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On The Cover
New Vermont state record catfish- 35 lbs. 14.7oz Bob Scott JR, Lake ST Catherine, Poultney, Vermont. August 2012
Editor’s Back Porch
Autumn is in the Air
Going green, that’s what we are doing. Although the environmental benefits are huge, with our decision to go to an online magazine; no printing/paper used, no ink, no fuel used to run the presses, no gasoline burned to pick it up and deliver it. This was just an added bonus. As my subscribers already know the hard copy subscriptions and retail sales have been dropping for the last 6 months or so. At the same time the online subscriptions and interest for a “real” online magazine has been skyrocketing. I originally planned on a smoother transition. My plans were to produce the online magazine and the hard copy together and slowly phase out the hard copy. Once I sat down and looked at my readership and sales figures, I was actually surprised at the dramatic difference in readership curves. This difference coupled with the cost of production equaled an easy decision for me both financially and logistically…So here is our very first edition that is entirely online. The September issue will be the
first that is launched on our new
By Fred Allard
magazine (you can read up to 12 issues here) it will also have other articles that are either too big to fit in
I know, you’ve seen this picture before, but it is probably my favorite photo ever sent to me. It just gets me in the mood...the mood for the outdoors in the fall. Thanks to Kevin Mack of Wentworth, NH for sharing with us. the magazine or we felt deserved website/outdoor community. The website will not only host our extra attention. Also there will be a
forum section called “Around the Campfire”. Here you will be able to communicate with others about any outdoor topic. Contests there will be at least 3 going on at any given time, including our popular trail camera contest!...so don’t forget to check those out. >>>-? So it’s August, and deer season and bear season both start next month! I can’t wait to get out in the woods again carrying my bow, or maybe hit a local beaver pond for some fall brookies. There is also the autumn bass and pike fishing, which is phenomenal in this neck of the woods. Autumn my favorite season… Suddenly I’m in the mood to go shoot a few arrows. 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 email@example.com.
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8 Years in the Wilderness Lets make that research public!
I like to think of myself as being educated in most aspects of the out of doors. I have lived all my life with the outdoor providing much of my livelihood, whether it be from guiding, renting cottages to sportsmen or writing about Nature’s playground. I don’t claim to be an authority or an expert. My wife, Martha, and I sometimes disagree on things, and yes, sometimes those things are outdoor-related. Both of us have lived an outdoor life, but Martha has had more influence from things she has read in books, research papers and conversations with other educators. My outlooks are based more on hands-on experiences and personal observations. But I realize that one cannot always see everything or look at things objectively, as pre-determined notions always come into play. So I keep an open mind and try to look at things from all sides. There is quite a bit of research that goes on in our outdoor world, studies from everyone
imaginable on every possible subject one could ever think of. Unfortunately we common peo-
ple seldom get the results of these endless studies. I think all the results and data end up in some file buried on someone’s computer and never shown. There are probably reasons for this that is privileged information. Take, for instance, a study done a few years ago by the NH
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Fish & Game on brook trout in the Nash Stream watershed in Coos County. Now I never saw the data or whatever findings
