Finding New Hunting Partners

I recently bogged about an awesome website concept call Huntclubber.com.

Esentially the website connects hunters together for hunts.  This raises a good question though; what qualities do you look for in a hunter or how do you go about determining if a hunting partner will work out.  Most people don’t want just anyone on a hunt with them.  Hunting is a serious matter which requires a level of trust in their partners.  After all your shooting guns and injuries can happen easily if your not carefull.

1) The Initial Meeting (s)

The first step is establishing who your hunting with.  Knowing their name, age, address, contact info and occupation are essential and will give you a basic understanding of the person.  These are the first things I discuss when meeting someone new for the first time and I can tell you from experience, this is best done over a cup of Joe or a cold beer.  To start things off I would suggest a quick meet at a local public establishment like Tim Hortons or a Pub.  Having a meeting in a public location can take some of the pressure out of a first meeting and a public establishment offers a more relaxed atmosphere.  Why have an initial meeting? Easy it allows you to take a reading on the other hunter prior to revealing your favourite hunting spots.

If all looks good I would get right into more detailed questions regarding their hunting and fire arm experience.  I enjoy sharing my experiences with others as I am sure most hunters do so this part should be easy.  You want to establish that they know how to hunt the target species, how to use their specific equipment and that their hunting objectives are inline with yours.  The easiest way to do this is to just come right out asking questions but be sure to offer information about yourself and encourage questions.  After all, you want the prospective hunter to be comfortable with you as well.  If your not an experienced Hunter, I suggest being upfront about it.  Be honest and let the other party know that you are new and are willing to learn.  Sometimes the best way to learn is work up from the bottom rung of a camps totem pole.

Finally I suggest posing a philosophical question in a meeting prior to going into the field: What is your reason for hunting?  New hunters are going out of their way to find places to hunt and this is usually indicative of passion for the sport.  This passion should show through in their response.

2) Field Visit + Hunting Terms

Once everyone is comfortable with each other, the terms of the hunting should be discussed.  These details may be better discussed during an actual visit to the proposed hunting property.  This allows for a tour of the hunting grounds and the option to discuss any boundaries or issues the land may have.  Be sure to explain any special details about the land for instance if they can expect to see other hunters in the area, hikers, farmers etc.  This will allow the other hunter to be prepared.  Some additional details to cover include: access agreements, hunting camp rules, fees, time requirements and expectations.  These are all specifics you will want to make clear to prospective hunters before hand.  If you expect hunters to follow certain rules, it is best to make them clear up font.

3) License Check

Although awkward initially, it is always a good idea to check licenses and tags before actually heading out.  Confirm the type of license they have (POL vs PAL and tag type).  I do this for anyone I hunt or fish with.  Id rather not be caught on the wrong side of a CO with a fellow hunter who is hunting illegally.  I usually introduce this check by offering it as a double check prior to heading out.  It is always a good idea to check your papers prior to heading out to save yourself the embarrassment of having to drive back for a lost tag (trust me on this one!).

Remember if for some reason your suspicious that the prospective hunter may not be completely above board, don’t feel bad about cancelling the hunt.  Hunting is supposed to be an enjoyable activity and its pretty hard to do that if your worried about illegal hunting practices in your party.   Pretty soon every twig snap will feel like a CO!

These are just a few talking points off the top of my head that I think would be useful.  Regardless of how many questions you ask, I recommend meeting the prospective hunter many times before actually hunting and try to hunt in groups for your first hunt if you don’t know the prospective hunter that well.

I for one am all about making connections and getting into the outdoors with new people. In fact I love fishing/hunting with folks new to the sport.  The satisfaction of passing on knowledge is a great feeling, however, safety is paramount in all situations and even more so when firearms are involved.  Remember, hunting Safety is everyone’s responsibility and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

Hunting Connections – Huntclubber.com

Hunting in Ontario is deeply rooted in tradition.  The yearly trip to the hunt camp or the weekend jaunts to the waterfowl blinds have significance for many Ontarians, and for most they were introduced to the sport though family members.

So what do you do when you are new to the sport and have no family to guide the way? No property to hunt on?

Indeed, this is the greatest challenge for the new breed of hunters.  Family traditions are not the only factor driving people to hunt these days.  Many people desire to hunt for ethical, culinary and social reasons.

Enter http://huntclubber.com/

The concept is simple; Connect likeminded hunters, anywhere in Canada and The United states over any kind of hunting.

