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The Outdoors Guy: Winter fishing has arrived!

By Jeff Morrison

Local ice fishing fanatic; Grant Bailey’s portable ice hut with a couple of dandy walleye, at an undisclosed lake.

Local ice fishing fanatic; Grant Bailey’s portable ice hut with a couple of dandy walleye, at an undisclosed lake.

With our region’s ice-fishing season well under way, winter anglers are being reminded that safety is of utmost importance.
Ice anglers who venture out on area lakes and rivers should always tell someone where they will be fishing, and when they plan to return. Appropriate clothing and equipment are also important for safety and comfort. Some ice-fishermen prefer survival suits and carry a set of ice picks, while others go to the extent of using modified ice vehicles with the doors removed, in case of an untimely plunge. Remember that ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness across a lake or river, especially now at the start of the winter season where near-shore ice is undoubtedly thicker than ice further out. Catch the big ones and for goodness sake, be careful on the ice!

Dogs and deer

A reminder to dog owners who allow their pets to run feral in the deer woods during wintertime, their actions may be devastating for whitetail populations at a fragile time of year. Conservation officers deal with dogs on the loose each winter and, in case you did not know, are authorized to destroy any dogs observed chasing or injuring deer in areas where herds gather for the winter. Penalties for allowing your animal to be at large during the closed season for deer range anywhere from $155 up to $25,000. With the high density of coyotes in our region it is also in your dog’s best interest to have Rover under wraps during the winter months.

Coyote woes continue
If feral dogs weren’t enough of a concern for wintering deer, marauding coyotes seem to be hiding behind every tree. The deer at my place stopped coming to the feeder over a month ago and there is little wonder why they left. Copious trail camera images and coyote tracks observed across my lawn indicate to me that the predator population is alive and flourishing. Public opinion maintains that coyotes are simply ‘doing what comes naturally’ and that is just the way things are. Is it really?

Predator control
Those who subscribe to principles of wildlife management know that conservation includes predator control; namely what is referred to as North America’s Urban Coyote Epidemic. In my case living within city limits, a ‘no discharge zone’ for firearms means I am left to watch ‘yotes run rampant across my property and my hands are literally (and figuratively) tied. The Ontario Government’s Algonquin Coywolf initiative last year made it so eastern coyotes fall under the same umbrella and are protected as well. I hope the ‘coyote huggers’ are satisfied when deer populations are decimated beyond repair since, contrary to popular belief, during harsh winters it is not just the old and weak that are preyed upon.

Back with Bounder Magazine
Following a two year absence, I am pleased to announce the return of my Outdoors Guy column to Bounder Magazine! Bounder is a long running men’s magazine published by Stittsville native Brian Warren and is a huge local success story with fans from across the region. Bounder readers are treated, four times per year, to everything from rock n’ roll, to fine food and drink, fast cars, men’s health, hunting and fishing of course, and much more. Check-out the latest issue featuring a cover story on CHEZ 106 FM, including my pals Doc, Woody, Randall and Eric. Randall Moore is also a long-time Bounder columnist with his classic One Minute Moore in its usual spot on the last page. Other columns by the likes of Red Green, Delmer and Cecile as well as radio legends Mark Papousek and Jim Hurcomb are also regulars. For more information on Bounder: http://bounder.ca/ Check out the winter issue still available in some stores and online: http://online.fliphtml5.com/tdses/etwr/

Ice-fishing hot spots!
Do you have a favourite winter fishing hotspot you wouldn’t mind sharing? Drop me a line at theoutdoorsguy@rogers.com and I will include your ice fishing tips right here in my February column.
 



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