The Outdoor Gazette
On The Cover
Volume 7 Issue 4
Publisher/Editor: Fred Allard Graphic Design: Dan Millet
Nate Laskiewicz of “Lakes Region Fishing”, a Vermont produced TV show that airs on Fox 44 on Sunday mornings. The show highlights fishing in northern New York State and Vermont.
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Do you have an interesting story to tell? It could be about a fishing trip with Dad or Grampa, maybe a hunting trip with some buddies or just about exploring nature with Grammie. We are always looking for good stories/pictures to publish in our paper. If you have a story that you think our readers might be interested in, then give us a call at 603-989-3093 or send a copy by mail or email to email@example.com.
Editor’s Back Porch
The Past and the Future
I got to thinking about the last few years of the Gazette the other day. I was looking through some older issues. Lots of good memories there, and lots of embarrassing moments too. Oh well as they say “we have come a long way baby”. They also say “We still have miles to go”. Both statements are very true…anyway back to the older issues of the Outdoor Gazette. Our readership has grown tremendously, especially in the last 6 months. Many of you new readers of the gazette, have missed some great material from the past. I thought it would be nice to reprint some of that “older” stuff for you to read. Last month we reprinted an article about the Bear archery company that I wrote 3 years or so ago. We had such a good response to it that we will reprint the two follow up stories about Bear Bows starting with the May 2013 issue. This month we reprinted a story from Bill Prior of Enfield, New Hampshire. Bill is a lover of traditional archery and his
By Fred Allard
story is a nice read for sure. So each month we will be reprinting something in from older, pre-online days, in the gazette. We will be calling it “A Blast from the Past”. Hope you enjoy these new/old stories, we sure do/did! What are we up to this summer season; besides producing the Outdoor Gazette…I know you were wondering so I’m going to tell you. The weekend after Labor Day will be our first “Fish the Border “ fishing tournament. This tournament will be on the Connecticut River. Starting in Lancaster NH to the North and to the south ending at the Massachusetts border. Categories will not only be for the usual “Big Game “ fish, but a much higher focus on the great pan fishing the “border” water has to offer. Categories will include Yellow Perch, Blue Gill/Pumpkinseed/ Sunfish, Rock Bass and Chain Pickerel. Also there will be the standard Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth
Bass, Walleye and Northern Pike Categories..oh ya and a Crappie category too. The tournament will also focus on catch and release for the Big game species, a green fishing tournament if you will. We are still working on tournament rules so keep an eye on our FaceBook page and on the Outdoor Gazette’s website for more details coming this month. The pan fishing focus is the perfect segway to mention the launch of Panfish Palooza. This Palooza thing is a hard and soft-water tournament series focusing on, you guessed it, panfish! It will begin
with some hard-water tourneys here in New Hampshire and eastern Vermont in early 2014. Those details are coming soon too and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you where to find them.J See you outdoors… Fred Allard lives in Haverhill, NH with his family. He is a Bowhunter Education Instructor, a scorer for the Northeast Big Buck Club, the New Hampshire Antler and Skull Trophy Club and the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club. He is the President of the Montshire Traditional Bowhunters. Fred can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Donald Cooke owner and the fellow that found this set of NH shed deer antlers. This is the largest set of sheds ever found in New Hampshire. The right side of this set scores 120 3/8 all by itself !. Donald found the set in the winter/spring of 2010.To our knowledge the buck has never been taken, if it has, it is one of the best kept deer hunting secrets in the Granite State!
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Life at High Altitude
By Cody Covey
Is it worth its weight in gold?
Having something and not needing it always seems to be better than not having something and needing it. This is especially true when you find yourself miles from your truck in the wilderness. There is a lot of thought that one has to put into their gear when going on a week-long trip, but more so when you have to carry all that gear around every waking day of that week long trip. We went over some of the gear you will need to bring when going on a DIY hunt in the “DIY elk hunting for the East coaster” article, but not the method behind the madness of selecting it. How many days is your hunt? Should be one of the first questions that runs through your mind in the planning process. A couple extra days of gear can add up quickly, so having a solid plan of attack early in the game can really help out. One thing that I have found to be invaluable is keeping a couple extra days’ worth of food in your vehicle, or at your base camp. This situation is ideal for bivy hunting as it sheds weight from your pack and you
know that in worst case, you can always head down to refuel. Nothing drives a man off the mountain and too a McDonalds quicker than his hunger. What are the essentials? I think of the essentials as being your sleep sys-
and shelter. I don’t mind carrying a little extra weight in this category knowing I will stay warm and dry at night. Your food will actually be one of your heavier items, in bulk, that you will carry along with you. Just think, as each day goes you will lose about a pound and a half in your pack! That doesn’t sound like much
Worth it’s weight in gold....Weight or “lack” of weight is key when choosing gear fro backcountry hunting.
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but it really adds up if you’re on a seven day hunt. Clothing is a necessity but is something you can go light with as you will be wearing about half of it each day. Your camo is your everyday attire along with your base layers and a pair of socks. If it’s a 5-7 day hunt I will carry two extra pairs of socks and an extra pair of merino base layers. Stay away from cotton as its very heavy and useless once wet. Your first aid kit doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a few pills, band aids, tape, and some moleskin will usually suffice. How much does it really weigh? If you spend any time on a western forum you will see that most people include the weight of their gear in their reviews. Some people may look at that and think it’s strange but when you’re making a gear choice it is one of the most important things you should take into account. 24 ounces doesn’t sound like much (1 day of food) but multiply that by 7 days and you’re up 168 ounces or more commonly known as 10.5 pounds. Add in your sleep system, pack, clothing, kill kit, GPS, maps, water, optics, etc. and you are talking about a significant amount of weight. You’re doing pretty good if your under 10lbs on a day trip, 35lbs
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on a weekend trip, 48lbs on a 3-5 day trip, and 70lbs on a 7 day trip. I would suggest getting all of your gear together that you plan to use on your hunt, load your pack up, and do some walking. If you know what your pack will feel like beforehand than you will allow yourself time to position things comfortably and you will be able to handle the load. I do a fair amount of camping in the summer time, so each weekend I find things I didn’t use and eliminate them from my setup. After a summer worth of shedding pounds from my pack I know I am going in to the hunting season prepared to go out and stay for the duration of my hunt. This is usually enough food to last me a weekend on a bivy style hunt. It doesn’t look like much but the mountain house meals are a double serving and freeze dried for packability.
I like to begin the process by laying all my gear out and then choosing what I will need for the duration of my trip. I also throw in some reading material for long nights in the tent. Cody grew up in Corinth, Vermont and went to Vermont Techincal college where he graduated with a bachelors degree in construction management. He was born into a family of avid hunters and a love for the outdoors was instilled in him at a young age. After college he moved to Lakewood, Colorado to pursue a job as a Field Engineer in commercial construction and has lived there ever since. The rocky mountains are where Cody learned a love for elk hunting and the challenges of a western mountain hunt. He can be found hunting deer, elk and various other game in the fall and skiing the fresh powder in the winter. You can reach Cody at Cody.covey @whiting-turner.com
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Nature’s Way By Tannr Allard
When We Break Nature’s Rules
It’s been said that when we, as a human race, changed our way of life from hunter-gatherer to civilization and farming, we made a big mistake. To both myself and many hunters, the reason this was a bad idea is obvious: Agriculture gave rise to industry and industry gave rise to a huge boom in population. Slowly the human mindset was one of superiority. We could take what we wanted from the world and not deal with the consequences. We took and took and we grew and grew. Before we knew it, there were 7 billion people on this planet, a food and water crisis going on around half the world, and wars were breaking out everywhere. Hunter-Gatherers had none of these problems. Along with being at the mercy of the wild, they lived in smaller groups. These two things alone build a completely different life style, and it is my opinion, a better lifestyle. The problem with humanity as it is, is that we are breaking one of the natural rules. That rule is that a member of a living community may not take more
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than they need from the world and continue to thrive and flourish (an adaptation of the rule(s) presented in
completely logical; if an animal decided it wanted three times as much food every kill, soon there wouldn’t be much food left because they are killing faster than the prey
the novel Ishmael by Daniel Quinn). In a living community full of animals and plants, at first glance it may look competitive and hostile with the hunters and the hunted. If we take a closer look we see that this community as a whole operates in perfect harmony. The predators kill when they need to and only kill as much as they need. Foragers find as many plants as they need but they don’t level out the whole forest. This is
can reproduce. Not only would food availability go down, but predator population would go up, due to the direct relationship of food and population. That means more hungry eaters but less food for them. This is exactly what’s happening with humanity, and with every resource, not just food. We are taking faster than the Earth can replenish. We are drying up our resources. We cultivated and we planted, we tried to con-
quer Mother Nature and congratulated ourselves for it, and now we are on a path to destruction consisting of famine, toxic waters, pollution, a gigantic increase in disease. We struggle to supply our population through preserving food with chemicals, preventing our crops from being eaten up with chemicals, making our animals bigger with chemicals, see the pattern? Instead of changing the way we live our lives, instead of slowing things down, going organic, and passing some laws that limit what may be put in our food, we endorse it. Humans are supposed to the smartest animals on Earth. Until we learn that the “Us vs Them” mindset that we use to separate ourselves from the rest of the wild is flawed, we are no smarter than any other animal on this planet. We treat the Earth like its ours, but it is no more ours than it is the worms crawling around in the yard that you also call yours. We think we can conquer Mother Nature, and if we don’t stop trying, Mother Nature is going to show us just how wrong we are.
A Waterfowler's Perspective Looking to book a Guided Hunt?
So if you are like me and read a lot of hunting magazines you have read story after story about amazing hunting opportunities all over the country, heck all over the world. Now you want to be one of those guys who can say "man what a great hunting trip". Well here are a few things you need to know so you can say just that. There are no magical tricks to finding and booking the perfect hunt. But there are a few things to do that will help you get the most out of your trip and your outfitter. First off pick a species that you want to hunt and set a budget for this trip. Stick to this budget and add 20% to that for unplanned issues. If you are going to pursue waterfowl and don't already live in waterfowl heaven this trip will require a long road trip or a potential flight. Most decent guided hunts for waterfowl are $250 a day before lodging and other costs. The thing with waterfowl is that you need access to places that hold ducks & geese so it's very important to find an outfitter with a proven suc-
cess record. To me waterfowl hunts are more fun with more people but not too many. You don't want to be laying next to a dozen guys sky bust-
By Brian Bouchard
minimum hunter requirement. These things are all key to an enjoyable trip. Ask the guide if it will be you and your 2 buddies or a mix of 6-8 guys who all act and hunt different, which I can assure you is true.
Rene Leo & Phil on a guided Sea Duck hunt on the coast of Maine. ing for geese. So give some thought to who might go with you and how much fun they are to hunt with, ride with, eat with, & live with for 3-5 days. Find out if the guide has a
I took a trip with a buddy of mine to Maryland to hunt snow geese a few years back. We walked into the outfitters place after a 12 hour ride and we wanted to get back in the car because the ride down from Vermont, which involved driving through a whiteout for the first 3 hours, seemed like more fun. The outfitter barely stood up to greet us and then showed us what we thought was a "not as advertised bunk house" with temperature around 50 degrees. So we stayed that night and got up at 4 am and filled our thermos at a local gas station and hunted until noon with little success. We had the pleasure of laying next to 6 other guys with 3 different dogs. Two of the dogs were being trained during our hunt. The guides seasoned dog busted loose when the 3000 snow geese were hovering above us about to cover us up. That blew the firs mornings hunt in a big way. We ended up scouting for ourselves that afternoon and found our own spot for the next day. To say the least we booked a hotel for that second night and actually self guided ourselves the next day just using some of the guides snow decoys because I didn't bring any of my own. We are not hard to please but just expected a better hunt for the money. We ended up having a blast because we laughed so much and just really enjoyed the road trip and being away for a few days. Make sure when planning a hunt you keep expectation low so that you don't get disappointed. The key to any hunt isn't just the harvest but the whole experience. The accommodations are key. Some folks don't mind
roughing it a bit. Some, like myself, like a hot shower, a cold drink, warm bed and a great meal. Check with the outfitter to see what they have planned for a place to stay and what's on the menu. Make sure your buddies are all on same page. Nothing is worse than having guys that complain the entire time. To me it's about getting away not just the daily harvest. I like to drive to my hunts because I like having control of getting myself and my gear to where we are going. Guns on planes are almost as scary as snakes on planes. You have to check your guns and cross your fingers that everything gets there in one piece. When driving you now have the ability to bring as much as you need. Find a hotel that is gun friendly and be sure to bring all your stuff into your room so it will still be around the next day. If your traveling to another state or country for this guided hunt you will need licenses and stamps. Be sure to have this worked out. If the hunt is to start early in the next morning and you are getting there late the night before be sure to have a place to get a license the night before or make arrangements for the guide to secure your tags. Most states allow online purchases so do this in advance if possible. If your hunt takes you to Canada you will need to register your guns at the border as you cross. So be sure to have this factored into your plans. Another key to remember is to have plenty of gear. Shells, gun tools, extra chokes and even another gun if needed. I bring my own layout blind so that I'm comfortable. Be sure to have waders and anything you think you would need. Again, this is the reason I drive. If driving and the trip will be a long one be sure to check the travel vehicle over prior to setting out. No need for me to write all the possible issues that could arise with a vehicle not worthy of a long road trip. Or the frustrations this would bring to the trip dealing with these issues. If you and all your gear make it to this hunting paradise in one piece and you pull off a great hunt be sure to document the trip with cameras and journals. These hunts don't happen more than once a year if we are lucky. So having a way to document it via video and in writing down the harvest and the species helps you relive it if you so desire. In the end plan on spending about $250 per day for a local hunt plus food and other items. You can figure a 3 day hunt with gas licenses an
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Archery is one of my favorite pastimes
By Bill Prior
And within that, I prefer traditional archery. Self-bow, longbow, or recurve bow, all equally. I own and shoot, a modern compound, but my enthusiasm lies with the simplicity of traditional stick and string, wooden arrows with turkey feather fletch. Unlike compound bows that have specific draw length that must be adhered to, traditional bows are shot at whatever draw length is convenient to the shooter. One size fits all, if you will. A bow with a draw weight of 35 lbs @ 28? draw will for 6? tall dad be at 40 lbs @ his 30? draw, for 5?4? mom, about 27lbs @ 25? draw, and for a 4? tall child, about 18-20 lbs @ 25? draw. It is not apparent in New England, but in other parts of the country traditional archery is rapidly growing in popularity, and is being revitalized by the enjoyment of the simplicity of stick and string. Fast paced fun for every one! The 1990s saw the time of peak interest as well as the beginning of the demise of 3-Darchery. I believe that there are several reasons for the loss of interest in 3D archery. In the beginning 3-D was designed to replicate hunting situations: life-sized targets at normal, or slightly extended, unknown distances. Two significantly different types of shooters developed. The first consisted of hunters hoping to improve their proficiency, along with recreational archers. The second was a much smaller group that I will define as lodging will run you about $1000. If you add a flight to a far away destination that can reach $2500 or more. This is a waterfowl hunt. Change this to trophy buck, bear or other big game animal and plan on a $4000 price tag. All you need to do is spend sometime on the internet and do a little homework and you will be fine. If you have a dream of booking that hunt of a lifetime or just another of your annual outings feel free to email
Tournament Archers who focused on long-range accuracy excellence. On the 3-D course, a group of 5 hunters or recreational shooters would shoot one arrow each, score their hits and move to the next target in 7-10 minutes. Tournament Archers, under I.B.O. rules could use as much as 3 minutes per shooter. The total time
Bill Prior lives in Enfield NH.
used by 5 tournament shoots could be as much as 20-25 minutes. Mom and Dad with 2 children would wait 15 minutes, or more. The parents became bored and the children got restless. Everyone became impatient standing around waiting. Also, 3-D began as an action sport that became a precision sport
170 f.p.s., and cedar arrows tipped, with Zwickey judo or other similar points, I hardly every lose or break an arrow. At this low velocity wooden arrows are surprisingly durable. If I should happen to break a cedar arrow, I close my eyes and the smell of the rich aroma of cedar brings back equally rich memories. Suggested Reading On the history of “modern” archery: The Witchery of Archery by Maurice Thompson. First published in 1878. Local History At or about 1950 there was a field archery course behind where the Evans Mart at Exit 16 now stands. There was another behind Currier’s trailer park at the bottom of Dry Bridge Hill on Route 4. The backstop for local archery ranges were made of excelsior bales purchased from the excelsior factory in Lebanon, N.H. I spoke with life member of the Enfield Outing Club, Dave Dunham, and he assured me that he still owns his 1960 “White Wing” recurve bow. I am sure that Dave can provide much more local archery history. 12/14/09 William Prior © All Rights Reserved Osage Orange wood and Black Cherry wood with white fiberglass highlights
from previous page
me with any questions or advice. If you want to book a hunt with Fields Bay Outfitters I can assure that you will not be disappointed.. I have been hunting deer and predators for over 30 years. Turkey for 15 years. Waterfowl for the past 10 years. Owner of Fields Bay Outfitters. I Live in St Albans VT with my wife Michele and our 2 sons Dillon & Kyle and our 2 labs Tyson & Remi.
