The torrential downpours of June may have washed out the hopes of a bountiful harvest for local small game hunters.
This Saturday marks the opening of the ruffed and spruce grouse season in the Fort Frances region. But the thrill of the kill may be less frequent this fall due to the flooding that ravaged the district three months ago.
“We’re anticipating a poor year [for grouse hunting],” Linda Wall, Rainy Lake area supervisor with the Ministry of Natural Resources here, said yesterday. “It could be the same as last year.
“The heavy rains came at a time when the grouse were raising their young. Many of the nests may have been washed away,” she noted.
“There’s not much in the way of birds to look forward to this year,” agreed Henry Miller, president of the Fort Frances Sportsmen’s Club.
An unusually cold spring also may be a culprit in any significant decrease in the area’s grouse population.
This year’s hunting regulations for migratory birds specify a daily limit of five birds and a possession limit of 15—a combined count of what’s on an individual hunter’s person and what is stored at their home.
Meanwhile, duck season opened yesterday in the region while Canada Geese were available for hunting Sept. 1.
Local Ducks Unlimited spokesman Barney Maher said the number of ducks in the area are usually quite low as the species tends to populate the prairies more than here.
“The Canada Geese are getting more plentiful every year, though,” added Maher. “That’s because they are very adaptable creatures, and are difficult to hunt, because they’re pretty wary.”
Archery season in the Fort Frances region also begins Saturday.
Wall stressed the importance of hunters following basic rules, such as staying on Crown land rather than going on private property when hunting, and conducting their hunts in a moral manner.
“Hopefully, the people who are ethical will put pressure on those who are not so that there is enough fish and game for all people who wish to participate,” said Wall.
“All hunters should read the hunting regulations and if they’re not sure about something, to check with their local MNR office,” she added.