Saturday, 31 March 2012

The heron’s return

Hi to all, for the last few days, we have been seeing a few bird species back from the south.  For some, it’s a bit too early but for others, they are right on time.  Yesterday, I saw a few dozens of  American Robin, mallard ducks and an  osprey gliding over a field.  I also have seen a few blue heron.  I took this picture two years ago on an old abandoned beaver pond.  We have a few small colonies on our land and they go along with photography.  They are spectacular birds in their courtship display.  If you have the chance to lie in ambush near a colony in the next two weeks, you will observed some striking behaviors.  Have a good day. Louis

Friday, 30 March 2012

Other loons…

Many people think that the Common loon, the one with the pleasing melody, is the sole representative of the loon family in Canada.  In reality, four other species of loons exist in Canada and the one on this picture is a Red-throated loon.  Unlike the Common loon which lives mainly on fresh water lakes,  the Red-throated loon lives at sea and feeds on coastal fish but nest on small lakes along the shore but always close to the sea.  Like the Common loon, the couple are united for life.  We had the chance to watch this couple from the nesting to the offspring’s birth.  This picture taken by my spouse was published many times of which in the Canadian Geographic and Canadian Wildlife magazines.  I will have more pictures of this majestic bird. Have a good day. Louis.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Hi to all, here is the answer to yesterday’s riddle or rather a suggestion since in this domain, there are no precise answers.  If I could hunt the majority of the territory exposed on the aerial photo, I would make sure to have my three tree-stands installed early in the fall.  The A-appat(bait)-B system should be enough to harvest or at least to see all the deers that will come to the bait during daylight.  Obviously, if you cheat the wind, even an easy to control approach as seen on this picture will turn the deers nocturnal in a very short time.  If the top of the photo is south, you will hunt in stand A on those south windy days and in stand B on the north windy days.  I added stand C because it is a good practice to frequently change tree-stands so that the area, especially on a baited site, does not become loaded with your scent.  However, I did not setup C blindly, since there is a transition zone and it is the first crest, two elements that mature whitetails are fond of. Have a good day. Louis

Can you see the frog in the gannet’s eye?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Turnips, too many turnips

Here are two examples of brassica produced by the compaby Biologic.  For 3 years, we used this company’s blend and every year, I was frustated to see so many turnips (bulb) of two kinds of brassica.  They were growing but the turnips were not beneficial to the deers.  The major problem for the deers who wanted to feed on the brassica in December after the soil was frozen was that they were unable to pull up the vegetables from the soil and everything would rot without ever being used.  Five years ago, when the Whitail Institute company announced his own blend of brassica without bulb, like others, I was skeptical about the success of this selection.  If we consider that we now have an assortment of fruits without seeds on the market, why couldn’t they do it!  Well, they have done it and ever since their blend introduction five years ago, the Whitetail Institute brassica grows 90% soilless all in stems and foliage.  Rarely will you find a bulb and if it is the case, it will be the size of a tangerine.

How about a riddle to finish.  Here is your fall hunting territory.  You have three tree-stands at your disposition.  Where would you investigate first to setup your tree-stands?  The answer tomorrow. Louis

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Come aboard…

I’m at the Sportsmen Show (Salon Expert Chasse – Pêche et Camping) held in Quebec city from the 22nd to the 25th of March at the Centre de Foires d’ExpoCité.  One of the exhibitor, the TJD company, is offering a new kind of tree-stand.  Inspired from the elevator principle, this tool could, to my personal belief, meet the expectations of many hunters.  For those hunters who are uncomfortable to climb in trees or for those with physical limitations, this product could be an interesting alternative.  From the informations that I got, this can be installed in lest than fifteen minutes and you are ready to hunt in your stand.  I will be back on Monday.  Louis

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Salty bait

Here is a short video sequence that I took on a bear baited site a couple of years ago.  From the cameras that we had installed on this site, we had four different bears hitting this bait on a regular basis.  My surprise was to see the behavior and the grimaces of this bear.  It’as if the bait that we had placed in the barrel  was too salty.  I did not have the nerves to taste the bait after seeing this sequence.  I should maybe have a waterhole near my baits for those occasions.  Have a good day. Pierre

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

It doesn’t score high

The pictures taken from game cameras are misleading on some occasions.  This buck is certainly a nice buck, he is mature, has a certain mass, long points but he is only an 8 pointer.  Furthermore, when this picture was taken and that we had the opportunity to harvest him, 12 months passed by.  I had the chance to see him while scouting the year after and I thought that he was a bit bigger.  The morning after, a client of mine saw and took this deer… 145 BC.  From this living buck’s picture, the place were I saw him and the place where he was shot, there’s wasn’t more than 200 meters.  This goes to show that certain bucks are not great travelers as we might expect.  Good day. Louis