Leo & Phil buying licenses from guide during Maine Sea Duck hunt. The Outdoor Gazette
to some shooters. Twenty tournament shooters could not support what 100 hunter/recreational shooters supported. There is nothing wrong with tournament shooting, but the two styles do not mix well together. If memory serves me correctly, I have read that in the 1950s (?) the then modern archery encountered the same difficulty. The end result was two separate and totally different classes: tournament archery and field archery. I believe it was Winston Churchill, who said, “Those who do not learn from history are destined (condemned?) to relive it”. When the economy recovers, I expect that, slowly, people will once again begin shooting. Perhaps not with “state of the art” equipment but with more moderately priced bows. I expect a renewed interest in archery for the sake of archery, compound or traditional, just for the enjoyment of it! Another one of my favorite pastimes is known as “roving” or walking through the woods shooting at old rotten stumps and logs, or whatever catches my eye. It is not possible to do this with modern hyper-velocity compound bows because the arrows would be lost or destroyed at nearly every shot. However, with my longbow at 150-
Embrace Your Redneck Tendencies by Tina Corron Redemption
Sometime during my late teens, I had a fall from grace. I am sure this type of thing has happened to many people. I tried to deny my country roots for the appeal of city life. I am ashamed to say, that during that troubled period of my youth, I did not own one piece of flannel, nor did I have a decent pair of hiking boots. The only bit of denim I owned was a very short skirt. I dressed in skirts, stockings and heels. The boots I did own would have been less than useless in a rural setting. I worked in an office, I went to meetings, and I took clients to lunch. Many times I found myself on a sales call, in a potential client’s office, having difficulty keeping to the subject matter. I was frequently distracted admiring the king salmon or, perhaps the eight point rack hanging in the executive’s office. What I really wanted to discuss was where he (the client) shot that buck; was it in Vermont or away? I kept thinking about all the various ways to prepare king salmon and how delicious it is. I don’t know how I kept my country
roots hidden for so long. Fortunately this particular period of my life did not last long; I was rescued from my
own foolishness by a knight in buffalo checked flannel! I spent my days working hard at
the office, then would head out with my friends to have a cocktail at one of the little night clubs in the area. I use the term ‘night club’ loosely because we are talking about
Burlington, Vermont in the mid 1980’s. Burlington is a college town and there was ample opportunity to meet a variety of people. I met this guy, he was pretty nice. We would run into each other frequently at the clubs and he finally asked me out. I figured ‘Why not?” Little did I know this would be a turning point. At first he just asked me to go out to a movie. I figured that is pretty normal, so I went, we enjoyed ourselves and we continued to see each other. . One day he phoned me and said: “Hi.” “Hi” I answered all gushy. “Do you want to go four wheeling up at the Gibou?” I had no idea what a’Gibou ‘was but I said “Sure.” “Okay, I’ll pick you up around 10:00 a.m. Saturday.” “Sounds good to me.” I answered
For the rest of the week I asked everyone I knew what ‘four wheeling at a Gibou’ could possibly mean. I got various definitions. I was left with the conclusion that the event would be outdoors, in wilderness and there was a distinct possibility that I could get muddy. I made a quick trip to the mall for proper outdoor attire (i.e. jeans, t-shirt, sweat shirt, decent footwear). Saturday finally arrived and into my driveway at 10:00 on the dot drove, a magnificent, brand new, silver, Mazda 4x4 pick-up truck complete with roll bar, halogen lights, a cb radio antenna, and a gun rack, driven by a bearded, flannel clad Adonis! At that point I no longer cared where or what a Gibou was, I just jumped in that truck ready to go where ever he was taking me. The Adonis and I spent a great deal of time testing the limits of that truck, he drove it through streams, mud up to the rims, up winding, boulder strewn logging roads. We had a total blast with that truck. We would have that thing just caked with mud and cruise Main Street in Burlington like we owned the place. Other nights you could find us on a back road with a bunch of friends, a pony keg, a bon fire with the pick-ups circled up around it. Thankfully the law had other interests back then. I ended up marrying the bearded Adonis, we call him Dean now, two children and 25 years later I look back fondly on our courtship. I still think that it was the gun rack that sealed the deal.. A South Burlington, Vermont resident, formerly a “flatlander” and married to a Vermonter. She and her “Vermnter” husband have 2 sons aged 17 and 22, as well as a Brittany spaniel who behaves better than all of them. Tina was raised country and it is in her blood. Tina can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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Public Access to the Kingdom By David Willette
When campfire discussions turn to hunting state or federal property, fears of overcrowding and intensely pressured game, which make hunting impossible, are commonplace. In certain circles loss of access and hunting rights are other popular adversaries of public land use. To me, this avoidance of state property sometimes seems as if those people live in a medieval land where the taking of the king’s game is outlawed. You won’t hear that from this hunter. Not in my Kingdom. Over the last two decades, I’ve almost been shot at on private land more times than I’ve seen boot tracks on public lands in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The few and far between occasions that I have come across other humans, they have been working to preserve or protect those places. From my experiences I have formed a firm belief that public lands in the northeast, particularly the NEK are vastly under used and underestimated. I find that private property in my neck of woods is where the majority
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of overcrowding occurs. Often all it takes to gain access to great hunting territory is finding out who the
devoid of hunters, even during the peak of popular seasons. In addition, many of our state and federal owned properties are far off the beaten path making them the
Wildflowers Bloom near Damon’s Crossing in Victory, Vermont © Nostalgic Images
landowner is, introducing yourself to them and being honest about your intentions. Hunters willing to split and stack some wood or come back each sugaring season to help tap are usually granted access for life, especially if they bring by a nice roast after a harvest. I have found that this ease of accessibility coupled with pessimistic views of public land use allows many of our state lands to be
most wild of places, requiring more skill and determination to hunt. We are guaranteed to find ourselves putting extra miles on our pick-ups and boots in an attempt to find a public land trophy. This seriously deters someone who can hunt on their own back forty. Not to mention, the twothirds of hunters who are said to venture no more than a half mile from their vehicles. However, these
factors work as an added bonus to those who take pride in getting as deep into the wilderness as possible. I am one of those few and I explore these dense wild areas frequently and sharing my experiences with others has become a passion. My sincere intention is to encourage the Outdoor Gazette readers to venture farther and enjoy lands they may have previously avoided, Public Access to the Kingdom is in your grasp. The Basin and surrounding area in Victory, Vermont was like a fabled land to me as a child. The wildness of that particular place had a great allure and the stories of mammoth moose, and ferocious black bear were very appealing to a youth hunter. Kids at local schools passed on tales of how one wrong step in the bog could mean sinking out of sight and how folks went in those woods and never returned. I’m not sure if any of these stories ring true but from hunting the area I can say they certainly have an effect on land use. That is partly why I settled my family only minutes down U.S Route
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Mass Meanderings By David Willette
Flat Iron Outfitters
“You’re going to have to get in front of these birds. You’re going to have to sneak up on them,” Jim Day of Flat Iron Outfitters said. “These birds aren’t quite revved-up enough to get the toms to respond to calling.” This was proven on our first set-up at 10 am that day. We could see 40 plus Merriam turkeys below us around a small pond. There were at least a halfdozen toms-some of them in full strut, but they stayed too far out and only mildly answered our calls. Jim had set Nate up over the rise from him and I so Nate could see most of the action, while Jim and I stayed back and called trying to entice one tom to come our way. I could see Nate start to get into position for a shot every once in a while, but I couldn’t see any birds. I have never called in a turkey in my life, as I’m only a casual turkey hunter. At one point Jim ranged the closest tom at 53 yards, but it wouldn’t come any closer. Eventually all the birds walked away. This day, Nat and I were special
guests (I have no idea why), at Flat Iron Outfitters to do some turkey hunting, and to check out all the wildlife that’s available in the area. Some of which I’ll be hunting on a six-day elk/deer/bear bow hunt this September.
Nice Tom taken with Flat iron Outfitters
When I say wildlife, I mean abundant wildlife. For the day we saw at least 200 elk, 150 whitetails, 150
turkeys, 50 big horn sheep and two pheasants. Also hanging around in abundance, but we didn’t see are plenty of black bears (40%colorphase) and mule deer. In Montana you get one deer tag, of which you can shoot either a mule or whitetail deer. And of course there’s also, public enemy number one, coyotes
lurking in the dark Jim met us at 8am and we drove around and glassed animals, set-up on some turkeys and checked out the living arrangement for the upcoming hunt. Later in the day, we pull into the previously mentioned turkey hunting area only to find that the birds were ahead of schedule. Jim advised us to drop down into the creek bottom (pronounced crick in Montana), and sneak along to get in front of the flock. Nate and I didn’t have a clue as to what were doing, but we did what we were told and it worked like a charm. We got into position of the slowly moving flock of 120 birds. There were at least 15 toms among them. We settled in to a pine bush hedgerow about seven yards from the pasture fence with a slightly used service road between the fence and us. Here we waited for the flock to get closer. At this point, Nate got a little antsy and decided to bellycrawl across the road to the fence where there was a foot high berm of sorts to hide him. Or so he thought. By the time that Nate got there, the birds had moved closer, and when Nate finally got there he realized that he couldn’t see over the top of the berm and it was too late to come
back to the hedgerow with me. He was pinned down. The first wave of turkeys, about ten or so, were all hens, and they all walked, clucked and yelped within five yards of Nate’s head, but they wouldn’t go by. They knew that something wasn’t right. The next wave started piling up in front of Nate about five minutes later, and one of them was a jake, which like the hens walked within five yards of Nate’s head. I was waiting for Nate to shoot, he had to see that this turkey had a beard, but he didn’t shoot. I figured that either Nate didn’t want to shoot it, or that he couldn’t shoot it. Within a few minutes the birds really started to get nervous and some started to drift away. I was always a fan of a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush so I reluctantly flattened that jake. I really wanted Nate to get his first turkey. He told me after that the angle that he had was so bad that he could barely see the turkey’s heads. After the photos we dropped off the turkey to Ross Fratzke, the owner of Flat Iron Outfitters, where his order from Jim were to de-bone the meat and prep the tail for a fan-tail mount. Jim, Nate and I went off to find more turkeys, but none cooperated. We called it a day around 5:30 and Jim brought us back to our car where I almost insulted him when I offered him $50 for his time, gas and expertise. He absolutely refused. He said that we were guests of the Flat Iron Outfitters. I felt like a thief- a thief that was caught red-handed but let off the hook by the kindness of strangers. We’re given the red carpet treatment, I had just shot a turkey right out from under my sons nose and I can’t even pay for the guys gas. Jim even refused the fried chicken that I brought for lunch. My hunt with Flat Iron Outfitters is scheduled for late September. By then Nate, whose coming along to see how the Old Man does it, will be a dad, I’ll be a grandfather and hopefully the only thing that I’ll be guilty of then is tagging a bull elk. David Willette is a free-lance outdoor writer who lives in Western Massachusetts. He can be contacted through www.coyotewars.com
ROSCOE BLAISDELL Official Measurer Boone & Crockett Club Pope & Young Club NH Antler & Skull Trophy Club Maine Antler & Skull Trophy Club
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Riverbank Tales by Bill Thompson
An Old Tackle Box
The interesting thing about fishing is all of the fascinating avenues that it can lead you to. Fishing is far more complicated than just catching fish. One avenue is the collecting of old or antique fishing gear. In the last decade the hobby has grown in leaps and bounds. Not that long ago it was possible to purchase an old rod or reel at a yard sale for a few pennies, but today even the most naive weekend entrepreneur is savvy enough to realize that old fishing gear may be worth big bucks. As a fly fisherman naturally I have always had a weakness for old bamboo fly rods. For years I managed to avoid catching the infection, however recently I have added a few bamboo rods to my collection. I have a weakness for old fly reels as well and have managed to piece together a small collection of less expensive ones. My major weakness has always been old fly fishing books; in this area of collecting I have, on occasion, managed to break the bank once or twice. Conventional fishermen are not
immune from the collecting addiction and in fact can be just as fanatical as any fly fisherman. The col-
lecting of old fishing plugs is an area that has always interested me. When it comes to inventiveness there is no lack of inspiration on the part of fishermen when it comes to thinking up new ways to fool fish with an artificial lure. Casual visitors to our shop often ask how many different fly patterns there are. I
The North Country Angler has been in the “Valley” for over thirty years. We are a full service fly shop offering quality fly fishing gear and guiding. Bill and Janet’s 10 Year Anniversary as owners
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always answer with one word, “countless” and the same holds true for the number of different lures that spin fishermen have come up with over the years.
Lures come in several different verities, including spinners, spoons and plugs. Plugs are the ones that capture my interest, especially the older wooden ones. Judging by the price that some of these bring I would guess that I am not alone on this. Wooden lures in good condition can bring upwards to a thousand dollars or more. Now before you rush off to raid Dad’s tackle box it is important to note that there are several variables that determine the worth of an old lure. Like a lot of collectibles the brand name makes a big difference. Any antique dealer will tell you that there is a big difference between a Tiffany Lamp and say another lamp of the same vintage purchased at the Five and Dime store. Names to look for are Heddon, South Bend, Paw, Paw Chub, Creek Shakespeare, and Pflueger. There are others, but these are a few of the most popular. Most of these companies are still in business today and needless to say today’s lures have not yet reached collectable status. What most collectors are looking for are the old wooden ones. Long before plastic your grandfather pitched lures made from balsa and bass wood. The first of these lures were hand made by individuals for their own enjoyment later giving rise to the manufactured ones. The founder of the Heddon Company, James Heddon, was one
of those tinkerers that found a market for his homemade plugs. One category of lure collecting is seeking out these home built lures and they are often referred to as “Folk Art”. There is some interest in early plastic lures so don’t be too hasty to pass them by. Like all antiques value is greatly enhanced by condition. It is possible to find a lure of great value, but because it was fished hard and shows the wear may be only worth a small portion of the same lure new and in the box. A good original box can add a great deal to the value. If you do find a few old lures in some forgotten tackle box in the attic it is probably a good idea to have someone with some knowledge on the subject take a look at them. The internet is a good starting point as there are several sites dedicated to collecting antique fishing tackle. A few of these sites will actually give you an appraisal. You simply post a picture and a description on the web site and they will do the rest. Antique dealers, unless they specialize in tackle, are not the best way to go. If by chance you think you have something really good you might want to consider Lang’s Sporting Collectibles of Waterville New York. Lang’s is without doubt the best auction house to deal with. In the past years they have set several records for the highest prices paid in several categories of antique tackle. Some may remember the famous Haskel Baby Minnow which brought over $18,000 at auction; as it received national media attention. From time to time someone will bring a treasure into our shop for an appraisal. This is something that I personally enjoy very much. I always explain up front that I am in no way a professional appraiser and I never charge for the service. I do have a fair working knowledge and keep a small library of auction catalogs and other books on the subject as a reference. For the most part I see a lot of tackle with far more sentimental value than monetary. However, on occasion someone will bring in something that does have value and in these cases I generally recommend a licensed appraiser or Lang’s. Not long ago a fellow brought in a
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bamboo rod for me to look at. He had brought it on E-bay with the idea he might fish it. Unfortunately the rod was of little value and needed work. He said that he had something else that he had purchased along with the rod that might be of some interest. He went back out to his truck and returned with an old wooden tackle box. The second he walked back through the door with the box I knew he had a treasure even if the box was empty. The box is just over sixteen inches long, ten inches wide and eight inches deep. There is a door pull type handle on the top and the hasp serves to keep the box closed. A piece of heavy wire served as the lock. It was painted black and was obviously hand made by a craftsman. My guess is that someone, without a whole lot of money, saw a manufactured tackle box and knew he could do better and for less money. And to my way of thinking he did. When you first open up an old rod tube or an old tackle box the first thing that hits you is the smell. OK, some would just say that it is a rather obnoxious musty odder, but I prefer to think of it as the first hint of some uncovered treasure of the past. In this case it was. The box had several layers of trays designed to hold lures and other tackle and each tray held a separate treasure. In the bottom were several old
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reels. There were three bait-casting reels and three old fly reels. Of course the first thing I picked up was the fly reels, one of which was a nice old Hardy Uniqua.
