Opinion Column

The Outdoors Guy: Winter fun in the great outdoors

By Jeff Morrison

Submitted photo by Jeff Morrison

A young whitetail enjoys a snack at the author's backyard deer feeder.

Submitted photo by Jeff Morrison A young whitetail enjoys a snack at the author's backyard deer feeder.

 

 

Backyard deer feeding is an enjoyable winter past-time and of benefit to whitetails as snow depth increases.

 

It is hard to believe a decade has passed since the infamous ‘winter that would not end’. The record-breaking snowfall of 2007-08 saw more than 13 feet of snow blanket our region by time spring rolled around. It has been estimated that 25-30% of white-tailed deer populations, from Ontario to New Brunswick, perished that year. I know I lost more half the herd of 18 I was feeding at my place that winter.

 

To anyone considering a backyard deer feeding program, remember that if you begin distributing feed in early winter, it is imperative to continue until spring, as the animal’s digestive system will adapt to the supplemented diet. Ritchie’s Feed & Seed produces a terrific pelletized deer feed I’ve been using for years with success. I am sure other feed stores up the valley make a similar blend. Another way to help white-tailed deer population during winter is by increasing access to natural winter forage by creating trails with snowmobile, ATV or even snowshoes. The Ministry recommends these winter management initiatives over feeding so even if you don’t provide supplemental feed, it’s nice to offer a helping hand.

 

Ice hut reminder

Before you hit the hard top this winter consider registering your hut. The Pembroke MNR wishes to advise area anglers that, not only is ice hut registration a requirement by law, it goes a long way in preventing wayward huts later in the season. Abandoned ice-huts which end-up in waterways after the thaw will create havoc for boaters and early season fishermen. For improved visibility, registration numbers on all huts should be at least 2 ½” inches in height. You do not need to register tent-style huts made of cloth or synthetic material, provided the base measurement is less than seven square metres(75.4 square feet) To register your hut in Pembroke District call the ministry office at: (613) 732-3661

 

2018 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition

Toyota’s ultra luxurious Tundra 1794 Edition pickup truck, I road-tested this fall, made for one classy deer hunting season indeed. The new 1794 is Toyota’s entry into a small but elite class of western-style pickups, along the lines of Ford’s King Ranch, and pays homage to the Texas ranch founded in the year 1794, where the Tundra plant is now situated. This classy and rugged pickup features a chrome-surround grille with bright silver insert, a chrome and silver bumper, 1794 Edition badging, moonroof, and a powerful 5.7L iForce V8 engine producing 381 hp. The Tundra 1794 is a beautiful and burly beast to drive and as smooth and firm a ride as any I’ve seen; considering its mammoth 5600-pound size. The Tundra garners highest marks for reliability and resale, which are both huge in my books. Long-term maintenance and repair costs combined with high residual value make this truck a sound investment and perfect option for anyone wishing to keep their vehicle a decade or more. The last Toyota truck I owned was 16 years old when I sold it with still lots of life left. Thanks so much to Tina Allison of Toyota Canada for the opportunity of road-testing this great vehicle. For more info on the Tundra 1794 Edition: https://www.toyota.ca/toyota/en/vehicles/tundra/features-benefits

 

Safety first this winter

Ice anglers who head out this winter should advise someone where they will be fishing, and when they plan to return. Appropriate clothing and equipment are also vital to safety and comfort. Some winter anglers prefer to wear survival suits and carry a set of ice picks, while others go so far as driving modified ice vehicles with all the doors removed, in case of a plunge. Remember that ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness across most lakes and rivers; especially at the start of the winter season when near-shore ice is always thicker than ice further out.

 

Next time

 

I invite readers to send in their ice fishing tips and ideas – theoutdoorsguy@rogers.com. We will feature your winter angling tips right here in January. Happy ice fishing and be safe out there!