Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bryan and Saskatchewan Hunts

 I grew up in Sask and am a farm boy at heart.  And with the farm, comes a tradition and past time- hunting.  So every chance I get to hunt something in Sask, I take.

  In October, Elissa and I had a wedding to attend, and this was my chance to swing by the farm and make a hunt happen.  Ducks and Geese were on the hit list, and I had my dad doing some scouting.  He had found a shoot, and I watched that evening.  It was looking like a dandy, about a dozen snows, thousand mallards, and five hundred Canada's.

  The morning found SNOW on the ground, and intense fog.   Hmmmmmm.  This could be interesting.  We set up, and set in, and it wasn't too long till we started flinging steel at Mallards.  Ducks were falling, and everything was going great.  Then the fog got real thick and things slowed down.  We could hear Canada's around us, but they couldn't find us with low visibility (20 feet).  What was going to happen....

  Every once in a while we got lucky.  Right next to us we could here a light goose gruttle, and voila- the snow geese came right in.  Bam bam- couple snows down.  Not long after, we heard a speckle belly cackle.  I got on the call- and they were coming in.....bam bam.  Few speckles down too!   And then it finally happened, some Canada's came in and a few more hit the ground.

 This was a first for me and my dad, a triple goose species hunt over decoys.

  In November I took off for Whitetail.  My plan was to shoot one with the bow, but it had to be big.  It was -28 + windchill and it was chilli 28 feet up in a tree.  Day 1 I had a close encounter to a heavy 4x4, and he busted me when a jacket made noise on the draw.  The next day I had another nice 4x4 come in after 23 does and 5 other bucks made their way through.  I decided to take the shot, and got a nice 150 4x4.  Not the biggest buck, but under the weather conditions and time allotment, I did fairly well.  And there is always next year.
                                        My nephew and me with the deer


It didn't seem to take long for fall to come, and fast wing beats filled the air.  This year I planned to try a few new places to hunt, and see where things go from there.  The first place we hunted was a little wild rice lake.  I scouted out a few places, and this was thee place.  Since our water was high, a few of my old spots had drowned rice, and only a few ducks.  But this lake was chuck full of Mallards and Canada's.  We got in there early, and had one heck of a canoe ride to get a across the lake, to where I thought would be the best spot to set up.  I wish I had a picture of 3 grown men, my lab Maggie, and all our gear in one canoe.  We made it and set up.  It didn't take long, and there was steel flying everywhere.   It also didn't take long to see where we should have been set up, but that all comes with learning the spots.   The day was a success, and Maggie again did awesome.  

 I continued trying a few new spots, and on one hunt I took out a first time hunter.  He works for me, and a hunt for him was part of our season wind up.  Well the area was perfect, but when I went to throw in the decoys- the bottom was way to soft.  I ended up having to throw only 5 decoys out, and a couple of Mojos.  We were set up on a beaver lodge, and I was hoping that we would at least get a few mallards to give a fly by with the least than ideal set up. 

  Well the mojos worked a bit too good- because Ben was throwing steel out furiously, but with only 8 yard shots things were tight!  Eventually Ben finally connected, and the mallard crumpled.  Maggie retrieved and victory was ours.  
                                               Ben with his First Duck

  So with a few more spots under the belt, I am super excited for next year.  There are still a few more placed to try, but I am excited to give it a go!  2013 ducks and geese better watch out!

Fall Bear 2012

 This fall was our first since taking over for fall bear and wolf hunters.  It was a total success, and a lot of fun.  The bears were awfully hungry this fall, as there was a terrible berry crop in our area.  We had some real good bears coming in, as well as a few colored.  But the colored bears were tough to keep at a bait.  In for a week and then gone.  Each bait had many bears, and some big big bears coming in as well.  One bear even pushed a 6" diameter spruce tree right over!

  Once the hunters were in, the bears were still cooperating.  In the first night, a lady client shot a mid 300 lb old black bear I aka'd scar face.   The next 2 hunters in ended up with a 250 black face black bear, as well as a 260 lb beauty.   There was also a 400 lber that a client had a quality chance at, but was unable to close the deal.

  All in all, our average size of bears for the fall was 275lbs.  There was very little fat (less than 2") on all the bears, and hopefully we have a decent mild winter so we do not experience any winter kill.  But one thing is sure, they will be coming to the baits hard this spring as their fat reserves will be low.

Lori with Scar Face
   Our success rate for this year was 93%, with every hunter having a chance at bears both spring and fall.   We do still have spots available for the 2013 season, so if you are at all interested, just give us a call!

Jack with #100

If you have ever spent time at Wekusko Falls Lodge in the past- say- 25 years, you have probably heard of the Legendary Tramping Lake walleye fisherman "Jack".   As on older friendly man, I got the chance to meet Jack a few times before we bought the lodge.  And our friendship grew fast once we were permanently here.

  We always try to get out together for a few days throughout the spring and summer, thus we've had many adventures in the last 3 years - Jack and I.  And we have seen some huge fish.  Jack was with me  when I lost a 36"+ walleye right at the boat, and also encountered my enormous sulking during the aftermath.    Needless to say, we have had some highs and lows in the boat.

  As the water was so high this year- I asked Jack when the last time he fished up the river at Tramping.  He figured it had been more than a few years, and relived some glory days.  I asked Jack if he'd like to come with me and run the river- just to see what's happening up there.  We were in a bit of a slump with big fish- so maybe they were up there?  It has happened that way in the past- and just maybe....

  So the date was August 3rd- and Jack drove my big boat, and I took a rental.  Why 2 boats- I had never run the rapids, and wasn't sure just exactly how this was going to go.  After roping my big boat down to shore, it was time to drive full speed into the rapid in order to make the shoot.  After a quick survey of the rocks and pillows, it was time.  I asked Jack- ready?... cause I wasn't.  Full speed ahead- and I probably pee'd a little.  And wham!  Just kidding- we actually ran right through it perfectly without any tickle, as if I was a seasoned pro.  

  We were running blades and crawlers, and we started picking up fish in the first spot.  And the second, third, forth, fifth, sixth- well basically every hole had fish.  Almost every fish was between 18 and 22", few smaller and a few bigger.  We continued on up the river, and the fishing continued strong.  With the water so high, we got above another rapids, and then another.  We were up into no mans land, and I asked Jack how many walleye we were at.  Now, those who know Jack, know his clicker and book.  You see, he counts every fish caught, and writes in his book every walleye over 22" each day.  

  Jack replied- 73.  It had been about 2 1/2 hours since we started up the river, and the big fish just didn't seem to be there.  But we decided- lets try to hit 100 walleye.  We turned back instead of running yet another rapid, and continued catching walleye in the holes we briefly fished on the way up.  The clicker continued clicking and we were at our second last hole.  94-95-96-97-98-99. And I put my rod down- let's put the pressure on Jack.  Well, one pass, and another- "come on Jack I'm waiting"..... and 100!  That fish was just as special as another 30", to the both of us I'm sure.  What a day, but still having to run the last rapid to the lake, and wind blowing stronger from the east causing concern about the tied boat, we weren't out of the woodwork yet.  
So I idled to the rapids and centered the boat to the shoot.  Wham!!  Not kidding- tickled that one pretty good- and Jack was just smiling-knowing that our adventures just keep on finding us.  But at least the big boat was okay.

 Thanks Jack for the memory- looking forward to the next one!