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Andy Nemo Winder

Family Hunt

Hunting season was quickly coming to an end and we had tag to fill after a failed attempt the day before. Our options were quickly running out, we decided our best option was to likely sit rather than drive around as there wasn’t much for movement in fields. So after failing to find the deer he shot at yesterday we decided we would do an evening sit in a blind that was up in the air. The advantage to being in the blind was that we could wait for the deer to come to us, they likely wouldn’t smell us and spook and we could stay warm as we’d have a heater in the blind. I should really stop calling it a blind, this blind I’m speaking of was more like a giant shed turned into a treehouse with a 360 degree angle for shooting. It was sweet! Our game plan was to get set up earlier on and just see what we see, we still had the following day to go out. So we drove out and set up the big buddy heater, had it nice and toasty in there but in the end nothing was coming out, we waited and waited. It was nearing half an hour before legal shooting light was over when we spotted a doe and fawn come out to our left, that was an easy pass. Then 3 more does came out to our right but we’re a bit far. We waited some more and it was almost like the bushes were exploding with deer, they were coming out everywhere, left, right and my uncle turned around and dead centre there was a buck! He stuck his gun out the window and pulled the trigger but could only get one clear shot off at it, the deer went running into the same bush we had lost the one in the day before. It was nearing dark and I wasn’t down for another 3 hour walk through the bush for miles on end but we had to go look for blood soon if anything because we wouldn’t be able to see in the next 10,15, 20 minutes or so. We walked down the ladder in search of blood and if we didn’t see any the plan was to get back as quickly as possible in hopes something would show it’s face in the remaining 10 or 15 minutes. As we walked down where he thought he shot it you could really feel the air cooling off, it was getting cold out. We walked up to the spot and sure enough found blood, I was excited yet a bit skeptical from yesterday’s hunt. We walked towards the bush and over a fence and walked to the tree line when I spotted the deer quickly! It was over! No walking, no calling buddies to come help, it was done with and we were excited! It was a smaller buck but great meat for the freezer in the end. We notched his tags and applied them, then gutted it and walked back to the truck, then drove down to the bush and loaded the deer up, it couldn’t have been an easier ending. It was great to get out with my uncle, I’ve always looked up to him because he was always the cool uncle that had video games and treated me so well and like a buddy and I’ve held on to memories of him and my grandpa hunting in the past when I was a little boy. I always wanted to join them up near Candle Lake but I had a bad experience with a step father and was always worried I’d be too bored or cold and wouldn’t be able to leave so instead of ruining their time out hunting I just opted out when asked if I wanted to go with bud now as an adult I wish I would have went with and I know if I would have been cold or bored they both would have gladly taken me home. Back to the hunt with my uncle, it’ll be a memory that will last a lifetime as he shared lots of hunting stories about him and grandpa and was even hunting with one of grandpas rifles, which I hope one day I have a chance to buy off him, it would mean as much to me as it does to him that’s for sure. It’s funny how comforting it is being close to family and hearing old stories, it sure takes you back to your childhood. All in all it has been one of my favourite hunts and now we have a deer to hang and butcher, so until next time, take care. 