were the result of the study, but I did talk with some of the biologists involved in the study to get idea of what took place. Apparently, the State of NH received a grant from the Feds to do this study, which involved taking some hatchery-raised brook trout and implanting satellitetracking chips in them so that their movements could be monitored. I remembered being told that these trout were of decent size, around 13 to 15 inches. This would lead most people to believe that at that size they would be able to defend themselves or at least evade being preyed upon, as the longer a fish lives the more skills it learns for survival. Unfortunately, it didn’t help in this case because pretty much every one of these trout that were released in the Nash Stream watershed succumbed to predators (mink and otters). The biologists were able to locate most of the electronic tags but they were not attached to the fish. Now, I have never seen anything from this study nor would I have heard about it if it were not by my chance encounter with one of the researchers who mentioned the study. Now I assume the State of NH wouldn’t want this information
to get out because it would make many people question the practicality of releasing stocked fish into a wild environment. It is worth the cost of stocking fish in these conditions? I assume that, to find out more, more studies would need to be done, and I have no idea if any are planned for the future. One of Martha’s former students is doing a study on the impact the wind turbines in Millsfield and Dixville have on the marten populations. His name is Alexej Siren, and I enjoy his visits, as he keeps me updated on what his observations are. The other day, he stopped by with his wife for dinner, which was a much enjoyed event for Martha and I because we seldom have company over. Alexej, now a grad student, is a good ol’ local boy who grew up in rural Maine and has the observation skills of a natural hunter. This is something many researchers lack. So it makes talking with him enjoyable. In our conversation over a venison barbeque, he mentioned that he is finding ticks on the marten. Martha replied that we recently found a tick on our dog Maggie and that she assumed it was a deer tick. Alexej said that he first thought that the ticks he was finding were also deer ticks but when he brought a couple down to UNH for study, he found out that they were actually a rare tick that is seldom seen this side of the Mississippi River. This I thought was interesting. Though he didn’t go into detail about his study, he did mention that he is seeing more and more predation on the marten in the area of his study. When I asked him what he thought the problem was, he said canines. Prior to the windmills being built, there were no roads to the tops of the mountains where he was conducting his research and he found that he was constantly re-catching the same marten in his live traps. This allowed him
Continued next page
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Vermont Moose Hunting Permit Winners Are Drawn
The winners of Ver mont’s 2012 moose hunting per mits were deter mined Thursday, August 2 at a lottery drawing in Montpelier. Governor Peter Shumlin, standing alongside Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry, started the computer-generated selection process that randomly picked 435 winners among more than 11,400 lottery applications. The drawing is done by a random sort of applications that were submitted by a July 5, 2012 deadline. Lottery applications cost $10.00 for residents and $25.00 for nonresidents. As part of the regular lottery drawing, a “special priority drawing” was held for five permits to go to applicants who have received, or are eligible to receive, a Campaign Ribbon for Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan). The unsuccessful applicants from the IraqiAfghanistan drawing were included in the larger regular drawing that followed. All applicants for both drawings who did not receive a permit were awarded a bonus point to improve their chances in future moose permit lotteries. A separate lottery was held for
to get a good idea of the population and the ratio of male to female martens. The trapped marten were given tracking collars to track their movements. He said he never saw any sign of canines until roads were built to the tops of the mountains, and now there is coyote and fox sign just about everywhere he is conducting his research. This got me thinking about what is going on here in Maine with the State trying to instigate a coyote program aimed at reducing the numbers of coyotes
50 moose permits to be used in Vermont’s new archery moose hunting season. “Today’s lottery drawing helps
Alexander. “Ver mont’s first moose hunt was in 1993, when 25 moose were taken with 30 permits issued. We expect more
Governor Peter Shumlin conducted Vermont’s 2012 moose hunting permit lottery August 2, at the Vermont State House in Montpelier. Vermont’s moose lottery winners are posted on the Fish and Wildlife website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).
