Bait or stalk?

Sherry Martell
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Hunters take to the provinces forests in search of prey

There are two types of hunters: those who walk and stalk, and those who bait and wait. But no matter how prey is hunted, the thrill remains the same.

Bait or stalk?

There are two types of hunters: those who walk and stalk, and those who bait and wait. But no matter how prey is hunted, the thrill remains the same.

"I do it both ways," said veteran hunter Jake Lowe. "With bears you pretty much have to bait, but with deer I enjoy it better not to bait."

Jim MacNaughton, wildlife technician with the Department of Natural Resources, said baiting deer with apples is a common practice.

"There is nothing to say they can't do it," said MacNaughton.

Bear hunting season opened on Sept. 10 and runs until Oct. 25, the day before long-gun deer harvesting season opens. Bears can only be harvested from registered bait sites.

"It lures the animal into your general area, if you keep baiting they keep coming back," said MacNaughton.

Tony Rodgers, executive director of the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, said the ratio of hunters using bait to those who don't is about equal.

Baiting allows hunters to be selective and opens an opportunity to view wildlife.

"Also, some may not have the physical strength to walk for long periods of time but still want to get out and hunt," said Rodgers.

Lowe said using bait doesn't necessarily guarantee a successful hunt and it adds an expense along with being a time consuming process beginning long before the season opens.

"If you do it you'll find it's not that easy," he said.

"If you're sitting in a treestand for three or four hours it takes a lot of patience to sit there and watch an apple pile."

For the past few hunting seasons, tracking game by following trails has yielded better results for Lowe who hunts with a bow rather than a rifle.

"It's getting up close and personal with them. It's an added challenge for sure," said Lowe.

He prefers to hunt with a bow because it requires more precision and it's more challenging to creep within 18 metres of a target, his personal choice of distance, before taking a shot, unlike a rifle that could hit a mark more than 300 metres away.

"It's hard to really describe it. It's an adrenaline rush for sure," he said.

Lowe said a number of hunters fed up with gun laws are switching from rifles to hunting with a bow.

Bow hunting season for deer opened on Saturday, and when the long-gun season closes on Dec. 1, the bow season will open again from Dec. 3 to Dec. 8.

Rodgers agrees bow hunting is becoming increasing popular but said it requires a great amount of practice to get a good clean kill.

He said no matter what method or weapon is used during the hunt the excitement of a successful harvest is the same.

"It doesn't feel any different," said Rodgers.

"I still have the respect for the animal I'm harvesting."

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers

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