Successful Road Hunt

It’s been a busy few weeks between hunting, butchering, tanning a hide and then to top things off my youngest had a medical emergency so I haven’t had a lot of spare time. In this article I’m going to write about an awesome hunting experience with some great friends and my uncle who hasn’t been out in years. It was in the last week of hunting season when Earl who put me on my deer earlier in the season said to me that his brother wanted to come out and do a hunt with us, at the exact same time I was in touch with my uncle, Wayne Marchand who was telling me he hadn’t been out in over 5 years at least, so I said to him grab some tags let’s go! We had made plans to head out bright and early and we’re to all meet at my place in the morning. It was about an hour before legal shooting light when Earl and his brother showed up at my place and my uncle wasn’t suppose to show up for another half hour so we decided to go for a drive in hopes of spotting some deer out in a field or something we could be set up for to wait on. We weren’t too far out of town when we came upon what looked like a big buck sitting under a grain auger literally 40 feet off the side of a grid road, we weren’t quite sure on it or if it was even a whitetail so we pulled up beside it knowing it wasn’t legal light yet and if it did run it would likely run to the small bush just down the road. To our surprise it sat there and looked at us but wasn’t concerned, we put binoculars on it and confirmed it was whitetail deer and a nice one at that. So we sat and waited, then we waited some more, the deer didn’t move. It was around 20 minutes we sat next to it, the wind blowing from him towards us. It was still roughly 10 minutes before legal shooting light and the deer decided to get up, he slowly started scooting off and was going exactly where we thought he would. In the meantime we stayed put and watched with binoculars, my uncle showed up and it was just past legal shooting light so we drove up to the bush where the deer was and could see him just standing there so Earl’s brother jumped out walked sneakily down into the bush and took a shot. The deer ran off into the bush. The hunt was on and we were sure he hit it. The plan was to drop Earl’s brother off on the other side of the bush where we thought he might have a good chance at getting another shot in while we went back and walked through to either find the deer down or scare the deer out for him. We went walking in and I stepped where I thought it was shallower but it was extremely deep and I jarred my back really bad. I continued on anyways and we found blood so we knew that the deer was wounded. The deer held out as long as he could in the bush and at the last second of us almost catching up to him he ran out and we heard a shot, then a cheer! We could see the big buck go down.  Me and Earl walked back to the truck and drove around to Earls brother who was proudly waiting with his buck. Some quick pictures, tags applied and we loaded it up and continued on to try and get my uncle on a deer. We started off at two separate bushes and set up in between them, the plan was to push the one bush towards us, Earl and his brother did the walking and me and my uncle were set up watching and waiting. It wasn’t long after we set up that a couple does came running out, my uncle passed them up. A few more minutes and a small buck came out, passed up once again. Then 2 more does came out and my uncle was getting tempted but passed again. He was starting to think he should have taken a doe so that he had some meat for the freezer. A few more minutes passed and all of the sudden a really nice buck came flying out of the bush stretched right out and into the next bush, if you blinked you would have missed it, it was long gone and fast. Shortly after Earl and his brother appeared. The new plan was to set up on the far end of the bush the deer had just ran into and they would push that bush as well. So we drove over and set up and waited, a few does came flying out, he passed them up, then a couple more does came out, he passed them up, then the small buck came out and once again he passed but was thinking of shooting at it this time. I said waif we know the one decent buck is still in there, wait for him. So we waited then out of the corner of our eye we seen a doe who stopped at the edge of the bush then the bigger buck behind her, she spooked to the right just enough that he was able to get a shot at the buck and he shit three times and all shots sounded like they hit. The second shot even buckled the deers front legs. The deer ran into the bush, so we walked over to check for blood and found blood instantly. It was hit, we waited to give the deer some time to bleed out, in the meantime Earl and his brother called me and were going to meet up with us then we would go look for the deer. It was about half an hour when we decided to go looking, we found blood then it was hard to follow, then we found more blood then hard to follow, we walked for miles through the thick bush and then the blood stopped, it had seemed it was barely bleeding or healed itself. We never ended up finding the deer and also went back the next day to try and look and hear for signs of birds or coyotes but had no luck. We only had a few days left and had to get my uncle something. 

Shed Hunting

After having a successful hunt at the end of October and patiently waiting for some ice to form so I can do some fishing on first ice, I decided to take the family out on a little Sunday afternoon exploration of abandoned houses and an old train bridge near Fenton, Saskatchewan. While we were still at home and because my sparked interest in hunting, I thought it might be a good idea to do some shed (antler) hunting while out on our little adventure. This also made me think of hunters and how dangerous it could be walking through and along side the bush during this time of the year, so we figured why not dress everyone in blaze orange just incase and to eliminate our chances of being shot. So we dressed the kids and ourselves in orange and headed out. Our first stop was the train bridge near Fenton, my spouse was talking about how cool it would be if we actually found some with the skull and how she could use them in her planters. So we pulled up and had just walked into the bush when I spotted antlers! Not only antlers but the entire skull as well, you could tell it had been there for a while as it was very white in colour. We walked a bit closer to the train bridge and found another antler, this one was a shed as it had no skull. The girls were so excited that we actually were finding antlers and wanted to carry them so they took turns until they were tired out then I hung the antlers from my backpack. Once we arrived at the train bridge I took a few minutes to fly the drone up and get some pictures from above, you can see us in the orange below the bridge. Some people even walk up on top of the bridge but me being scared of heights didn’t bother with it, although I’m sure the view is amazing. After exploring the bush on our way up we decided to walk the tree line a bit and found a fresh rib and leg bone that still had a bit of meat on it. We seen lots of scrapes on trees from bucks scraping their antlers but never found any more sheds so we decided to head to some land we had permission on to go explore an old house. We walked into the bush and explored the old house, there was an old water pump and you could see the old wallpaper still on the walls. We decided to search for sheds in this area as we seen more indication that there were deer in the area, this included scrapes and tracks. So we started off by walking the tree line, within a few minutes we found lots of deer fur, indicating a deer was killed in the area, searching near that area we were able to find the deer remains including the skull, neck and ribs. I grabbed ahold of the antlers and twisted the skull free from the neck. Another fully intact skull with antlers! It was nearing late afternoon and we started hearing gun shots going off every so often and they were too far from us so we decided to call it quits for the day as we already found what we were after and we’re more concerned about our safety with the sun starting to go down. I’ll be boiling the skulls to get the meat remainder off of them then I’ll be whitening them so that we can use them for decor. You might just see them in a following article and this sure won’t be our last time out looking for sheds and skulls. 