celebrate one of Vermont’s successes in science-based wildlife management,” said State Wildlife Biologist Cedric
because of fears of over predation on the whitetail deer. With all the logging roads that have been built and that are now being built or planned to be built, what is this going to do to the deer that now live in those areas that have been hard to get to? It seems like man is his own enemy when it comes to trying to improve healthy deer populations. Getting back to the subject of all these studies being conducted and all the data being saved someplace. One has to wonder if
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than 200 moose will be taken this fall in a carefully regulated hunt.” Lottery winners will purchase
all the money for these studies is well spent? Could it be that it is all for naught and these studies are meant to be busy work to keep all these researchers employed or busy? But come to think of it, isn’t that the way our government works anyways? Spending money for the sake of spending money so that the politicians can say that they brought all this money back to their states and constituents? My feelings on the matter is if the money is being spent on research, then at least
resident hunting per mits for $100 and nonresident permits for $350. Ten percent of the per mits go to nonresidents. Payments for the hunting permits must be by money order, bank check or credit card. Personal checks are not accepted. Winners in this year’s moose hunting lottery are posted in a searchable database on the Ver mont Fish and Wildlife Department’s website ( w w w. v t f i s h a n d w i l d l i f e. c o m ) . Click on “Hunting and Trapping” and then on “Lottery Applications and Winners.” If your name wasn’t drawn, you can still bid in Vermont’s auction for five moose hunting per mits, which is open until August 21. Sealed bids must be received by Ver mont Fish & Wildlife by 4:30 p.m. that day. Contact the Ver mont Fish & Wildlife Department to receive a moose per mit bid kit. Telephone 802-241-3700 or email fwinfor mation@state. vt.us. Vermont law prohibits anyone who has held a Vermont moose hunting permit within any of the previous three calendar years from applying for a moose hunting permit or a bonus point in the current year.
from previous page
make the research public!
Tom Rideout is the former editor of NH Outdoor Gazette and was the owner of Bosebuck Mountain Camps on Aszicoos Lake in western Maine for 17 years. He has held a Master Maine Guide’s license for more than 35 years (hence the 8 years in the wilderness) He and his wife Martha operate Sturtevant Pond Camps in Magalloway, Maine and operates Pakesso Guide Service, which specializes in upland bird wing shooting . You can reach Tom at email@example.com
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Traveling Outdoorsman By Glenn Dunning
Common Scents about Wind and Detection
“Forget the wind; Just hunt…” The advertising agency that thought up that slogan for a popular scent proofing system really should be fired, don’t you think? Personally, the concept is so insulting to anyone who knows anything about hunting that it destroys the product’s credibility from the get-go. In reality, I can think of no other single issue related to hunting that is more complex and to suggest that this challenge can actually be mastered is fool-hearty. Following the old adage of always hunting with your nose into the wind, simplifies the impossible. Wind direction is not an absolute; it can blow in multiple directions somewhat simultaneously. How many mornings have I sat a stand at the top of a ridge with a prevailing cool breeze from the west or northwest – the direction from where most of our weather comes from in my part of Vermont. My platform faces west and looks down a hemlock covered hillside where deer cross on their way between bedding and feeding areas. The problem is that while the dominant wind
direction is from the west, there are always thermals in hilly country that run up and down slopes based not on direction but the heating and cooling of air temperatures causing breezes to run from the top of a ridge to the bottom or vice versa especially during the first and last few hours of shooting light. For most big game, the sense of smell is dominant even over eyesight and even when there is no detectable breeze an animal like a deer or bear can pick up human scent in a wide periphery. Outsmarting your quarry’s nose is more about luck, perseverance and understanding weather than scent elimination products and lures. For instance; are you aware that your scent attaches itself to moisture molecules in the air and is then distributed depending on air movement? That means that your presence in the woods is much more easily detected on cool damp days than on dry warm ones. Taking the concept one step further, there is a reason why game movement is generally at its highest during the early morning
and late evening hours of the day. During those times, air is often more moist and predisposed to scent distribution. Once the sun comes up it dries the air out. Deer and other animals are in sync with those subtle changes and move more freely because their ability to detect danger
Even from an elevated stand, beating a whitetail's sense of smell will take more luck than all the benefits presented by "so called" scent proofing products. Photo courtesy of Summit Treestands.