There were also a dozen or so very early plastic lures and a few large wooden bobbers. Whoever owned this box was not opposed to using different methods to catch fish. If
This reel alone, more than made up for the original purchase price of the box; a mere thirty-six bucks. The other reels were of lesser value, but none the less they were still very collectable. It was the plugs, however, that turned out to be the most interesting. Several of the plugs were just the wooden blanks and like the box were hand made. A few of the others were from commercial manufacturers. The nicest was a large pike lure from the Creek Chub Company. Another nice bass plug was from the Paw Paw Company.
all the items in the box came from the same original owner then he was truly a renascence man. Not only was he a fine craftsman, but he was also willing to experiment with different types of tackle. The man who had purchased the box was also a very interesting man as well. As Janet and I pawed through the box and thumbed through pages of books on old tackle to find prices on the items in the box his enthusiasm for the stuff was as great as ours. He explained that he was a machinist by trade and just loved old wooden tool boxes; which
was why he had purchased the box to begin with. He said that he had a house full of them. I replied that my grandfather had been a machinist also and that I had some of his old tool boxes. The man was leaving for home and started to head out the door. Janet and I started to frantically pack up the box. He said to us, “why don’t you guys just keep the box” as he started for the truck. We both told him that we thought the box and its contents were much too valuable to just give away, but he insisted. I know that Janet and I stood there with open mouths for a few minutes still not grasping what had just happened. The problem with things like this is that you always see the dollar signs, but in the end you never have the heart to break it up or part with it. The box is now on permanent display at the North Country Angler Museum of Fishing Tackle. Originally from Maine, Bill Thompson, with his wife Janet, lives in Freedom and owns North Country Angler fly shop in North Conway. He has been fly fishing for more than 30 years and is a licensed NH Fishing Guide. He has fished all over New England, in Canada and out West, but claims the Saco as his “home river.” He also writes a column for a local paper as well as articles in national fly fishing magazines. Bill’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel Thoughts About Gun Laws and Shortages
As gun owners, we are all under a tremendous amount of political pressure right now. Most of us are well aware of the slew of anti-gun measures that have been proposed and discussed. Few, if any, of these brilliant ideas show even the slightest understanding of the guns they are trying to ban, or of the thousands of existing and often unenforceable gun laws that are currently on the books. The basis for all these proposals is the assumption that more restrictions on gun ownership will somehow translate into a significant reduction in the use of guns in crime. Historically, this has never happened and is impossible to support with statistical evidence. The last “Assault Weapons Ban” ended in 2004 and has been the subject of several studies. Many of these studies were government sponsored and all reached the same conclusion. The 1994 to 2004 ban had absolutely no effect on the crime rate or the use of “assault weapons” in crime. In spite of this, a new bill which would ban most semi-automatic firearms that use magazines, and
also magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, has passed committee and will be debated on the floor of the Senate. It is very unlikely that this bill will make it through the Senate since it is opposed by most
people don’t really understand what it means. Would it be such a bad thing if everyone who buys a gun has to go through a criminal background check? No, sounds like a good idea. It is a good idea … until
Republicans and some Democrats. If it somehow did sneak through, an approval before the House would seem even more unlikely. Another big push is the call for “Universal Background Checks.” This appears to have broad based support from the public, but most
you try to figure out a way to enforce it. There is no national gun registration in this country, and such registration has been prohibited by law since 1986. Gun registration of all the guns in this country would likely prove to be a daunting, if not impossible, task. We’re talking about more than 100 million gun owners who own over 370 million guns! What does gun registration have to do with a universal background check? It has everything to do with it. How could the government enforce universal background checks without knowing who owns the guns or what they own? They couldn’t. Without registration all they could do would be to suggest that individuals go through dealers to transfer private sales, but there would be no way of insuring that would be done. Is there a problem with a national registration system? Yes, there is. It would mean that every legally owned gun and its owner would be in a national, computerized database. Hackers could publish the
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names of all gun owners and their guns. In fact, your information might even be publicly available under the Freedom of Information Act. That’s not the only problem. Our current state of anonymity also provides a huge obstacle to any confiscatory legislation. No government agency can take guns if they don’t know where they are. Under our current system, dealer records can be accessed during criminal investigations and for compliance audits. For the most part, these are paper records and must be searched manually. When a dealer calls in a background check for a gun sale, no information about the gun is given. If you are under the delusion that our government would never confiscate legally owned guns, you’d better take a closer look at the Feinstein bill that just made it to the Senate floor. Its grandfather provision for what it jokingly describes as “assault weapons” only applies if the owner registers his guns as “destructive devices” with the ATF and gives up his right to ever sell or transfer those guns. If the owner doesn’t want to pay his $200 transfer tax on each firearm or magazine, then he has the option of turning in those items with no compensation. If the owner does register his “arsenal,” the guns won’t be confiscated until his death. They can not be willed to anyone … they must be turned in for destruction. These are frightening proposals; so frightening that they have almost single handedly been responsible for the nationwide buying panic that has now been going on for four months. First, people were afraid they wouldn’t be able to buy AR-15 style rifles and magazines, so they cleaned out all that inventory. The instant shortages created only more of a buying frenzy, creating more shortages. Then came the ammo for those guns
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… gone in a matter of days. No more rifles? How about handguns? Almost any kind of semi-automatic pistol, and small revolvers, soon became the target of hoarders and the panic stricken. With rifles, handguns, and ammo in short supply, it only a matter of time before reloading became the only viable option for keeping ammo for shooting. So, now there’s also a shortage of bullets, powder, primers, and even reloading dies. Well, if things are that bad why not just shoot a .22LR gun until things calm down a bit? You can’t. Why? Because everyone else also thought of that and now there’s a shortage of .22 ammo as well. All these shortages have led to some interesting things. First of all, there has been an outrageous amount of price gouging. Both dealers and individuals have raised prices on many hard to get items by as much a two to three times their original prices. I have seen $25 bricks of .22’s selling for $70, $800 AR style rifles going for thousands, and $20 magazines selling for as much as $120. Understand that wholesale prices have risen only by about 510% during this supply crunch … not 100%. I can only encourage people to stay calm and not feed into this unethical behavior. Next, I keep hearing all the conspiracy theories about the shortages.
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The government has limited the production of guns and ammunition some claim, which is why we can’t find ammo and guns on the shelves. Or, the government is buying all the ammunition for themselves. Yes, government agencies and the military buy tons of ammunition. They always have and they always will, but this has little effect on the commercial production of either guns or ammunition. Ammunition and gun companies are running double and triple shifts, often seven days a week, in an effort to keep up with the unprecedented demand for their products. This is a consumer driven shortage, nothing more. People are buying whatever they can, wherever they can. Some are simply hoarding, others just trying to find stuff they need. Still others are profiteering from all this … buying what they can find and then trying to sell it for double or triple what they paid for it. Is there an end in sight? Yes there is. Let me point out that shipments of guns and ammo are coming in on a fairly regular basis. The other week I got in 6 cases of .22LR ammunition and 20 cases of .223. Even limiting purchase to one box per customer, my entire shipment was gone in a matter of hours. AR style rifles come in every week. Sometimes I get only one at a time, sometimes I get in several. Regardless of the quantity, the guns are gun in a matter of
minutes. Right now, no amount of any sought after item can satisfy the demand. This can not last. Very soon, I hope, it should become apparent that no banning of any type of gun or magazine will get through Congress. Universal background checks will prove to be too impractical to become law. That will leave the discussions about the reporting of mental health records and school security as the last debatable items. No one is coming for our guns, no one will impose magazine capacity limits, and no one will force us register our guns. Those are my predic-
from previous page
tions, and I certainly hope I am right. When, and if, I am proven right, this mad buying craze should end. I expect to see a lot of used AR’s showing up on dealer shelves by the summer. Stan Holz lives in Whitefield, NH and, with his wife Sandy, has owned and operated Village Gun Store there since 1974. He invites everyone to stop and visit. Aside from his interest in firearms and shooting, Stan is also involved in amateur astronomy, photo-graphy, ham radio and scuba diving. He can be contacted by emailing him at email@example.com.
Do you have a recreational camp or property? An outboard motor, ATV or snowmobile? Why don’t you try placing an ad in the NH Outdoor Gazette? You’d be surprized by the results.
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Family Tracks The Bone Collector
The stretch of warm weather that had led to the giant, billowing clouds of steam erupting from the roof vents of the nearby sugar houses had also melted most of the snow on the south facing ridge just behind our house, and it gave me the urge to get out and see if I could spot any dropped antlers. There is a nice little protected shelf of pine and hemlock, almost within sight of the house, where the deer spend a lot of time in the winter. After a little persuading, I convinced Ben we could have a little adventure in the woods and I got him to get dressed and head out with me. The promise of showing him where we could build the tree house/tree stand we had been planning had psyched him up for the trek. We each took a ski pole as a walking stick and we could easily walk on top of the remaining crust of snow as we criss-crossed through the areas it had melted completely. Moments after leaving the front steps we crossed the backyard, and
By Brian Lang
as we passed the swing set Ben couldn’t resist hopping on the frozen
headed up the hillside. There were a few little buck rubs from the year before that I pointed out to him. The number of deer tracks and drop-
Caught on camera- an eagle takes advantage of a free lunch plastic seat and taking a few swings, pings increased as we approached his little booted feet banging un- ele- the site I had picked for the tree gantly in the snow with each pass. house/stand. It’s not far from the He quickly got off though, and we house, and I planned to make a comfortable little platform the kids could play in and I could sneak into easily with them to sit and watch for deer and other critters. As we brainstormed about it, the kids said they wanted to make little beds, so I thought I could add a roof, and windows, and actually the wireless reception could be fairly good there so maybe a solar panel could charge my phone, or power a small fridge…….then I realized I was getting carried away. A deer trail passed just in front of where I wanted to build this fortress of solitude. It was littered with old and new tracks and various piles of deer droppings. Some were shiny and fresh and others were brown and frozen into the crust. I pointed out this difference to Ben and sent him on the task of following the trail. He eagerly marched along with his head down looking at the tracks, and not paying too much attention to where he was going as he kept walking into bushes and branches. Soon, we arrived at a little pile of bones. They lay in a little sunny spot, free from snow and ice, and in a little bed of matted black feathers. A little pile of coyote poop next to it revealed that this was the remains of a coyote’s meal, probably a crow by the look of the feathers. Ben was enthralled and immediately started unzipping his pockets to take them home. It wasn’t antlers, but we had found something, at least, to take home. We made a nice loop along the April 2013
hemlock ridge, where there was little snow and a lot of deer sign, but no antlers. Ben was impressed with the smooth, crystal clear ice formations on the boulders and broke off a few icicles to admire. We hiked back down the hill and back across our yard, passing some balsams we had planted several years ago and some were now almost as tall as Ben. When we got back in the house, my wife said my neighbor called to say some coyotes had killed a deer in their yard, and wanted to set up a game camera over the carcass. Ben showed Mom the bones he had found, and then wanted to head down and find the dead deer with me. The deer had been killed recently, only the night before. The back half of the deer was pretty much gone. Ben walked up and checked it out, pretty much unfazed, but exclaiming “Gross, you can see its ribs!” The tail was in good shape though, and conveniently disconnected and lying on top of the snow several feet away, as if set aside for me, the fly tier. I picked a tree for the camera at the edge of the yard and pulled the deer a little closer, dragging it easily by the ear over the frozen snow. I could just barely see the carcass from the road as I drove back and forth to work the following week. Then it snowed, and everything was covered up. In the middle of the week we had to go to a doctor’s appointment, and in the afternoon we were heading home. As we passed my neighbors house I slowed the car, peeked out into the field, and spotted the shape of a bird perched on top of the now mangled pile of brown and red. I thought it was a crow, but it looked really big. I pulled out the binoculars I keep in the glove box and checked it out. It was a bald eagle, its large white head blending in with the snow at a distance, and powerful yellow beak tearing at the deer’s flesh. The kids could easily see its shape with the naked eye, appreciating it was a large bird. They each took a turn looking through the binoculars, but I’m not sure they found it. We admired the eagle eating its lunch until a car came up behind us and we moved on. I looked forward to checking the pictures on the camera the following weekend, and was rewarded with pictures of the eagle, several coyote pictures, a fox, and even a few deer pictures. A doe had nosed right up to the camera full of curiosity. There was no sign of the dead deer anymore other than some hair spread amongst the animal tracks in the
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2. I explore the Victory Basin WMA as often as possible. Sure, I’ve sunk in the bog more times than I can count, but I always have made it home, even if it is with one less boot. The vast majority of days I’m out there I’m the only one for miles. Once on a hike with my wife Dawn and our daughters, I came across a gentle-
Man wanted to take his Old Town, Coca-Cola edition canoe he’d won from the local supermarket up the Moose River. My Grandfather and a close family friend who I affectionately refer to as Grandpa Easter had told him long ago of their successful outings for brook trout. The old timers had both passed on and I
The Moose River as it flows through Victory Basin © Nostalgic Images
man with the state doing a study of Gray Jays and he is literally the only human I can recollect encountering when I’ve ventured there. A guest journal, in a cabin out in the middle of the Victory Basin WMA has entries from several moose hunters, a local who chases bobcats with hounds, and a few biologists but the entries are sparse and the dates sporadic. The place is a hidden gem that I have had the pleasure of prospecting many times; one in particular comes to mind. August, a decade or so ago, the Ol’
assume Dad wanted to reminisce about them a bit. I had no clue that we would be embarking on one of the most memorable fishing excursions of my lifetime. After launching in off River Road we paddled up the Moose toward a part of the WMA known locally as Damon’s Crossing. It was a nice day on the water, but a quiet day for fish, one nibble all the way upstream. Coming back downstream and nearing the truck we decided to stop awhile in the spot where I felt that small tug on my line.
snow. Once the weather warms up some more, the snow will be gone for good and we can start construction of our tree stand/house. Maybe I could build a corner for the porta potty, and bring the camp stove up there. A little extra work and planning, and one could stay out there for an extended period of time. On second thought, maybe I won’t bring my phone.
Brian Lang lives with his wife, Michelle and two children Megan and Ben in Reading, VT. Brian grew up in VT and started enjoying his outdoor pursuits at a very young age. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, camper, and hiker and hopes to give his kids the same wholesome upbringing he enjoyed in the New England outdoors. When he's not outside, he works as an MRI Technologist. He can be reached at Bclang78@gmail.com.
Still nothing, until the Ol’ Man paddled us up into a tiny tributary. Just as I was feeling that speech about how “It aint like the olden days” coming on when the Ol’ man whipped a native brookie out of the water and landed it at my feet. I removed the trout from the line, but couldn’t even get it in a creel before my father was flipping another at me, and another. I finally hooked one to his four, but only after he pulled up, as he so graciously referred to it, “A horned-pout in broad daylight” just to show off. It was the first of that species I had seen and part of what made the trip so unforgettable. That and dumping the Ol’ Man out of the canoe while pulling it ashore. Regardless, he failed to learn his lesson and still out fishes me on rare occasions. So far, I’ve visited more than hand-full of the eighty plus Vermont Wildlife Management Areas. In doing so I have had the opportunity to; call in a pack of five coyotes, track whitetails, film the pursuit of black bear with hounds, call in a bear by imitating a wounded moose calf and of course, found that “honey hole” of native brook trout with The Ol’ Man. I’ve also enjoyed a great many camping and hiking adventures in the VT State parks with family and friends. We have a vast amount of hunting land available to any sportsman or
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woman who takes the time to access it. I can only hope that the future of this column will encourage you to do so. Dylan R. Ainsworth is a native Vermonter. He is a member of the Mossy Oak Prostaff, a seminar speaker, and outdoor videographer as well as a guide. He and his wife Dawn own and operate Nostalgic Images with a mission to bring the outdoors into focus and express their passion for the natural world through photos and video. Dylan is also a home brewer and self proclaimed connoisseur of Vermont craft beers.
