands, between the ice sheets and the cattails. As the bottom of my boots crushed the crisp swamp grass, with my every breath and step, I was nearing the edge of the dark forest and the river bank.

I was all alone heading deeper into the fog, brought on by the warming temperatures. As I breached the tree line, I was engulfed by the pure white mist. I stopped for a moment, looked back and then stared at the hidden frozen watering holes in the woods, capturing the absolute.

It was only half past three in the afternoon but it felt much later than this, as the darkness creeps in earlier this time of year. I pushed forward toward the banks and soon was met with the wall of ice about twenty meters in length. Its outer edge was cut and had jagged pieces of ice sticking out, it was rubbing against the central ice sheet located in the middle of the river, and this piece was hundreds of meters long.

Just like the earths tectonic plates, the ice sheets were crushing each other and producing this incredible sound of shattering glass. I had already experienced duck hunting this time of year and knew that I could make it out about my waist in height to retrieve a harvest but that any further would be deadly. I would have to plan all my shots, so that the birds would land in a safe area.

Moments later, I was now well hidden behind some majestic trees, right along the edge of the river, I started calling geese and ducks, followed by many minutes of silence. Finally, my calling and patience paid off, I had a flock of Canada’s fly over but they were too high and out of range. They responded to my calls and I tried my best to imitate their call and attempt to interpret which call would draw them in best. I worked them hard, as I have successfully in the past, but they soon disappeared into the fog.

I had a second faint call in the distance and soon realized that it was a lone goose, floating through the middle of the river amongst the great ice pieces and dark waters. I called and was waiting for a response, I worked on this bird heavily but it was all in vain, the current carried the Canada right down the middle and it did not bite and come back over the ice. It flapped its wings and responded but it too disappeared into the mist toward the East.

Just like the final page in a book closing itself, my season on the river was coming to its end, and the last image I had was that of this Canada goose, calling out faintly and fading away in the white mist amongst the ice sheets of this northern land.

I went home without firing a shot but this is sometimes the reality of the hunt, and as a seasoned waterfowler, I am grateful for my time in our great Canadian wilderness.

Read Full Post »


This year, the month of September brought in Canada geese but not in large numbers, a few hundred at a time would settle in the center of the fields coming in from their evenings spent on the open waters or distributaries.

I was able to harvest a few birds so far but never hitting my daily bag limit. I believe that one of the explanations is that it is not cold enough yet and the geese were still not moving much. Actually up until last week it has been relatively warm and only since this weekend have the temperatures started to drop and now we are getting scattered light snow falls.

When November came around, the numbers increased and it was quite a sight to see them fly over on my way into work, heading into the fields to feed. Every morning since the temperatures started to drop, I have been living in a series of paintings of flocking geese heading into the fields in all directions, the snow covered cornfields and the awesome purple colours in the sky, just like driving through an Art Barbarian masterpiece.

“Oh November winds, keep the cold weather comin’, for it turns the skies black with Canada’s, oh what a sight! Oh Novembers winds, what a sight indeed line up the beads with the infamous goose. Aim right and tight, oh November winds!”  CSGH 2019

Read Full Post »


As a small game hunter, I find myself investing a tremendous amount of time in being observant, seeing things that others miss, and it is not just observing wildlife but also everyday life. I believe that we all possess this ability and it does not just apply to hunting, but in all walks of life.

A few months ago, I met a friend at work who happened to share the same passion for hunting, more specifically waterfowl hunting. And now as time goes on, we are sharing incredible hunts, building memories and hopefully if health continues we shall have awesome seasons to come.

I believe that in life, people and things happen like a meaningful coincidence. Sure you can set a goal and work toward it, but ultimately life will takes its course and this can take many forms, meeting new people that impact your life or an event which occurs and changes your direction.

For those who are truly observant will realize that nothing is just random, there is a purpose. You were meant to be there at that moment, or make that choice and in the end you accept and understand. The more time you spend in the wilderness, the sooner you will realize that you do not have control, life around you does.

And when you meet those people, it will be synchronicity. I’ve met many hunters in the past but to meet someone who has the same passion for the sport in their blood is rare, it is like a true waterfowl brotherhood.