is heightened. Does that mean that hunting is more difficult on rainy days? Not necessarily. A cloudy day with misty, foggy conditions promotes scent distribution but winds are usually somewhat consistent and the ground is quiet. On the other hand, hard rain will drive scent down to the ground significantly impairing distribution. Another consideration is how animals react to different wind conditions. Here in Northern New England, it’s been my experience that a windy day can shut game movement right down. When the wind is blowing hard, it is more difficult for deer and other animals to
scent because everything is being blown around. Additionally, the woods are noisy with creaking trees and limbs coming down plus there is all kinds of movement as leaves, shrubs and trees sway in the wind. A skittish whitetail will normally lie down until things calm down. But this does not mean that all game in different parts of the country respond to these conditions the same. In the Midwest, plains states and parts of western Canada the wind blows almost constantly and often has little to no affect on game movement. The point is, the subject of wind, scent control, animal behavior, etc is endlessly complicated and manufactures who portray their products as being the ultimate solutions to situations that are so variable and complex show disrespect to all the serious sportsmen and women they are trying to impress. That said, I purchase and use a select few sex attractant lures during certain times of the season and under specific circumstances. I never head out without a complete spray down with scent eliminator spray (I also carry a small spray bottle with me in the field). My hunting clothes live on the porch to keep them free from smoke and other household odors. I hunt into the wind and I still spook more deer than I sneak up on undetected. But understanding a little bit about the nature, weather and science gets me closer to more game and keeps me from spending a lot of money on stuff that just isn’t as good as it’s advertised to be. Glenn Dunning lives in Brookfield, Vermont and owns TUNDRATOUR Consultants, a travel agency specializing in North American hunting and fishing adventures. He is also a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Assoc. Glenn can be reached by phone at 802-276-3317 or via his web site at: www.tundratour.com
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Taxidermy Trails By Rodney Elmer
Something most taxidermists wonâ€™t take
It was a Sunday night. The phone rang. The mother, had had a rough time of it to. The beloved family's pet had died. Her request wasn't all that uncommon. We are often asked if we would mount a pet for someone and hearing the positive, the conversation usually ends there. " It
reproducing it all the harder. Animals are very expressive, eyes, lips, ears and stance all matter greatly. The responsibility of making it depict the love they new in this animal, is something most taxidermists are unwilling to take. Taxidermy mistakes are magnified. A rough
mold ,then widen or lengthen a small one and maintain anatomical accuracy. Wolves,coyotes and dogs may be in the same genis,but each is vastly different.--We added the photos to our facebook page, asking the question "would you?" I'm sure you can imagine the respondces and feel free to write in yours to. It is a subject that most folks feel strongly about. "NO!" is the usual answer, and they often want it to end there. I must admit myself, I felt the same way and the thought of my best friend staring back at me everyday , reminding me she was no longer with us, was reason enough. But,, this experience has changed me,,, some. A taxidermist is often asked if an animal is "Good enough" to mount. Mechanically, it only needs to be fresh. Emotionally or financially,, it is not my call. The family cow, the lama, the watusi, the parakeet,the house cat, the iguana, the boa constrictor, the rooster and now the dog, have returned home. It is a privilege to work on a special animal, regard-
less of where it comes from. That special first deer is sacred and I suppose we want to spend more time with it or be in it's presence longer because our experience passed so quickly. Wanting to capture that moment . We are often left trying to pay respected to other beings we share our world with. I kept my grandfather's hammer in my tool box. I ware my son's hat when he's away at college and I miss him. The ring on your finger reminds and connects you with your wife. The hole in the back of the Beagle jacket made by the rifle represents all those miles walked. What animal deserves fond memories? The one's we want to remember. Our minds are like time machines , bring us into our futures as we think about what to make for suppore, or back to that special moment in our passed, we want to recall. Hammers , hats , rings , photos or taxidermy , they all work. Rodney Elmer and his wife Theresa own and operate Mountain deer taxidermy in Northfield,Vermont.