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Anchor Points By Todd Mead
Finding a Quiet Mind
When I started shooting competitive archery I spent hours in the backyard launching arrows into the target. My mind wasn’t too terribly involved in the process, which made shooting easier. As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months I found myself wanting to do anything I could to improve my accuracy. It was before computers were in almost everyone’s home, so researching competitive archery on-line was an unheard of tool. There weren’t any archery forums you could sit down and filter through in the evening. Instead, you had to rely on the people you knew and the local archery clubs to gain knowledge. I made a habit of finding the best shooters and shooting with them. I lived by the motto, “In order to get better you have to shoot with people who are better than you”, and I still do. If you’re not pushing yourself to become better in any aspect of life, you probably won’t succeed, or if you do, it might take you a lot longer to get to where you want to go than it would have otherwise. Competition usually inspires people to do the very best they can do. It drives people to succeed. After I began shooting with some great shooters I realized I could compete with them, but I always knew I was missing something that could catapult me to the next level. I was missing a mental game. Since I wasn’t sure how to achieve a good mental game I bought a few books about mental training in athletics. From there I bought a couple more, which discussed ways to center the mind and remain calm on the inside. After I read through the books I signed up for a meditation class. I learned the proper techniques of
breathing and how to concentrate on inhaling and exhaling. As I got more involved with my daily meditation sessions I quickly learned how difficult it was to let thoughts come and go without giving them any extra attention. I found myself focusing on some thoughts more than others and before long I was lost in those thoughts, which
without addressing them they quickly and silently disappeared. At that time I could also see how the mediation was helping me with my shooting. Before I started classes my mind was active through the entire shot process. Now, my mind was much quieter and more centered. Instead of giving extra attention to the distracting thoughts, I focused on the steps of my shot routine and my breathing. The steady
My mind is quiet as I gaze across the Colorado landscape.
defeated the purpose of meditating. Although I struggled mightily with this new concept, I trusted the instructor when he said the process would become easier over time as long as I set the time aside every day to meditate. After a few months I knew I was a lot further ahead than where I was when I started. The distracting thoughts still entered my mind, but
breathing relaxed my nerves and allowed me to be calm. It was easy to see that I had found the secret passage to the next level. When I knew I was missing something, I thought it was more along the lines of shooting form or knowledge about equipment. While some of that was probably true, once I learned how to quiet my mind everything seemed to fall into place.
With the new system in place it was time to head to a national event. I had never meditated during a big event, so I didn’t know what to expect. However, I knew it had worked well in the state and regional tournaments I had competed in. When I arrived in Battle Creek, Michigan to shoot the National ASA Pro-am, I felt anxious, but not overwhelmed. I knew I had been shooting well, but approached the tournament without any expectations. Expectations sometimes lead to unnecessary anxiety. My goal was to shoot one arrow at a time, while concentrating on my breathing. After the first day I was sitting comfortably in sixth place. I knew I would have a chance at winning the tournament the next day if I stayed within myself. I could feel a little extra tension in my body for the first three shots the second day. After getting those shots behind me I got back into the routine and finished strong. When the final scores were tallied I was the runner-up of the tournament. I had achieved what I set out to do a few months earlier. My mind was quiet not only during archery tournaments, but also in everyday life. Archery has the ability to expose parts of our personalities. Once these things are exposed it presents us with a choice on how we want to approach the things in front of us. I chose to improve something with my archery game than in turn improved all areas of my life. What will you do when archery exposes one of your weaknesses? Shoot straight and be calm at the center. Todd is the author of Backcountry Bucks and A Lifetime of Big Woods Hunting Memories. You can catch up with him on his website: www.toddmead.com He resides in Queensbury, NY.
The Outdoor Gazette
Test Waters Designation for Jobs and Martins Ponds Now in Effect
A special Test Waters designation intended to enhance fishing for large, wild brook trout at Jobs Pond in Westmore and Martins Pond in Peacham goes into effect with the start of trout season on April 13. Jobs and Martins Ponds are two of just a handful of ponds in Vermont that have significant numbers of wild brook trout, and they are the only two ponds in the state that consistently produce wild brook trout longer than 15 inches. “This Test Waters designation should contribute to even better fishing at these two special ponds,” said Jud Kratzer, fisheries biologist with the Vermont Fish &Wildlife
Department. The Test Waters designation includes a two trout per day creel limit and a 12 to 15 inch protected slot limit. Anglers have to release all trout between 12 and 15 inches, and they may only keep one trout over 15 inches per day. State fisheries biologists have kept a close eye on the fish and fishing at both ponds in recent years, and they will continue to do so. The biologists will evaluate the effectiveness and popularity of the Test Waters designation over the next few years before making recommendations to the Fish and Wildlife Board about a permanent regulation for the two ponds.
The Gazette’s Hunting and Fishing Solunar Tables
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Outdoors with Anita By Anita Williams
The Walleye Dream Begins
Winter is long in Northern Minnesota, although some things magically happen that signal the coming of spring. The pussy willows bloom, the ice goes off the lakes and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) begin their egg-taking and fish hatchery operations to stock many of the ten thousand lakes. I anxiously await all three. I am giddy, like when I was a child. It is something special to watch; this walleye fertilization process. I get out of my car at Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake, just north of Deer River, MN. A chilly wind stings my face as I walk to the lake and step onto the dock. I am eager to investigate the fish traps and watch the egg taking operation. It may be early spring, although the walleye dream begins today. I peer into the water and see hundreds of walleyes. Many of these are trophy fish, although the
fishing season isn’t open yet. “Their eyes shine like diamonds in the sky” the raspy voice whispers to me. I listen as my guide explains the process. “The water must be 42 degrees for the live fish to be ripe and release eggs. They will be mixed with sperm into a mixture
called ‘milt’.” He speaks softly as though sharing a secret with a trusted friend. I watch as the
hatchery specialist places his hand under the fish and runs his thumb under the walleye belly, releasing the eggs. Milt is placed in a shallow bowl and swirls with mud to begin the fertilizing process. The mixture is then transferred to large jars in temperature-controlled
hatcheries. Within ten days, tiny walleye called fry, hatch. They must be continually stirred and kept moving. They are transferred in a series of tubing, to a tank, when they are the size of grains of rice. My guide places an oar into the
tank and gently stirs the fry. Soon they will be transported to the lakes or placed in rearing ponds to grow into fingerlings. Those fish will be stocked in the fall. The
total incubation period is twentyone days. The quest to angle a large walleye begins innocently for me. It is estimated 5% of the walleyes caught in Minnesota are stocked from hatcheries. My favorite fishing spot is one of those lakes, stocked with not only walleyes but bass and crapppies too. Will I realize my dream and catch a nice walleye? The month passes quickly as my anticipation builds. Finally the walleye fishing opener is here. This is the day I have waited for and dreamt about. The warmth on my back feels good as I step into the boat. My guide slips a minnow on my hook as I cast the line into the lake. Plop! My bait hits the water and sinks into the depths of the cool lake. I give two turns on the reel to raise the minnow a foot from the bottom. Birds sing a cheerful song as the boat gently sways. Hours pass like min-
utes, when all of a sudden I feel a tug on my line. I thrust my rod toward the sky with a quick jerk to set the hook. The rod bends toward the water. I am shaky, but keep a firm grasp on my rod. I can tell this is a large walleye; I must work carefully to land her. I simultaneously twist the reel as I raise the fish toward the boat. Water swirls as the fish breaks the surface. Wow! This is a huge fish. She rolls; I can tell she is going to dive toward the bottom of the lake. I keep a tight line on her as I reel her steadily toward me. As she nears the boat my fishing partner dips the net in the water, under the fish, and lifts her into the boat. I work quickly and gently to release her from the barbless hook. The thrill of catching a prize walleye never gets old. I must be careful to
release her right back into the lake; maybe I will catch her again. I lift the green-gold beauty over the side of the boat and move her back and forth to pass water through the gills. She splashes her tail and swims into the lake as I released my grip. I watch her dive into the water; with satisfaction on my face. She is large and will reproduce thousands of eggs yet in her lifetime. Possibly she will grow larger, and someone else will have the opportunity to catch her. Anita lives in Grand Rapids, MN and is the mother of two adult children. She has been a hairstylist for thirty years. Her empty nest allows time to pursue interests of photography, bowhunting, fishing, travel and food. You can follow her on facebook, youtube and huntervids.com. Anita lives in Grand Rapids, MN and is the mother of two adult children. She has been a hairstylist for thirty years. Her empty nest allows time to pursue interests of photography, bowhunting, fishing, travel and food. Follow her on facebook and watch her videos @ "http://www.huntervids.com /?videos=northern-pike-spearfishinganita-williams-pokegama" http://huntervids.com/?videos=northern-pike-spearfishing-anita-williams-pokegamaThe Outdoor Gazette
This Green Moutain Bone Collection can be seen in Hartford, Vermont.
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The Captain’s Corner By Matthew Trombley
The Crazy action begins!!
Spring is in the air…snow is hopefully gone & April brings on a month with so many choices & so little time! Last year brought early warm weather after a winter with very limited snow. Waters warmed early..spring spawning of many species started early & inshore fishing on many lakes was on fire the first of the month. This winter is adding up to be a bit more average, steady snow in some regions, but temps much closer to normal. Here in the tail end of March, Ice still has it’s grasp on most smaller bodies of water & southern Lake Champlain. There is still a large snow pack in the Tug Hill Plateau and the Adirondacks of New York, which means swelling river levels and slower warming on the Salmon & Hudson Rivers. So what does this all mean?? Well…to many places to fish & to many things to do! At the time of this writing we are getting a late March snow storm that New England and the northeast can be infamous for. I had planned on
bringing the big boat out of storage in the next week or so (after returning from a well needed warm weather trip to Aruba, but that will be in
Drifting the Salmon River in early March.
next months column!) but with the white stuff piling up out side right now that may have to wait for a bit.. I have just returned from the Salmon River for a few days of drift boat trips last week. There was still 18”20” of snow on the ground before this storm, with plenty still up on the Tug Hill (which is the primary water
source for the Salmon River Drainage) so there is no doubt that there will be plenty of water for river flows the next 4 -6 weeks. The water has still been pretty cold with all the snow, temps about 37 degrees which
means you have to work for the steelies as a few mid to late day bites have been the norm. But there is plenty of fish there, we have seen hens fresh from the lake still full of eggs, but
melt out it will cool the water for a few days, but when the temps start to rise it will be game on, as the dropbacks put the feed bag on! This can be one of the best times of the year as the fish will really have an appetite after a long winter in the river. No doubt April will find us out on the river with multiple trips in the drifter! Now this warming water coming out of the creeks, flowing into the larger bodies of water means one thing…in shore BROWN TROUT action! Last year saw boats catching fish during the last few days of March as what snow there was went out early. Normally mid to late April means the arrival of some warming water and the Browns will be right on the edge of where that warm water meets the cold water. When I say “warm water” it may be 3- 4 degrees warmer then the overall lake surface temp, but that is all it takes to get these fish into the feeding mood! Looking for off colored water where
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The captains son with a VT Gobbler from 2011.
also starting to backs” or hens spawned & have they prepare to lake. Now once
see some “dropthat have already that skinny look as head back to the the snow starts to
a stream or creek dumps in will be a good sign of where the Browns may be holding. Running flat lined small stick baits off from Planer Boards or
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from previous page
A nice group catch of May Striped Bass.
inline boards are the normal tactics. This may mean cutting in as close as 5 to 10 feet of water, so long leads out to as much as 175 to 200ft may mean the difference between fish in the boat & just washing lures! Multiple hook ups & 15 to 25 fish days are not out of the question; these can be fun family action after a long winter & the itch to get out on the water! These fish also make wonderful table fair, with very short rides to get on the fish & not having to head out to deep water, these trips can mean more fishing time and less boat rides in bumpy water! For us April also means the arrival of hearing on the Hudson River & of
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course….HOG STRIPERS right behind them! We normally bring our charter boat down to marina at Rondout Creek the last week of April. Rondout Creek lies on the city line of Kingston, just south of the Rhinecliff Bridge on the Hudson River. We dock our boat about a mile up the creek at the Rondout Yaht Club. Many fishermen from New York & Vermont await this time of the year as this is the closest these trophy line sides get to us up stream from the Atlantic Ocean! As of now we are happy to say that we are nearly fully booked for the month of May & our Striper trips! These fish offer great table fair as well, no big sur-
prise that they have become one of our most popular trips we offer & fill up fast after the holidays! I believe that this season will be a bit more closer to normal ( if the weather patterns stay the way they are) and expect the run to really take off by the first week of May. Last season saw some strong numbers of fish being hooked by mid April, our usual bet of peak fishing between mothers day & memorial day will find us there for the duration with big smiles & full coolers! The other thing that this rush of madness April brings is turkey scouting! The down fall of having so many fishing trips during the month
of May is cutting into one of my true passions & that is spring turkey hunting! I love roosting birds the night before & coming back the next mourning to find them screaming there lungs out at every sound they hear at first light! Our youth Turkey season is the last weekend in April here in Vermont, which will find my son Logan & I sitting with box calls in hand, trying to get him his first Vermont bird this season. Now he had a his first chance last year….but a bit of “turkey fever” hit at the last moment and a blast of education is all that Logan’s 20 gauge did for the nice 3 year old long beard that came in mid morning after a bitter cold start! We usually spend every evening roosting birds the last two weeks of the month, trying to get a grasp on where the birds will be hanging come opening morning. I did leave my self a few precious days the first week of May to get in some Turkey hunting, hopefully having a couple pinned down ready to come running to the call and make my season a short one!! Ohh how I love the rush of spring!! Matt Trombley is a career firefighter, residing with his wife & son in Florence Vermont. He is a U.S.C.G licensed Master captain, guiding & chartering fishing trips through out Vermont & New York. His charter business, 3rd Alarm Charters can be viewed at www.3rdalarmcharters.com
The Trap Line By Randy Barrows
Beaver - Part Two
Equipment for beaver trapping has to be pretty heavy duty. Beaver are fighters to the end and will twist in a trap until it escapes. Swivels are a must here as with the more swivels the chances of escape are reduced. Number twelve gauge or stronger wire is also a must. Trap six should be no smaller than a 4 for foot traps or 330 conibear size. Traps have to be marked with your name on every trap and in ice trapping your name tag has to be above the ice so your traps can be identified. The goal is to quickly and humanely dispatch your catch as quickly and efficiently as possible. Traps wired to large rocks will hold them under water to efficiently dispatch them. The goal is to avoid losses because a beaver who has escaped from a trap is an educated beaver and a little harder to catch. Example: my friend Mark called a month ago, a beaver had moved in and started munching his prime fruit trees. I stopped in and told Mark: this will be like taking candy
from a baby”. Open mouth, insert wader. The first night I pinched him with a foothold and now its game on. This is one smart beaver and thus far has stumped me at every turn. Mark is certainly amused with this battle. When I
stopped the other night he asked if “I knew of a good beaver trapper”. Do not underestimate these toothy critters. Now a few sets and some good news. Prior to this year if you trapped beaver you could not put a
trap within 10 feet of a beaver house or dam. Effective this year in Vermont the ten foot rule is gone. The theory behind this process is if we can trap more of them during beaver season it will mean trapping less of them in the summer months as nuisance beaver when their fur has no value.
