Deer and Moose Forecast for Southeastern Ontario

I hope you have your deer and moose tags in hand or they’re in the mail, because things are looking very good for our hunting prospects in many areas around Southeastern Ontario this fall.

Deer populations are on the rise across most of the province and particularly in the southeastern zones. Many of us hunters and outdoors people have observed that numbers dropped dramatically in these last three years due to some heavy snow and tough conditions. Coupled with a higher than average and hardier coyote population that decrease became exponential. The good news is coyote numbers are falling somewhat again due to mange and other natural diseases. Also, the resurgent interest in varmint hunting has helped to hurry this process of healthier deer numbers overall.

In the southeast, all the lakeshore Wildlife Management Units (WMU’s) appear to be rebounding quickly, particularly in the Durham and Northumberland areas. The agriculture that is predominant all along the lakeshore has always been a factor in maintaining a steady, healthy population and is less affected by weather and predation. Peterborough and Hastings are showing good fawn recruitment, and I have seen and heard many reports of triplet fawns. I am still hearing about heavy coyote activity in these areas, but with all things considered, I think predation will be down from last year. After a very poor season last year, the camps that I have talked to in the Haliburton and Renfrew areas are also confirming healthy numbers, and say that they are seeing more fawns and fewer coyotes and wolves. On my recent summer lake trout trips around the Muskokas, I’ve witnessed browse lines on several lakes in this area that are definitely a testament to a higher deer population.

The North Frontenac and Lanark areas are going to be the last to rebound, their season last year was dismal in most of this area. Interestingly, the 63 to 65 WMU’s had some of the highest deer populations anywhere for a long time. The tag allotments and high hunter numbers combined with the natural predation and weather conditions caused the deer population to plummet in most of these areas. It is going to be tough hunting for a couple of years but we’ve had a good crop season so far this year, and things bode well overall.

The WMU’s 47 48 49 are spotty, with some areas having been pounded by deep snow last winter. The Georgian Bay areas from Penatanguishene north to Parry Sound have a deer herds that are in a bad way right now and if we see another tough winter it is going to have a dire effect in these areas. The camps in Algonquin report Moose and Deer numbers dramatically down and that the wolf populations are a problem that needs to be addressed!

Finally, the moose herd is thriving in Southeastern Ontario right now, particularly in the more southern and central WMU’s. From the Highlands south to Peterborough, Moose sightings are off the chart. I even have two moose living in my area with a young bull spending most of the winter on my property near Millbrook! WMU 60 and 61 also have increased tag numbers and the calf population is very good right now across the board.

Finally, to all our fellow deer and moose hunters: Please remember that Elk are ranging in areas where they were not previously seen. Be sure of your shots this fall, as you don’t want to find yourself in the unfortunate position of shooting one by mistake.

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This is a very difficult subject for many people because of the lack of information as well as the myriad of misinformation among hunters, both young and old! I will now explode some of the deep-rooted myths that are very common in hunter lore and enlighten you with some facts that will assist you in making your shot count.

First and foremost, you must make an effective shot. Do I need to say this again? I most certainly do; it is human nature to try and make the shot under difficult conditions. Inexperienced hunters can rush a shot if they feel pressured by the situation, their peers or circumstances beyond their capabilities. In all cases before shooting, take the few seconds you need to evaluate the likelihood of success. The decision not to shoot when there is a possibility of wounding or of non-retrieval is not only the honorable choice, but the ethical one as well.

Practice with your firearm or bow is the only way to become proficient and to learn your effective range. Anyone who brags about their shooting prowess and does not shoot on a regular basis is only deluding themselves and not impressing me or anyone else with their words. A couple of arrows or slugs fired downrange the day before the hunt is not practice; consistency and repetition is the only way to establish accuracy. When you do practice, use the equipment that you would use in the field when hunting; wear your hunting coat, hat and boots so you will know what to expect when you shoulder your gun or draw your bow.

A common practice or myth among hunters is that a gun once sighted in will shoot all ammunition the same or close enough for hunting– wrong. Shooting and sighting in your firearm with inexpensive ammo to save money is counterproductive. Cheap ammo will not perform the same nor will it have the same point of impact; often the difference can be measured in feet, not inches. All your practice has been wasted because you do not know how your gun performs, where to aim at different distances or what to expect for recoil. Save your money and do it right the first time, become adept with the equipment and ammunition that will work the best for the game you are seeking.