MOUNTAIN DEER TAXIDERMY is one of the custom's of my husband's country. Can we see you tonight?" "Sure, come over and let's talk" my wife gave the directions. The family of four drove in and carried their dearly loved Dalmatian in to the shop. It seemed insensitive to talk about the process, the difficulty of how to present him. But, we found most of the trouble was ours. Dad saw to the details, helped his children through some of the pain, made some decisions, thanked us and they left. It's far from us to judge and tastes or wants are part of what makes art or memories work on the wall and are different for everyone. The fact that the person so intimately new the pet, it's facial expressions and all those years living together make
looking job would seem to only add to the distress, in my view. It was a well explained risk taken by these folks and I'm reasonably happy with my work considering the huge task this was. The kinds of skills it takes to build something like this, from the parts we had to start with that weren't even close, makes us often feel like the" Me-giver's" of styrofoam and staples. The wolf mold we started with was many inches bigger in all directions. The turned up, narrow nose needed shortening and widening and larger lips. The head required 8 cuts alone , with center wedges removed in width and height to down size it evenly. The main body required fattening and broadening and 4" less length also. It's usually easier to shrink a big
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 customers 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.
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Mass Meanderings Never leave fish to find fish
The only catch and release trout stream in Berkshire County, is a seven-mile stretch of the Housatonic River, in Lee, MA. Because my truck gets 10 miles per gallon and with gas at almost $3.50 a gallon, I usually don’t make long drives to go fishing, especially trout fishing. I have the best trout fishing in the state right here, despite the fact that the Hoosick isn’t catch and release-and there is a saying in the fishing world, “never leave fish to find fish”. I had some other business to tend to in Lee, starting at 11am, so I figured that I could get to Lee a little early and try out the new catch and release area. I was going to “leave fish to find fish“. I was not disappointed. This section of the Housatonic River, (locally called The Housi), starts on the north side of Lee, right where Route 20 crosses the river. After parking my truck, (there’s plenty of parking), at exactly 7am, I noticed right away that the river was higher than normal, and a little discolored. This is one of the draw-
By David Willette
backs to traveling to a new spot to fish, sometimes you never know what kind of water conditions you’ll have until you get there. Fishing in high water isn’t my favorite, especially on strange rivers, but I had four hours to kill and nothing better to do, so I put on my waders and had at it. Another drawback, I soon found out, to fishing strange dirty water is that I didn’t know where all the deep pockets of water are. I had fished this stretch before, but it was about five years ago, and I could remember some, but not all of the deep, fast spots. Walking from one fishing hole to the next gets tricky because you can’t see the bottom, and I end up walking by feel like I do when I get up in the middle of the night in a strange room, only there isn’t a light switch to help out on a trout stream. I did have a wading stick though, (an old ski pole). This is the first year that I’ve tried a wading stick, and they are a Godsend. I won’t fish a big river again without one, they are that
helpful. Sometimes you can get caught in some pretty fast current and It’s nice to have that extra support when you lift your leg to move. If you think balancing on one foot
on dry land is tough, try doing it. In the middle of a good sized, fast moving river. These sticks are also invaluable when you need to know how deep it is before you take that step. More than one trout fisherman has stepped of the deep edge without checking first and gotten soaked for his stupidity. I wet my first line at 7:15 just downstream of the Route 20 bridge. Fishing with my favorite lure, the second cast proved productive as a 14” brown trout whacked my Rapala, just after it hit the water. It was almost like it could see it coming from across the river, the lure barely touched the water and it was “ fish on”. From here I slowly worked my way downstream. I noticed that when I cast almost to the other edge of the river, in the slower, shallower water, the bass would hit my lure. Yes, there are bass in this section of the river, lots of them. Some are pretty good sized and they are excellent fighters too. When I started my lure in the faster water, the trout would hit it. You normally don’t find such a combination of fish, (there’s even a pickerel or two), in a river of this size. Over on the monstrous. Hudson
