Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wolf, where are you?



While on the subject of wolves.  For the past few years, hunters that haven’t been to Saskatchewan or Alberta have heard or read about the presence of wolves in the boreal forest of these two provinces.  Here is a typical example of the presence of a wolf pack.  This was taken two years ago, on one of the back roads that we used to get to our hunting spots.  We estimated by the number of tracks seen and the howling heard that we were camped right in the middle of two wolk packs, composed of 6 to 8 wolves per pack.  That’s more than 10 dogs at 100 to 125 pounds… they eat many deers during the year, not only during the winter period.  The province of Saskatchewan wishes to change the law and it is possible that in the near future, their might be a hunting season for predators like wolf.  Have a good day.  Louis

Monday, 27 February 2012

Wolf tooth


Hi to all, I’m back from the Sportsman Show held in Montreal this past weekend.  It was pleasant to meet and to talk to many of you.  For some reasons, many had questions about wolves.  Here is a picture of a  wolf skull that we killed while in British Columbia in 2009.  The broken canine tooth sitting on the left side of the eye-socket has an interesting story.  In fact, this tooth was removed from the skull and it belonged to another wolf since our wolf had his four canine teeth well in place.  Among the many fights that occurs in a wolf pack, either to establish their hierarchy or to have access to meat, some fights or attacks get out of hand and wolves can get hurt seriously.  This wolf was very skinny for the time period and with the abundance of prey still available in the area.  It is quite possible that his hierarchy rank was very low in the wolf pack and that most of the time, he only had access to the leftovers. Living in society is not always to your advantage… Have a good day! Louis

   

Friday, 24 February 2012

Brassica (Winter-Greens)






We started last year an intensive alteration program on a very large piece of land in the Eastern Ontario region.  Many challenges would have to be faced.  One of them was to offer supplementary food for the deers that would use the cedar grove for their winter quarters.  We had almost 9 acres available to make one large field of brassica food plot that we wished to be at it’s maximum height in December and January.  I was, however, very disappointed of the results obtained from the Biologic brassica because it produced turnips in too many numbers and also too big.  We therefore decided to sow the Whitetail Institute blend (Winter-Greens) intended for winter weather and made up of different types of brassica plants which, according to the company, were selected to produce not many turnips but rather large quantities of forage.  Already in July, despite the availability of other food plots sowed with clover in the vicinity,  we were surprised to see that some deers were already getting a taste for our food plot.  At the end of November, the field was literally a mountain of food awaiting the arrival of the migratory deers.  Have a good day. Louis

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Steel blue


Good morning.  Here is the first picture that my spouse succeeded in doing and that she was really proud of.  We were on our third summer of full-time efforts to improve our understanding of the subtility of becoming a photographer and we had plans for a one week trip at the famous Lac Paul in the Gasp├ęsie National Park.  This particular evening, we were in a flat-bottom rowboat and we would interchange places in the boat to be the photographer : for one roll of film it would be Jose and then for the next roll I would be being the camera.  When the wind finally dropped, the water became steel blue and the one falling from the antlers of the moose almost silver.  To take a good picture, it’s not only a matter of squeezing the ON button.  You need to play with the image composition and to get the perfect light to create the right atmosphere. This picture has earned her numerous prizes in photo contest at the provincial and national level.  She even got her first international prize in Europe.  This day will be remembered forever in our memories.  Louis.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Scrapes


Here is a picture that was taken on a scrape a few years ago in Saskatchewan.  Nothing unusual about it since it often happens that two bucks get at it on a bait.  But in this case, this picture is from a scrape and having two bucks at the same time on a scrape tugging at each other is something that doesn’t happen frequently.  An estrus doe was probabley in the area for those two deers to have such a behavior. Have a good day. Louis

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A few missing dentures



Good morning to all.  I’m back from one of the strip of land in Ontario where I do the management.  I was with the local trapper that we hired to control the predators around the area determined as the deer yard.  He has set up two baiting sites with rotten meat.  Many dozens snares were installed around the baiting sites from a few yards from the baits to a few hundred yards away.  The goal was to have as many snares as possible in the most favorable entry points for the coyotes and in the tight areas which are used to approach the baits.