Now that you have practiced and are confident and out in the field ready to take a shot at big game, there are some other misconceptions to be aware of. A well-entrenched myth is the ‘Head Shot’ and this particular fallacy frustrates and angers me more than any other. Head and neck shots are low percentage shots promoted wholly by egotists who are completely ignorant of big game anatomy. I call them ‘headshot heroes’ and these uneducated braggarts should be stripped of their hunting license and forced to take the hunting course again! Head and neck shots are more likely to wound the animal and cause unnecessary suffering or a lingering death.

During a past deer season my hunting partners and I witnessed an adult buck in a field with no bottom jaw, likely wounded by a ‘headshot hero’. Being both angered and saddened by this pitiful scene we quickly decided that we could not walk away and took the only ethical action. It took us two full days to secure permission for the property and some serious and determined hunting to find that animal and end its suffering. Please make the ethical decision and make an effective shot that gives the animal the respect it deserves. If you pass on the low percentage shots or those that you are not completely confident with, you will get another chance, I guarantee it. For the record, an ‘effective shot’ means targeting the lungs and waiting for the lead leg to move forward so the vitals are exposed. If you have a broadside profile or the animal is quartering away from you, this is your ideal target zone. There are certainly other trajectories from which you could make an effective shot, but they are for the practiced shooter with the experience needed to accurately assess their likelihood of success.

Shooting at running game with a rifle or slug-gun is for the most experienced hunters and one of the hardest skills to practice and master. Grunt or bleat to try and stop a moving deer, bark like a dog to stop a running coyote, and a deep cow bleat may turn that bull moose around. With a bow a running shot is out of the question for all of us except the archery gods, so just wait for the standing shots please. Many of us hunt with rifles and dogs for deer and I can tell you with certainty that the ‘spray and pray’ method is not going to put venison in the freezer. Shooting through bush or vegetation is one of the most ineffective exercises for killing big game, as any brush even a twig or grass can deflect the bullet and create a miss or even worse, wound the animal.

Pick your shooting position carefully where you have a clear and unobstructed view within your effective range. A spot where the animal must hesitate, like a stream crossing or a fallen tree or turn in the trail, is always preferred to a large open area where it can run flat out. If you are on a stand with dogs running game or during a deer drive, plan for every possible shot. Look for the openings where the deer will appear and use the open shooting lanes with no vegetation or trees to deflect or block your shot. Try and stop the deer with a bleat or grunt; if it won’t stop and is moving slowly enough hold on the front of the vitals swing with the deer and remember to follow through. Tree stands are very effective when still hunting but position them with care and forethought; make sure you can shoot safely, that your shooting lanes are clear and within your effective range. You should always practice shooting from your tree stand with bows or firearms; shooting from a sitting position or a small platform 15 feet off the ground is not easy. Remember that you must aim higher on the animal to hit the vitals when shooting from above. Most importantly, use a safety harness when hunting from tree stands!

Another pet peeve of mine is buckshot; it should not be used on big game, period. Ontario is one of the last jurisdictions in North America where buckshot is still legal for big game; this should tell you something, shouldn’t it? The real effective range of buckshot is about 25 yards and if you can’t hit a deer with a slug at 25 yards I suggest you quit hunting and take up badminton. Why would you fill an animal with 9 to 35 lead pellets that have minimal penetrating power (your butcher will have an opinion on this, I am sure) and take the chance of losing it or wounding it when you can kill it cleanly with a slug? I hear some uneducated hunters brag that every deer they have killed with buckshot has gone right down… My answer is that those deer are the only ones that they have ever found and undoubtedly from one lucky pellet that struck a vital area by chance! What about the other animals that they shot at, that ran away wounded and were not retrieved due to that hunter’s ignorance? Do you suppose they had on bulletproof vests or that they lived to a ripe old age after surgery performed by the magical elf triage team?

Another myth propagated by the uninformed is that a perfect shot in the vitals will put an animal right down or down quickly and that there will be blood or some other sign if an animal is hit. These are both blatantly wrong and have caused the loss of many animals by uninformed hunters. I know of some veteran hunters who have convinced others they have missed big game animals and cause them to cease searching for the animal by conveying this negligent notion. I have gone in with the shooter after the fact and helped them find the animal on several occasions in my career and this simply should not happen. The truth is most animals do not go down at the shot and many go a lot farther than you would expect before expiring. Not only do they act like they have not been hit and run away, but more often than not there is a minimal or non-existent blood trail to follow.