River there are a half dozen kinds of fish, and it has the varied habitat to support them. When you look at the Housatonic River in Lee, it doesn’t look like typical bass water; it looks like a trout stream, and only a trout stream. These other fish swim into Lee from the other sections of the river that are more conducive to bass. And for some reason they stay there. I fished for almost three hours, slowly working my way down to the end of Main St., near the Lee Bank. I caught around fifteen trout, all of the in the 14”-16’ range, and a half dozen bass. This was just enough fish to keep it interesting and challenging, but not too many to make it boring. It’s not fun to catch one fish after another. Although I’m sure that there are enough fish in this river, (the state stocks it regularly), that when conditions are right, you can catch a lot of trout. There are the two sections of catch and release on the Housatonic. The one that I fished starts at the Route 20 bridge and goes downstream to Willow Mill Dam in South Lee. The other section starts at the Glendale Dam in Stockbridge and goes to the Railroad Bridge. There are plenty of roads that cross the river so you’re never too far from your vehicle, and there is plenty of parking too. Sometimes on other rivers getting back to your vehicle can be a problem if you travel far downstream. It’s difficult to walk back through the woods in waders. This isn’t a problem in downtown Lee. Because where I fished there are many side streets to get back to my truck, as it was a short ten-minute walk. I thought that I would get some strange looks from people, but people hardly noticed me. I guess that they are used to it by now. I had plenty of time to get to my other business, but I noticed that all I kept thinking about was getting back to the Housatonic. In the future, I’ll have to schedule more business in Lee. David Willette is a free-lance outdoor writer who lives in Western Massachusetts. He can be contacted through www.coyotewars.com
The Outdoor Gazette
August Is an Important Month for Wild Turkey Brood Sightings
CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is urging people to report sightings of hen turkeys, with or without young, from now through the end of August through its webbased turkey brood survey at www.wildnh.com/turkeybroodsurvey. “August tends to be the most important of the summer months for the survey,” said Fish and Game biologist Ted Walski. “By August, those young who have survived are pretty assured of becoming adults, so August sightings will provide the best index to the summer breeding productivity.” Most sightings will be of “multiple hen” broods during August. It is common for hen turkeys to join together with their young later in the summer. This joint brood flock will often have poults of various sizes. Also, hens that have not successfully nested or that have lost their young will join a brood flock and act as a foster mother. “Do not be surprised to observe some broods in August and September with small poults the size of quail or pigeons,” explained Walski. “Re-nesting is common with wild turkeys. If something causes nest destruction or abandonment during May/June, the majority of hens will go and lay another clutch of eggs and hatch out in July or August.”
The Outdoor Gazette
Last summer was the first year of Fish and Game’s web-based turkey brood survey, which yielded a total of 808 turkey broods reported from all parts of the state between May and August. This year, biologists are hoping to see an increase in the number of reports of turkey broods, particularly in northern New Hampshire and along the western side of the state in Sullivan and Grafton counties. So far, nearly 400 turkey brood sightings have been reported – just under half of the reports that were received last year. “So far, the majority of sightings have come from southern New Hampshire, which corresponds to higher densities of both turkeys and people,” said Mark Ellingwood, Wildlife Division Chief at N.H. Fish and Game. “All the reports are helpful, but we especially need more observations from north of the Lakes Region and along the Connecticut River.” At the end of July, 382 turkey brood observations had been reported in New Hampshire. Only 13% were from the northern half of the state. Regionally, so far there have been just 5 reports from the North Region, 22 from West Central New Hampshire (Lebanon to Lancaster), 19 from the White Mountains region, 82 from southwestern New Hampshire, 64 from the East Central region (Freedom to Farmington) and 190 from south-
eastern New Hampshire. Some helpful background for turkey observers: The term “brood” refers to a family group of young turkeys accompanied by a hen. New Hampshire hens generally begin laying eggs from mid-April to early May and complete their clutch of about 12 eggs in early to mid-May. Incubation lasts for 28 days, and most nests hatch from late May to mid-June. If incubating turkey eggs are destroyed or consumed by predators, hens often lay a replacement clutch of eggs that hatch late June through late August. The mildest winter in 40+ years, and the earliest spring “green-up” stimulated early turkey breeding and nesting. Most of this year’s hatching occurred around the middle of May. An early summer sample of 35 single hen broods from May/June gave a favorable average of 6.7 poults per hen. Assessing public attitudes: New this summer, the survey includes a section intended to help assess public attitudes about wild turkeys in the state. Conducted in cooperation with the University of New Hampshire, data from the Summer Turkey Brood Survey and the 2012 Winter Turkey Flock Survey relating to public attitudes will be compiled and analyzed as part of a Master’s of Science project to assess public attitudes and interest in monitoring wild turkeys. It will also provide Fish and Game biologists with information
that will enhance their ability to recruit and retain “citizen scientists.” The combined use of biological and human dimensions surveys will aid both turkey management and promote public participation in wildlife management overall. The public attitudes survey is an addendum to the 2012 Summer Turkey Brood survey and is optional. Participants who fill out the public attitudes survey can enter a drawing to win 1 of 2 prints titled “Mother’s Work Is Never Done,” which features a turkey hen and her chicks. The numbered and signed prints were graciously donated by New Hampshire wildlife artist Jim Collins, designer of the New Hampshire Conservation License Plate (moose plate) and several migratory waterfowl stamps. Many thanks to all who have reported hens with young turkeys so far this year! NH Fish and Game appreciates all turkey brood observations reported by volunteers, as the information helps greatly in determining how successful turkey nesting was for the year, and also helps in determining the distribution and abundance of wild turkeys throughout the state. The reporting period runs until August 31 and results will be posted on the Fish and Game website this fall. To report your turkey brood observations, go to www.wildnh.com /turkeybroodsurvey.
Riverbank Tales by Bill Thompson
The question of how old a child should be before being introduced to fly fishing is one that we are often asked at the shop. A great many parents are often quite eager to get their kids involved in a sport that they have come to love. Over the years I have guided several families who have wished to introduce their children to the sport. The biggest obstacle in introducing a youngster to fly fishing is teaching them to cast. For the record this is also the biggest problem in teaching adults. Just about anybody can pick up a spinning outfit and be casting within minutes. In order to be successful in fly fishing you must be able to cast the fly. Kids want and need action right away; let’s face it, learning to cast, can be boring no matter how good the instructor. When we teach fly casting we start by casting in a field. Kids know right off the bat that there are no fish in fields. We try to explain to parents that most young kids are going to have a problem with staying focused long enough to learn to cast. Our basic
casting class is two hours long. It is tough enough for an adult to hang in there much less a child. A 72 year old man, who I was trying to teach
to cast, told me to cut to the chase and let’s go fish. Naturally, with kids I keep the lesson part short and try to get them on the water as quick as possible. Not long ago I took out a party consisting of a father and two sons. When they booked the trip I had reservations about taking them. The father assured me that his sons were
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mature enough to make the trip. With in minutes of trying to teach them to cast I knew I was in trouble. Both boys had very little interest in the idea and would have been happy being almost anywhere else. I cut the casting lesson short and got them on the stream as fast as possible. Most kids find running water of any kind to be fascinating, but not these guys. The oldest boy got lucky and caught a trout. I figured that this would be the ticket that would turn the whole thing around. I could not have been more wrong, it only went down hill from there. I picked the trout up and showed the boy how beautiful it was, his eyes glazed over and without saying a word told me just how boring this was to him. Under my breath I did a W. C. Field's impression: “Any man who likes strong drink and hates dogs and small children can't be all bad”. Things went down hill from there. The male competitive gene kicked in. Both the father and the younger child were determined to catch a fish. This should have been a good thing, but neither was willing to listen and both were convinced that the only fish in the river were in the same pool where the first boy had caught his fish. There were plenty of other pools just down river, but none of them would venture twenty feet past that first pool, no matter how much I begged and pleaded. The youngest boy finally had enough and began to whine that it was time to go home; my sentiments exactly. Mosquitoes began to come out in force along with a healthy crop of noseeums. I doused the boys in repellent, but it did little good. It also began to get cooler and it was evident that both boys were cold. And than tragedy struck, the oldest boy caught a second trout. How this was possible I do not know, as he had neither the skill nor interest to accomplish the feat. The father was now even more determined to catch a fish despite the protests of both boys who now wanted desperately to go home. I was in full agreement with the boys, it was time to call it a day and cut our losses. Back at the truck the father thanked me for a great time and remarked that they “all” had an enjoyable experience. I am not sure
