Smitty (left) and Michael carefully glassing a deer that was in the slash about 200 yards away.

Smitty (left) and Michael carefully glassing a deer that was in the slash about 200 yards away.

Shaw clan carries on family tradition of hunting

We are well into the middle of our annual hunting season and it is time to have a brief look at this traditional method of food gathering that people have pursued for thousands of years.

In my family’s case I can trace our connection with hunting back to the 12th century by looking at the family crest of the Shaw clan in Scotland. Be that as it may, I do know that we have a solid family tradition of being outdoor people as in fishing and hunting.

This is probably one of the ancestral reasons why I was pleased to spend three days last week hunting deer with Michael Farrell, one of my grandsons who came over from Vancouver to partake in a couple of family hunts.

The picture accompanying the column is of Michael and Smitty leaning over the front of my truck, carefully glassing a deer that was lying in the slash about 200 yards from the truck. Try as they did, they could not grow antlers on it.

The day Smitty joined us, Michael assured us that we could shoot a deer out in the slash and he would retrieve it for us. This was pretty special because when you get the other side of 90 years, as in Smitty’s case, it is pretty nice to know when you do shoot a deer there is some retrieving help close at hand.

We hunted for three days in the open logging slash north of Campbell River. If you recall last week it was pretty wet with periods of heavy rainfall. Each day we saw at least six deer and one day it was seven. Of all the deer we sighted only one of them may have been a buck and since we were hunting in an area where only bucks were open we didn’t do any shooting.

We did do a small test based on John Alden Knight’s solunar tables. The results were surprising and I suggest they will pay off in the future. Most people use the tables for fishing, but I believe they are also a factor in movements of birds and animals as well.

The evening before our first day of hunting I suggested to Michael that we should consider the solunar tables for our first day of hunting. He had never heard of them, but when I showed him the tables in the Tide & Bite Guide he agreed to give it a try. We would be hunting anyway.

The tables showed that on Oct. 22 there was a major period at 2:35 p.m. Now we were looking at fishing tables, but it is my experience that they also apply to animal and bird movements.

Michael was generous in going along with his old grampa. At about 2 p.m. I parked the truck in a large clear-cut, with a good location to use our binoculars in glassing the forest edge and logged slopes. When we parked we could not see any deer. About 2:15, three deer appeared at the forest edge and moved to feed in the clearing. Shortly after, another deer came out of the forest and proceeded to feed. Unfortunately none of them had antlers, so we enjoyed the wildlife show in front of us for a while then moved off to hunt other areas.

On Oct. 23 the solunar period was about 3:20 p.m. When we parked the truck to glass the clear-cut in front of us, again there were no deer in sight. Surprisingly at about 3:30 we had five deer in sight and actively browsing. They paid no attention to the truck because we were at least 250 yards from them.

On Oct. 24 the solunar period was about 4:10 p.m. We had seen other deer in our travels but at about 3:45 we parked the truck in a suitable location to watch for deer. As if reporting for work a large doe came out of the forest and proceeded to feed along the edge of the clearing.

In the three days we had followed the tables we had at least 20 deer sightings – but none of them were wearing antlers. Notwithstanding, we observed animals every day, including one bear and numerous grouse. Michael did shoot one large grouse.


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.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read