Posts Tagged ‘winchester’

Well it was about that time in the morning that I stood with everyone else at the stop waiting for the bus to head into work. Most people were still half asleep, others were glued to their mobile devices; some were smoking or simply talking to the person next to them.

As for me, my eyes were up in the sky looking at the geese flying overhead coming in from the river just south, heading to the fields about two kilometers north for the day to feed. I was listening to their calls, watching them fly over in formation but I also kept an eye on the time.

Hunters can head into farm areas or wetlands and hope to harvest a duck or two all throughout the day but you can definitely increase your chances of having greater success, if you choose the right time of day to hunt.

To the others in my queue at the bus stop, the geese were either part of the fall scenery or simply nuisance birds, but what they do not realize is that these birds were sharing vital information regarding their resting and feeding spots in addition they were also providing the exact time when a waterfowler can maximize his or her chances of having a great harvest.

I have found that the golden minutes at dawn are thirty minutes before sunrise and at dusk they are the half an hour after sundown. The advantage at dawn is that you can continue hunting throughout the morning but at dusk, it is a very small window of time and managing this period is very important to give yourselves the opportunity to set up your blinds and decoy spreads in order to capitalize on the exact time.

There are great tools at your disposal, websites containing the sunrise and sundown information and some GPS models even have it integrated and can provide you with the sunrise and sundown time for your geographical area.

I always carry a head lamp, my gun case and trigger locks with me for the hunts at dusk, so that I can secure my shotgun in accordance with the federal and provincial laws, it is safe and you will also avoid heavy fines.

Have a great time and be safe!

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I knelt very still on the south-western edge of the barn closest to the creek with just my head peeking out the bottom corner to the side toward the forest. But unfortunately for me there was too much open ground between the twenty geese and I. They were at the water’s edge and out of my shotgun range. I considered stalking them, by crawling on the muddy ground but it was not possible because the way the ground was shaped.

The geese which were on sentry duty had their necks stretched out and on high alert they were always adjusting their heads enabling them to have a complete view of their surroundings. Darn, if only I had some large rocks or tall grass I could have used as cover, this would have enabled me to get closer for the shot.

So, after taking several minutes to go through my plan, and since it still was very early and the start of a great waterfowl day, I thought I would take a chance. So I jumped up and started sprinting toward the birds hoping they would burst into the air toward me like they have in the past thus give me a clean shot or two. My gamble did not work; they actually lifted off and headed south out of range. This is alright; another group would eventually fly in, I just had to be patient. This was very different from sitting in a ground blind.

After all it was prime real-estate by the creek. So, I unloaded my tubular magazine of the three shells and headed back to the truck to prepare the canoe.

My initial plan was to drive up to the creek and park the truck on the north shore because the water level was quite high, then offload the canoe and portage it to the swamp which was about two hundred yards of rough terrain to the west. There I could attempt to harvest some mallards and wood ducks, then maybe use the canoe to recover them or even navigate through a few channels and flush some ducks.

It was very windy and it was about eleven degrees Celsius with scattered showers. Actually the rain would come down very hard for about fifteen minutes and then it would stop once the dark cloud passed and go back to slight drizzle.

By the time I got to the edge of the swamp, I put down the canoe and I walked in the same direction I took only a few weeks before when I saw several ducks flying.

Sure enough a two mallards shot out of the tall grass, let out calls and circled in behind me, each duck in their own direction, so I released one shot and missed, pumped the action and my second shell jammed. I cleared it and released my third shot but it was too late and both ducks were out of range.

I suspected I would have a jam even with the pump-action pushed all the way forward, I was using my left over Kent shells in my Remington 870, for me this was not a good mix. But I wanted to use up the shells and go back to my Remington Sportsman Fast steel #3 shot. In my district, it was the second official day of the duck hunting season but today was my first day out and therefore it was my opening day and it was important for me to do well and potentially harvest and not go home without a bird.

My day wasn’t starting well but then this is what hunting is all about, not allowing yourself to get discouraged and having the confidence in your abilities just like Wade Bourne wrote in one of his articles about successful waterfowl hunting.

So, I completed a second portage and brought back the canoe to the truck and left it sitting on the edge of the creek then decided to take a little break. After having had my sandwich and a drink of water, I started my way up the hill to the south in order to see if the groundhogs had been moving around up near the large boulders.

The creek separates the north and southern hay fields, and then in the middle of the southern hay-field which goes upward there is a large natural crest of with huge boulders and this is where the groundhogs have their den and network.

