What’s your pleasure? Puddle ducks? Geese? Ruffed grouse? Woodcock? Sea ducks? Whichever, the days are quickly ticking off the calendar. Prime time will soon be here. Do you have your hunts booked for this fall?
My own dance card is pretty full, but as I seek to plan hunts for the gaps, my starting point is the Quebec Outfitters Federation website. They are the best place to connect you with the province’s finest operations.
Though I’m a Midwesterner born and bred, Quebec has become a hunting home away from home for me over the years. I’ve sampled all the hunting Quebec has to offer, and I keep going back. It’s a place where hunters are truly appreciated.
A few years back, I was hunting with an outfitter in Quebec a couple of hours northeast of Montreal. From his comfy base camp on the shores of Lac St. Pierre, we hunted ducks in the morning and woodcock in the afternoon. It was terrific, and despite eating delicious duck dinners, we soon had our possession limit.
To keep us hunting, the outfitter made arrangements for us to venture southwest of Montreal for a morning of field goose shooting. The outfitter drove us through the wee hours, and we enjoyed a limit morning on Giant Canadas. To celebrate, he suggested lunch at a restaurant owned by a friend in Montreal’s Little Italy. That sounded just right to all of us!
We wound through Montreal’s maze of streets arriving in front of what I call a “fancy restaurant.” Five of us piled out of the jammed pickup truck, and the valet took the vehicle. We stood before this restaurant’s glass and marble façade dressed as typical goose hunters. I recall I wore insulated camo bibs, but on top I’d stripped down to my sweat-stained long underwear shirt, with muddy knee-high clod kickers on my feet. My expression must have revealed my misgivings because the outfitter said, “No problem, no problem.”
We went in, and despite the owner’s genuine welcome, it felt like every eye in the room followed us. It stayed that way throughout a terrific four-course luncheon during which the owner circulated table to table speaking to smartly-dressed diners in French and Italian. They all watched us!
I noticed that during our meal, nobody had left. Everyone who had been there when we walked in was still there when we finished more than an hour later! When we stood up, they all stood up. All of them, including the owner, followed us to the curb where the valet had returned the beat-up truck.
Then I saw the garbage bags under the owner’s arm. During his rounds at lunch, he let all the patrons know we had geese we might be willing to share—and share we did!
I hopped in the bed of the pickup and started doling birds into the bags our new friends held open. Twenty weighty birds were soon distributed. I remember a kiss on both cheeks from a woman to whom I explained (through an interpreter, mind you) my favorite way to pluck, dress, and prepare Canada geese.
More than any other place I’ve been, particularly big cities, Montreal and Quebec have an appreciation for hunters. They welcome us with open arms—and garbage bags!
When positioning your ThermaCELL near a blind, make sure the unit has air circulation all the way around. Don’t lay it down on a solid surface or clip it against something that restricts air circulation. The best plan is to push a stick in the ground and clip the ThermaCELL to the top of it about 18 to 24 inches up. That will create a “zone of protection” the fastest.
Featured image courtesy Bill Miller