Big Buck, First Hunt

This past weekend I thought I’d try something a bit out of the normal for myself, I have always been an avid outdoorsman but my outdoor activities only consisted of fishing and hiking/walking. I had never been much of a hunter but was never against it as me and the family absolutely love wild meat. Now with my family being the size it is with 5 of us, I’ve always been interested in putting meat in the freezer, especially with the high cost of it right now. I’ve also made my own sausage a time few times and helped butcher friends deers so I started to think about going going out. This past winter I took my hunter safety and got that step out of the way, I still need to do my PAL but I have a few friends that are big into hunting and have their own guns. So a couple weeks ago me and a really good friend of mine, Earl Bergen made plans to go sit and try to get a whitetail deer. Earl is an avid hunter that knows his hunting, so I trusted he could put me on a deer for the freezer. I was really out to get anything, a doe or buck, at the moment it didn’t really matter to me, I just wanted something I could make some sausage with. We went out bright and early the one morning and sat for a few hours with no luck, only to find when we were leaving that something else had been shot in the area by another hunter. Earl explained the smell of death will sometimes keep the area clear of animals for a while. So a few weeks went by and this past week we made plans to set out on a Friday morning to a new spot. It came Thursday afternoon and we were getting antsy to get out and decided to pack up 6 of our kids into the vehicle and head out just to see if we could see anything. We arrived at the spot and parked the truck, me and Earl walked in as the kids waited in the truck and the 2 older girls watched the younger kids, we explained if there were any trouble to wave the fluorescent orange hat at us so we could come back as we were still in sight. We sat and waited and seen a few doe’s that walked in the opposite direction. Then the hat started waving from the kids, so earl walked back and just out of curiosity I thought I would rattle some antlers and so be it and nice little buck came out but this buck had one big antler and one little nub. Earl made his way back and because it was a far shot with a muzzleloader warned that I might not hit it and that it wasn’t the nicest buck but I thought I’d try anyways, I lined it up and aimed just high of it, it ran off. We checked for a blood trail but it definitely wasn’t hit. So we pack up and start driving around as we don’t have much daylight left. We drove past a few really nice bucks but by the time we backed up they were already gone. So we decided to head home. The next morning it was go time, just me and Earl and no kids, we left in the dark and walked into a new spot and set up on a big brush pile. Shortly after a few doe’s came walking by but they were too far for a shot. I was very impatient and really wanted to get anything I could. A couple hours passed and Earl stayed calm and said “something will come along” I was looking and couldn’t see a thing in the field then way far out I could all of the sudden see 3 figures. It was deer but they were far, we scoped them out and it was a doe, a fawn and a buck! I didn’t have much hope, hunting seemed harder than fishing. Earl stated hopefully they come across the field then pointed to a corner near us. I was thinking there’s absolutely no way that’s going to happen. I watched as they ate, back and fourth, back and fourth. The entire time thinking to myself they’ll likely walk away. It didn’t help that they were down wind of us either. Then all of the sudden the doe started making her way towards us. Earl said get ready! So I grabbed the gun, laid across the dirt and watched in the scope. I started getting worked up and shaky. The doe came into range, the buck about 30 feet behind her. She walked with her head down, then she ran into some tall grass!! She must have picked up our scent! I was worried, of course this would happen then I’m thinking they’ll all run. To my surprise the buck scampered slowly behind her then stopped and turned his head towards us, it was a perfect opportunity I had it perfectly in my sights, it was about a 200 yard shot but I was steady, I pulled lightly on the trigger and bang! Smoke came out of the barrel, I couldn’t see, I didn’t even know if I hit it, I peaked up and didn’t see any deer, I must have missed. I looked over at Earl who was killing himself laughing, I said “did I get it” and he kept laughing. I was in such shock, I was shaking. Then Earl said congrats on your first deer and shook my hand! We both went wild! What an amazing hunt! I dropped the buck in its tracks! We walked back to the truck and drove over to it, as we were driving up to it, Earl kept saying “that’s a big buck” “you can see it’s antlers already” we drove up and he said that’s a tank for you first deer! I jumped out and wow! I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it. We took some pictures, I’m going to get a mount done and we butchered the deer the next day, there will be sausage made in the next few weeks. This will be a most memorable moment in life for me and it may have started a new hobby for me! 

Baby Got Back

We are family people and because of that my time is very limited for fishing not because it has to be but because I value time with my family and love spending a majority of my time with my family, now being a dad of 3 girls isn’t always easy to just pack them up and bring them with me especially when a majority of my fishing isn’t done from a boat, it’s from shore. So because I spend a lot of my time shore fishing, I have it down to a T almost where I can fish for about 10 minutes at a spot and know whether or not it’s worth my time to stay there or to go home to my family. There’s one spot that I’ll literally stop at and cast about 10 times, if I don’t get a hit or a follow up at least I’ll leave. That being said I can stop in the morning and cast a few times, if I have no luck I’ll leave for a few hours and try another spot, if I have time later on during the day I’ll come back to the first spot and try it again, sometimes it will pay off and other times it is just as slow but again like the first stop I only cast about 10 times unless I have action or follow ups. So after heading across the lake one day we fished a few other creeks for a couple hours at each creek, there wasn’t a whole lot going on, I ended up fishing a creek mouth while other fishermen on a boat worked the mouth from a boat. When I fish I am very aware of what’s going on in others boats or just with others on the shoreline as well, I listen for cheering if they catch a fish, I listen for fish flopping around in boats, I watch for excitement and people rushing to grab nets. On this particular day there was literally none of that going on. I could see minnows scattering here and there and they would slowly move inward of the creek so I would follow, casting my big baits close to where I’d see jumping bait fish. The creek I was working was pretty swampy and I filled my rubber boots a few times, this isn’t something new, usually every time I fish my boots get full of water somehow amd I’ll end up going home with wet feet. I was walking on bog and fell in over my boots, there was still no fish even though there was something chasing the minnows. It was a hard area to fish because of the swamp land and brush. So we decided to go check out the next creek, upon arrival the water level was down and we could see bottom, this spot is usually filled with baitfish but none were to be seen. It’s a pretty magical spot filled with wild ferns and strawberries, maybe something you’d see in a fairy tale not a pike fishing movie or anything haha. So we packed up once again and my friend wanted to try a different spot for trout, I wasn’t quite keen on that and decided to head back to the spot I was at in the morning, I took one cast and had a huge fish follow up my hook, time was working against me as it was now starting to get dark out, it was all or nothing for me. I had seen the big fish chase my lure in, I knew it was in that area, I casted again and reeled in, nothing. So I casted again up creek a bit and reeled in giving it some solid jerks on the way in, nothing again. It was time to switch things up, he didn’t commit on a pike imitation so I decided to throw on something a bit brighter for the time of day and the murky water. Maybe it was having a hard time seeing the lure? I’m not really sure but casting the pike lure wasn’t working so I didn’t have much to lose or much time to waste. I rigged up one of my all time favourite lures, the Savage Gear Hard Eel, a very effective hard body lure with 2 different soft tail options, a smaller tail for fluttery quick movements and the larger slow moving waving tail. I put on the big floppy slow moving tail and casted out, slam!!! It nailed it within a few reels. I had it on and I could feel it was big. It was at this exact moment when I could see my friend pulling up just as I pulled the monster pike out of the creek, he couldn’t believe it, we had fished here earlier with no luck but now a monster came out to play just before dark. I took some quick photos and measurements and this thing had shoulders on it, what a thick backed fish!! I released it and we watched as it swam away. 

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Wednesday January 12, 2022