Although, in its early beta stages, this is an amazing concept that could pave the way for the future breed of hunters.

The website focusses on a search tool which allows you to find hunters of all skill levels in your area who hunt the species you are interested in.  This tool could be vital for those new breed of hunters looking to connect with more experienced folks or even old camps looking to recruit some new blood.

New hunter or old, I encourage you to give this a look and support this amazing idea.

Lyme Disease Awareness

I recently found out that Steave Rinella, one of America’s most prominent young hunters and food advocates was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  I felt compelled to post about this issue to raise awareness amongst Canadian Hunters.

Lyme disease is present throughout southern Ontario.  Transmitted by a small insect know as a deer tick, this disease is caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia Burgdorferi.  The disease is treatable, but gets progressively worse if left with out medical attention.

“The first symptom of the disease may include the appearance of a red target like rash around the bite.  Although this rash is not always present on an infected individual.

The common symptoms are:

  • fatigue;
  • chills;
  • fever;
  • headache;
  • muscle and joint pain; and
  • swollen lymph nodes.

If untreated, the second stage of the disease, known as disseminated Lyme disease, can last up to  several months and include:

  • central and peripheral nervous system disorders;
  • multiple skin rashes;
  • arthritis and arthritic symptoms;
  • heart palpitations; and
  • extreme fatigue and general weakness.

If the disease remains untreated, the third stage can last months to years with symptoms that can include  recurring arthritis and neurological problems.”  – Public Health Agency of Canada

As an avid outdoor enthusiast I take Lyme disease very seriously and perform self checks after every outing in the woods.  This is a good habit to get into and can lead to early detection of a bite.  If bitten, see your local doctor or health clinic for removal and to obtain a test for Lyme disease.  Be safe out there!

Cheers From the Wild

Albert

Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

http://canlyme.com/

Great source for info on Lyme Disease:

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/lyme-fs-eng.php

Steve Rinella’s personal Site and TV series website:

http://www.stevenrinella.com/

http://themeateater.com/

Migratory Hunting Regulation Changes – Ontario

Hunting is a fairly new and still very mysterious world to me.  I obtained my hunting and PAL about four years ago with the sole intention of trying something new and perhaps bagging some interesting meats for my table.  As most new hunters are, I was gung-ho and trigger happy with the thought that I would soon be dining on all sorts of delicious meats! I was going to be the friggen Davy Crocket of the north!  The Hank Shaw of Ontario (shameless plug for my favourite chef http://honest-food.net/)!

Well things didn’t really work out that way.  I soon learned that these were the lofty expectations of a niave and ambitious young man.  Both the difficult nature of hunting and time restrictions of my work and family lives hit me with a pretty hard dose of reality.  In the first year of hunting I ended up not shooting a damn thing.  I was green, loud in the bush, and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.  Forget hitting a flushing grouse or a running buck.

Since those days I’ve progressed, learned to stay calm, and most of all respect hunting and the animals involved.  Things came together after that and I have slowly ticked off animals from my list of firsts.  Not just in the bush but on the table as well.

This year I plan to take full advantage of some great water fowling and deer opportunities which I have stumbled across here in southern Ontario.  This has me feeling very excited about the upcoming 2013 – 2014 season.  So when I read that the regulations regarding geese were changing to remove all possession limits, both me and my stomach were ecstatic.  And then as if I wasn’t excited enough, I noticed that the MNR has added a morning dove season for my area.

I know some people are hesitant about hunting these birds, but I like to think I keep an open mind about trying new experiences so I am sure I will try it out.

Who knows, maybe this year will be the year I bag my first morning dove!

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

Migratory Regulations for Ontario (2013-2014):

http://www.ec.gc.ca/rcom-mbhr/default.asp?lang=en&n=99FDEC59-1#_005

Topographical Maps

Topographic maps are vital components to many outdoor activities.  Knowledge of the landscape can assist with choosing portage routes, selecting promising hunting grounds or even identifying the best spots to set up camp.

One of my favourite sources for topography maps is the Atlas of Canada‘s data delivery system Toporama (and not just beacuase I am a sucker for a good online mapping program!).

Toporama provides 5m topographic contours for all of Canada overlaying some decent base mapping layers.  Although other more detailed sources are available, not many are available online or are this easy to use.  As an added bonus, Toporama also includes some pretty comprehensive base mapping layers ranging from from road networks all the way to wetlands and almost everything in between.

Toporama Website:

http://atlas.gc.ca/site/english/toporama/index.html