There is a very wide open area before I could reach the crest, by now I had several hundred of Canada geese flying in formation right above me and it was amazing to watch; when they called out it sounded like they were much lower than they actually were. Sound travels very well in the damp weather.

I kept on walking up the slope towards the crest keeping my eyes on the geese above hoping that a group would fly down to the creek or swamp to feed or to take a much-needed break.

I could have tried to call out using my goose caller but geese that are used to hunters do not like to call back as much and do not require so much calling.

Still walking in a southern direction, all of a sudden a group of five geese flew in from the east with their feet spaced out and their wings curved and ready for a landing. I immediately laid down flat on the ground and remained absolutely still. They were now right above me circling like turkey vultures and the lead bird turned toward the creek to the north but noticed my truck and the cattle, so he completed a gradual turn to the west toward the swamp, the two other geese behind him followed and abandoned a landing attempt at the creek staying very low but still out of my range.

The geese which were now in two flying groups moved toward the swamp calling out to each other, it was really neat. I was so excited, I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest; finally the geese had come in and were now going to land exactly where I wanted them to land in the swamp.

The first two geese flew in and landed right away into the water around forty feet from the swamp’s edge but the three others kept on circling above calling out, as if they were completing a final fly over ensuring that it was safe to land.

I can remember that during one of my duck hunts I did not have any decoys in the water, after having called out a few come back calls, two common black and white golden-eyes flew in each completing a circle and broke their wings as if to come in for a landing, then they both completed a fly over and moved on. These were experienced and nervous birds and no strangers to hunters. This is a good example of the importance of being well concealed, using the right calls and having a good decoy layout.

Now that all five geese were in the water in behind small evergreen trees and swamp brush, I stood up very quickly and sprinted two hundred yards staying in the low ground hugging the edge of the creek which the swamp fed into heading south-west. The brush was also thicker along the edge of the creek thus providing cover.

Once I got within thirty yards of the edge of the swamp, I got down in a kneeling position, allowed myself to catch my breath loaded some shells into the tubular magazine and started my careful stalk behind the brush.

I now had to study each and every detail of the swamp foliage in front of me, every log under my feet as well as focus on the location of every goose because I now had ten eyes which could spot me.

I felt like a fox, lifting my feet very carefully without losing a boot in the thick mud trying not to make suction sound or even losing my balance while taking my next step. My free hand would grab onto small evergreen tree and prevent myself from falling over.

Every step was calculated and about every minute or so, I would lift my head and try to see in which direction the geese were swimming. They were now moving from my right going left heading south, passing in behind a dead tree stump one at a time.

Darn! I was no longer in a good shooting position, I now had to work my way back and relocate to my left or south and come back around, this was tremendous amount of work stalking through the swamp. By now I had closed in about thirty feet closer to the geese and I had to act quickly if not they would glide away into the tall grass and I no longer had my canoe by my side.

I waited for the first goose to pass and loaded a shell into the chamber, pushed the safety one and started to control my breathing and compensate my aim because of the ribbed shotgun barrel. Once the bead was perfectly line up with the bird, I slowly stood up from behind the swamp grass and released my shot into the first goose. It was about forty-two yard shot.

The goose flopped over instantly into the water and fell sinking half way below the surface, I pumped my action and released two more shots at the other geese but the last two shots were a miss.

I recovered my Canada goose with my canoe, it was a beautiful thirteen pound bird a great way to start my season indeed but my most important lesson was to have confidence in our abilities as hunters. Once again Wade Bourne’s wisdom and knowledge helped me again!

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I must admit that this is one of the toughest choices anyone can be faced with, even for those who consider themselves experts. The simple reason is that there are so many factors, just like a vehicle purchase. You need to identify what you are looking for and what are your requirements. Examples of this are: Speed, looks, color, make, functionality, practicality, performance, load capacity and most of all keeping the law in mind.

