White-tailed deer enthusiasts are gearing up for the busiest and most highly anticipated week of the year.
One thing you can always count on at the start of deer season, it does not go unnoticed. Offices become short-staffed, highways are noticeable less congested, and because it is a male-dominated sport, hoards of "hunting widows" band together for support while their hunters are away at camp.
You might even catch a glimpse of the odd tumble-weed rolling down the main strip in Carleton Place, Otter Lake or Almonte.
The deer rifle-season phenomenon is best enjoyed first-hand, but keep in mind that once bitten by the bug, you may be hooked for life. It is a time when hunters get very little sleep, but never seem to mind, and there are the tales of all the big bucks that got away.
Man, it's just a great time of year to be alive.
For anyone mentored through the ranks of a traditional family and friend-based hunt camp, you have, no doubt, dealt with the loss of a hunting partner. After many hours in the bush bearing your soul, you tend to grow very close. I began chasing deer when I was 13, and have always been the youngest guy in camp. Many uncles and friends of the family were there during my formative years, before heading off to that great camp in the sky. It was almost two years ago now that close friend and hunting companion Ron Swail passed away. It was one of saddest days of my life. Ronnie was always there at camp, right by my side over 25 glorious deer seasons. He was a faithful and kind hunting friend with a great sense of humour and a natural musical talent. Ronnie is gone now, but his legacy at the camp will live on forever. If you have a hunting partner like I did, cherish every moment because you never know when it may be your last. Rest in peace, dear friend.
DUCKS ON THE DECLINE
Avid water-fowler Randy Edge wants to know if others have seen a lack of ducks, compared to geese. Randy hunts the Dwyer Hill Rd. area and found this year to be his worst in 10. In the past, wood ducks were buzzing everywhere, but this year he saw only six, and not a single mallard or black duck. If you noticed fewer ducks this year, please let me know.
BIG OLD BASS
Congratulations to Corey Hackett on the monster-sized bass pulled from the Ottawa River near Petrie Island last month. Corey's beast measured 22 inches and weighed 7.5 lbs. Apparently he landed the behemoth from a top-secret honey-hole less than a 10-minute boat ride from Petrie. Anyone got a GPS?
BIG MUSKIE RELEASE
While fishing the Wendover area of the Ottawa River, David Headley caught a giant 56-inch muskie he estimated to be at least 45 lbs. The big "lunge" nailed a top-water bait and a great battle ensued. Headley choose to release his big fish, knowing that some day he might catch one even larger. The story was submitted by David's wife, Veronica.
COME ON, BRAG A LITTLE
If you had a better-than-average start to your deer season, please drop me a line and I will feature your good fortune in this column. We are also looking for this region's top moose hunt, so start tooting your own moose horn!