“Wait a minute,” you are saying to yourself, “how could there be little or no blood if I just made a perfect shot through the vitals?” Think about this: if you hit the lungs with a slug or a bullet they will cease to function; can you breathe after a blow to the chest? And the same thing applies to the heart whereas any violent shock or damage close by will interrupt the electrical impulses necessary for it to pump. So if the lungs and the heart are not working there is no blood pressure or breathing. The only way the blood can exit the animal is through the entrance and exit hole. But the skin and musculature are separate and can move along with all the membranes inside and around the various vital organs. As soon as the animal is hit and takes a step, the holes through these various membranes will no longer line up and therefore little or no blood can escape from the body cavity. Most of the blood from the animal is actually trapped inside the animal and very little will drip from the wound unless a major artery is damaged or if the heart remains beating. It also takes time for any blood to travel from the mid section down the hide and hit the ground.

Now that we have abolished that myth, what should we do to help put that animal down quickly? A well-shot animal hit in a vital area is much easier to retrieve. So first and foremost you must finish your shot; what I mean is to follow through and shoot again if it is necessary. If the animal is on its feet, finish what you started shoot it again; if it falls and gets up, shoot it again. If it runs and it is safe to shoot then do that and keep shooting it until it is no longer safe, out of range or you have no effective shot available.

Which brings me to another pet peeve of mine that is the ‘shot admirer’: the hunter who takes just one shot and then watches to see what the animal does. Often they believe they have made a good shot and are waiting for it to fall, or they succumb to ‘Buck Fever’ and forget to shoot again. Focus on the shot and then the surrounding details, watch where the animal is when you shoot first and where it was when you last saw it. Listen for the sound of the animal falling– it will be loud, as a deer running and expiring will crash to the ground violently. Advance carefully and see to your own safety as you unload your firearm and climb from your tree stand, blind or shooting position.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this post and come to understand the Truths and Myths that I have over the years. The reward of a well placed shot and successful harvest of your big game animal is an experience you will never forget. But as I have previously indicated sometimes that reward can only be realized by your determination and tracking skills. I hope you will take the time to read my next post entitled ‘Tracking Big Game’.

Whitetail Deer. Moving in for the Kill

How many of you have heard another hunter say that you can’t sneak up on a deer? Or heard that you have to call a moose to you because their hearing and sense of smell is just too good to approach them? I beg to differ. Stalking is a very effective method of harvesting your big game animal and with a little training and practice it’s not that difficult. I have taken many deer by stalking in fact and if you keep reading I’ll share with you the tips and tricks I have learned to get within effective shooting range of this wary ungulate.

If you are going to be an efficient game stalker the first thing you need is good clothing and boots. In this case ‘good’ means well camouflaged, flexible and very quiet. Camo that matches the season and vegetation in your hunting area is an obvious consideration. You also need to make sure that the fabric is quiet when you rub it together or on anything else. Your boots must be flexible enough so you can step quietly and feel what you are stepping on. Hunter orange is required when hunting big game during the gun season so make sure you have a hunter orange vest and hat and that it covers a minimum of 400 sq inches and that it is visible from the front and back. A hat with a peak to shield your eyes along with camouflage facemask and gloves are also something not to leave home without when hunting and especially stalking. Your gun or bow can also benefit from some camo tape if it is not already sporting a camo finish.

Remember to make sure that your equipment is quiet as well. Anything that rattles or squeaks when you walk or move should be silenced. Tape your zipper tangs and silence anything that moves on or in your backpack or pockets. Even a floppy pair of boot laces can get you noticed by the sharp ears of a whitetail deer! Your bow or gun should be checked for loose parts, and tighten anything that makes noise when you shake it. I even have a piece of felt glued to the plug in my shotgun magazine. Things that hit together in your pockets or on your person might be unnoticeable to you but a deer can hear a mouse sneeze at 300 yards so it’s imperative to silence your gear.