Monday, 19 March 2012

Find the buck

Hi to all, here is a more obvious example of the wisdom of mature males… to be withdrawn from openings and observing the possible disturbances or dangers from the sidelines.  I had seen this buck cross this opening at about 1000 feet in front of us and I wasn’t sure of his size.  I decided to get closer to investigate and to see if I could get a glimpse of him again, in case that he was a « shooter ».  I did see him again but he wasn’t a real canadian western buck. Have a good day.  Louis

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Doesn’t look to be

Pictures don’t always tell everything.  This buck doesn’t look to be what he really is.  On my second guiding year in Alberta, I finished a week rapidly and while I was installing a tree-stand in a new area, I came face to face with this buck who was right behind a female.  In my binoculars, he looked to have massive antlers with many but short points.  When he finally stopped, I could count 15 points, making it a 8 X 7.  At supper, I talked to my boss about this buck and he offered the tree-stand to a hunter who wished to harvest a 14 points typical buck.  The next day, as soon as the hunter was in his stand, he heard noises on his right.  A female came along with this buck following right behind.  Bang, and the buck fell in the « Cutline » and the hunter failed on his quest for a 14 points, this deer having 15.  This buck finally scored 159 BC gross.  Which is not what this picture actually represents.  Moral of this story : ‘a picture is not always worth 1000 words’.  Have a good day.  Louis

Friday, 16 March 2012

Let’s talk foxes

At my last guiding year at Anticosti, I had prepared a blind and a bait so that we could photograph foxes.  In reality, I would deposit pieces of deer meat always at the same place so that foxes would get use to it.  The surrounding lanscape would lend itself to the possibilities of interesting photographic images.  My spouse, Jose Schell, spent an entire month with these foxes so to understand and capture the social behaviors of these canidea.  Animals more solitary that social, the yearlings are often together during the first winter, particularly the young females.  Jose had the chance to capture many disputes between individuals, especially when the bait was less abundant.  Just like females on a deer bait.  Good day. Louis

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

How much does he score?

When a western buck presents itself, up close or far, I try to see if it’s body is normal or if it seems rather big.  There are very large bodied deer physically talking in the west and there are ordinary one’s in the same habitats.  In the case of this video, the body seems ordinary.  The distance between the tip of a western deer’s nose and the middle of his eye is approximately 9 inches.  Thanks to this reference, I can assume that his G2’s (the longest points) are 11 inches and that the G3’s (the second longest points) are 9 inches.  The G4’s are between 4 and 5 inches and the brow tines (the one’s in the middle) are around 4 inches.  If I add everything up, I’m at around 60 inches.  Inside spread of 17 inches.  Not much mass on his antlers, which give him a circumference average of 4 inches for the 4 measures on each antler for a total of 32 inches.  The main beams are fairly long but misleading because of the lack of mass, so I would think 22-23 inches per main beam.  The sum of 60+32+17+22+23 gives me a buck which scores 155-160 B&C.  This is an estimation that sometimes can be misleading if you don’t have the time and you are nervous… a bit.  Anyway, with this kind of buck, more often than not… you shoot.  Have a good day. Louis

PS : If you like these nature blogs, don’t hesitate to let it know to your hunting friends.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The ritual starts

Once installed in their nest, the gannet rapidly engage a confrontation with their immediate neighbors.  If the neighbors are as quarrelsome as they are, the exchange might last a few minutes, otherwise only a few seconds is all that it takes to calm the burst of agressivity that is needed to confirm the territory’s ownership.  Once settled, the couple rapidly forgets his neighbors and start a short courtship display.  Too bad that a picture doesn’t talk because the sounds emitted by the bird stretching his neck is frightening…  A few pecking exchanges between the couple, just like fencing fighters and finally, the mating takes place on the nest and one of the birds leaves to go fishing.  Imagine 100 000 birds confined on the same cliff repeating this ritual all day long… something to become crazy about… Have a good day. Louis    

Monday, 12 March 2012

A little taste of spring

Here is the first picture that I took of a bird in flight.  I took this picture almost 20 years ago for a photo contract while at the Bonaventure Island Park.  We were two full days alone on the island very early in the spring when the birds are just beginning to build their nest.  Although very documented, the gannet is an extraordinary bird.  Many distinctive characteristics in his behavior makes this bird fascinating to observe.  Whether it is to defend their 18 inches of diameter territory or those pecking exchanges,  this bird has an energy rarely seen in the winged world.  I’ll be back with more pictures of this bird that I really like.  Have a good day.  Louis  

