Before deer season, one of our hunters sent me this pic and description of the work being done by the MNR, with Sturgeon research near Nipigon, Ontario.
"The fish was caught just into Black Sturgeon Lake at the mouth of the Spruce River. 49º 17' 14.66" - 88º 50' 49.32"
The Black Sturgeon system empties out of Black Sturgeon Lake and travels through 3 lakes to the south before eventually draining into Lake Superior at Black Bay.
We have tagged 3 fish at a set of rapids about 5km upstream in the river itself. Last fall we tagged 2 fish at the above location and 5 more this fall.
Sturgeon have recently been designated a Species at Risk in Ontario - see http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Species/index.html
for more details. Tagging these fish with transmitters allows us to learn their seasonal movements and habitat requirements. We have also been able to locate spawning areas from these fish. We track these fish by boat once a week and have set up a base station at the mouth of the river to record their movements from the Lake up the River."
Brian later sent me this pic of a St. Lawrence River Muskie; click the pic to check out "Musky Hunter" entry for this fish.
Here's a couple of monster Walleye that I pulled outta da lake, just before we started deer-hunting.
The modified slip-bobber rig that I was using as the weather turned colder. The small oval bobber on top of the large black/white bobber is fixed-position, so that I can tell when the slip-bobber ices up and prevents the line from fully deploying. Bobber stops are too small to see at a distance. Under the bobbers are several split shot and a snelled #4 octopus hook.
Tosh, in his cold weather walleye gear. Plenty of snow on the dock and the first skim of ice forming on the water. Frozen beer foaming out of the bottle neck.
Johnny Cat guarding the rifle cases.
Mark and I took an afternoon to put together the new two-seater treestand. It was seriously heavy (ladder not shown). There had been a plan to put it up on the side of a ridge overlooking a poplar meadow, bog and cedar hollow; a perfect spot that would take us a whole day to install, no doubt. The property's landowner had leased the area to another group of hunters, however, and we never got around to putting it up anywhere else.
Tosh bagged the first deer of the trip, second day at sunset. Young buck, small four point rack, good size body. We used the "rickshaw" to get it off the field; this device has really cut dragging times over open ground.
Dad bagged the second deer; the big buck of the expedition. Although the rack wasn't that large, a thin-beamed seven-pointer; but, the body mass was about two hundred pounds before dressing. Good deer. Yay, Dad!!
The rest of the first week went slowly. The weather was constantly windy, whether dry or drenching, and the rut hadn't started, yet.
This property belonged to a friend of one of our group. The centre of which was taken up by an old gravel quarry which has overgrown beautifully, resembling some of the mule deer country out west, surrounded by boreal forest. The day was noisy and unproductive, with several grouse crashing about at all times. I was fortunate to see a weasel, fur gone to ermine, bouncing around the foot of my stand. I was far too entranced to take a picture, however. The rest of the first week was a bust. It became insanely wet and windy, keeping the deer deep and bedded. Most of our guys had to leave and get back to the real world and their jobs; the die-hards, the real deer-hunters, the vaguely-employed... we stayed to get the job done.
Mark finally broke us out, a week after the second deer was on the pole. Nice doe. He also got a second deer, a small buck, of which we seem not to have taken any pictures. At least we finally had snow by this point, and a possibility of the rut taking off.
Note snow; the Off Lake property.
On the last day of non-resident deer season, at the last hour of legal hunt, I finally got my deer.
Let me tell you about the hunt, first:
I had gone to sit at the head of a bog which was crossed by a skidder trail. From where I was sitting, I could see across the bog, down a major deer highway (upwind) and down the trail behind me. A great spot. A great spot with nothing happening on it. After freezing my tuckus off for a couple hours and choking loudly on some inhaled cola, I decided to walk back to the truck and sit on the intersection f trails, there, because we have taken deer there at last light, previously.
Hanging out at the truck seemed a little defeatist, but I decided to rattle and call again, since the wind was favourable. Ten minutes after rattling, I moved from the back of the truck to the front and then looked up; there was a deer standing broadside down the trail, about 80 yards away. It hadn't been there before I moved.
The deer gave me plenty of time, I needed it because the cold left me shaking. I leaned against the truck and took the shot. The deer wheeled and ran back into the bush, the way that it came from. I figured that it was a miss.
I called the guys on the radio to let them know that I had taken the shot and waited for them to get there. We waited nearly half an hour before walking up to check out the shot site.
But; there was hair, dark hair. Okay.
We walked in and found the deer bedded, about fifty yards in. It tried to get up and couldn't, we finished the deer off and dragged it back to the truck before dressing it. A good-sized spiker buck, to finish off Deer Camp 2008.
Bryan sent this pic a week later, having got his buck in the Great Nipigon Deer Hunt 2008.
When Dad and I went to pick up the wrapped deer steaks, chops, roasts and sausage, this great buck was waiting to be serviced by Kent at Cloverleaf foods, in Emo.
Dad and I went out to the cabin a couple more times and spent a few more days trying to add another deer to the five taken, but we saw no more deer in the woods. There was a foot of snow in the bush and temperatures had plummeted; in addition, a brisk north wind has been blowing fairly steady. The deers did not come out to play.
After the last trip, we arrived back at the house to find deer tracks all around our cedar trees, browsed; clearly we were being dissed in our own yard. Oh well...