Read Full Post »


By the time we crossed the creek, heading South-West toward the edge of the wetlands, the sun was already out with the winds blowing at a steady pace. This was a pretty neat experience for my bud as this was my buddy’s first ever waterfowl season, although he was a deer hunter, we even went to purchase our waterfowl stamps/permits together at the Post office.

This was a big deal for me too, being able to share my passion with a good bud and yet once again I got a chance to be a guide, sharing all my knowledge about ducks and geese. Moments before, I had mentioned to him that sometimes Canada’s can fly in for a landing without ever letting out a single call, and to keep an eye in the sky for they may fly in undetected and this is exactly what happened.

My bud had brought a second pair of  boots to wear for crossing the creek and then left them by a large boulder for later and switched to a lighter pair of boots to make his advance. During this exact moment, three Canada’s flew in from the South-East and headed straight for the wetlands, almost right over head. They completed one fly over doing a half circle then tucked in their wings and dove down into the dark waters behind large bushes.

I waited for my buddy to come up by my side, as I was ahead and then we both caught our breaths and discussed our approach based on their current position. We knew they had landed in the water but did not have any idea in which area of the wetlands. Once ready, I got up and started running in the low ground with him following behind, along the creek and moving closer to the brush using small pine trees as cover. We stopped again just before the water and loaded our shotguns and then left our small kit bag by a tree to make ourselves lighter.

I knew from experience that when Canada’s land in the wetlands and if I am able to stalk them, I almost always have a successful harvest, and the hunter who positions himself on the Western edge always has the upper hand, just by the contour shape of the wetlands periphery.

By now we had to get down on our knees as we continued our advance on all fours, still using the brush as cover. I purposely let him circle around and position himself to my left or West. This time was his and I was going to pour all my waterfowl knowledge and experience into his every move and direct him through whispers.

We were now directly inline with the waters edge facing North and now we had to find the Canada’s exact spot. We carefully took turns looking up while standing inline with a pine tree trunk, within seconds we spotted them about thirty seven meters out, I had numbered the birds verbally and had instructed my bud to take the one on the left first then work his way down.

We got back down on the ground in the prone position and chose our own parallel paths on the muddy floor and started to press towards the waters edge even closer, I looked over often to ensure that my buddy, was always up on me by a few meters. When he moved, I stopped and looked, then I would move forward and he would get ready, this went on for about four meters. And just like a Python, I lifted my body off the muddy ground and slid over a log and got right into my final position.

Following a thumbs up signal, he slowly made his way up to his knees and got into a good shooting position, on my second hand signal, he sprung up and sent the birds into a flight frenzy, he released his first shot and I followed with a second and the first bird spun forward and landed back into the waters, the two remaining Canada’s took flight in opposite directions.

I kept my eye on the one to my right, who eventually completed a large circle, I immediately took out my caller and began to call out aggressively and the bird swung around and came right back over top. I yelled out that the goose was coming back around. In all the excitement, I grabbed a shell from my pocket and attempted to load it and it fell in the water. My buddy kept his aim at the bird the entire time and once in range, released another shot, by then I had chambered, aimed and fired my shot and the goose, froze in mid air tucked in its wings and came crashing down from high above within meters of the first harvest. It was an incredible explosion of water, it was a massive bird.

By now the third bird had also circled around giving us the chance to reload and fire two additional shots right ahead of the bird and we can see that it took the hits with bursts of white feathers flying out, but the Canada kept on going in the direction of the Easter field high above the tree line, I could see that the bird was going down but it was well out of sight by now. I yelled out to my buddy telling him that the Canada will come down for sure, and that we will need to find it.

He was so excited also, he climbed the small muddy ridge and went after it and ended only half way to the creek and soon started to make his way into the tall grass to start the search. I laughed out loud and told him, the bird is much further away. Just like you would in deer hunting, if you do not see the animal after your shot, allow yourself a few minutes to calm down before you go searching the harvest or you will get lost in the brush and tall grass.

With my waders on, I pushed into the wetlands and collected the two harvests and set off to join my buddy near the creek crossing, we decided to start a box search following a planned break but upon making our way across the creek, there he was several hundred meters from the wetlands directly on the edge of the Easter field.

It was a great harvest no doubt, but I was more overwhelmed with pride and happiness for my buddy. He was exceptional and knowing that we shared this first waterfowl hunting experience together is simply awesome. It was his time and it belonged to him!