An easy set is a spillway set. Spillways are little water ways between ponds where beaver travel. If the water is deep enough this is the perfect spot for a 33 coni bear. If shallow water exists a number four will work just remember swivels and no objects close by to tangle in. A trail set is another producer. Find a place where a beaver leaves a pond to travel on land to fill his pantry. Place a number four in four inches of water anchored deep and you should get a rear foot catch. A feed pocket set works well also. Find any piece of wood with the bark stripped off will catch a beaver’s eye as a potential meal and they will investigate. Again, remember the 4x4 rule. Castor mound sets are constructed by placing a mound of mud on the set and pouring some castor on it. Beavers are territorial and will investigate any intruders. These pre-mentioned sets work well before freeze up but will be
difficult after and God knows when that will happen so plan to be flexible. After freeze up the work begins. This type of weather usually weeds out the real trappers from the wana bees. Chopping ice every day will test you to the extreme. Frozen fingers are the norm this time of year. Hopefully you marked your turf before freeze up. There is nothing worse than chopping through a foot of ice and hitting dirt. My favorite set is a leaning pole set. Chop a whole in the ice and put in a leaning pole, nail a platform on it to make a shelve large enough to hold a number 4 wired to a pole with some stripped branch bait tied above. A 330 tied to the pole will have the same results. A WORD OF CAUTION: DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT REACH UNDER THE ICE TO CHECK YOUR SETS. There is nothing worse than having your hand securely held under the ice while you are on to. Unless you are into chewing your own arm off please carry a trowel or stick to check your sets with. On 330s be sure to carry a safety and use it until your setup is complete to prevent miss firing. At last check human hide has no value on the market. There are tons of sets, buy a good video or book, and check them all out. Once you catch a beaver dispatch if necessary and clean at the scene then hang to dry completely .Lay flat on their back and cut from the base of their tail to their chin. Slowly roll and remove their fur. Once removed; it’s off to the fleshing beam to remove what you did not get in the skinning process. Once fleshed it’s time to tack to a pre marked fur board or hooped to get a oval shape. Watch the knife work as any
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Stick and String By Fred Allard
Getting Started Shooting in the Instinctive Style So you’re thinking about picking up a longbow or a recurve this year to hunt with…Excellent. Like anything else, there is more than one way to get started, more than one style, more than one way to practice. You get the picture. Here’s the short version of how I would recommend for someone on the outside of traditional archery and
Knees bent, slightlly bent at the waste, elbow up...lookin good!
bowhunting and wants to get in. The best way to do this is to find someone in close proximity to you that is an experienced traditional archer and ask questions and go shoot with them. If you cant do this then read on! First thing to do is find a bow that is not too heavy for you. Remember accuracy is far more important than bow weight. Generally if you shoot a compound, you should choose a traditional bow that has a draw weight that is 10- 20 lbs lighter. This is not an absolute of course. This, like anything in this article, mis-cuts will reduce the price of the furs. Once dry it is off to the fur dealer and depending on the year you could be looking at a twenty dollar bill for your efforts. Do not forget the castor sack located near the anus and freeze these for sale down the road or your own lure making. And the skulls, they are highly wanted for decorations of cabins. As far as table fare, beaver are good to eat. Remove all fat from the beaver and season with salt, pepper and other seasoning of your choice. Place a rack in a roaster with a drip pan for the excess fat to run off. Cook at 450 for fifteen minutes to sear the outside, then lower to 350 and cook for thirty minutes per pound making sure it is totally cooked. Lemon slices on The Outdoor Gazette
is to be used as a guideline. You will have to tweak these guidelines to fit your needs and abilities. Ok so you have a bow that feels good to you. Hopefully you have also acquired some arrows that are of the correct spine to match your draw weight and draw length or at least close. As a side I do not recommend you start with wood shafts from the get go. The reason being is wood arrows can be a little finicky. Arrows from the same dozen can very in total weight, spine and straightness. Starting with a shaft material that is more “uniform” will make it easier to focus on your shooting. But hey easier is not always better. Success is in the eyes of the beholder and if you feel like wooden arrows are what you want to use, go for it. Bow and arrow in hand,.. The Stance- feet should be shoulder width apart, slightly bend at the waste (your back and neck should be in a straight line), slight bend to the knees. Again, this is how I shoot and you will come up with variations of all my instructions that fit “You”. This is a good place to start though. The bow and hands- First, when you draw the bow do not put a death grip on it, hold it a little on the loose side. The string hand should have a glove or tab on it. I shoot instinctively and most shooters that do this shoot split finger. One finger above the arrow and 2 below. The draw and release- When you draw your bow. The bow should be slightly canted (tipped) so that when you reach your anchor point the nock of your arrow is directly below your eye. (leave both eyes open). Try this exercise to clarify this. Stand up straight, hold your bow straight and draw to your anchor point but do not release. Note
from previous page
top add a little extra zest. Beaver can be used in stews. There you go, enough info I hope to get you started. Beaver are a challenge but remember I said trapping is not easy. Keep your waders patched and lures in the shed and be sure to take a kid with you. Randy Randy lives in Milton, Vermont, has trapped in Vermont for 43 years, is a hunter Ed Instructor and an Advanced Trapper Instructor for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Randy and wife, Diane & their family, own and operate Arrowhead Trapping Supply. Randy is also a Vermont State Licensed Fur Dealer. They can be reached at Critrgitr@msn.com or 802355-7496, on facebook or at www.arrowheadtrappingsupply.com.
where the arrow’s nock is. It will be off to the side of your face and not perpendicular to your shooting eye. Now repeat, bending at the waste and knees a little, and then cant your bow a little…now draw to your anchor and see where the arrow’s nock is at full draw. It should be
and stare at it. While you are hyperfocused on this spot, you assume your stance, draw the bow, hit your anchor, release, follow thru and keep looking at the spot till the arrow hits. Few other hints for beginning trad archers…pick a small spot not one the
The picture on the left shows proper anchor point, nock of arrow in relation to eye position. - The picture on the right shows the anchor point and arrow nock to eye positioning, way off to the side. It is difficult to be accurate with this kind of shooting style. perpendicular to your shooting eye. The release- This is a very personal choice. For me the longer I think about the shot my accuracy proportionately gets worse. So I draw the bow in one motion, hit my anchor and release the arrow, no thinking, just doing! There are many shooters that pause for a short time or do half draw then go to full draw and release..so on and so forth. This is something you will have to figure out for yourself. We now have our stance, our draw and release down. The last two equally important pieces of the mystery are the follow- thru and aiming. First the follow thru is easy. You do not drop your bow or pick up your head…basically do not change your position at all until the arrow hits the target. If you move before the arrow hits, the arrow will follow your movement. So if you shoot and drop your bow arm before the arrow arrives at its destination, the arrow will hit low or under the target. Aiming, well you don’t aim. You let ‘er fly. LOL. Seriously you pick a small spot
size of a basketball. Place a spot about ? inch in diameter in the middle of a paper plate and try to hit it. Don’t just be happy hitting a bare paper plate. You will never be an accurate shooter if you don’t use a small spot to shoot at. Don’t be upset if you never hit the spot, being and inch or three away, consistently, is pretty darn good shooting. The next thing you should do if you are just starting is, only shoot out to ten yards for the first month or so. Work on the stance and the release and the “picking a spot” thing. When all those become second nature then it will be time to step back…and that will be next months article. Fred Allard lives in Haverhill, NH with his family. He is a Bowhunter Education Instructor, a scorer for the Northeast Big Buck Club, the New Hampshire Antler and Skull Trophy Club and the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club. He is the President of the Montshire Traditional Bowhunters. Fred can be reached by emailing email@example.com.
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Behind the Sights By Charlie Chalk
Smoke those Targets
Looking for a new way to have some fun with targets? Muzzleloaders have long been very accurate target guns. Is as simple as a proper combination of powder and ball. Muzzleloaders are capable of great accuracy, so don't be content with mediocre groups when with just a little time you can do as well or better than most center fire rifles. Many new rifles have come on the market over the past year so if you are new to the sport, take time to talk to other shooters and your local gun store owner to see what they suggest. Traditional caplocks, flintlocks or inlines; style is less important than quality. That new gun will come with a manual of instructions. Read it carefully. Safety rules are the first half and the most important. Muzzleloading has a great safety record so let's keep it that way. To work up the best loads for a given caliber you need to know the weight of the bullet and an accurate powder measure. If you use black power substitute powder, there may
be variations in pressure and energy from an equal volume of black powder, but a general rule is these only slightly raise point of impact. Never
use any powder not specifically stating for use in muzzleloaders. Muzzleloaders require some accessories to give them proper "care and feeding" and these accessories are easily left behind when you travel to
the range. Trying to use a screwdriver that will not fit or trying to remove a breechplug or nipple with an adjustable wrench because the tools needed were home on the bench, is not fun. Basic tools will allow you to
load, clean, and do simple repairs. Additionally you need a few more items. The "range rod" is a longer rod than your ram rod and it is designed to load without breaking and is long enough to make a great cleaning rod when the day is through. Made of metal or fiberglass, in all calibers, they allow for mare consistent loading. Loading powder in the barrel requires a word of caution; NEVER load directly from any powder container as a spark in the bore could end your shooting career. Pour powder into a measure. An adjustable measure is perfect to work up a load for the range or field. Take care when you measure powder. Some always gets spilled so take time to wipe the bench because each shot provides a possible ignition. Take time to clean up before you leave to avoid problems for others. Remember the manual that has the safety information? The second half of the book will give loading data. Anything below the maximum load are called "suggested" loads. It becomes your responsibility to figure out what works best and provides the most accuracy. The most common guns are .45 and .50, so how do you work up a load? Remember, never exceed manufactures maximums and any used gun should be checked by a
gunsmith before attempting any load. In the decision process for a proper load, we need to look at velocity and energy. Energy is figured by calculation of speed and weight of bullet. You need to know how a specific rifle will perform with a certain bullet and powder combination. Take an example of a .50 cal. rifle sighted in at 100 yards, using a round ball. If you switch to a heavier conical bullet, this change alone could drop the point of impact 8 to 10 inches, which could be outside the target. The other factor, velocity, cannot be compared to modern arms. What you are looking for is the optimal load for a particular gun. Muzzleloaders are like people, we all have our likes and dislikes and so does every gun. The optimum load is one that delivers the most velocity with the least amount of powder. Beyond this point, unburned powder is being pushed out the barrel with the bullet and you gain nothing in velocity or energy. Most manufactures can supply suggested optimum loads for their guns or if you have access to a chronograph you can work up your own. At the end of the day, you need to thoroughly clean your gun. All of the common powders you will use are corrosive. Putting one away dirty will pit the bore and ruin the accuracy. Bore cleaners are a personal preference. Most are water-based as the general principal of cleaning is to dissolve residue and dilute acids formed by combustion. Take that range rod you bought some patches and clean until you see no more residues. To preserve and prevent rust, a light coat of oil finishes the work and you are ready to store it away. Google a search for muzzleloading shoots in your area and get out and do some shooting as the weather warms up. They are great fun and you meet some great folks. Charlie Chalk is an outdoor writer and has a background as a professional Firefighter and is a member of the American Mountain Men, an organization that emulates the life of the fur trappers of the 1800's and their survival on the land.
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The Outdoor Gazette
From the back of a canoe Another Season
Saturday March 23rd was the day I planned on starting the April column. We had just returned from four days at Smugglers Notch in Vermont trying to squeeze in a few days of skiing before the season winds down. In 2012 my last ski day was March 12th’ this year we could go into mid-April. I have only skied Vermont a few times; once was in the late 80’s or early 90’s. A friend who has a time share in Hawaii ended up with extra points that had to be used by April. Smugglers was one of the options and he invited a few of us to join him. Several years ago we drove through the notch on route 108 on a rambling return trip from fishing the Au Sable River in New York. It was easy to see why the notch is closed in the winter. On any trip, even in the winter it’s always interesting to look at the rivers along the way and think about fishing them. I’ve never fished in Vermont but there’s a lot of good looking water. Another item for the “TO DO” list when I stop guiding. Skiing went from good to phenomenal thanks to several inches of powder. In 2005, 6 & 7 we did ski & tie trips to Sugarloaf in Maine along with at least one trip to a friend’s place in Twin Mountain a few years ago. This trip a few of us brought tying gear. It’s a relaxing way to spend a late afternoon or evening. It’s pretty good to have friends who fish and tie. Somewhere along the way we may ski with someone who doesn’t fish but about the only friends I have hunt or fish and there’s no shortage of skiers and tiers in the group. Checking mail a few times a day is a necessary evil and on the 23rd I received the following email: Hi Jim and Gerry, Last year you guys
taught me more about fly fishing in a day than I'd learned trying to teach myself over twenty years. The week after we had our guided outing I spent the weekend in Middle Dam along the Rapid River. The weather that weekend was unseasonably hot and talking with the local guide he was having a hard time getting them to bite. I landed a couple small salmon that
By Jim Norton
own I'd be more than willing to purchase some from you. Remembering names is not my strong suit; not that there is one. We have hundreds of clients in a season. On trips anglers may be wearing hats, sunglasses and waders. Recognizing an angler at a show or off the water may not be mission impossible but it’s close; and putting names with faces is
One of the anglers from our 2012 Northeast Fly Fishing Intermediate class.
weekend and had a few others I couldn't land, all in all an amazing experience. I could tell there was one person who got it right, one night at dusk you could hear his screams of victory for miles up and down the river. The reason I'm emailing you is to ask a question. You put a dropper on the end of the fly I was using, I've never had as much success as I have with that fly which is now gone. I believe it was a green (caddis?) emerger, does that ring a bell and if so you guys tie your own or did you buy it locally? I've been dying to get my hands on some, if you make your
more difficult. The email was addressed to Jerry & I so it was likely it was an Androscoggin packaged trip or an intermediate class; it turned out to be an intermediate class. That’s one of the benefits of keeping records with dates, names and other information required by guides. The class was a gift certificate from his girlfriend. We have quite a few gift certificates for classes and trips. It was easier to remember looking back on the class. He said it was the best gift he had ever received; a comment we’ve received from several recipients of gift certificates. I seldom remember what flies we fish unless they are hatch related. I use a few green nymphs; the most frequent is a variation of my ice nymph a size 16 green bead head flashback. I vaguely remember him having a good day with the green flashback. I tie most of my own flies but don’t tie commercially. This year I did
have three flies I sold at shows; the flashback was one. This was the best winter I’ve had tying. I started out in October tying at least a dozen flies a day and by the time January rolled around the supply was in good shape. A friend was complaining about having nothing to do and tied up 14 dozen for my supply. After tying the flies he didn’t complain about nothing to do. Pictures from our classes are on the web site. www.nhriversguide.com/Learn-toFly-Fish-in-New-Hampshire.htm Not a winter goes by that I don’t find new patterns that look irresistible; hopefully that will go for the trout as well. Good fly patterns work year after year; it’s not the trout but the angler who usually rejects a pattern. That’s particularly true with wet flies that anglers lost interest in when nymphing became popular only to see the resurgence in soft hackle flies that have been around for hundreds of years. The late season snows will not only benefit skiers and snowmobilers it should help anglers as well. Last year there was no snow pack; hence no runoff. Rivers were low and warm for the spring and summer. With a reasonably good snow pack flows should be higher with cooler river and stream temperatures. Hatches should be closer to their normal cycles. Last year most of the hatches were early; some by a few weeks including the alderflies and hex hatch. This year the big lakes are still iced in. Salmon season on Winnipesaukee and lakes to the north will be closer to normal. There’s always the anticipation of ice out and smelt runs but whatever the conditions on April 1st when salmon season starts anglers will be on the lakes on any open water and on the rivers. Jim Norton is a native of New Hampshire and author of the book Granite Lines. He enjoys fly-fishing & tying, bird hunting and a variety of other outdoor activities and is also a registered NH fishing Guide. Visit his website at www.nhriversguide.com
The Outdoor Gazette
Anything Whitetail By Bret Homer
The moon is just right
I know some of you have heard me say “ Don’t miss hunting the evenings next week. The moon is rite for good bucks to be on the move early”. I get a lot a weird looks, some disbelievers and even a few think I’m plain stupid. But the ones that (even though they didn’t get it but said ok, I’ll give it a shot) have tried and applied what I told them? They became quick believers and started to ask me a lot more questions to better understand the method. So, if ya give me a chance and you apply a100% honest effort, I think you each will find this concept works very well and is as important if not more important than your scent lock suit. Remember this concept is SIMPLE, and works on ALL big game animals. Now just to get ya to easily understand how to use this method. For those that take evening drives or for those that have driven around in the late afternoons looking to catch a glimpse of whitetails. Have you ever noticed (say over a couple week period) that you can be driving around each night and not see really anything. But then one night you start seeing a few doe. Then the next night a few more does. The next night does again but as well you start seeing some small bucks. Then the next night a few more small bucks and the next night “WHAM” ya see some slammers, the next night a few more slammers and then the next night NOTHING?? It is simple! When you see the on their BIG BOYS feet.....LOOK UP AND SEE WHERE THE MOON IS IN THE SKY!! I know a lot of guys are hooked on the moon phase and not that the phases of the moon don’t dictate a few things when it comes to big game animals. But the position the moon in the sky will dictate when Big Game animals are most active. Thus, you now know the most important times to “not” miss being out hunting. I use this method mainly on trophy whitetail bucks. But I have used this method successfully on black bears as well. Because I use this method for whitetails, I will explain how to simply use this concept to increase your success. After years of using this method, I know when to start driving around looking for high levels of deer activity. When to The Outdoor Gazette
start is simple. First: If you use/look at the photo I sent you and then spend some time outside every evening and pay attention to where the moon is. You will know that the moon is in a
different place in the sky each night. Now, there is a time from when the moon rises, to being directly overhead that deer activity is at its highest. Then again it will repeat itself 12 1/2 hrs later when the moon is in the opposite position. Why? Gravitational pull is at its highest twice within the moons revolutionary cycle. Understand this and you will soon know when to spend specific nights glassing. Because evening hunts are most convenient and favorable for most hunters, we will us it as the prime example. Our season in Illinois starts in October and sunset is usually around 6:30 and it is dark by 7:00. So when we put out our trail cams in July, and start getting pics of certain big bucks each month, we start to pay attention at around 4pm to where (what position) the moon is in. In reference to the photo I sent you, the moon rises in the 9 o’clock position and sets in the 3 o’clock. When I see the moon in the 1 o’clock position at about 4pm in the afternoon? That is when I start scouting/glassing every night for about a week or two. SO, when the moon first reaches the 1 o’clock position (around 4pm in the afternoon) start glass-
ing EACH NIGHT until at dark the moon is in the 9 o’clock position (or the moon hasn’t yet risen). In that period of time, you will see big game activity increase each night and 2 of those nights you should see some early movement from big bucks. Not only do
you want to look up and see where the moon is AT in the sky. But you want to mark that day down on the calendar. Why? Because the moon will make one revolution around the earth in 29 1/2 days and returns to its original position opposite the earth within only 27 days later. Thus, WHEN THE MOON IS BACK IN THE SAME POSITION THE NEXT MONTH, THE BUCKS WILL AGAIN BE ON THEIR FEET EARLY! This allows you to count months
ahead to know when to definitely be there to hunt him while he is on his feet during daylight hours. So when you catch on to this method, you will know when to start staying later in the morning, getting to the stand a lot earlier in the evening or just simply hunt mid day. For those skeptical or too arrogant to try this, You’re missing out!!! For those that want to know more, Jeff Murray wrote a book about this method back in 1995. I got the book, read it, applied it and have been using this method ever since. Since 1995 Jeff has made 3 DVD’s on this method for those that hate to read. Unfortunately Jeff passed away last year. But you can still order his book and his DVD’s from his site http://www.moonguide.com/. This information is some of the most useful information I have ever came across while hunting. Again, I have been using this method since the book came out in 95. Jeff offers a moon dial that will cut out a lot of work for you or for those that simply want to take the easy way out. Personally, I have no need to use the dial. Once you spend some time afield figuring out this method. You wont find a need to buy one. So best of luck to everyone this fall. Brett is the owner and head guide for Backwoods Whitetails Outfitters. Born and raised in West Central Illinois, Brett has well over 25 years of experience in hunting all types of big and small game in the backwoods of Illinois. Born the son of a gunsmith, Brett was introduced into small game hunting as a young boy. Through his fathers love of guns, hunting small game and upland birds. Brett quickly developed a passionate hobby that would take him to a career in the guiding hunters in the backwoods if West Central Illinois.
