Hunting Season is Here! Are You Ready?

Stay safe, be prepared and get out there!

Moose, deer and elk draw results have been released across the Province and the excitement for the upcoming season is upon us. Northeastern Ontario is a hunting destination that yields trophy-stature wild game including moose, deer, black bear and elk. Nothing beats watching every step, scanning your surroundings and taking in all of nature’s beauty—your senses heightened at every turn.

All hunts require a lot of preparation and time. Prior to heading out and securing your area, I highly recommend scouting previous or new hunting locations prior to setting up camp. Many factors can lead to major changes in your area including forestry, storms and blow-downs, washouts, etc.

Heading out on the trails prepared is a great way to tackle your season. I highly recommend packing chainsaws or hand saws, brushing gear, hammer and nails, a GPS and a compass. Check all of your key locations and stands, keeping in mind shooting lanes and migratory paths that your big game would take. If you’re hunting in an older cut of forest, the tag alders are likely overgrowing your area and require trimming. The earlier in the year the better, as the initial disturbance will be minimal and your game of choice will have time to become accustomed to the modifications and new routes provided.

Some hunting parties set up camp sites for the duration of their hunts. Always remember when camping on Crown land to follow the provincial regulations and to not overstay the 21-day restriction for any one site. Always respect the wilderness that is providing for you and leave the area in as good—if not better—shape as when you arrived.

Most of you will agree on the importance of preparation related to your firearm. Is your bow, rifle or shotgun ready for when you need to rely on it the most? What condition was your firearm at the end of the season—was it wet? Shooting true? Any wear on your bow strings? Identifying any potential issues early will pay off greatly come game time.

Give all your firearms a good, thorough cleaning and oil up the mechanisms to prevent ceasing or unneeded rust. Bow hunters should always check their strings, sights, cams and arrows for any potential mishaps. Once all the servicing is completed, I highly suggest heading out with a box of shells, skeet or your shooting block and getting some time in with your firearm. There is no better feeling than the confidence that comes with knowing your firearm, and being able to accurately place your shot.

Once all of the preparation is done, it’s finally time for the hunt! Bear season is the first big game species available in the region and it’s fast approaching. The majority of the region has bear hunting available from August 15 to October 31; always check the regulations for your specific areas before heading out. Northeastern Ontario is home to some of the densest bear populations in the province—residents and hunters making the worthwhile trip seem to agree.

But the amount of time it takes to be properly prepared should not be taken for granted. These countless hours include setting up your stand and bait piles, routinely replenishing bait, checking trail cameras, stalking active areas, and the long sits in the stand during the early mornings and late evenings. As many successful hunters can attest, this is all worthwhile in the end.

For a catered experience or if you lack the time, Northeastern Ontario has your covered. Outfitters, lodges and outpost camps are readily available to assist you this bear season, no matter your skill or experience. This Guide For Planning Your Next Lodge Vacation is a useful resourceSome excellent choices can also be found below:

Never forget the importance of safety and ethics while out in the wilderness this fall. It’s our responsibility to ensure not only our own safety, but the safety of others—always transport your firearm in a safe matter, take all precautions when hunting from an elevated stand and maintain awareness with your surroundings.  Ethical choices can go a long way to sustaining a healthy population.

Shot placement and choice in harvest cannot be stressed enough. If you are unsure, step back and reassess—don’t just take the shot because the opportunity arose. There will be another opportunity, so stay patient. We all enjoy spending our time in the outdoors during the hunt and we should take the time to ensure we can continue to do so for many years to come. So stay safe, be prepared and get out there! Discover the bountiful wilderness that surrounds us.

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