Back to Main Page
What makes a prime hunting location? Ask any serious hunter and you
will find a wide variety of answers. Having a long season like we have
helps, so that the hunter can pick and choose his/her time to go.
Virtually everyone sets out on the first day of moose hunting, and the
bush is literally crawling with hunters. With a longer season you can
go when you want to go. Come November and youíre in the bush on your
own. Itís a little more flexible. And, in November, there might be a
little snow on the ground. This can limit you as a hunter, but it can
also make tracking easier.
Another important consideration is the amount of Crown Land, and
the access to it. West Nipissing - Upper French River is adjacent to
and part of Wildlife Management Unit 41 (north of Highway 17); the
most popular hunting location in Ontario. Why is it so popular? Well,
the moose hunt is primarily local, as Unit 41 is close to major
population centers, so all the towns and villages throughout the
region take part in the hunt. Additionally, he success rates are high,
with 45% success on cow and bull tags. The bear hunt, on the other
hand, is primarily non-resident, and also very successful. The West
Nipissing - Upper French River area is very large, has the required
long season, and is readily accessible.
The entire district north of Sturgeon Falls, from Marten River to
River Valley, is prime moose hunting territory. Moose are found all
over the district, right through to the West Bay area on Lake
Nipissing. But what makes District 41 so popular is the easy access to
the bush through various logging and access roads, and the large
amount of Crown Land. (Resident hunters can hunt anywhere on Crown
Land). The West Bay area, on the other hand, is an area of transition
between moose and deer. The habitat is ideal for both, but moose and
deer rarely live together like this. In some years West Bay, with itís
combination agriculture/woodlot and bush, shows heavier evidence of
moose, and other years itís more deer.
Of great significance in West Nipissing - Upper French River is the
black bear hunt. Again, the bear hunt is more pronounced in the areas
of Wildlife Management Unit 41 (from River Valley to Marten River and
north of Sturgeon Falls) and the West Bay area. Resident bear hunters
can hunt anywhere on Crown Land. Commercial bear hunting is mostly
geared towards non-residents, hunters from the United States, Germany
and out-of-province. Certain commercial operators have been assigned
bear management areas, and they have no right to private lands unless
they have an agreement with the private landowner. However, many of
these operators have such agreements. Non-residents are restricted to
hunting on a Bear Management Area (BMA). Non-resident bear hunters
must also use a registered tourist outfitter in order to hunt (this
restriction does not apply to residents).
Bear populations are very good throughout the district. West
Nipissing - Upper French River provides good habitat, with excellent
food production and just the right climate. The area around Highway
805, north of River Valley, is very popular, as the various logging
and forest access roads make it easier to enter that bear management
area. West Bay is also very popular, where much of the hunting is
actually done on private property.
West Nipissing - Upper French River has a rich and vibrant wildlife
habitat, and hunting has always played a part in the lifestyle of the
families of the area.