Reflections of the Outdoor Angel By Mary Kay
Waiting for the tip ups to pop
There’s one thing I have really been enjoying – none other than fishing! However, I do not like to be cold. So fishing in the cold, a.k.a. ice fishing, wasn’t big on my wish list. Yet, when I would be going to a cabin in Southwestern Wisconsin my first request was to go ice fishing! We’d just come through some REALLY bitter winter weather and 20 degrees sounded quite balmy for ice fishing. I think the key to my fishing expedition was knowing that we’d be stationed in a cabin on the Mississippi River and have tip ups to alert success. I am not the kind who can sit idly by waiting though. I have to be out doing! After losing my bag on the trip, I had to construct a warm outfit. I gathered layers from numerous sources and topped it all off with a blaze orange snowsuit. I once again had reverted to being dressed like a man. How could I not though when I was wearing MEN’s clothes?!? I left the confines of a warm cabin and plodded, yes plodded, down to the ice. I made my way to the few in
our group already gathered on the ice. First words out of the men’s mouths had to do with my pink gloves. I assumed they realized the
gloves clashed with the bright orange, but I didn’t care. I was here to ice fish! Let’s get started. The guys were standing around visiting with cold beverages in their bare hands. They were more
brave than I was, but I bet next time they’ll be sporting some pink gloves! I saw the holes had already been drilled and the bucket and poles were ready to go. Why aren’t we fishing?? Maybe when they finished
the adult energy drinks (beer) we’d tackle (nice fish reference?) my dream. Drinks done, ok here we go. Nope, they reached for another. I asked when we’d start fishing and they said we were. The small rods were in a holder, not in my hand. How was I fishing? If you can’t beat them join them came to mind. I would have my own beer and stand around and “fish”. It was explained to me that we were waiting for the tip ups to pop and then we’d know there was a fish on the other end. I wanted to double my chances so I took hold of the cute little rod and plopped it in the hole. I was jigging and swigging (the beer) and nothing was happening! At least I was warm. Slowly our group meandered onto the ice and I thought now things would really get hopping. They did all right but it was a lot of storytelling and laughing. Why weren’t they fishing? I guess I was the one who wanted to fish and the wonderful people of Wisconsin were more than willing to accommodate me. Another friend of the group showed up with his chocolate lab, Lucy, and 3 ? year old granddaughter, Bella. She immediately got into the spirit and wanted to fish. My kind of gal! Now I have a fishing partner. She had no sooner gotten her line in the water when she exclaimed “I got one”! I was jealous! Of a 3 ? year old. She’d been on the ice, in a very cute outfit, for 5 minutes and she had a fish. I was dressed rather frumpily and had been out for an hour and had nothing. Bella pulled in her line and I was somewhat relieved to see it was empty. I can NOT be upstaged by a toddler. Lucy, the lab, sprinted by and
showed off her catch. She had a fish in her mouth. What is going on here? A dog catches fish, but me, the accomplished angler, has nothing. I really don’t consider myself an accomplished angler, but every time I’ve been out I have had success! The action all along the Mississippi River seemed to be slow. No one appeared to be catching anything, hopefully not even a cold! While my fishing partner was distracted a bait fish was rigged on her line and put back in the water. She was told to keep fishing and again she immediately said she had one. This time however it was true! The excitement was priceless. Her Grandpa T took the photos while she proudly displayed her catch. Now it was my turn! Bella had her fun! Plus she was pulled on a saucer to our spot. I had to walk all by myself I still wasn’t catching anything but Bella had one more. Same method as before! It made the day to see her joy. I realized I wasn’t wearing my fish ring; was this the reason I wasn’t catching? I had a pair of leopard gloves under my pink gloves to keep warm, but that wasn’t working too well. I guess I wanted to warm my hands but didn’t want to look like a quitter. Who do you suppose jumped at the opportunity to take the battery for the auger and put it back on its charge? That would be me. I looked like I was helpful/concerned. Not the cold wimp I really was! Our group reconvened in the cabin. The warm layers meant for outside were not needed, yet I didn’t shed anything except a tear or 2. The men were manly and took off the coats etc. At one point I noticed one of the manly men, actually a retired firefighter and the 1st one to have commented on my pink gloves, had on a PINK belt. He claimed it was orange, and then changed that to salmon. If anyone knows color it’s me, and his belt was PINK! It’s ok though, real men wear pink, and he wore it quite well I must say. Even though my ice fishing was more beer drinking and storytelling, I thoroughly enjoyed my time. I will give it a try again, but I will have to remember my key equipment – my crystal fish ring! Look out ice fishermen; I will be taking over your territory. Mary is the host of “The Outdoor Angel”. This is an Outdoors show that features a novice woman out hunting and fishing with the industries top pros.. Mary Kay will inspire the uninspired to enjoy the great outdoors
The Outdoor Gazette
Turkey Scallopini Burgundy
1 package Turkey Breast for Scallopini, or thinly sliced fresh turkey 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1/2 cup Burgundy wine, divided, or chicken broth 1/4 cup chicken broth 1 can (8 ounce) sliced mushrooms, drained
Sponsored by Green Mt. Marinades
Instructions: In a bowl, combine salt, pepper, garlic powder and flour. Dredge turkey in flour mixture. In a large frying pan over medium heat, quickly brown turkey in melted butter, turning once. Add ? cup Burgundy wine or chicken broth (reserve ? cup for demi-glaze). Cook on high for 1 minute. Remove turkey from pan and keep warm. Pour remaining wine or broth and chicken broth into pan. Scrape loose all the brown particles and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour demi-glaze over scallopini. Serve over angel hair pasta.
Bill "Pop" Burke, resides in Claremont, NH. If you would like to contact Pop send an email to: email@example.com
The Outdoor Gazette
Fish & Wildlife Management By Wayne A. Laroche
Ecology of White Tailed Deer in Northern New England
Last month, I interpreted and provided some commentary on the ecological observations made in the Executive Summary of Pekins and Tarr’s (2008) “A Critical Analysis of the Winter Ecology of White-Tailed Deer & Management of Spruce-Fir Deer Wintering Areas with Reference to Northern Maine” (http://www.umaine.edu/cfru/All_ coop/Publications/Pekins_RR_Co mplete.pdf). In this article, I will discuss some of the management considerations of Pekins and Tarr. I will use the term “deer yard” as meaning the same as “deer wintering area” and “winter deer habitat.” All deer yards must have two basic components: 1) mature conifer stands that provide shelter from wind and cold temperatures and areas having reduced snow depths where deer are able to move more freely; and 2) adjacent forested or non-forested areas where forage is available. The best deer yards occur where forage producing areas are highly dispersed within a matrix of mature conifer stands. In the best deer yards, deer don’t have to travel very far to get to either food or cover. Hence, Pekins and Tar list the three main
objectives necessary for creating and maintaining an ideal deer yard: • Provide for enough cover at all times (50 % of the area) • Provide for a constant, abundant and accessible supply of forage, and • Provide for a high level of interspersion of cover and forage so that deer can easily access both. In northern Maine and New Hampshire spruce and fir provide most of the softwood cover for deer. Further south, hemlock and cedar provide for more of the softwood cover for deer. Hemlock is very important in Vermont. Hemlock and cedar are actually better at holding snow than spruce and fir. Pines which have less ability to hold snow are even used for cover in more southern areas where the need for cover is less and small patches of softwood suffice. Management of deer yards does not have to conflict with timber management goals if those involve sustainable forestry. Silvicultural practices involved in manage softwood timber can be identical to those needed to produce ideal deer yard conditions. However, if the goal is simply to make a fast profit by cutting timber, deer yard management
Mature softwood canopy holds snow and reduces snow depth on forest floor.
Free movement of deer between soft wood cover and foraging areas is critical to survival of deer during winter. objectives will definitely be in con- result, some may inadvertently remove softwood cover and connecflict. Big Timber Investment tivity within deer yards as they manManagement Organizations, Real age their forest lands for timber, agriEstate Investment Trusts and timber cultural or maple sugar production. barons have in recent years acquired Others may be out planting food large amounts of forest land in plots that don’t promote survival of northern Maine, New Hampshire deer through the winter. Some land and Vermont and sometimes seem owners may not care, but many othto have more interest in liquidating ers do care about deer. Improving landowner awareness of forest assets to make a quick buck than in sustainable forest manage- the form and function of deer yards ment. In Maine, they have typically is step one. Developing an underowned forest properties for 10-15 standing of what the ideal condiyears before “dumping” them. tions are within a good deer yard is Much like absentee owners, most step two. Understanding how various forest seem simply to just not care much about the land or what grows on it. management practices can provide In some Maine townships, every for good deer yard conditions as well as for good and sustainable forest deer yard has been cut. It seems unlikely that land use reg- production is step three. It seems to ulation of any sort will effectively or me that a sound educational process adequately address the needs for might get the job of deer yard mandeer yard management in the fore- agement on private land accomseeable future across Maine, New plished faster than enactment of any Hampshire and Vermont. It also regulatory process would. Fish and seems unlikely that big money inter- Wildlife and Forestry Agencies in the ests will ever care much about the northeastern states should be taking the lead. land. On the other hand, many small land owners in Maine, New Wayne Laroche directed Vermont’s Hampshire and Vermont do care Department of Fish and Wildlife from about the land, the forest and the 2003 until 2011 serving as the deer. They spend millions of dollars Commissioner. He holds degrees in both each year on food plots, plantings fisheries and wildlife management from the and management to benefit deer. Univ. of Maine and California State Most of these folks are deer hunters. Univ. Wayne is a native Vermonter and They recognize the importance of currently resides in Franklin, VT. He deer yards. However, very few have a enjoys tracking whitetails in the big woods good understanding of what a deer of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. yard really is or what conditions are Wayne can be reached by emailing deernecessary to sustain a deer yard. As a firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Outdoor Gazette
The Maine Hunter By Steve Beckwith
Turkey Season is Here!
Turkey hunting has to be one of the best activities for sportsmen ever to happen! New England didn’t have this opportunity when I was a youth, but in Maine I live in York County where the first birds were introduced back in 1977 to re-populate Maine and well, yes, we helped NH too! The birds were released in Elliot Maine and soon distributed into my town, Lebanon Maine by 1980 birds were moved and relocated along Maine’s border and for some unknown reason some of these turkeys jumped the stream and moved to NH! For me has never been an issue, because I hunt both Maine and New Hampshire annually spring and fall, as well as Massachusetts and sometimes Vermont! In 2007 I started a little friendly competition called a Yankee Slam and a Yankee Grand Slam on the MaineHunters.com website. It hasn’t caught on as well as I would have hoped, but it still exists to this day on our website. The Yankee Slam is six (6) birds in any calendar year from any of the six New England states. This includes spring and fall birds and is actually easier now that Maine allows 3 birds, NH allows 2 birds, Mass allows 2 birds, and you can hunt VT,CT and RI. The Yankee Grand Slam is six birds, one from each New England State in a lifetime. We issue a certificate to anyone that completes the Yankee Grand Slam and we post your photos for each of the slams on our website. If anyone is interested in completing either of our Yankee slams full details are at MaineHunters.com. In Maine you can start hunting at age 10 as a youth hunter and as a youth you hunt until age 16
when you can then hunt without supervision by an adult licensed hunter. Turkey hunting is a great tool to keep a young hunter enthusiastic about hunting. Many
youngsters get bored with deer hunting here in New England because of how difficult it is for many to even see a deer, never mind have time enough for a youth to settle in for a good shot! I have found turkey hunting to be a great way to introduce youth to being patient and accurate! Myself and one of my staff, Jay Wagner put his daughter Cheyenne on six turkeys in Maine over her six years as a youth hunter. She was the first female in Maine on record to shoot a turkey every year from age 10-15 on a youth license. My own daughter having given up hunting at age 16 for school and friend activities shot her first turkey at age 15 and just the other day at age 25 said she was interested in getting back into hunting, but only turkey hunting for now! The moral of this story is “turkey hunting” creates memories that last!
To say that I like turkey hunting is an understatement because in fact I simply love it! I love to be the trigger man, I love to be the cameraman, I love to be the guide, and I especially love taking out youth and introducing turkey
hunting to first time hunters of all ages! The thrill of the early morning gobble to the calling a bird within range is what drives me to
hunt turkey every chance I get! So catch the fever, get out with your friends, your kids, your friends kids and their sisters, mothers and brothers and enjoy one of the best adventures available in New England! Turkey Hunting! When you shoot that bird this spring or fall, send it in to MaineHunters.com’s turkey photo contest and not only could you win a prize, but you are sharing your adventure with the world one photo at a time! Steve Beckwith is a Registered Maine Guide, ThermaCELL Pro Staff, and owns these owns these websites: • MaineGuideCourse.com • MaineHunters.com • CoyoteCrosshairs.com • MoosePermit.com • MaineGuidedHunts.com He is a life member, editor and webmaster of the North Berwick Rod and Gun Club. A videographer, website designer and internet entrepreneur with his online portfolio located at MultitaskWebsites.com, Steve can be reached through any of his websites.
Attention Attention New New Hampshire Hunters Hunters
The New Hampshire Antler & Skull Trophy Club 7th Edition NH Big Game Record Book is now available!
• New State Records • Boone & Crockett Trophies • Hunting Stories • NHASTC Hall of Fame • Incredible Antler Racks! and much more. Don’t wait till they’re gone, order yours today!
