Greetings from Canada

Madis

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I'm nearly 50, and have been hunting for 15 years, on and off. I was in the army, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, as a tank gunner and commander for the entire 1990s, during which I took up hunting for something to do in my spare time. When you're living on a base in the middle of the wilderness and before the Internet, the leisure-time activities were rather limited and usually included drinking, smoking, gambling, hunting, fighting and whoring. So I took up hunting (and drinking, but not at the same time!). Some mornings on the weekends the Base Commandant's helicopter was up and about and it was rumoured that he hunted with a service rifle from the passenger seat. So I guess he had gotten the bug as well.

I bagged my first whitetail buck when I was 20-something with a Type 56 SKS (complete with cruciform bayonet), up in the impenetrable and vast wilderness north of the Lanark Highlands. Call it beginner's luck but with my army field-craft skills, I was able to track it all morning in a dry creek bed and stalk right up on the unsuspecting whitetail and had a relatively easy and short range shot. Colour me surprised. I however quickly learned how not to field dress a deer that morning, a lesson I will never forget, believe you me. Later on, I really got into wing-shooting. I really fell in love with shotgunning and spend most of my hunting time with a shotgun in my hands, to this day.

My most memorable duck hunting excursion occurred during this time. A buddy and I left the Base pre-dawn on a Sunday and drove out to a small lake nearby with our boat. As it was only accessible via a fire cut, we were pretty sure we were alone. Nonetheless, we very quietly slipped the boat into the water and set up our decoys as best as we could in the dark and then paddled the boat back into the reeds to wait. These decoys had been carved and painted by said buddy, I should add. Several flights of ducks were passing by first light but none had come into range or had hooked on our decoys or calls. Other than that, it was dead quiet and very still. Eventually, a flight of 6 started coming straight in on our spread and flared to land. My buddy whispered to me that he'd work from right to left and I should work from left to right. When they had committed to land, we opened up, my buddy with an Ithaca 37 pump and me with a newly purchased (at Canadian Tire) Winchester 1400 Deluxe auto. We downed every single bird in our first triple each. It was totally amazing how perfectly it worked. And remember how I said we had believed we were alone on that small lake? Well, a dozen men started clapping and cheering in the reeds, much to our surprise, and my buddy stood up and took a bow. Unbeknownst to us, we had crashed a favourite hunting spot of the locals, but they were gentlemanly and sporting enough and let us know it in spades.

After I mustered out of the army, I moved to a sprawling metropolis, started a software company, got married and started raising a family. After I sold that one, we then moved to Europe for a spell to work at another software company. So I pretty much had very little time for hunting and it fell by the wayside for some years. After we had moved back to Canada and my kids got old enough to go to the range, I bought them .22s and started going out again. Truth be told, I had really missed 'armed hiking'. Soon after, we moved out of the city and to the massive farmlands in the southwest of Ontario.

Here, I rather quickly found a local gun club to join and proceeded to immerse myself in clay shooting: trap, skeet and sporting clays, in order to work out the rust and get good again. Small town Canada shooting ranges attract people from all walks of life and are a great social time, all around. You have your locals decked out in reed camo with workmanlike guns, in matching camo. A few outfitters and PHs who know damn well how to shoot, and seem to be able to produce the crudest and funniest epithets on demand, to ever grace a man’s lips. You have a sprinkling of pro competitive shooters on the circuit, with team vests and custom Brownings and Krieghoffs (and golf carts for the sporting clays course?). Some survivalist types that show up at sporting clays with riot guns and magazine fed guns with red-dots on them (wearing camo trousers, that’s a given). Engineers from the local plant with fully adjustable stocks, specialty chokes and painstakingly researched handloads with custom flight control wads who will swear they get better and more consistent patterns of mixed #7.5 and #8 shot. The odd millionaire farmer with the latest Italian sporting clays model who is all to happy to show it off to you and talk your ear off and then a random grab bag of other shooters with every type of shotgun you could ever imagine. I saw one guy with a beat-up, archaic, Cooey 12ga single shot with a wire wrapped grip shooting trap and damn, was he good.

I started to amass a pile of shotguns. And safes to hold them all. I still have that Winchester and use it to this day, despite all the new additions to the arsenal. It's light, reliable and I know how to shoot it really well. I had the fixed full choke drilled and tapped for removable chokes and have a pile of those for every conceivable purpose. In fact, I have a shoebox full of chokes, I must have spent a fortune over the the years on those. Did you know that Carlson's makes a buckshot choke for shooting deer and coyotes at over 50 yards with #4 buckshot or bigger? Well I got one of those too.

I have acquired a mint Browning BSS and a Winchester 101 O/U for use when hunting pheasants with gentlemen, 3 Remington 870's for various purposes (turkey, deer, riot), a Savage/Baikal .22 WMR/20ga. with really nice wood, which is a dream for grouse and other forest critters, a Churchill/Akkar 28ga. O/U for the wife and kids. Next up are a Remington 11/87 20 gauge compact or a similar Benelli M2 as an upgrade for the wife and kids (and a new upland gun for me!), and I have my eyes on a Suhl 16ga SXS over 5.6mm drilling as an upgrade to the Baikal drilling and I’m also looking at a dedicated 12ga. 3-1/2” waterfowl gun. I figure I'll stop buying them when I hit 12 shotguns because I'll be out of safe space, but then again, who am I kidding, I'll just buy another shotgun safe.