Now that you are invisible and silent you need to think about scent. Obviously you are going to try to stay downwind but a sudden change of wind direction can get you busted if you are not prepared. Good clothing like Sitka Wear can really help kill human odor with the microbial silver sewn into every layer. Washing all your clothing in scent eliminator clothes wash is another very helpful precaution. I have found that the spray on scent eliminators are good as a bonus when you arrive at your hunting area and get out of your vehicle. You never know what kind of odors you might have picked up while travelling in your vehicle or from your fellow hunters. Masking scents are, generally speaking, not my cup of tea, as I would rather smell like nothing than like another animal. You must realize that deer can smell skunk or fox masking scent and it will alert them. I have seen deer watching both skunks and foxes that they have scented and personally I don’t like to give them any reason to look in my direction.

Now that you are quiet, camouflaged and nearly scent free comes the real work of figuring out how to sneak up on a whitetail. In southern Ontario where I hunt there are woodlots and cedar bush mixed with agriculture, which is about as good as it gets for stalking. I like to start from a tree stand or high ground where I can glass a large area. I also prefer to be in my glassing spot at least 45 minutes before legal shooting time and to go in quietly without a white light. I use a muted red lens on my flashlight, as this is nearly invisible to deer and much less likely to alert them. Make sure you have some powder wind checker as wind direction can be fickle and it can be undetectable at times without your magic powder. Really good binoculars are essential kit for stalking and glassing in the dark can be productive while waiting for first light. I use 8X42 Steiner Peregrines because they are excellent for looking into bush and low light conditions. The 8X are all you really need for stalking. When glassing in near dark watch for the telltale white flashes on the rear and throats of the deer. You will likely be surprised at the deer movement in open areas before sun-up. This early morning scrutiny can help you determine a course of action when shooting time arrives.

At legal shooting time you might have already seen deer exit the field and animals may still be present in the field. If you know where they are going then move to a position that will allow you a shot when they move out of the field. Plan a route that will give you the most cover and keep the wind in your favor. Use your wind checker once you are on the ground, before you move. If you are stalking fields or agriculture try to use vegetation like trees, fencerows with rocks, weeds and brush, or low areas to shield your movement from the sharp eyes of the deer. Resist the temptation to keep popping your head up or out from behind things to check on the deer, this is the most common mistake that people make when sneaking up on any animal. Prey animals have an uncanny ability to see and feel your eyes, so once you have spotted them be careful to shield your eyes with the peak of your hat and mask. Keep your head down and look at the ground because picking the quietest spot to place your feet is also very important. They have ears like satellite dishes and the snap of a twig or a heavy footfall can cause them to vanish before you are within effective range. If you are in a place where you can see them, remember they can also see you. If you do see them with their heads up, stop moving and stay low. Lie down and use the grass for cover if you must. They will sometimes be in what I call “nervous standby,” standing like statues for minutes on end. This does not necessarily mean you are busted; just put your head down and wait. Don’t move, watch their body language, carefully keep your eyes shielded at all times and when they relax and look away or down then resume your stealthy advance.

If you are stalking in cover, like a forested area, this is actually harder than open areas because you cannot see as far. It is often quieter and the wind is more likely to swirl and change direction. You will probably find yourself in this situation as the day proceeds and the deer have moved into cover. Mid-morning will have the deer laid up in day beds napping or chewing cud and watching warily. Glass carefully and look for “horizontal lines” as the top of a deer’s back will stand out in the forest, everything else grows up and out. Also watch for ears eyes and antlers, as these might be the only things you can see if the deer are bedded. The ears will constantly be moving and the white hair on the inside is very noticeable in cover and in low light. The black circle of an eye is also a different shape from everything else in the bush. Spotting a set of antlers will cause your heart rate to go up dramatically! Stay calm, and be sure of your target. “Buck fever” can lead even the most experienced hunter to see an illusory trophy rack amidst brush and bramble. I have often had deer stand up out of beds while stalking through cover on field edges, and where there is one there are more so always be ready. If the deer does not know where you are it will hesitate to look around. They will not run if they can avoid it. Deer need to pinpoint danger so as not to run toward a threat and this gives you vital seconds in which to decide to shoot or wait.

