I looked up the word “autumn” in my Oxford Dictionary and what came up was the simplistic statement: “Season between spring and fall.” My calendar shows Sept. 23 as the Autumnal Equinox and Dec. 21 as the Winter Solstice.
Autumn is a particularly important time of the year for hunters and fishers. It is challenging to over-estimate the importance of autumn to hunters; but it is also an important time of the year for fishers.
Closely associated with the season is the ageless custom of harvesting the annual crop, be it plants, animals, birds or fish. It is the season of the year when all life in the temporal climate of the northern hemisphere is in maximum condition in preparation for the renewal of their species and seasonal challenges of winter.
Having a good working knowledge of our 2014-2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis is paramount to enjoying your hunting, whether it be throughout the province or more local as in Region 1, Vancouver Island. Region 1 is primarily Vancouver Island with some isolated mainland inlets. The Comox Valley is located in Region 1 – 1-6. If you hunt in this management unit (MU) 1-6 it is incumbent upon you to know the regulations that apply in this unit.
As harvesters of wild meat, hunters play a positive role in the sound conservation regulations that manage the harvesting of this wild, organic meat that is lean, free of chemicals and healthy to eat.
Autumn is the major time of procreation for large mammals and many species of fish including salmon. Spring is the time for most birds. Plants on the other hand use autumn as a birthing time for seeds.
Nature is an inspiring theatre of music in wild places that fill valleys, plains and skies with magnificent choruses that bring ecstasy to the soul for those who are privileged to listen to these wild symphonies. There are few symphonies that can duplicate the wild music of two large bull elk in a territorial bugling contest in an alpine setting, about who will be master of the herd and sire the next generation. The soul-searing symphony of sand hill cranes as they fly across autumn skies in their migration journeys is a class of natural music that in impossible to duplicate.
Fishing for local river angling takes an exciting change as the Puntledge River opened for the retention of chum salmon on Oct. 1. With the current low waters and low returns of fall chinook and coho the river will be on a catch and release basis for these species until further notice. My information as of this writing is that chum salmon returns in the Browns Bay area are low; which usually means our local stocks will also be low as of this opening.
If you haven’t already started, it is time to walk the beaches for cruising schools of coho. Cape Lazo, Royston, and Baynes Sound are good locations to start. The still-water lakes should turn on with the cooler weather and in the immediate future will occupy much of my fishing time.
Whether you fish, hunt, or gather wild mushrooms, autumn is a time of renewal of life and preparation for winter, and to stay indoors is to short-change your time during much excitement in nature.
Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.