Oh deer

JEFF MORRISON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

With the launch of the whitetail deer rifle season this weekend, hunters from across the region are preparing for the busiest and most intense week of the year.

I'll bet you six dollars to a donut that the kickoff to deer rifle season in Quebec and Ontario in a few short days will create a buzz of papal-visit proportions.

It is the talk the town, baby!

Offices suddenly become short staffed, highways become noticeably less congested and, of course, hunting widows band together again for support while the boys are out looking for deer.

Oh, and it's not just the boys. Make no mistake about it: Women enjoy the sport plenty, too.

SHUT DOWN

In the Unites States, many small rural communities will pretty much shut down when the white-tail deer rifle season arrives, since most residents -- male and female and in some cases their dogs -- are all out in the deer woods.

This annual phenomenon is an experience best enjoyed first-hand, but keep in mind that once you're bitten by the bug, you'll be hooked for life.

Two things are certain this deer season:

- Thousands of local hunters will get very little sleep the night before the season begins;

- The tales of big bucks -- and the one that got away -- will be heard long after the season has closed.

And if anyone is looking for me, I'll be at the hunt camp.

BAD HUNTING: Two men have been fined $150 each for their part in an illegal deer hunt on June 19, 2004.

A 19-year-old from Renfrew and a 20-year-old from Haley Station pleaded guilty to hunting deer without a licence and unlawfully possessing another person's deer seal.

MNR OFFICERS

Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officers checked the two hunters while they were taking part in the Lanark Landowners Association-organized hunt on land where a valid agricultural deer removal authorization (DRA) existed.

With a DRA, farmers may have agents remove deer on their behalf, providing the agents are authorized by the ministry.

After discovering that the two hunters were not, in fact, authorized deer removal agents, conservation officers seized both men's rifles and deer seals.

Call toll-free 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) to report any natural resources violation or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours.

MORE GPS: Despite not owning a full-coloured topo-style unit, Brian Houle's Garmin Etrex GPS has literally changed the way he hunts.

Houle says his GPS acts as a sort of safety valve, offering him that extra confidence booster in knowing he has another safety tool should he get turned around in the woods.

Houle always marks his spots in the GPS when he leaves a main trail, and every so often marks additional waypoints along the way.

He claims that with his GPS he can now follow Mr. Big Buck as far as he wants, without fear of consequences.

DEAD BATTERIES

The only thing that bothers him about today's hand-held global positioning unit is that none of them operate on solar power. They are, after all, used outdoors, and the last thing any sportsman would want is to get lost because of dead batteries.

Houle brings up a good point, because anyone who uses a GPS regularly knows that they gobble battery power like it's going out of style.

Thanks, Brian, for your GPS insight, and best of luck this fall.

MORE HAPPY HUNTERS: Congratulations to Big Doug Phillips and his gang on a successful fly-in trip to the Canoe Canada Bunkhouse in the Atikokan-area of Northwestern Ontario. Even after a jammed rifle hampered his ability to shoot, he still managed to take a nice cow moose.

jeffm@mail.magma.ca


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