If you spot a deer before it spots you, don’t swing your gun or bow up immediately and don’t drop to the ground either as any sudden move can alert it. You should freeze and avert or close your eyes to avoid that proven connection between predator and prey. If you are close enough for a shot and you have a tree between you and your target, avoid looking or stepping around the side, or swinging your gun up, as you’ll risk spooking the animal. Instead, keep your body sideways and behind the tree and move slowly back away from the tree, this will make your profile smaller so the tree can cover your movements completely and you can then position your body and get your gun up or draw your bow. As you move to the side for a shot you are a much smaller and less noticeable object and you are ready to shoot. Hopefully you will have stalked to a position that allows a shot at an animal that’s totally unaware of your presence. In this situation take your time, find a good rest for your gun and control your breathing before your shot. If the deer are moving and you have an opportunity for a quick shot within your effective range a soft bleat will often stop them. You can make this sound easily, just pretend you’re a sheep but substitute the ‘baa’ for a ‘maa’ sound! Finally, remember to visualize your shot and to wait for the broadside shot with the near leg forward.

I won’t get into follow up shots or what to do after the first shot. I’ll leave that for another post.

Stay tuned for my upcoming blog on tracking; another long-winded narrative that will hopefully help you elevate your game.

Good Hunting
Big Red Out.

Finding and Fostering Places to Hunt.

Landowners and the Hunter.

Many of our readers are just beginning their hunting careers and are seeking a place to hunt while many others are now moving to rural areas and purchasing properties to live and/or hunt on. This seems like a simple thing to do but it can be difficult at the least and completely disappointing at the most. Landowner permission is becoming more and more difficult to achieve as large farming operations, aggregate companies and other corporations buy up vast acreages. Unfortunately the small farming operation or family farm is disappearing and people moving from big cities and urban areas are buying many of these farms as retirement and family homes. Quite often these new inhabitants do not understand hunting and the traditional rural lifestyle and many are simply afraid of hunting and of guns in particular. As such, I wanted to discuss the problems you might encounter in these situations and how to properly find and maintain properties for you to hunt and enjoy.

Going door to door and asking for permission to hunt can be daunting but it can also be effective if you prepare and do your homework. First, look for an area that suits your needs and has the type of geography necessary for the game you want to hunt. For instance are you seeking a swamp to hunt ducks or an area of agriculture and forest to hunt deer? Driving around and looking at areas from the road can be time-consuming and expensive so using alternative search methods should be your first priority. Maps indicating areas of Crown Land are available from your local MNR office and these can be a big help as no permission is required in many of these areas. Google maps can also be a valuable source of information and provide more detail on specific areas. Whether you are looking at Crown land or narrowing down your search for private areas, Google maps has both road and satellite views that can really help you see the geography and details of properties of interest to you. Once you have identified areas of interest seek as much information about them as you can. You should check with the Township office in that area, either on the Internet or by phoning them for information on by-laws, and municipal and provincial hunting areas that may exist in their jurisdiction. Your local gun store and shooting clubs can also be a great place to do some networking and you will often find like people willing to take you hunting, or assist you in brokering a seasonal hunting lot.

After your diligent research and narrowing down your possibilities you have to do some driving. Pulling randomly into a stranger’s driveway to ask permission to hunt can be a bad experience if you don’t put some forethought into your approach. First and foremost you should have insurance and proof thereof. There are a few good insurers out there and I would recommend the Canadian Firearms Institute and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters as your best options. This insurance protects both you and the landowner should an accident happen while you are hunting and shooting. Your insurance card lets a land owner know that you are insured and will not be a liability when hunting on their property. Carry it with you and show it to the landowner when the time is right.

Remember also that appearance is everything and how you present yourself will determine your first impression on anyone. Dress casually but clean and neat, a suit and tie makes you look like a salesman, while camouflage clothing make you look like a redneck to many people. Also, avoid hats on sideways or oversized clothing….at the very least pull up your pants. By no means am I trying to be the fashion police, I simply have a lot of experience with rural people and can tell you straight-up, that “gangsta” clothing brands (Roca-wear, G-Unit, etc) are a no-go from word go. Another good tip is to present landowners with your personal information right away. I have a business card that I use and those of you that don’t can print a simple card on your computer with your name and address and all your contact numbers on it. This lets a landowner know that you have nothing to hide, where you live and how to get in contact with you.