Saturday, 10 March 2012

In needs of trappers

Here is a clear example of the needs of trappers. This is a female beaver that I caught last spring.  I did a semi-autopsy to see if she was in a gestation period and how many beavers that would take out of my land.  Five fœtus in development which would have resulted in five pairs of teeth eating the broad-leaved trees in September, October, etc.  Most of the forest owners from the southern part of the province of Quebec are invaded by a very large beaver population due to the price fall of furs.  We pay to hunt the wild turkeys but we do not want to go out late in the fall or in the winter to do some physical activities and make some dollars… Have a good day. Louis

Friday, 9 March 2012

Not very warm

After hopping around in my stand for a full day at -15° C  (5° F) to try to warm myself, the return to camp at the end of the day is comforting but not necessarily very warm.  During my last 5 deer hunting seasons, I stayed between 175 to 200 days in a tent in temperatures ranging from +12° C (53° F) to -28° C (-18° F).  My greatest lesson was to understand that the equipment’s quality makes all the difference.  Be it in the clothing, the mechanics, the kitchen, the beds and the camera support arms.  Have a good day. Louis 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Fish eaters

Two days ago, the subject was about puffins going out from the break of dawn to the last light of day to catch fish and feed their unique offspring.  For an alcidae (same bird family as the penguin and all the Antarctica penguins), the puffin offspring develops itself very fast.  Thanks to the rich northern waters such as the St-Lawrence River at this time of the year.  The hatching period and the first days following the offspring birth coincides with the spawning period of the cods and the sand-eels along the shoreline.  For the puffins, to be back with a beak full of fish is a matter of one dive.  If the school of fish is close to the cliff, it’s only a matter of a few minutes. Have a good day. Louis    

Monday, 5 March 2012

The rest

Good morning and a good week to all.  Here is a small nature gift.  This small group of puffins were photographed on the Ste-Marie Islands Archipelango.  A bird as interesting to observe as his beauty.  The colonial birds are always very agitated and their interactions are numerous.  To be able to take them by surprise at rest on a rock is not an easy task.  Indeed, the disposal time period to lay their egg and raise their offspring is very short.  Thereby, at the break of dawn, the parents leave to the sea to get food.  It is now a matter of constant trips to get sand-eels and cods as their primary prey.  Tomorrow, I will show you a miraculous fish catch… Good day.  Louis

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A welcome gift

This short video sequence was taken in October 2009 in Saskatchewan on the first night after we found a camping site and emptied the trailer of our camping gear.  The camera was installed on a small scrape found in a patch of wood (200’X200’) where we had chosen to install our camping gear.  The next day, to our big surprise, we had an interesting visit during the night.  The first buck had the antler dimensions sought by some of my hunters, which seemed promising.  Since the scrape was only at 35 yards from our tents, we knew that this scrape would be deserted in favor of other scrapes in the area.  We never saw that deer again in the area during the 35 day period that we spent hunting or on game cameras installed on other scrapes.  He disappeared as soon as he appeared.  Conclusion : He probably did not like our camping site.  Have a good day.  Louis      

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Being too aggressive

Here is 20 acres piece of land that was covered with alder.  The soil was of very good quality and the sector was in a zone regularly used by the bucks of the area to avoid the hunting pressure.  In it’s center was a small opening where we decided to lay out a food plot.  There was also two conifers that were well situated to install treestands in anticipation of the bow and crossbow hunting season.  Our error was to invade the area too aggressively and the deers rapidly became nocturnal and never used all of the area again during the day.  We had invaded their security zone and the deers relocated in an adjacent sector where we could not hunt.  The moral of this story is that a bedding or a shelter area is fragile and it must be hunted with great precautions.  Have a good day.  Louis

Friday, 2 March 2012

Food is still the secret

Hi to all, food is certainly the most important factor to produce quality bucks.  Everyone agrees that Anticosti is not renowned to produce big mature whitetails.  However, two years ago at Lac Geneviève outfitters, a 216 pounds gutted deer was killed in a fenced enclosure management zone where the deer density has been controlled for the past years so that the natural vegetation may have a chance to survive to the excessive deer grazing.  On this picture is a buck photographed at the end of a sunny day at Port-Menier along the shore.  The antlers are phenomenal for Anticosti because in the village, the bucks still have access to old fields from Henri Menier’s time that still produce quality food as compared to the rest of the island. Have a good day.  Louis