Here are lists of tips that may help you with your purchase in choosing the best firearm for small game hunting:

1. Federal & Provincial regulations for hunting small game with concerns to the gear being used and its caliber or shot size, pellet sizes and speed with concerns to air guns. (Quebec)

2. Budget, my Remington 870 which is my work horse for migratory bird and small game/Varmint cost me just under $400.00 Cdn. The next firearm on my list to acquire is the Browning T-Bolt Composite Target/Varmint using 17 HMR ammunition and it is listed at $780.00 US. Now if you are new at small game hunting, you can get a fantastic firearm that meets all your needs without spending over $200.00. (Hunting magazines and your local hunting store is where you can find great firearms used or new for low prices, if you are just starting out.)
3. “Versatility” This is one of my favorite words because for me it represents savings, practicality, durability and ultimately outstanding performance. Example: I can change my shotgun shell shot size and hunt rabbit, then the next day put back the plastic plug that allows for a total of three shells in the shotgun chamber and tubular magazine then I am ready for Waterfowl. Heck, the 870 can be used for Black bear.
4. Ammunition, shot sizes & ballistics. It is important to know the difference between center-fire and rimfire. Knowing the distances and shot needed to be a successful and accurate small game hunter, is very important. The author Larry Koller mentions this in his book “Treasury of Hunting” he once used a .22 LR and shot a game through the chest cavity but it kept on running and got away. He suggested then using .22 rimfire with hollow point and it contained the shocking power he needed.
5. Action types and ease of disassembly and assembly when cleaning the firearms. I have cleaned bolt-action rifles, shotguns and various other types of weapons in my lifetime and the bolt-action and the shotgun were by far the easiest to clean.
6. Noise, kickback/recoil. Many web articles, books and experts suggest a .22 rifle, bolt-action or semi automatic or even combo guns such as the shotgun and .22 combined for the first firearm. There is practically no recoil on the one’s I listed and they are very accurate, especially with the addition of a scope and they are cheap. (Savage, Remington, Browning, Marlin are all great name brands) It really depends on the buyer, also look for a .22 that allows you to use various .22 Long Rifle or Short.
7. Know the game you will be hunting and study which ammunition would be most effective with the type of game you will be hunting.
8. Safety, Safety, Safety. If you buy a second-hand rifle or shotgun or an old military firearm, make sure it is usable and safe. Inspect the barrel for damage, the safety mechanism and also check the fore-stock or any external components for damages on the firearm.
9. Fitting. Make sure you hold the firearm in the shooting position with the assistance of a professional making sure the rifle or shotgun butt length is the right fit for you. Check the barrel length and make sure it meets the Federal  & Provincial Regulations.

On my “Kit List” page I have listed the firearms that I use for small game and varmint hunting. My Remington 870 pump-action is my latest addition to my collection of hunting tools and is without a doubt one of the shotguns I use the most when I hit the woods or farmland.

In his book “Treasury of hunting” the author Larry Koller did a fantastic job in giving us a few choices of rifles and shotguns for each type of game. List of his suggested firearms are separated into game type.

Small Furred Game: Hare, Rabbits
Remington Model 572, .22 rim-fire
Savage Model 94, all gauges
Savage Model 24 Combination-.22 WMR and 20 Gauge-Magnum
Mossberg Model 500 Pump Gun, in 12 gauge

Guns for Varmints: Coyotes
Winchester Model 70 Varmint Rifle
Browning Safari-grade Sporter
Savage Model 110
Sako Varminter, heavy barrel
Winchester Model 275 Deluxe, .22 WMR

Guns for Upland Birds: Grouse, Pheasant
Winchester Model 21
Winchester Model 59
Winchester Model 1200
Daly Commander, over/under
Browning Superposed, over/under
Remington Model 11-48

Guns for Wild Fowl: Geese, Ducks
Browning Superposed 12 Gauge, 3-inch Magnum
Remington Model 1100 autoloader
Remington 870 Pump Gun
Savage Model 750 Autoloader
Savage Model 30 Pump Gun
Winchester Model 1400 Autoloader
Ithaca Model 37 Deluxe Pump Gun
Winchester Model 101, over/under

In Canada in order to acquire/purchase a firearm you need to be certified and have successfully completed and passed the Federal Firearms Safety Course for the firearm categories you have selected during the registration of the course. Non-restricted is the most common category. You will need your firearms card in order to purchase a firearm and ammunition.

In order to hunt in Quebec with a firearm as a resident, you will also need to successfully complete the hunting course and obtain a passing grade. You will also need to purchase a small game permit at any hunting store that prints them. Migratory bird hunting will also require a permit that can be purchased at any Post Office across Canada and also Online. In Quebec it is important while hunting migratory bird to have your small game permit and Migratory bird permit + Stamp on hand at all times.

Local hunting stores, SAIL, Canadian Tire and many other locations are great places to start. Happy shopping!

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