When should you do your door-to-door searching? Never early in the morning, Farmers are busy at this time of the day and rural people that work in the city are either sleeping in on the weekend or at work during the week. Midday on a Saturday is a good bet and early summer is the best time of the year to find people at home, after dinner can also be acceptable if you see people around the property not having dinner. Be polite and introduce yourself, if a child answers ask for a parent, if a woman answers the door ask who can you talk to about the property and access? Often they will get the husband or father in this situation but in a changing world you may just as easily be talking to the woman of the house. If a man or woman answers the door offer your hand in a relaxed handshake, this universal gesture of respect is still very important in rural culture. Don’t crush them with your grip either, this will not ingratiate you to him and if he/she is a working farmer you likely won’t win this ridiculous contest anyway! Tell him straight away where you live who you know in the area and who you have already talked to, especially his neighbors. Full-disclosure is important because neighbors will talk and they will talk about you. Explain that you are a hunter and what you intend to hunt, farmers understand why you hunt already but want to know what, when and how you intend to hunt. Many other landowners may not know why you are hunting and quite often a brief explanation of management and conservation of game is warranted. Farmers and landowners often have pets and livestock and a discussion about coyotes, bears and other predators may be helpful to win them over.

A word of caution, don’t ever promise that you will rid them of coyotes this is an impossible task and all you can realistically promise is that you will do your best to help control these and any other predators that are a threat to them. Landowners you talk to may have already had trespassing problems and use this to refuse your access request. I would tell them the best way to stop unwanted and unknown trespassers is to have someone they know and trust on the property and let them/you sign and police the property for them. Offer to put up signs and explain that a letter of exclusive permission from them is a way for you to move the trespassers off the property safely and with no hassle for them. Ask if they have eaten wild game and offer to provide some for them to try, sharing the game that is harvested on a landowner’s property is only common sense.

Finally you may have to lease a property to hunt on as many landowners and farmers are finding it hard to manage economically in this current recession. It is often the harsh truth that money talks and bull manure walks in today’s world and the American-style “lease to hunt” model is rapidly leaching into our hunting culture. We pay for all our other recreation why not pay for access to someone’s property? This does not have to be financially onerous and a contract with money changing hands also removes much of the liability involved. I have found that a couple of hundred dollars a year to have exclusive permission to hunt is much cheaper than driving 300 km to hunt on crown land. A little bartering can also go a long way. Working farms can often use labour, and a little help with the winter’s firewood for the private landowner is an age-old gesture that carries great clout in rural communities. Actions ALWAYS speak louder than words, and small communities are closely knit.

Once you’ve forged an understanding with a neighbor and fellow landowner you must work to maintain it. Be courteous at all times and if they’ve graced you with the permission to use their property recreationally, remember that you must act simultaneously as an ambassador on their behalf and on behalf of the shooting and hunting community at large. Permission can be lost as easily as it is granted and even if you have permission on one property, the lot immediately adjacent may house individuals with very different opinions of the hunting and shooting sports. It is not your place to be adversarial with those of differing opinions, nor should you take it on yourself to educate them. Respect their opinions (as uneducated in the realities of hunting, shooting and rural living as they might be) and endeavor to be a good neighbor at all costs.

If you are fortunate enough to have purchased or already own your own property to hunt on and enjoy nature I applaud you. I purchased a 100 acre deer-yard 22 years ago, and can offer you the following advice from my own experience. First, manage your resources wisely and practice the conservation and ecology ethics that you learned in your hunter education course. Second, try to get along with the neighbors in your area. Let them know you are a hunter and shooter and to expect associated gunshots and people on your property. Most rural people will accept hunting as a traditional and respected land use even if they don’t partake themselves, but you may also encounter those neighbors who cannot reconcile that hunting is a socially acceptable behavior. This type of person can often try to take ownership of wildlife and might even appoint themselves as nature police.
Remember that you do not have to curtail your activities to accommodate these unthinking and irrational individuals. Very often if you give them an inch they will take a mile so my best advice is to ignore them completely.

Remember also that you have the law on your side and that interference with the lawful pursuit of game carries stiff penalties under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (1997). This includes but is not limited to actions like patrolling property boundaries with the intention of disturbing game or hunters during open hunting seasons, and also spot-lighting fields, game and hunters within them. Conservation officers have and will readily charge people who try to interfere with lawful hunting. Your local township is well aware of the game laws and the economic benefit of hunting to the local community. The police, MNR and CFO are your friends and allies when dealing with unruly and unlawful neighbors.