Read Full Post »


Today was a great day but it wasn’t because I did something neat at work, rather because over my lunch time I walked over to the local post office and purchased my Waterfowl permit and stamp for this years much anticipated season. On September 6th, Canada goose opens in farmlands in my area and I can not wait to hit my friends farm.

Since the fields are separated by small creeks, waders are necessary to remain dry, but this is where I have been disappointed in my choices in waders. A couple of years ago, I purchased a pair of Allen waders and they lasted no more than two seasons and then from there it was.. You guessed it “Little Shoe Goo” time.

At first it was just a few spots here and there but in no time my waders started to look like an art masterpiece, but they are functional and this is what I am all about. Tough on gear but practical. I do not want to purchase a pair of waders every two years and I believe that lifetime warranties are about as sure as sky busting a shot at a goose that is at the same height of the tree tops.

I am also equipped with a second set of waders for friends when they come along but it is the neoprene model from Cabela’s. I find them difficult to put on unless you have Vaseline all over yourself and I find it hard to breathe.

For now I will let this blog cure and when opening day comes around, I will be in the great outdoors chasing those Canada’s.

Wish you all and amazing and safe season!

Read Full Post »


Everyone experiences a moment in time, when there is a shift in their thinking, you accept who you have become, what you have accomplished and all of a sudden things seem a whole lot simpler. Living a life free of judgement.

As a result the simplest of things in life become extremely rewarding. Over the past few months, I had been saving up to pick up a Stoeger M3500 but life kept on throwing me curve balls, I had no choice but to go back to the drawing board and conduct more research.

One night after work, I decided to go for a nice drive through the country roads, the breeze on my face was heavenly, a little country music did not hurt either. I drove out to one of the small towns nearby and stopped in a local sports shop, and came across an Inertia driven shotgun with the similar mechanism to that of the Stoeger, it was the Girsan MC-312. The price was a fit for my current budget and so it became my new duck gun for the fall.

I took it out to my friend’s farms to break it in and possibly harvest a few pigeons, the fact that it was so light weight compared to my 870, made it incredibly easy to manoeuvre through the brush and along the creeks.

Once the cattle cleared the field to the north, I was able to harvest a woodchuck on the edge of the forest, that the farmer wanted removed. It was my first shot out of the Girsan. I had some left over two and three quarter, number three shells from last fall and it cycled perfect.

The waterfowl season will be here soon and I know that with my new duck gun, I will have many stories to share, it will be simple Girsan time.

Read Full Post »


The heal of my waders slid in the fresh mud off the bank into the shallow black waters of the creek, my left hand was raised as to prevent the low hanging branches from scratching my face with my right hand cradling my Remington 870. Within a few steps, I was immersed into the edge of the woods. I was in pursuit of the famed Rock Dove.

I had a look through the trees into the neighbouring field and saw nothing but fresh wild grass and hay, there were black birds, and common house sparrows, and red wing black birds flying about in the absolute nature. Once my feet were placed firmly at the bottom of the creek, I swivelled to the front and back with my eyes to get a better glimpse.

The fast flowing current was slipping around my boots and like a serpent continued into the heart of the woods, on either side there was thick brush, rich in color and sounds, it was place where the love for the woods is moulded into your soul.

I stood their very still and saw a ripple in the waters just up a little ways up, a beaver came swimming towards its dam in total silence, gliding through the water with a sense of purpose all the while very weary. Be humble in the woods and respect the environment for it can teach us great things.

Read Full Post »


There is hunting, then there is hunting, a way of life that transcends all earthly boundaries, politics, religion or level of worth or even power. It is hunting that provides healing, solidifies family relationships along with its traditions and in the end is defined by sustenance.

When I look at the stats on my blog and see the readers from all over the world, it is clear to me that there are no borders to our passion, you can be a Gazelle hunter in Central-Africa or a bird hunter in the Middle East or a wild boar hunter in America.

I can be deep in the Canadian wilderness pursuing my game and when I take a moment to look up at the sun through the clouds, I realize that I am not alone and that under the very same sun in a different time zone either in a desert or in a lush jungle, someone is sharing my love for hunting.

Thank you to all the readers from all over our world.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: