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2010 Big Game Hunting Season Summary
Without a doubt, 2010 provided the best moose activity ever for the guests of our lodges. Sightings of moose at all our lodges were higher than normal for the 3rd year in succession, with daily moose sightings reaching double figures at all our lodges on numerous occasions. Overall, 16 of 21 moose tags were filled, with all the unsuccessful hunters having stalk opportunities, including 2 hunters ( 1 archery hunter ) who both seriously crippled very large bulls, but very unfortunately were unable to recover them.
Despite continued management concern for our woodland caribou population, and very limited allowable hunting, this past fall showed increased sightings of caribou at our lodges, including a decent number of mature males. To further add to the great hunting situation, black bear sightings were at or above normal at our 2 best black bear hunting lodges.
Our Salmon Brook Lodge hunters would have achieved 100 % success on moose if it had not been for 2 lost cripples. Daily overall lodge sightings often ran into double digits, including a very good percentage of decent and larger bulls. Calling proved to be a very effective technique this fall, which added greatly to the excitement for our hunters. Salmon Brook Lodge normally provides excellent black bear activity, and that trend continued in 2010, although no kills were made, despite some opportunity. Without a doubt, the future prospects for moose and bear hunting at Salmon Brook are extremely optimistic.
Our Caribou Lodge hunters were also treated to excellent moose sightings, including plenty of bulls. Only 1 moose tag was not filled, leaving yours truly with memories of a bazaar incident involving five moose at less than 100 yards, including 2 bulls, and a helicopter trying navigate in a very low ceiling. As with our other lodges, weather played a big part in reducing the number of good huntable days at this lodge. Despite filling 5 of 6 moose tags, with all being bulls, we were unable to secure some of the largest bulls, so that leaves optimism for next year. As usual, black bear sightings were fairly common. 1 bear in the 400lb range was taken, by the lone hunter who was unable to fill his moose tag, so all Caribou Lodge hunters made a kill. While caribou hunting is closed at that lodge, most hunting days would have provided 10-25 sightings.
Rocky Ridge Lodge began the year with exceptionally good moose sightings, with multiple days of 15 sightings, but the last 2 weeks proved to be a challenge due to the consistently poor weather. 3 of the 6 moose tags were filled at this lodge, with all hunters having sightings. 2 of the unsuccessful moose hunters were both successful with record book trophies in their archery caribou hunting, and the sum of their moose hunting provided 54 moose sightings for that week. We are anxiously awaiting the 2011 hunting season, in hopes of some decent weather to hunt the many moose seen during the initial week of this year’s hunt. Caribou sightings were increased from the previous year, with all 4 of our hunters being successful with good quality stags, as daily sightings sometimes reached 40 animals, including 4 or 5 trophy quality animals. The future of woodland caribou hunting is in doubt, however, as many areas of the island are showing very few, if any, caribou, with consideration being given to closing the hunt totally.
One area of disappointment from the 2010 hunting season was the scarcity of ptarmigan, as the numbers did not appear to be any better than the low numbers witnessed the year before. It is difficult to predict if the numbers are increasing in their cycle, or if we will have to wait a little longer. Maybe some planned personal winter travel in our hunting areas will reveal a possible trend. Or is the photo to the left the reason?
The great 2010 hunting success was remarkable considering a fall of weather that was even less favourable for hunting than 2009, which was believed by most to be the worst fall hunting weather we had ever experienced. 2010 provided only a handful of pleasant sunny days , with the large majority being filled with rain, drizzle, fog or strong wind, and most times all of the above. Despite the poor weather, only one helicopter delay resulted in an extra night at camp for 2 guests. That delay was sweetened greatly when one of these hunters took a medium sized bull moose within sight of camp while awaiting their helicopter flight.
As usual, our staff of cooks and guides was unchanged this past fall, affording guests at all our lodges with personal attention from knowledgeable and experienced staff. Some of our guides, including both business partners, have now been hunting our areas for the entire 18 years we have been in business, and as the saying goes, "there is no substitute for experience".
Our schedule was once again blessed with a number of husband & wife, as well as father & son couples, which always adds greatly to the quality of experience for guests and staff alike. As well, there were a number of non hunting guests, who seemed to enjoy the wilderness experience equally as well as the hunters.
We have such great confidence in our expectation for hunter success that, following a trial experiment in 2009, we are now offering all our big game hunts at a significantly reduced initial sign-up price, with trophy fees due only when the hunt is successful. With a profit margin that is less than our trophy fees, we accept responsibility of our hunters success in order to achieve any chance of financial profitability.
We pride ourselves on providing exceptional personal attention for all our guests, with the total enjoyment and satisfaction in their wilderness experience being our primary concern. While our standard hunting package is set up on a 1 on 1 guide/hunter relationship, there is option for rate reduction if 2 hunters are interested in sharing one guide, or if they wish to share a moose and/or caribou permit. We also have special rates for non-hunting guests, and our modern, comfortable facilities are ideally suited for such guests.
We are now accepting reservations for the 2011 hunting season and welcome your contact to discuss how we can design a hunt to accommodate your interests.
For more information, including copy of our hunting video, or reservations, please contact:
Grey River Lodge Ltd.
22 Riverview Drive, Shoal Harbour, NL
Canada A5A 4M9
Tel: 1-877-466-2440 (Toll free) Tony Tuck
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Last updated January 10, 2011
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