In the area that preoccupies me most, 2 coyotes were caught yesterday for a total of 5 in the last week.  We should be able to capture as many in the next two weeks if we receive a few centimeters of fresh snow.  4 out of the 5 coyotes are females, which is going to be beneficial to the local deer population.  More news to come.  See you tomorrow.  Louis

Monday, 20 February 2012

Deers at the buffet


Today, I will verify some coyote snares set up on some strip of lands in Ontario where we have hired a local trapper.  I’m not certified to trap in that province and we want to seriously control the predators during the next few years.  I will be back later with our results… Today’s picture has something special.  Notice how many deers are on this picture taken in a Saskatchewan mature forest of conifers and aspens (or poplars).  We had this particular phenomena two years ago.  Almost all of the aspens (or poplars) still had their green leaves filled with humidity at the end of October.  Usually, aspen (or poplar) leaves fall in the first half of October and they are yellow.  This phenomena was caused, as the wise old men of the town explained, by a humid summer followed by a warm and rainy fall.  There were some many deers in these undergrowth when the leaves started to fall that the Spypoint game cameras would rapidly filled up with pictures in less than 48 hours.  Many does, fawns and young bucks… The dreamed bucks did not seemed interested by this nourishing food supplement.  Have a good day.  Louis

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Firewood



Good morning to all.  This morning is the ideal temperature to make some firewoods.  Ever since I  have my TJD tracks on my ATV, I fnd it less stressful to do my firewood.  Actually,  I do my beaver trapping and my firewood during the same period.  It is two hobbies that I appreciate.  In the last four or five years, many beech trees have died because of infestation.  I therefore concentrate my efforts on the beech trees and on the tree trunks of other essences left out by the beavers.  Before the snow turns into salt, I wish to install one or two additional beaver traps and do one more stack of firewood that I will heat with in the 2012-2013 winter.  Have a good day.  Louis

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Rehearsal for clowns


On a completely different subject today and to bring some colours into your life.  Here is my favourite bird, the atlantic puffin.  A few dozens of these birds could be seen on Anticosti island, but the one’s on this picture were not photographed on this island.  We had the chance to photograph these birds during a photographic trip that we made to the Ste-Marie Islands Archipelango.  This migratory bird sanctuary is located between Havre St-Pierre and Newfoundland.  The 12000 atlantic puffin couples are only a few of the many species that resides on these islands during the summer time.  Have a good day.  Louis

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Blind efforts


Here is how we set up our blind to have the privilege to photograph the bald eagles in their nest at Anticosti at the beginning of the 90’s.  The nest was at 100 yards and we had to climb 35 feet up to our blind just to make sure that we had a good view of the birds activities, such as the coupling periods, the incubation and the feeding of the young birds.  That is all that I will tell you.  You have a picture of the blind from the bird’s nest and one of the first coupling sessions that occured at the break of dawn.  Have a good day. Louis


Monday, 13 February 2012

Food for everyone



The interest for wetlands is well known for geese.  But for deer, many assume that their legs are sensitive to water.  A completely false assumption.  May it be to have access to certain nutritious plants or to hide from predators like the canidea or to espace from hunting pressure, the marshy areas are often surprising.  Don’t hesitate to look into those cattail areas.  Have a good day. Louis

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A sneak view of my place



Today, while going thru some pictures of deer habitats, I came upon this picture which represents a section of the small lake that we have in front of our house.  The white water lily could easily be chosen as the floral emblem of the Outaouais region.  From July to the end of August, the shallow bays and all the ponds of this region are literally invaded by this flower… A more classical picture would have had a bull frog or a leopard frog on one of the water lily leaves, but I wasn’t patient enough.  My only hope is that this picture will encourage you to go thru what’s left of this winter.  Have a good day. Louis

Friday, 10 February 2012

Lost antlers


Two days ago, I had the chance to go for a walk in a 400 acres cedar grove, which is part of a sanctuary of more than 3000 acres where hunting is not allowed.  Obviously, the male-female ratio is impressive and our expectations were high.  We did find antlers but not as much as we expected.  What mostly surprised us was the length of time for those antlers to fall.  We found as many antlers covered by snow than on the snow itself, meaning that some bucks had recently lost their antlers as compared to others who lost them many weeks ago.  Often, the antlers start to fall during the same period, or almost, and within a short period of time, this phenomena is over but not this year.  Next week, I will be back with a more elaborated blog on this matter concerning another observation of the day.  
 Bye Louis

