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The province of New Brunswick, Canada has an interesting motto. Loosely translated,Spemreduxit means"Hope was restoredl'It refersto the province serving asa havenfor Loyalistswho fled to Canadaafter the RevolutionaryWar. I am loyal to many people and many things, and my bird dogs are included on that list. For that reason,I make a beelineto New Brunswickjust assoon aspossibleafter the woodcock seasonopenson September15. If you own a bird dog, or three, then you know that conditioning and training are year-round a endeavor.For me, training begins in earnestwhen the migratory bird regulationsare released.It's also a time for reflection as we remember when the bird seasonwas significantly longer than it is now when it began in Septemberand continuedinto earlyNovember.We rememberwhen the woodcocklimit wasfive, and we were perfectly satisfiedhunting all of our home coverts.Now I have two opening dayson woodcoch the first one in Canadaand the secondone at home. There are many placesto hunt in Canada.Some are just over the Houlton border while others are quite a distanceaway.One rule is that non-residents must hunt with a

is perfectly split down the middle so I can switchdogshalfwaythrough. On one sideis a classichillside with hawthorns and apples and on the other is a lowland with seepsrunning through thick alder and poplar runs. Open land abounds, and regular loggrg makesfor continued primary and secondary growth, key ingredientsof a good covert. Other coverts run along salmon rivers or tributaries.Mid-Septemberair temperatures can climb into the 70s, so I'll hit the drier areasin the morning and then move to the river bottoms at midday. A short swim in the cool water rejuvenatesany panting dog. Sometimes wdll load up a

guide, and that translatesto a number of hunting venues offering small game as an adjunct to their more popular big game or Adantic salmon fishing. IVe hunted in a variety of places,some that offer fine accommodationsand good food while others offer poor accommodationsand even worse food. Either situation is acceptable, becausemyhope is restoredsimplybecauseI get to go woodcockhunting a fi.rllthree weeksbefore I head home. I haveyet to meet a Canadiancovert that I haverit enjoyedhunting. They are all significantly bigger than my covertsback home. My favorite covert is a four-hour hunt and

canoeand paddle to the islandsin the middle of the river. Canadian coverts arerit hunted heavily for woodcock, and the ones in the middle of the river mav receivelittle or no pressure. When I hunt woodcock in Canada,I think of the late Edmund W Davis of Rhode Island. GeorgeBird Evansbelieved

68 RGSI www.ruffedgrousesociety.org


I haveye-tto meeta-Canadiancorrer!thatf l-ravent hunting..T4. r ney are a a{ gigpificantlybigger ..ryoy.dnuntlng. enloYeo thgn'nly covertl backhome. Mv-favorite coverl is a four-hourhunt ... oll one sideis a classichillside with hawthornsand applesand on the other is a lowland with seepsruhlning through thick alder andpoplarruns. t

that Davis was the first man to hunt woodcock in New Brunswick with an English setter. That would have been in the late 1800s when he was likely to have traveled primarily by train. I can easily imagine that time if I look at Gordon Allen's etching, "Woodcock Study or Assemblage of Air Flounderl'Air Flounder is a contemporary name for woodcock that was coined by Charleston, South Carolinds Burton Moore. Moore observed that the woodcoch like a floundet has both eyesat the top of his head.Fancythat, a flounder with wings. Soon the weather will turn. The hot daysand the warm nights will be replaced by cooler daysand even cooler nights. Sap will run down tree trunks, and leaves changeto miraculous colors of red, yellow, and orange.It's alwaystempting to stay in Canada and hunt for a longer period of time. I could wait for the air temperatures to drop and the flights to increase.With a push of birds there is a likelihood that we may have an opportunlty to shoot a true

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double. But those are the times I prefer to hunt at home. And if the migration starts when I arrive in Canada,chances are I'll seesomeof thosebirds when I get back home for opening day. Getting a jump start on an already too short woodcock seasonis why I hunt in Canada.For me it's about seeingdogs the most excitedthat theyVe been since the last woodcock season.It's about getting to run them a few weeksearlier than normal. It's about an English setter locked up on point as the first one was well over a century ago.It's about folding in to the very fabric of what possibly started our tradition of woodcock hunting. It's about walking down dusty roads and through apple orchards and past woodpiles and along rivers with salmon leaping in midstream. It's about chapsand boots and vests,and tart crisp apples with a slice of cheddar cheese. It's about all of those wonderful things that when I find them myhope is indeed restored.i#

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TRAYETINGTO CANADA: AdvancePreparations 1.Huntersdo not needa passportto enter Canada,but passportsare requiredfor reentryinto the UnitedStates. 2. Whentransportingdogsinto the country a currentCertificateof Vaccinationfor rabies,for eachdog,must be shownto the Custom'sofficerat the window.

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5. A guideis requiredfor all non-resident hunters,so providethe officerwith the destinationof your hunt (youroutfitter or lodge)and the durationof your stay. 6. Hunterswill needserialnumbersand descriptionsof the weaponsthey are roundsof bringinginto Canada.2OO ammunitionper huntermay be imported without payingduty.

3. Non-residents mustfill out a NonResidentFirearmsDeclarationform, which they can find onlineor at the bordercrossing.Threecopiesare necessaryand some of the necessaryinformationrequiresthe firearmserialnumbenDo nof bringa firearminto the building. Allfirearmsmust be left in the vehicleand must be secured in eithera lockedcaseor with a trigger lock.

7. Whentravelinglongdistanceswith dogsmakesure to stop periodicallyfor bathroombreaks.On a particularlylong drive like mine,l'll stop at the halfway point and ask a farmer for permissionto run my dogsin one of his fields.

4. LICENSE & REGISTRATION: Thecost is S25.OOCanadianand is validfor 6O days. Theform is grantedif travelingin Canada for "specificpurposes."

9. Be sure to keepyour gear off of the cratesto allowfor properair circulation.

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8. Makesurethat your dogsstay properlyhydratedwith water at every break.

Fal l2011 I RG S69


Au Canada by Tom Keer, originally printed in Ruffed Grouse Society