I was slow starter on rifles, as the counties around me are all shotgun or muzzleloader only for deer. Most of the deer we hunt here are in drives, in a similar vein to the old European custom, clearing woodlots on farmer’s fields, some of which are huge (480+ hectares) and terribly swampy, which is a bastard if you didn’t bring tall rubber boots. Last year we had 28 hunters out and we bagged 33 deer in a week, which is our record and everyone went home happy. The favoured gun and load for blockers being a scoped slug gun firing sabots and for drivers being a semiautomatic with the 12 gauge 3½” 00 buckshot load with 18 pellets, known locally as a ‘dynamite stick’ and delivering absurd recoil on the order of 50-60 ft.lbs. I don’t know what rifle hunters are complaining about when we’re enduring elephant gun recoil just to shoot whitetails and turkeys! Other big game in my neck of the woods is non-existent, unless I want to drive 5+ hours or you happen to believe in the local legend of a black panther that still stalks the woodlots on farmer’s fields. So I keep busy on deer, with turkey, coyote and rabbit hunts to keep sharp. To this end, I bought a Weatherby .22-250 heavy barrel with Vortex optics and a bipod to lay the smack on coyotes out to about 400m, a Ruger .22 WMR with Nikon for closer encounters, and a brace of various .22s for myself, the wife and for the kids. My daughter has recently taken in a interest in target shooting so I’m looking at a decent Anschütz target rifle for her. I also have another Weatherby .25-06 which I also use for coyotes and when I do make the 5+ hour drive, for deer and bear. This is backed by an old yet mint Husqvarna 1600 carbine with a fixed 4x Zeiss scope in .30-06. It has immaculate wood in the Schnabel design and a wears a 20-inch barrel and it lets you know when it goes off. Weatherby actions are smooth but the 1600 puts them to shame. I then have a bunch of milsurps, including the aforementioned SKS, and some black rifles and pistols for 3-gun and the like.

Owing to the scarcity of big game in my neck of the woods, I’m going to visit my cousin in BC early next fall to hunt elk. He has them bugling in his back yard. Then, I’ve put together a trip to Newfoundland for my first guided hunt for fall of 2021. I have friends flying in from BC, Scotland and elsewhere to partake in the fun (this Covid nonsense permitting). We’re going to hunt moose on the island and caribou in Labrador. This is one of the reasons I posted here in the first place as I am looking for an upgrade from my .25-06 for caribou and my .30-06 carbine for moose. Yes, both will work fine, I know, but what other excuse do I need to design two custom rifles that I simply have to have? I’m thinking along the lines of a .257-.270 Wby with a 26” pipe and a fixed power 6x scope similar to a David Lloyd stalking rifle for caribou and .338/.340 or a .35 Whelen/.358 Norma magnum for moose. I may even be convinced to get a .375 H&H or RCM just for the hell of it and if this trip turns out to be a success, maybe I’ll convince everyone to come to Africa with me.

The year after that, 2022, we’re going to Argentina for doves (the ladies to get shopping trips in Buenos Aires) and I think a Benelli Montefeltro Silver 20 ga. is in order for that. We’re hoping to follow that up by a driven wild boar and deer hunt in Estonia. I think a classic Mauser in 9.3x62 or 8x68S would fill the bill.

In any case, I’m having a blast and am looking forward to participating in this most gentlemanly of forums. Cheers.

IMG_20191205_164416.jpg

The aftermath of the 'Shootout at Kimball's Creek' where we took 2 bucks, a spike and 4 does in a swamp in 15 minutes. Loading them took hours and was a severe pain in the ass. Dude lost his trailer tire in the process and had to drag the load out.

IMG_20191207_104259.jpg

Last day of last year's hunt. We took 3 bucks.

20200427_181408.jpg

Decent oak woods camo for turkeys.
 

Trophyhunter01

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dobber

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Down here in SW Ont as well, maybe a little more South, welcome
Did the Newfie moose hunt last year, amazing place
 

WAB

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Welcome! I actually grew up on a farm in SW Ontario (Oldcastle). Retired in Bama now.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Welcome, great intro!
 

MarkB

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Welcome to the site. All the knowledge you could ask for on here. Also watch the deals and offers, some great opportunities. Our lives have many parallels, I grew up in Southern Ontario, (Brighton), joined the CAF but the Snr service Navy, posted to BC, never left and retired 34 years later.

Welcome to AH, prepare to get addicted to Safari, after your first you WILL do more.

MB
 

Uncle Sauce

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cpr0312

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Ragman

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Welcome aboard! I’m in Saskatchewan and do all my hunting here but all my in-laws are in Newfoundland so hope to one day hunt with my wife’s brothers. You’ve got a lot of interesting hunts planned!
 

Ridgewalker

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Madis, excellent introduction! Can’t wait to read your hunt reports.
 

cls

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Shootist43

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Madis, that was a very complete intro. Have you started reloading yet or at least been thinking about it?
 

Velo Dog

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Hello Madis,

Khomas Highland Hunting Safaris of Namibia, welcomes you to the greatest forum on earth.

I endorse your intent to buy either a .35 Whelen or a .375 H&H for your intended moose hunt.
That said, sooner or later you will want a .375 for Africa some day.
So, you could just get one now and be well practiced with it by the time you get to Africa, heh, heh.

Seriously though, the .35 Whelen is actually a very fine cartridge for most animals in Africa.
Many countries require the .375 H&H as minimum for dangerous game.
But, the Whelen is near perfect for all else.


Best Regards,
Velo Dog.
 

Nyati

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