Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘waterfowlers’


At the start of every hunt, one of my preparatory steps is getting all my documents and cards ready, so that I am stacked for my outing. This can include maps of the hunting areas, my federal firearms card, and a copy of the firearm registration certificate for the gun that I will be using on that particular day, my permits, and sometimes a copy of the hunting regulations. In Quebec, where I most often hunt it is not necessary to carry your hunter’s card with you during the hunt but if I was hunting in Ontario, I would carry my non-resident permit and the Ontario outdoors card.

Now even though it may only take me a few minutes to complete this process, every hunter that has taken part in the Federal Firearms and hunters courses knows that there is both a lot of time and money invested into acquiring all the permits and cards. Furthermore there is also the purchasing of hunting equipment and all of this is mixed up with the anticipation of finally being able to practice the sport you love.

Ok! Now I am ready but where can I hunt? There are several methods to finding out where you can hunt, you can call the Ministry of Natural Resources or consult their websites, you can book with an outfitter, and you can hunt on crown land, on friends or family farms or wooded properties if permitted by law. Sometimes you can discover great hunting spots just by speaking with other hunters or store owners in your area. This is not always easy because some of them treat their sites like a great fishing spot and do not wish to share their secrets.

When I first started hunting in my region, I found it difficult to locate great hunting spots even with the resources listed above, besides I did not have many friends that were hunters or that owned land. So, I did some searching on my own and in time I discovered a series of great spots for hunting, especially for waterfowl.

These Quebec hunting sites were all located along the 148 on the shores of the Ottawa River (Rivière des Outaouais ) and the majority have parking spots available. The sites may vary some being accessible only by boat and others on foot. In order to find these hunting sites, look for the following sign boards.
These sign boards are found at each of the parking lot entrances and show you a wealth of information including the access paths with an informative legend.

The legend shows the wetland boundaries, the pathways in orange, the boundaries for public access land, parking locations and the boundaries for the land belonging to Ducks Unlimited. Also part of the legend is a series of activities listed; the one’s that have a check mark beside it indicates which activity is permitted for that specific site. The board signs also have usually thirteen regulations listed under the code of ethics for people using that site. There is also the following number listed on the sign in order to get more information: 1-800-565-1650.

I have translated some examples of the code of ethics for the persons using the sites: Use the paths and managed access ways that are provided. Do not damage the agricultural terrain, do not use motorized vehicles in the wetlands, follow all the laws with concerns to safe weapon handling and to the type of vehicles or boats being used, keep a safe distance from any building or residence including other hunters, respect others persons lookouts or blinds. Use non-toxic shot (Steel as an example) and pickup all your spent shotgun shells, respect all the laws and regulations that are in place for specific species, the zones and the seasons for that time of year. With concerns to hunting, immediately pick up your harvested game, either using a floatation device or boat or a dog that can retrieve game, Do not put up more than one sign per hunter site, At the end of the fall season pickup and remove all blinds, lookouts and caches from the site, share the site with others for example: Fall hunters for migratory birds, or bird watchers in the springtime etc, pick up and remove any garbage at the end of your outing.

I have not only enjoyed great migratory bird hunting because of the awesome work being done by the following organizations: Ducks Unlimited, The North American Waterfowl Management plan, Société de la faune et des parcs du Québec, but I have also enjoyed quiet walks amongst bald eagles, blue herons and hundreds of bird species.

Conservation is key to this spot!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


Robert Burton’s book “Bird behaviour” is not only a great book for naturalists and oronthologists but it is also an important book for small game hunters and waterfowler’s.
 
Knowing and understanding the concepts of thermals, air masses and fronts can help you choose the best time of day to hunt larger birds. I really enjoyed the book and I am going to share with you some of the key points that I thought would be quite interesting to fellow waterfowlers and small game hunters and provided you with the page number and text excerpts identified in double quotes.

“As thermals begin to form under the early morning sun, the smallest vultures take off first and only when the thermals become stronger are they followed by the larger species, unless slope soaring can give them enough lift for an early start.” Pg. 23

In the introduction of the book Robert writes the following: “Birds are, perhaps, the most popular group of animals and they give pleasure to thousands of people around the world.” Wild turkeys are the most majestic bird I have seen and when they spread their feathers to impress, I can tell you they do just that; or the sight of a flock of geese flying overhead is so humbling and really stirs up my desire to learn more about the outdoors and spend as much time in the woodlands of this great nation.

Understanding the bird’s actions such as take off and landings can help a waterfowler predict and identify certain birds for example, if an American wigeon is about to touch down it swings its feet forward, this allows the hunter to identify the bird and duck species. Some ducks and geese can leap straight into the air but swans, divers, cormorants, auks and petrels patter over the surface, wings beating rapidly but shallowly, until flying speed is reached. Pg. 18

“Stiff-tailed ducks can adjust their buoyancy further by compressing their feathers and respiratory airsacs to force out air.” Pg. 26 This may also assist you with being able to identify specific duck species during the migratory hunting season.

“Birds are equipped with the same sense organs as other land dwelling vertebrates, but they have been altered and adapted during their evolution to suit the requirements of flying animals. Travelling at speed through the air is only possible if an animal can make and accurate and rapid assessment of its environment. It must also have a very fine appreciation of the forces acting on it body, and have precise muscular control for the complex movements of flight.” Pg. 40

On one of my previous blog entries “Chasse fine” I mentioned the fact that a flock of ducks flew right over me and completed a kind of environment assessment, this is living proof of their evolution and adaptability.

When I am hunting Woodchuck I can sneak up to the animal and get right up close while it is feeding, because even with monocular eyes it lowers its head to eat, allowing me to move closer without being spotted. However sneaking up to a Woodcock while it is feeding is a very difficult skill to master.

“The woodcock, which feeds by thrusting its long bill deep into the soil, has eyes set high on the head, and their fields overlap both fore and aft. As a result, there is binocular vision to the rear as well as to the front, and the woodcock cans spot danger when it is feeding.” Pg. 43

When hunting wild turkey it is one of the few hunts when you do not have to wear orange safety vests and I believe this gives us an advantage. “Birds have well-developed color vision that is broadly similar to our own and plays and equally important role in their lives, but there are some basic differences. Like amphibians and reptiles, but unlike any mammals, birds have coloured droplets of oil in cone cells of the retina. The function of the droplets has long been disputed, but there is now evidence that they significantly affect the bird’s perception of its environment.” Pg. 44

“In the arctic, ptarmigan save themselves the task of digging through snow by feeding where the caribou and hares have already exposed the vegetation.” Pg. 86

This reveals and interesting relationship between birds and other animals as it relates to feeding and can help you find your bird or game that you are pursuing. If you are looking for ptarmigan you might very well find yourself a hare as well.

“The distinction between seabirds and freshwater birds is rather arbitrary since several groups of birds are to be found in both fresh and seawater.” “The ‘dabbling’, or surface-feeding’, ducks are largely omnivorous. Their bills are lined with three sets of horny or rubbery comb-like plates, known as lamellae, one along the inner side of the edge of the upper mandible and one on each side of the edge of the lower mandible. Water is pumped in and out of the mouth, and food is retained by the lamellae.”

“The ‘diving’ duck may feed at the surface, but they more frequently dive to search for food. Many of these species, such as the long-tailed ducks, the scoters and eiders spend most of their lives at sea.” Pg. 92

Knowing their habitat and feeding habits will help in finding the duck you are wishing to harvest and will increase your chances in having a successful hunt. It is a great book!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: