Opinion Column

The Outdoors Guy: Gobble, gobble, it is turkey time in Ontario

By Jeff Morrison

Submitted photo:
Erin Braun of Danner/LaCrosse Footware with her first-ever wild turkey.

Submitted photo: Erin Braun of Danner/LaCrosse Footware with her first-ever wild turkey.

For thousands of wild gobbler enthusiasts, next Wednesday (April 25) will be like Christmas morning, but with long beards and spurs under the tree.

Thanks to reintroduction programs more than three decades ago, turkey populations across the province are now burgeoning. As we have witnessed in recent years, there are more gobbler sightings than ever up the Valley and around Eastern Ontario, and the spring hunt is improving each year. The glorious gobbler has evolved into one of the most prolific (and tasty) game species around, so you had better get used to them.

Play by the rules

Hunters are reminded that it is illegal to pursuing turkeys within 400 meters of any place where bait has been deposited, unless the spot has been bait-free for at least one week. Bait is described as corn, wheat, oats or any other feed that may attract wild turkey or any imitation of such feed. Standing crops, crops stacked in accordance with normal farming practices and grain scattered as a result of normal farming operations are not considered bait. Following the rules is part of the game and it would be a shame to ruin a great hunt by pushing your luck.

Good luck to all the gobbler gurus and please drop me a line with news from your area!

Bragging board

Whether spending time in the woods or on the water, with family and friends, hunting and fishing adventures are among our most cherished memories. Every sporting enthusiast has one thing in common, the excitement of sharing photographs – be they traditional ‘grip and grin’ images of a big fish, or a prized game animal, or more obscured pics from the great outdoors. One time I captured a photo of a mink as it ran across my hunting boot. I am looking for some of the best and most original photos taken during hunting or fishing trip for an upcoming Sportsmen Bragging Board to appear right here in the Pembroke Daily Observer next month! If you have images you would like to share with thousands of like-minded individuals, send them to me by email to theoutdoorsguy@rogers.com along with a caption.

Scribe heading for trout

It’s hard to believe that in less than a month I will be heading through the Upper Valley on my annual trout adventure with my dad and brother-in-laws, our minds filled with visions of the north woods and giant specs! First stop will be Chalk River for refuelling, then in Mattawa at Myrt’s famous restaurant for one damn fine breakfast. Then as we meander north along the old ‘river road’ towards Temiscaming, Que., the City of Ottawa will (hopefully) be a distant memory. It doesn’t matter how far you travel each spring to enjoy Mother Nature's springtime spectacle, just as long as you do it. Portaging the old Sportspal canoe and scouting the trails are all part of the experience. For all the avid trout anglers out there, here's to tight lines, bent rods and monster brookies as far as the eye can see. See you soon, Lac Perdu!

Being bear safe

When travelling in bear country this spring, be sure to keep your wits about you. When portaging during the early season I always carry a can of bear spray and, although I've never used it, it is always at the ready! Statistics show there are a dozen or so bear attack attacks in North America each year, some of which don't end well. Bear spray can be purchased at local hunting and fishing stores and, keep in mind, that there may be some paperwork to fill out. Bear spray will provide a bit of extra insurance when travelling in bear country this spring. We carry a can every year just in case.

Happy travels and be safe out there!



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