Outdoor trails: hot and humid fall progressions


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It really is a strange year. Much warmer and wetter than usual southerly air masses coming this way fill our swamps. I had a late hummingbird at my feeder on Thanksgiving weekend, but I think most are gone now. There’s an old woman’s tail that says we won’t have a frost until all the swamps are full, but I won’t be holding my breath this year.


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Fall is an intense time for many outdoor enthusiasts, and I’ll be going over much of what my ground boots see as we progress into winter.

I see a lot of dead pink salmon in the feeding streams leading to the North Channel. Many of these fish (but not all) die after spawning, and pink salmon are one of the smallest species of salmon and the first to run around in the fall. Coho and Chinook salmon prefer cooler water than pink salmon, and will now be staged and also ready to enter feeder streams – especially fast-flowing feeder streams – to spawn.

If you catch these migrating fish early in the race, they are fit for consumption, but as they get closer to actual spawning and turn darker in color, they are not edible – or, more accurately. , they are not as appetizing or fit to eat. As mentioned, the fish in the coves for a while are dark in color, while the early migrating fish are quite silvery or slightly greenish and healthy in appearance, and these are the edible fish.

Mature Rainbow Trout or Rainbow Trout also return to our North Channel fast-flowing feeding streams in the fall, but do not spawn until next spring, returning to the great waters of the North Channel. lake to winter. These fish are really delicious and can be caught in said streams until late fall, almost until frost.

Now, with a lot less leaves to hide them, I see more grouse this year than in the past few years, and they are starting to wander. They often go out on trails and roads to pick up gravel, so hunting the periphery of a sand or gravel pit can produce a good shot. These birds love the dry, however, and often enjoy a bare rock to sit on and sunbathe on – perhaps a hot commodity this fall!


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Despite the warm weather, moose estrus will now warm up, and bull moose in particular will roam in search of receptive cows. Consult the hunting regulations for information on moose hunting opportunities for the many Wildlife Management Units here in the North. The moose will move better a bit later when it cools down further and will surely frequent the water to cool off, as its hairs thicken even further for the winter to come.

Bear sightings still happen, and I’m sure partly because of the warmer fall than usual, but they will linger near their wintering den. You can never trust a bear, so beware of any late bear sightings when on the outdoor trails.

Although a little later than moose, deer also begin to enter estrus. Like moose, deer are polygamous and males in particular will roam a lot to find receptive hinds. Deer like cleared areas more than moose, and often large beaver meadows and marshy outskirts can be places to look for, as do power lines, et cetera.

I see a fairly bountiful harvest of colorful red winter berries in several of our swamps. While many birds eat them, to humans and some animals they are mildly poisonous. I remember my mom calling them Canadian Holly which is at least pretty correct as they are a distant relative of holly. If you search the web, you’ll find plenty of winter berry photos to validate what you see on your travels. They are a spectacular burst of color against the dull grays of late fall and early winter.


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I also see a decent number of ducks – which I think reflects a good local nesting season. I have not seen the large herds coming south, because they have not yet had a bad cold in the far north to drive them south. Geese now feed abundantly in the fields where they exist. Remember that in order to hunt private property for any species, you must first obtain permission.

What do you see on your outdoor trips? Do you need more information or discussions than those found here? I love chatting with like-minded outdoors people so feel free to email me.

Outdoor Trails take place every two weeks at the Sudbury Star. Contact John Vance at [email protected]


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