STEEL SHOT REMINDER (September 5/97)

September’s arrival may bring much-needed rain and relief from the heat, but for some, the month has other promises. For those who enjoy upland, waterfowl and big game hunting, September is the caviar appetiser before the filet mignon is served. September’s arrival means the anxiously awaited opening day of the hunting season is close and serious preparations can begin

Looking ahead to column topics in September and October, I’ll have reports on the best shotguns to use for steel shot. A reminder once again that steel shot is mandatory this fall for all migratory bird hunting, and that includes the upland hunting of snipe and woodcock.

Recently I contacted the top firearms manufacturers in North America – Winchester, Remington and Browning, for example – and asked them which of their shotgun models they would recommend for steel shot usage. I’ll have this report and additional information on the conversion of older shotguns to steel shot as well. While the latter topic was covered in detail last fall, some of it is worth repeating now that crunch time is here. Wherever possible most hunters will want to use their current shotguns with steel shot. This can be done with some older shotguns and there will be details later.

Over the next few weeks, there will be interviews with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regarding steel shot. I hope to clear up any confusion there may be about steel shot usage. If hunters have questions about steel versus lead shot and don’t know who to ask, give me a call and I’ll try to provide answers by contacting the experts. Some of the DNR staff have been involved in steel shot seminars around the province and an upcoming column will discuss their findings and recommendations.

Now that the hunting preamble is taken care of, on to September trout fishing.

Hook and release is mandatory for brook trout in September, but that leaves brown trout angling for the diehards who like to fish the streams and brooks late. If you haven’t tried September fishing for browns, you’re missing the most enjoyable part of the season. While late September browns are usually spawning soft and unpalatable – and should be fished hook and release only – they take readily and provide lots of action.

In Kings County, a number of brooks feeding the Cornwallis River have runs of spawning browns. One of the best is the upper Brandywine. Using flies, I’ve been catching and releasing some big brownies in this brook for decades. I say I’ve been “catching and releasing” but the barbless hooks and the difficulty of holding good trout in a small brook usually mean most of the trout I snag get off quickly after a few sizzling runs. In other words, I do the catching, the trout do the releasing. Which is fine since this means there’s little possibility of damaging fish.

Try the Brandywine this September or any of the brooks that run into the Cornwallis between Kentville to Berwick. Remember to go barbless, especially since these brooks will also hold spawning brook trout.

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