Pre­par­ing for the fall hunt

The Labradorian - - Editorial - Gary Shaw

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.

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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