Above all, you must establish and work to maintain your reputation as a considerate and professional hunter who respects the wildlife, other hunters, the land and landowners.

Good luck finding your own hunting grounds! I hope this blog proves helpful.


The Gun is Civilization

by Mark Kloos

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation.. and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

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Good luck with your studies,

Scrapping the Long-gun Registry, a health risk? Pull the other one..


is an absolute farse.

I encourage all G2G members to help spread the FACTS behind these statistics and educate people on this issue.

“Since the gun registry was implemented there has been a 23 per reduction in gun-related suicide and a 36 per cent reduction in the use of firearms in intimate partner violence.”

Yes, there has absolutely been a marked decrease in suicide, partner violence and accidental death since the registry was instituted, but that’s simple correlation. Correlation does not imply causation, remember. It was, in fact, the changes made to storage and display laws that effectively delayed ready access to firearms that have led to this statistical decline. Whether or not long-guns are registered has NO bearing whatsoever on how readily a depressed or unstable person can access them.

As many of you know, in our courses we applaud this statistical decline, but we CORRECTLY cite delayed access as the contributing factor, not registration. Depression and hardship can strike at any time. To that end,  we also further encourage friends and family (responsible firearms owners themselves) to take stock of emergent situations involving high levels emotion in their families and peer-groups, and to take the initiative by removing firearms to alternate safe storage locations. Note: (*The PAL also allows you to borrow). In instances where friends or family members may be suffering turmoil, you can offer to take custody.

This group of doctors also state, “Knowing that a patient owns a gun is extremely important and valuable information for us as we determine the future risk of suicide.”

As mentioned, once you have a license you can borrow a long-gun, which means you may have none registered to you, but can still have them in your possession. The information provided by the registry is currently neither valuable nor accurate. All you can know for certain from the registry is that they ‘might have access’ to a gun. And frankly, everyone that draws breath falls into that category

The myths that are being propagated with regards to the efficacy and value of the Long-Gun Registry are also being supported in statements by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of police who said recently that, “the registry tells us what guns (a) person has. There is a huge difference – a difference that could put the lives of citizens and our officers in great danger.”

Again.. it doesn’t . I know several people that are licensed hunters and shooters have NO guns registered to them, but may at any given time have any number of borrowed guns in their possession.

I encourage everyone to do their part to end the criminalization of responsible firearms owners, hunters, and sport-shooters. Spread the word and dispel myths and falsehoods that are being broadcast to the public at large.

Right now, it’s our responsibility to educate the non-licensed majority who likely do not fully understand the intricacies of the Registry and related Firearms Laws.  The opinions of the majority are being molded based on the feeble fictions of the media. Do your part. Speak Up. Articulate. And educate people through intelligent discourse.

MJ out.

Important reminders for the spring Wild Turkey season.

Hello Friends,

We wanted to take the opportunity to remind you that the open season for Wild Turkey in our area is fast approaching: April 26th to May 31st, 2010.

If you haven’t done so yet you need to attend an Ontario Hunter Education Wild Turkey Seminar and also be in possession of a valid H1 ( All methods) or H2 (Bows Only) Ontario Outdoors card with a Small Game license.

If you’re keen on getting out hunting for the spring Wild Turkey season and haven’t yet acquired your hunting and/or firearms certifications, you’ll need to check the schedule for GuideToGame’s March courses and register as soon as possible.

Registering for a course this March is the ONLY way to ensure that you’ll be licensed in time for the spring hunt.


The GuideToGame Team

Get your Restricted Possession and Acquisition License Upgraded for FREE!

In recent communications with the Chief Firearms Office we’ve discovered that they are running a limited time offer where they are waiving the application fee to apply for your Restricted Firearms License!

Here are the details:
-If you already have a Non-Restricted. PAL, you can upgrade for FREE to a Restricted License until May 16th.
-This is a temporary offer to encourage people to get the license and register their restricted firearms.
-You can purchase the Canadian Restricted Firearms manual from GuideToGame for $5 and then simply book your Restricted Exam challenge (only $40).
-Once you’ve passed your exam, simply fill out the application, attach NO FEE, and submit the application.
-In 30-60 days you’ll receive your new, all-inclusive Firearms License !

Safe Shooting,

*note that you have to have your Non-Restricted PAL to qualify to write your Restricted Exam.