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The followers


Yesterday, I went shed hunting on the other side of Ottawa’s town in Ontario.  We wanted to take advantage of the small quantity of snow on the ground to find sheds before someone else would come and investigate this particularly interesting area.  I will show you my results tomorrow.  We, however, had the company of two whisky jack for almost the entire day.  I know that these birds start to nest early in the season but not that early.  They were occupied at collecting wire pieces here and there in the woods, a normal behavior for these birds when they nest.  See you tomorrow with my antlers. Louis  

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Winged love


Since I’m talking of breeding period, let’s go back to my bald eagle couple.  On the second day passed in our blind at more that 30 feet in the air, it’s my spouse, Jose Schell, that had the honor to photograph the first breeding session of the bald eagles.  Luckily, she was able to take two pictures even though the scene was only for a short period.  In fact, we witnessed many breeding sessions the following days but the sessions would only last a few seconds only.  Fortunately for us, we were warned by their shrill cry before they would actually do the act, otherwise we wouldn’t have been ready.  During this breeding period, this couple would not stay more than 15 to 20 minutes per day at their nest.  Which wasn’t much of action for 14 jours of observation.

Have a good day.

Louis   

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The breeding season…


The canidae are particularly difficult to capture by the neophyte trappers.  The month of february lends itself rather well to this exercice.  In fact, whether it is for the fox or the coyote, february is the starting period of the breeding season.  All you need is a dozen snares of appropriate diameter for the targeted specie and then you drive around in the back country in search of the specie’s track.  In reality, the facility of this method results from the fact that at this period, it is mostly impossible for a fox or a coyote to not follow the tracks of one of his fellow member…

A well camouflaged and disinfected snare installed along the fox trail and that will do the trick.  I took this picture on my land in the Outaouais region in mid-March 7 years ago, just before we were invaded by the coyotes.

Best of luck to all trappers.

Louis

Monday, 6 February 2012

Warm weather


The warm weather of these last days activates the surrounding wildlife.  Yesterday, along a brook that is normally frozen at this time of the year, I came upon a beaver.
The beavers are the first, generally speaking, to look for these open areas in the ice to have a chance to get out to the open air and especially to have a bite at  a fresh snack.  Their food sources, made up of leafy essences like the aspen and birch, are under water since 4 or 5 months already and most of the tree limbs are starting to be covered with silt.  This natural phenomena makes the bark less attractive.  This escapade on the snow may rapidly turn out to be a tragedy in regions infested with predators.  A wolf, a coyote, a lynx or even a otter may overcome a small size beaver.
See you tomorrow.  Louis

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Winged souvenir



Yesterday, an adult bald eagle flew over the small lake in front of the house.  I had dropped on the ice surface of the lake some beaver carcasses caught the day before.  Every time that I observe this majestic bird of prey, it brings me back 20 years ago when we were living on Anticosti island.  This island provides a shelter to an interesting population of bald eagle and one spring in particular, we decided to invest many hours trying to photograph the birds at a nest. 
I was the first to have the chance, as we might say, to take place in our small 4’ X4’ blind during 14 long hours in hope of taking some uncommon scenes.  In mid-March, at minus 20˚ C, the break of dawn was soothing and when I realized that the bird couple were huddled together in their nest, the excitement got me all warmed up.  Here is one of the pictures that was taken at that moment.
Have a good day, Louis.

Friday, 3 February 2012

The paradise (continuation)




Yesterday, I went back to check my traps at the beaver house.  A complete success.  I hope to trap all the beavers of this colony because they started to cut some big oak trees.  Normally, the beavers are not very fond of oak trees but when the essence selection of trees become rare, which is what happens inevitably after a few years at the same place, the less prized essence are attacked.  Yesterday, I had a bonus.  A big otter had caught himself in one of the traps at the beaver dam.

Have a good day, Louis

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Beavers in paradise




Yesterday, I was making a run at a few beaver traps that I had installed the day before, wishing to resolve a problem… The beaver family that I wanted to trap were there for the last three years and last year, I did not get them all because the doors of the beaver house were not accessible.  I only had caught three medium size beavers with snares installed around the food source. 

This year, they chose to put their food source further away and therefore, the two beaver house entries were easier to reach and to lay a deadly trap…  

The results rapidly showed off.  Yesterday, two nice beavers of 45 and 50 pounds were caught.

The trapping season is well underway.  Have a good day, Louis