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Gary Shaw: Preparing for the fall hunt

Walk on the Wild Side
Walk on the Wild Side - SaltWire Network

LABRADOR CITY, N.L.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

CANADA

It seems like such a short time ago, back in the spring, when all of us moose hunters were scrambling to get our moose applications sent in for the fall hunt that, at the time, seemed so far away.

Well, so much for that.

A Labrador moose.
A Labrador moose.

All those successful in this year’s draw now have their tags safe and are getting ready for this annual fall classic.

The summer has come and gone, the fishing all but wrapped up and the sights and the smells of the land are changing as we find ourselves being escorted by Mother Nature into autumn.

For us folks in Labrador, the subtle signs are clearly obvious.

The days on both ends are getting shorter, there is the slight tinge of yellow showing on the willow bushes in the country, and the nighttime temperatures are dropping.

Last weekend at our camp, we had a small fire in the cabin both nights, and saw a bit of frost early on one morning.

All these tell-tale signals are letting those of us who pay attention to these things, know that it’s time to be checking preparing for the many tasks the hunting season brings.

Travel and vacation plans are being made for those among us who travel to the Island for the hunt. Accommodations are arranged, whether with family or at a local cabin provider.

For those among us who fortunate enough to have a Labrador tag, we are also arranging schedules and preparing for a hunt right from home or from our cabins.

Guns are sighted in, rope, tarps, saws and all of the necessary gear required to handle the moose, have been gathered from our sheds and made ready for the hunt.

The boat, for those who hunt the rivers, and the quads and side-by-sides are all checked over to be sure they are in good working order; no tool required for the hunt is overlooked.

Several gatherings of the gang have been scheduled, the grocery list discussed, who is to bring what, right down to the toilet paper; no necessary item can be forgotten.

It’s an important time of the year, with more than one generation participating in the hunt.

Many times, family members who have been doing the hunt since grandpa’s early years are at it. It is filled with the social aspects as much as the hunting.

The migratory bird season is also upon us. The same excitement and planning efforts are all part of this hunt, as well.

This fall’s hunt may very well present us with a different scenario than a normal year would.

Very few among us can ever remember a spring that arrived so late. Remember a few short months ago, when we had hundreds of geese and ducks staged down on the little bit of open water and on the ice on Little Wabush, waiting for the ice to go out to the north of us?

These birds were with us for a good while and were really late in finally getting away to the north to their nesting areas. They eventually got there but an early or late spring still sees the same incubation period for the birds to hatch out their young.

These breeding pairs of birds were really behind on the calendar in having their young because of the late spring.

The weather conditions that occurred this year have also had a direct and negative impact on the size of the birds that will be included on our fall hunt.

We have young geese that are not half grown, many of which can’t fly yet, and young ducks are still swimming around with their mothers, and still have yellow down on them.

If there was ever a year when there was a need to dialogue with the powers that be, to consider a mid-September opening, this year is it.

This extra time would give those younger birds the necessary growth for flight and give the hunters a sporting opportunity at a bird big enough for the roaster.  

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