•••••••••••••••••• ORDER FORM ••••••••••••••••••
Big Game Record Book
Qty. Edition 1st Edition, up to 89 - $25.00 Under 40 books in stock
2nd Edition, 89 to 92 - $15.00
3rd Edition, 92 to 94 - $15.00 4th Edition, 94 to 96 - $15.00 5th Edition, 96 to 98 - $15.95 6th Edition, 98 to 04 - $19.95 7th Edition, 04 to 09 - $19.95
Please add $3.50 per book for S&H
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Enclosed please find my check for $
Please allow 2 - 4 weeks for delivery. Mail or photocopy this form and send to: NHASTC Record Book Roscoe Blaisdell, President 22 Schribner Road Raymond, NH 03077
Hard Water Fishing Northeast River Walleye
The Connecticut River is a vast body of water stretching 407 miles. The river offers up some great fishing and often times is an underestimated fishery. The winter months offer anglers early ice on the setbacks in late December with a great chance of catching panfish, walleye, pike, white perch and bass. The northern region also holds some very respectable trout. Fishing the river can sometimes be a challenge as one
By D & B Ice Adventures
must learn how to read the river and its flow. Whether you’re fishing the main river or a set back, the current can make or break your day. Summer time walleye fishing is one of our favorite times to fish. The method we use for catching great numbers of walleye is fishing them in the “wood”. Most of our vertical jigging has been for crappies when they move out onto deep structure in the summer months, we used this same pattern to locate and catch walleye on the Connecticut River. Walleye can be found throughout much of the Connecticut River. There is no doubt that some areas offer better fishing than others but there are certain things we look for in any stretch of the river to be successful. Bends in the river collect debris and logs that jam up during high water times; these areas become great ambush points for walleye. They also offer up shade for the fish during the warm summer months. The most productive jams are those that are found in 15 feet or water or more. We use our the side imaging function on our
Hummingbird to locate these jams but most of them are visible above the water. Old logs and timber will float down stream and literally pile up on these bends. Hurricane Irene in August of 2011 left us with a lot of this type of cover and seasonal flooding changes fishing spots regularly. Once you have located these areas it’s just a matter of positioning the boat so you can fish them consistently. We use a simple lead jig head tipped with a crawler to entice the fish into biting. Dark and neutral colors usually work the best when fishing this river system. More times than not, the water is at best stained and dark colors produce a silhouette enabling the fish to detect them. Our two favorites are simple; black
and white. We’ll use up to a half ounce jig when there is a quick current but when the current is slack, we’d prefer a ? ounce. The trick is getting the bait down through the timber and back up with a walleye without loosing too many jigs. The technique is nothing special; drop your jig to the bottom, bounce, pause repeat. The closer to the structure you can get the better. Once the sun comes up, fish the shaded side of the logs, the walleye will lay right under them. The goal is to drop your jig in front of their face so they have no choice but to eat it. Like we mentioned before, reading the river and the current is the biggest key to our success. We can
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from previous page
catch fish at most hours of the day in any weather condition, water clarity ect. . . but if the current is wrong, then you wonâ€™t stand a chance. Little to no current is best when using this method to catch walleye. The fish will use this time to their advantage to maximize their efficiency when feeding, less current means less energy they have to use while feeding. It is important to have a few spots in your area. We have noticed that it doesnâ€™t take long for the fish to become conditioned to our presentation. Having multiple spots to run back and forth to allows us to stay on active aggressive fish all
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day long. D & B Ice Adventures is based out of Barre, Vermont and composed of two fishing fanatics: Dylan Smith and Robert Booth. With an equal drive time to the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain, the hardest decision is whether they want to catch giant bluegill on the river or huge pumpkinseed on the lake with crappie in the mix at both. These decisions have been logged through their blog www.dbiceadventures.wordpress.com which gives details on what they have to endure to be successful. You can checck them on facebook too at www.facebook.com/DBIceAdventures.
Southern Side Up By Alex Cote
A Salmon for Mom
Mark April 19th on your calendar! Go ahead, right now, don’t wait. Ok, now that you’ve done that, I’m sure that you’re wondering why. The answer is simple, I told you to! No, not really, April 19 was my mother’s birthday. And, every year for her Birthday from the time I can remember, I always caught a salmon for my mother on her birthday! I never missed a year from the time I was probably 13 or 14, honest. I didn’t have a secret spot, although there were some more memorable ones, but there was no secret, just a lot of luck! The ritual began as a result of having forgotten her birthday in the first place. I had been up to Dan Hole pond with a cousin and he made mention that he and his wife were coming to my parents house later on that evening, they had a card for my mother’s birthday. It was the last time that I forgot her special day! I had neither money nor any time to get anything, I didn’t even get her a card but I had caught a salmon that day, my first ever so I thought that would be a fitting gift to
her! As it turned out, the best gift ever and a tradition was born. Quite possibly the most memorable was an accident. I was fishing that stretch of the Connecticut River
below the first lake dam. There was
still plenty of snow on the river bank making the footing less than desirable. I had already slipped my way down the rocks and managed to fall in soaking my right foot to the knee boot and all! I also hit my shin and lost several layers of hide in the
process. As I was floundering around, I would have to guess that my fly was suspended over the water dangling into space. Apparently, it came close enough to the waters surface that it enticed a violent strike! Admittedly, I had no idea what had happened. So, I had no chance to set the hook, never mind catch the fish! As I collected my thoughts and thought about taking off and draining my boot, my buddy asked me if I had seen the fish come out of the water after my fly? I told him that I had not and he then gave me his version of what had happened. Which then led me to cast several times into the pool. On the third or fourth cast, all hell broke loose. This being the first river run salmon that I had ever caught, the aerobatic display totally blew me away. What a blast! I hooked and released several more fish that day but the first was kept and taken home to mom for her Birthday. Perhaps the next fondest birthday salmon was the one that nearly wasn’t! The setting was in Pittsburg again, this time at the headwaters of the first lake from the bridge on Magalloway road. I was up there for three days, the weather was warm and the water was high and very cold! I had fished the river just below the bridge but it was so cold I was lucky f I could stay in the water for an hour tops without being able to feel my legs! I was catching fish but nothing legal, everything seemed to be out of the same mold, twelve to thirteen inches. So, having a canoe
at the camp, I got the idea to launce it at the bridge and go down river towards Green’s point. My plan was to stay along the rivers edge and drag the canoe behind to get it back upstream to the bridge. The plan seemed like a good idea, safe enough. I guess I should have conjured up a plan “B “from the get go, plan “A “was a complete failure. I had not taken into consideration how deep the water was as I made my way towards the lake! The first time I went over my waders, wasn’t too bad, I was able to regain my footing and get back into the shallow water but the second go around was nearly a total disaster. My saving grace was the canoe, I was able to hold on to it and kick to the shore, well actually the edge of the ice. I pulled the canoe up into the trees and made my way through four feet of snow to the road and back to my truck, wet tired and damn cold! I did go back on the third day of my stay and manage an 18 inch salmon. This is the fish that almost wasn’t because I didn’t catch it until it was nearly time to leave for home! Being young and foolish didn’t even enter into the scheme of things until I had gotten a little older. It wasn’t until then that I realized that waders full of water, the out come could have been much different. I had always heard stories about fishing the Merrymeeting River in Alton, wall to wall cars, and wall to wall fishermen. I have only had the pleasure of that experience once! I’m sure that I left a lasting impression on some as the village idiot! Having never been there, I wasn’t all that sure what to expect. So, I sought out the advice of a friend of one of my cousins. I think my cousin’s friend set me up and he was in the bushes laughing his backside off at my display of pure stupidity! What is that river, maybe 25 feet wide? Well, he convinced my to put in my canoe at the old marina in Alton bay and paddle upstream! The only thing that saved me from a beating from some angry fishermen was the fact that it was mid week and there were probably only 30 or so there fishing anyway! Most all of them had something to say and the words weren’t that of encouragement believe me. Being somewhat embarrassed at the situation I had gotten myself into, I ended up fishing off the bridge that connected Governors Island to the rest of the world and managed to hook a barely legal salmon for Mom. Then there were years that Mom had salmon, legal or not wasn’t the option. There was on year that the ice had gone out early and we were
Continued next page
The Outdoor Gazette
Taxidermy Trails By Rodney Elmer
Does this little player hold the key to bigger antler's and more deer?
It seemed after discussing some of Vermont's habitat concerns at the Twin State Outdoor Show with Dave Mathews and Fred Allard, a small, feathery realization came to mind, that could set a new stage for conservation and deer management. Turns out, the chickadee may hold the keys to our deer woes. Think about it. Forest lands across America are in decline. Total forest acreage declines 1.1 % every 5 years, nationally. Not the end of the world, but it counts. The shocker is that the "INTERIOR FOREST" (the smaller life under that big canopy) is disappearing 5 times faster! What does it mean? Less biodiversity, less overall habitat, less clean water, less tree age diversity, less birds, less deer and easier predation! The good side is our state isn't completely without interior forest. But the strong canopy in the lion's share of it, has changed the game, a noticeable amount. Our state's deer carrying capacity has declined some and will probably trend downward , since our average tree is a 9" hardwood. What to do? Enter the chickadee! Song birds in general, are on the decline for a whole host of reasons. Loved and well thought of by all, their plight has not gone unnoticed. Town conservation committees to Audubon, to Vermont
trolling one of the bigger lakes. I was there with friends that had rented a cabin for the week. I had limited time so was there for an overnight. The fish were hitting like crazy. The word was each of the two boats were landing 30 to 35 fish a day and dropping almost as many before they got to the boat. The only problem was the fish were all shorts. Well, I thought that my chances were good, I only needed one fifteen inch fish, how could I miss, right? It was early afternoon before I could get there and they were waiting impatiently for me. We got back on the water right away. They had taken over twenty fish in that boat the other boat had done even better with several keepers. We fished until well after dark and caught plenty of fish, all short! Oh well I still had the next morning. One of the guys offered me a legal fish but declined the offer, it wasn’t the same if I didn’t catch it for mom myself. The lake was like a piece of glass the next morning. The fish were nonexistent. We couldn’t buy a strike The Outdoor Gazette
Woodlands Associations and the like, work and encourage bird habi-
the road and encourage them to " Do it" for "THE BIRDS"! It's a
tat improvements and guess what, it helps all wildlife! It promotes a working forest and timber industry with sound forest management in a incredibly "Public Acceptable" way! Visit Audubon Vermont's website and check out the forestry practises portion! What a great how to and why, about managing forest land! Vermont's Fish & Wildlife's Dept.'s web site has links to these and others so don't say they aren't on it. Talk to your neighbors, your grandmother, and the flat lander transplants down
feathery no brainer! I just love the garden and carrot analogy when I speak to folks! "Our forest is a garden, you wouldn't thin your carrots with a lawn mower
Alex Cote resides in Deerfield New Hampshire. He is on the Pro Staff for Northwood's Common Scents! He is also a scorer for the NHASTC. Alex and his son spend as much time outdoors as possible and he only works when he has to.
Rodney Elmer and his wife Theresa own and operate Mountain deer taxidermy in Northfield,Vermont.
MOUNTAIN DEER TAXIDERMY
from previous page
no matter what we tried. Now I was getting desperate to say the least. I remembered a trick that I had been told about some years prior from an old timer in Maine. With nothing to loose, I gave it a go and as sure as the day is long, I hooked a salmon. It was only fourteen and a half inches but he fought like he was much bigger. So, my thinking, he didn’t know he was a short so my mother wouldn’t taste the fact that it was half and inch short! It was the only fish caught between the two boats that morning. That seems like so long ago but some memories last forever. Although my mother passed on in March of 1993, April 19th still holds a special place in my heart. It is a date that I will always remember.
would you? You would pull one here and there and keep thinning, working on and loving this life giving thing... every chance you got... Right? What should we do?" They usually stare at you for a second and then suddenly admit your Right! "We should do something!" Who knows, you could end up with some firewood, a new place to hunt and fresh venison from the local monster buck! My wife, Theresa Elmer has become a new member of Vermont's Fish & Wildlife board representing Washington county for the next six years and encourages folks to contact her with concerns or thoughts around the rule making processes and the like. E-mail is best, but stopping by the shop or calling her will be worth your while. Women represent the largest growth segment in hunting and fishing and I think she'll fit the bill perfectly! How was that DEAR?
With over 20 years of experience in taxidermy, we pride ourselves in our ability to preserve your trophy to look as it did in its natural habitat. We work annually on about 300 mountings and presentations of many varieties of wildlife; deer, bears, moose, coyotes, fox, fisher, turkeys and more. We also work on animals from other parts of the globe including Africa. In addition to being entertaining, the stories of the hunters who are our cus tomers provide information allowing us to suggest possible ways to present and mount the trophies that they have bagged. Our high quality work can be seen by our many repeat customers that seek out our services. The presentation of your trophy can be head wall mounts or full body depictions. We are also the State of Vermont Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Big Game Reporting Station. A specially designed outdoor scale system with tall vertical clearance is also provided for easy weigh-in of all species.
Call Rodney or Theresa Elmer
1308 Loop Road - Northfield, VT 05663
The Coastal Zone Captian John Curry By Captain
Cape Cod’s Freshwater Variety
When most anglers think of Cape Cod, visions of 40 lb stripers and angry bluefish tearing up gear among the many bays and rips of historic places such as Cuttyhunk and Martha’s Vineyard generally come to mind. What many don’t know is that Cape Cod is a fresh water fisherman’s paradise with a variety of species available year round. Anglers in Massachusetts enjoy very liberal regulations and most game species are open year round. While this past winter produced a few weekends of suitable ice conditions to set up a tip up or jigging, for the most part open water fishing dominates the scene. I like to call March and April the “inbetween” season. It’s after hunting seasons for sea ducks and rabbits and before the May run of stripers enter our bays and inlets. While many of you are still drilling holes for perch and walleye we Cape Codder’s are tossing soft plastics for pre-spawn largemouths and stick baits to hungry chain pickerel. Cape Cod is littered with many ponds and few sizable lakes. While there is only one
stream that I know of with trout prospects, the majority of our spring
to bring so I generally load up with light tackle spinning, cranking and fly gear to cover all bases. On a recent trip to John’s Pond in
Dave Hodsdon of Dennis Ma, 3.5 lb Largemouth caught 3-2-13
fishing is done in crystal clear ponds. Often it is a hard decision which body of water to hit and which gear
Mashpee, we made the mistake of bringing our bass gear only to discover that the rainbows were feeding heavily on a midge hatch of some sort. I won’t make that mistake again trust me. While pitching football jibs and slugo’s for largemouth’s we witnessed a kayak fisherman catch over two dozen 15’-18” rainbows on spinning tackle. Of course I had to venture over to his corner of the pond and find out what he was using. A light spinning outfit tipped with 4 lb fluorocarbon and a small black muddler minnow pattern. Like I said I
ting just about anything that you threw into the weed edges. One of the main attractions is the brood stock salmon that have been stocked every year in many ponds down the Cape. After these fish have passed by their prime spawning age they are released to the enjoyment of many lucky anglers. Many of the salmon range in the 7-9lb range so it can make for a very exciting day even if you manage to entice just one to your offering. I have yet to enjoy a salmon of that size, but have witnessed a few acrobatic encounters for other lucky anglers. While trout, salmon and bass dominate the scene many ponds and lakes also offer sizable populations of crappie, bluegill and jumbo yellow perch. White perch are true saltwater fish on the Cape with a few historic runs each spring at locations like the Chequesset Neck Dike in Wellfleet and the Weweantic River in Wareham. These spawning perch are aggressive feeders and if you time it right (usually on a flood or incoming tide connected to the March full moon) it’s not hard to fill a pail of these excellent eating members of the bass family. Shad darts and clam worms under a bobber are the basic set up, but I enjoy catching them on 5 weight fly rods tipped with any small fly or even a strip of perch belly on a hook. Back to the true freshwater variety. Access too many ponds are provided by town or state ramps and most also have a beach area that provides scenic shoreline access to wade or cast from shore. It’s not unusual to see tournament ready bass boats, a few kayaks
Pickerel, Author 18” chain pickerel John’s pond Mashpee Ma. 3-24-13
won’t leave the fly gear in the truck ever again on that pond. We did manage to scratch out a few bass in the 3-4lb range and the chain pickerel were hard to keep off our lines hit-
and shore anglers all fishing the same body of water. While I use my 16’ aluminum duck boat (minus the custom blind) you do have to make
Continued next page
The Outdoor Gazette
Don’t Miss Discover WILD New Hampshire Day
CONCORD, N.H. – Discover WILD New Hampshire Day is almost here! This free outdoor festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, 2013, on the grounds of the N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H. Celebrate the arrival of spring by letting the kids try archery, casting, wildlife crafts and more. See retriever dogs in action, live animals, big trout and trained falcons. You’ll also pick up lots of great ideas for conserving energy and protecting our environment. More than 35 outdoor, conservation and environmental groups from throughout New Hampshire will have booths, displays and
demos at the event. It’s a great way to find out how you and your family can care for the environment and get connected to life outdoors. Special presentations and demonstrations go on throughout the day, including turkey calling for kids; a live animal presentation by the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center; landscaping for wildlife talks; a mobile DES Air Quality Monitoring Station; retrieval dog demos; and map and compass instruction. For times, visit wildnh.com/Newsroom/2013/Q2 /DWNH_Day_040513.html. The Fish and Game License Office will be open during the event, so stop by and purchase
your fishing or hunting license while you’re at Discover WILD New Hampshire Day. Be sure to check out special deals on Fish and Game merchandise, too. The event is held rain or shine. A food concession is available from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please note that no dogs are allowed; service animals only. Now in its 24th year, Discover WILD New Hampshire Day
began in New Hampshire in 1989 as an observance of Earth Day and a celebration of the state’s wealth of natural resources and outdoor recreational opportunities. Discover WILD New Hampshire Day is co-sponsored by the N.H. Fish and Game Department and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES).
Getting close up to the fish in the hatchery truck where fish are transported to lakes and streams throughout New Hampshire.
Seeing big trout and salmon in a real stocking truck is always a highlight of Discover WILD NH Day. NHFG photos sure of the local regulations if you are bringing a larger vessel to the party. Some ponds have outboard horsepower restrictions and some smaller bodies of water ban the use of any motor propelled craft. Like many states we have seen an explosion of kayak fisherman for many of the same reasons. If you go: Massachusetts offers a 3-day nonresident license and as mentioned
John’s Pond 3-24-13
The Outdoor Gazette
from previous page
earlier all game species are open year round. Here are a few good places to target that have public launch sites and trailer parking if needed. John’s Pond, Mashpee, MA. The launch is on the northern shore line right off of Hooppole Rd. Mashpee-Wakeby Pond, Mashpee, MA. This location has a nice big trailer lot located on Fisherman’s Landing Rd. Scargo Lake, Dennis, MA. Small trailer lot & launch off of Rte 6A Dennis, MA Mass regulations. www.eregulations.com/massachusetts/huntingandfishing/fishing-seasons/ Lodging. Country Acres Motel in Sandwich Ma. They cater to fisherman year round and offer attractive off season rates. (Tell them I sent you!)www.countryacresmotel.com. Capt. John Curry grew up in Rehobeth, MA and summered on the Cape mainly in the Bass River area. He has over 30 years of fishing and boating on Cape Cod and Rhode Island waters. Currently living in W. Yarmouth and summers in Bourne. He runs a sportfishing business on tha Cape, visit his website www.capefishing.net.
Trail Camera Photo Contest Sponsored by Chadwick’s Trail-Cams
Roscoe Blaisdell - Raymond, NH
Roscoe Blaisdell - Raymon
d NH, Roscoe Blaisdell- Raymon
pups an otter carrying one of it’s
d, NH Roscoe Blaisdell - Raymond, NH
2013 Trail Camera Photo Contest Sponsored by ChadwicksTrailcams.com Send in your trail camera pics, and for every picture that is published in The Outdoor Gazette you will get one chance to win one of three Trail Cameras.
Two (2) Winners will be drawn randomly and announced in the January 2014 issue. Plus One (1) Winner/Owner of “The Trail Camera Picture of the Year”, will be chosen by the Outdoor Gazette staff and folks on our Facebook page. The “Pic of the Year” will be on the cover of the Jan. 2014 issue!
Are you worried that by sending in your pic of that trophy buck or huge bull moose, will give away your secret location? No need to worry! We will post your pics anonymously, with as little info as you like. Your secret is safe with us!
Early Struttin' Gobbler- Ch
ip Hodges- Carrollton Ge
2012 Trail Camera Photo Contest Winners ; Trail Camera Picture of the Year - Marty Wall - Randolph, VT Random Winners - Donald Cooke- Columbia, NH and Robert Drouin, N. Anadover, MA
Send photos to: email@example.com with the subject line “TC Photo Contest 2012”
Unicor n from PA- Brendon Hilker
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Primitive Skills Shelter Building (part1)
Having a good Shelter is the difference between a pleasant outing and struggling to survive. In our modern world we rely on light weight synthetics and alloys to provide us with tarps, tents, hammocks, and “bivvy” sacks . Most sleeping systems are designed to be lightweight and provide protection from the mechanisms that would rob you of your body heat. To prevent conduction we use a neoprene sleeping pad. To stop radiation and convection we use a tent or “shell” and a mummy sleeping bag with lots of “loft” or dead air space is required. The better the quality of the tent and the sleeping bag, the more expensive it is. Even outdoor clothing has gotten high speed. We wear non-absorbing “wicking” layers close to our skin to keep us dry, fiber pile insulation layers to keep us warm, and a shell to repel the wind and the rain. We’ve replaced our native knowledge of the landscape and the best
By Michael Douglas
shelter approaches to that landscape with high tech solutions. While expensive, this approach
is convenient. In nature convenience can kill. Over reliance on gear has led to tragedy. Gear can fail. Fabrics rip, zippers fail, poles break and
the weather doesn’t care either way. What if you could incorporate the best of both worlds? How many people dream of the ability to walk in to the wilderness with nothing and come out a year later in fine condition? What would that look like? Regarding shelter, it would begin with a temporary reliance on the fragile modern systems mentioned until you ironed out the mistakes and came up with a shelter design that did everything your modern equipment provided. It would take a few attempts to “dial it in”, but you would eventually realize a few important
concepts essential to building a good nights sleep in any weather conditions. The hours of labor invested would condition you and narrow the time required to build your shelter. You would develop awareness for the best locations, the weather patterns and the amount of daylight needed to build your shelter. It wouldn’t take you long to realize the importance of a few critical concepts. Most important of these is getting yourself off the ground to prevent conduction. A close second is protecting yourself against the elements with a structure that offers protection against rain, insects, and the cold. The most overlooked component is creating a small living space to heat. The most efficient shelters are as snug as a mummy sleeping bag. Once you can build a shelter from what nature provides, you will experience certain side effects. The rest of your equipment becomes luxury items. The confidence and connection you develop with the landscape increases. While your appreciation for your home grows, the stress attached to potentially losing it diminishes. It takes a number of attempts, but the freedom and security that comes with knowing how to build your shelter off the landscape is well worth the investment. Michael Douglas has been sharing Survival, Tracking, Awareness, Wild Foraging, and Primitive Technology at the Maine Primitive Skills School since 1989. He continues to be a student of the natural world and our abilities to interact with it through his school and full immersion trips in the North Woods. He is eager to answer questions and hear your comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Gazette’s Book Review
By Colonel J.C. Allard
Mountain Voices By Doug Mayer & Rebecca Oreskes Appalachian Mountain Club Books 2012 226 pages, $18.95 ISBN: 978-1-934028-80-3 The voices of New England’s mountains resonate down through the centuries. Captain John Smith’s first English language account of “the white hills” in 1614 began an unbroken line of poetry and prose and oral recitations that continues to the present day. In the eighteenth century, Dr. Jeremy Belknap penned the first history of the region. In the nineteenth century came Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Lucy Crawford with her marvelous History of the White Mountains The twentieth century gave us the verse of Robert Frost, as well as the clear, unambiguous voices of Miriam Underhill, Daniel Ford, Laura and Guy Waterman, among many others. As the twenty-first century gets rolling, authors Doug
Mayer and Rebecca Oreskes, along with Appalachian Mountain Club Books, have joined forces in Mountain Voices to bring together the character and gifts of 17 of the most devoted and influential White Mountain voices. Several of the “voices” featured by the authors are silent now, stilled by human frailty and the consequence of being mortal. No matter. Their influence on sport, business, conservation policy and
practices, science, and land usage in large measure defines the White Mountain environment we enjoy today. This continuing influence spills over into Maine’s mountain regions to the east and the Green Mountains of Vermont to the west. No doubt these voices also ring out loudly in the Adirondacks of New York and echo on across the continent. Begun 20 years ago as a series of interviews for Appalachia, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s flagship publication, Mountain Voices for the first time puts all 15 interviews together in one volume. That’s 15 discussions with 17 people. Guy and Laura Waterman and Bradford and Barbara Washburn were inseparable in life and certainly are inseparable in conversations about their experiences among the White Mountains. Authors Mayer and Oreskes have organized the 15 interviews into four segments: Mountaineering, Conservation and Wildland Ethics, Life on the Trails, and Work in the Whites, depending on the interviewee’s passions and focus. They subtitled the result as “Stories of Life and Adventure in the White Mountains and Beyond.” It’s an apt subtitle as the interviews have the feel of stories recounted over coffee in a mountain club hut or during a trailside lunch. Illustrated with black and white photos from the AMC’s exhaustive archive or with photos taken dur-
ing interview sessions by professional photographers Ned Therrien and Jonathan Kannair, the book is nicely launched by a Forward written by early interviewee Laura Waterman. An Afterward by Mayer and Oreskes not only provides an ending but lets the authors express their sense of progression in the much loved mountains since the project’s inception two decades ago. Even before European settlement began, the White Mountains held a special significance to people living in their proximity. For modern society it is the domain of logger and the tourist, the hiker and the skier. Farmers and foresters live and work in the mountains’ shadows. Mountain thickets draw hunters, and mountain rivers and lakes are fishing grounds for some and merely admired by others. The 17 people whose thoughts and words shaped Mountain Voices also shaped the mountain lands the rest of us appreciate today. Their vocations and avocations differed markedly, but their devotion to the mountains is worthy of our gratitude. Our thanks should also go to Mayer and Oreskes for shaping 17 voices into a chorus. Col. J.C. Allard lives in Pittsfield, NH about 20 miles north by east of Concord. “We're in the shadow of the Belknap mountains here, but we can see Mt. Washington on a clear day”.
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Pictures Gone Wild Our reader submitted photos
Bobby Sholan of St Johnsbury Vt- First shed of the season, found in NH
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Large mushroom eaten by deer, you can see the teeth marks in the close up
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Bucks and Bones By Trevor Bunnell
Bunch of Bone
During deer season Ben, Heath, and I were hunting a remote mountainside just north of Monroe, New Hampshire. Ben found a monster moose shed that must have fallen off the day before. When I say big, I mean real big, he also said he saw many other old horns. Shortly after deer season Matt (one of my best friends and also the most determined horn hunter I ever met), Phil (a new friend and a good woodsman with the lots of the same outdoor interests as myself), and I went back to where Ben had found the four matched antlers. I figured we could find some old horns and with a little luck we could find the other half of Ben’s moose rack. The day started out well, we were about half way into our one mile walk, when we found some fresh moose sign an open hard wood slash and with a little looking around we found a fresh matched set of antlers from a little bull. When we got to the base of
the mountain we all split up. Phil went to the north, while Pete my two year-old lab and I went to the east. Matt was right between us, about a half a mile apart. It was not long before I heard Matt and
using this tree to keep all the antlers in one place since we had found too many to carry around. After a few hours Pete and I had fifteen antlers all at least one year of age . After talking to Matt and Phil everyone was very eager to go to
because we were getting close to some open ground with some antlers, but as it turned out it only seemed to get thicker. In the middle of this mess, Pete found a big cat track nothing like I have ever seen. I grabbed Pete and kept him close, the cat was not far away and the only path, if you could call it that, was the way the cat had gone. When I finally got into the open woods I had ripped my wool jacket and both of my rubber boots. I could see the big cat’s running tracks going down a big drainage. We definitely bumped him out of thick fur on top of the mountain.. I am not a biologist, but I think it must have been a Canadian Lynx. It was now two o’clock and we all met at the root ball where my antlers were. To my surprise when we were together we had thirtyfive all together but only one frame pack. Phil was able to get ten on the pack while Matt and I cut down a moose rub and tied about 200lb of moose antlers to it we left five antlers behind as we could not handle any more weight for the long, difficult journey out. By the time we had the last of the antlers tied on the weather had changed and now it was snowing extremely hard. About half way
the far side of the mountain and see if we would have the same luck. We had a lot of work ahead of us but agreed to give it another hour. Pete as always was choosing the route up over the mountain, as we neared the top was getting to be hard going, and before I knew it we were in the thick soft woods and blow downs and boulders. I should have turned back the way we had come, but I stayed with it crawling on my hands and knees at times. I could see Pete was very excited. I was hoping it was
out Matt and I started to fatigue as every step the antlers swung side to side, making the 200lbs seem even more. We almost gave up a few times. It took two long hours to get to the truck, every muscle in my shoulders more than hurt and I knew Matt felt the same, but Phil was fine. The lesson we learned was everyone needs to carry their own frame pack. It was a great day we never found the other half of Ben’s rack and all but four antlers were old. I am sure we will be back in the spring and to try again.
The woods where mostly soft woods and steep with old skid roads. There was about six inches of snow on the ground, and Pete was having a field day. Every time Pete or I would find an antler, I would carry it back to a root ball of a big spruce tree. We were
Trevor on the left, with his shed huntimng buddy matt carrying out 200lbs of bone. Phil also was loaded up with with a heavy load on his frame pack.
Phil saying that they had an antler. After that find, it was about every ten minutes someone was on the radio saying they found another.
The Outdoor Gazette
Spring Foraging for Ramps and Fiddleheads By Hank Stokes The light is changing. The days are getting longer. Spring is near. Soon the snow will be gone. The tree buds will open. Forests will awaken and plants will be competing for every drop of sweet sunshine they can get. Before those tiny leaves unfold and create the canopy that will shade the forest floor, a curious group of plants called spring ephemerals must make its years supply of food in those few short, light deprived days between the snows disappearance and the forest canopy’s opening. One plant in particular is of greatest interest to me as an avid forager. In fact, as wild edibles go, the importance of this plant cannot be understated. Major American cities have been named for it (guess which one, the answer is at the bottom), a river in Vermont is named for it, and festivals are held every year all over the East Coast. It goes by several names that vary regionally; wild onion, wild leek but I know them as ramps. Ramps are indeed leeks and are closely related with familiar plants like onions and garlic, who are all, in turn, part of the lily family. Despite their pedigree, ramps are unique in their flavor, sharing flavors with most of their cousins. They have a bulb in which they store the energy made from light that reaches the forest floor. This period extends from about early April, until mid May in the Northeast, though varies greatly with local conditions. Frequently they are found in clumps in close proximity to other clumps. These clumps are usually found in riparian environments with a dominant hard-
Fiddleheads -Combine these with Ramps HMHM! Two of the authors favorite springtime wild “offerings”.
wood canopy. Riparian environments are usually found adjacent to streams and drainages, though frequently may be isolated in wet, though drained areas of the forest floor. The ramp stalk is white and frequently fades to purple crimson, though sometimes stays white. They have lance shaped leaves that are
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Harvested Ramps dull green. By far the most positive way to identify the ramp is by its smell. It smells like an onion, Period! If you find a plant that you think is a ramp but it doesn’t smell like an onion, it isn’t. It may be harmful or even fatal if you eat it. Which brings me to an important point. If you aren’t sure, don’t eat it. That goes for anything you find growing in the forest, not just ramps. Do your research and even diligent research can’t replace competent instruction from someone who studies wild plants. You might get away with eating it, you might just be up all night with the runs, or you might die. But don’t chance it. A second note on responsible harvesting; don’t take more than you will use, and don’t clean out a spot. Ramps can grow with amazing abundance, or be very sparse and spread out. They also grow and spread very slowly, so it’s important to take only one or two bulbs from a clump before moving on. When foraging, it can be very productive to use other plants to help find your target plants. Trout Lilies, also edible and quite common across a variety of environments, can frequently be found growing on the same forest floor. These have deep green matte leaves, that look as if splashed with bleach. Sometimes only one leaf will be attached to a stalk that leads underground to a bulb that is starchy like a potato. A second plant to watch for will doubtlessly be comfortably recognized to most folks who have spent any time outdoors. That is the emerging stalk of the Ostrich Fern, known as a fiddlehead. Ramps and fiddleheads often share the same bag-ride home after an afternoon of foraging in the spring. If you are not sure what this looks like, go check out some bluegrass. Pretty similar, eh? These are again, deep green and shiny, frequently with bits of brown tissue papery stuff stuck in them. If they are wooly or slimy, stay away from them. Traditional folk wisdom says that fiddleheads should be boiled in two changes of water, though no sources seem to say why. I have gotten sick after eating them once, though I think it was coincidentally timed food poisoning due to under-cooking them not to be blamed on the fiddleheads them-
selves. Though their flavor is mild it’s also unique and not comparable to anything I know that is commonly available from the grocery store. Saute them well in olive oil with salt, pepper and garlic after having blanched them. Use them any place you would use asparagus. In my opinion, the best way to eat them is sour pickled, speared on a toothpick in a gin martini. So, you found two acres of forest floor covered with ramps and your buzzing with excitement. You responsibly pick a bag full of ramps and head home. Now what? Cut the leaves from the stalks and throw the leaves on top of hot pizza fresh from the oven. Put the whole plant right on the pizza before it goes into the oven. Stuff those same leaves into the cavity of a fresh trout with two pats of butter, some salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil and toss into a 350 degree oven until flaky. The best batch of homemade kimchi I have made, I used ramps (I’ll save that recipe for another article). Pickle them in a brine of apple cider vinegar, salt, and sugar with whatever spice combination you like. Pack your food processor with the green leaves and drizzle olive oil into the machine as it processes them into a slurry. Transfer the slurry to ice
cube trays and then the frozen cubes to a plastic bag. Take these out as needed for recipes that require olive oil and garlic. I recently came across a dish that I was previously unfamiliar with, but I think may be perfect for ramps. The dish is called bagna cauda, and is a European peasant dish, which no doubt, has many variations. The common features are olive oil and butter in varying combinations, anchovies, and garlic. All of which is
Ramps in there natural state warmed just enough that the flavors infuse the oil. This is then served with bread and fresh veggies for dipping. I am super excited for ramp season so that I can try this recipe out. They can be used anywhere you might use green onions, garlic, or onions. Imagination and excitement are key!(Chicago) (The Winooski River)
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