Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson
The fall of 2014 was the quietest one I have had in quite some time. For the past ten years or so I have been busy guiding deer hunters. Through the mid-late 2000’s, Northwest Ontario’s Sunset Country Region, where I live, had some of the best whitetail deer hunting in North America. My clients took a bunch of big bucks over the years but some tough winters and a big increase in the wolf population has taken its toll on the deer numbers. After a devastating winter last year (deep snow and cold) I decided to take a break from the deer hunting this year. There were still decent numbers of deer around but it was the mature bucks that really got it the worst. Nearly all of the bucks I saw this year were small, young animals. The genetics are there so hopefully they’ll come back in the next few years. We’re having a great winter so far this year so I’m optimistic.
I did spend some time hunting this fall. We probably had the best grouse hunting ever this past fall. My wife and my friends and I had some great days hunting these plentiful birds. They are probably our favourite thing on the planet to eat! We also had some good days duck hunting and had a successful moose trip in December. We head up the Red Lake area (about three hours north of Kenora) to moose hunt. It’s great hunting. For a listing of outfitters that offer moose hunts in the region check out www.ontariossunsetcountry.net
Over the Holidays we had some really mild weather so I got out fishing a few times to catch some walleyes for dinner. After going without eating fish for a couple months it was nice to catch some fresh fish! Lake trout fishing has been pretty good as well!
Since the start of the new year I have been busy guiding wolf hunters and it’s been going really good. Conditions are top notch this year for wolf hunting because of a couple of things. With the tough weather last winter and we lost a lot of our deer so they have less deer to hunt. We also don’t have a lot of snow so far this winter so the wolves are not lighting up the deer as much as they normally would – so long story short, it seems like they’re hungry. They have been hitting my baits pretty good and my hunters have been successful.
I’m running my wolf hunts through the rest of January then I’ll be switching gears to get ready for the upcoming FLW Tour season. Our first tournament is down at Lake Toho in Florida, the first week of March. I’m planning to head south around mid-February to get back into fishing mode and break in my new boat and motor. I’m very excited to get this new season started! The next blog from me will be coming from Florida!