Written by Isabelle Bolduc
Translated by Anne Laflèche
What a thrill it is to hunt small game in the enchanting landscapes that surround Val-d’Or. The many forest roads and trails that meander through the region are home to a wide range of abundant small game. Sport hunters will be captivated by the area, which is easily accessed and offers perfect small game habitats.
Once you start, hunting quickly becomes a passion, as any hunter will tell you. The autumn chill and early mornings are discomforts quickly overcome when you proudly return with your quarry. But you have to be well prepared and armed with a healthy dose of patience and the ability to sit quietly in order to bag your catch. For wild game aficionados, there is no commercially-raised meat that tastes as good as game, which is often leaner and more flavourful.
There are close to 400,000 hunters in Quebec who enjoy the wilderness, whether for the challenge, the great outdoors, the peace and quiet, a taste for game or the pleasure of being with friends or family. Of course, safety is paramount, as is keeping the environment intact so that future generations can enjoy hunting as well.
The nearby La Vérendrye wildlife reserve is immense, and eminently suitable for small game hunting. According to park manager Johanne Vienneau, the reserve attracts two types of hunters: those who live in the area, and overnight hunters looking for accommodation. The main small game attractions are spruce grouse, ruffled grouse and hare. Hunters take to the paths in vehicles, ATVs or on foot, some with hunting dogs. The success rate is high, particularly since hunting season in the reserve starts in mid-October once the leaves have fallen and the weather is still good. According to Ms. Vienneau, small game hunting licences for the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve can be purchased on the Sépaq website 24 hours in advance or at the visitor information centre.
Small game hunting is increasingly becoming a family affair. Marie-Claude and her partner are the parents of two daughters, 4 months and 7 years old, and hunt as a family! Marie-Claude packs their lunches and the diaper bag in the morning and they head out together to hunt partridge, on foot or in the car. For Marie-Claude, like many others, spending time in the woods is calming and a way to unload the stress of the previous week. And the family believes in the importance of caring for nature and not leaving garbage behind. At the end of the day, even the 7-year-old pitches in to lay out the partridge, the fruits of an ancestral experience passed down through the generations.
Fall is hunting season, when the seemingly endless forest floor is carpeted with leaves. If you haven’t given small game hunting a try, don’t be intimidated. It’s a fairly simple pastime for families and friends. Happy hunting!