where the father had been all evening. The worse part of all this was that two potential anglers will probably never again make an effort
to fish. They will always remember the experience in a negative light and in fact some years from now may have to enter into long term therapy. It was after this that I vowed never to take young kids out again. However, a few days later Janet announced that she had booked me a trip with another father and son. I tried to beg off, however as bad as my last experience had been; this trip was a complete reversal. The difference was that this time the kid wanted to be there and he had a strong desire to fly fish. This young
fellow told me that he had set a goal for the evening and that was to catch his first trout ever on a fly rod. The mission was accomplished and he did indeed catch his first trout on a fly rod. The interesting thing is that this kid told me that one fish would be all that was required to make him happy. He did go on to catch several trout that evening, but I knew he would have been happy with just the one.
Continued next page
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NH Children in Nature Conference October 4: “Discovering Nature Wherever You Are”
CONCORD, N.H. – If you’re interested in finding ways to encourage kids and families to get outside and enjoy the natural world no matter where they are, plan to attend the New Hampshire Children in Nature conference “Discovering Nature Wherever You Are” on October 4, 2012, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham, N.H. The day will showcase the many ways we can reconnect children, youth and families with nature, particularly in our urban communities. “New Hampshire is full of outdoor opportunities that extend well beyond the wilderness areas – there are so many ways we can experience “nearby nature” in our backyards and city parks, school grounds and neighborhoods,” said Marilyn Wyzga, convener of the N.H. Children in Nature Coalition. “We’re excited about bringing people together to exchange ideas and strengthen community efforts to reconnect children, youth and families with nature in our local communities, in simple, accessible ways.” The conference is open to public participation. “We invite parents, teachers, city planners, environmental educators, artists, recreation professionals, landscape designers, health practitioners and others,” said Wyzga. “This conference offers such a broad range of workshops and presentations that no matter who you are or what your profession is, or whether you parent or work with children, you’ll be
able to take away tools and ideas for finding and engaging with nearby nature in your community.” The registration fee for the conference is $50, which includes 3 workshop sessions, lunch and refreshments. For more information or to register, visit
Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) will open the conference with a keynote, and wrap up the day with a book signing. Skenazy was dubbed “America’s worst mom” after her April 2008 column in The New York Sun described her making the
www.nhchildreninnature.org/events. Registration opens on August 23, 2012. Lenore Skenazy, author of FreeRange Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-
controversial decision to let her 9-yearold son take the New York City subway home alone. Drawing on facts, statistics, and humor, she convincingly
It is possible to take kids fly fishing and have a positive outcome. If this is to be their first experience my suggestion is to take then spin fishing someplace where they are going to have a lot of action. When it comes time to graduate to fly fishing the trick is to have a kid with the right motivation. It is of utmost importance that the idea be the child’s, not yours. It is also important that they have the mental and physical stamina to hang in there with you. Hiring a guide or a competent casting instructor is not a bad idea; however ask the guide his true feelings about teaching kids. Last but not least have
the right attitude, angling is not a game where we keep score, catching a fish is only part of the experience; the real goal is to have fun.
argues that this is one of the safest periods for children in the history of the world, and reminds us that childhood is supposed to be about discovering the world, not being held captive. The day will be filled with informative workshops and networking opportunities that will provide participants with the resources, tools and knowledge to create communities that encourage everyone to spend more time in nature. Workshops will include planning and developing outdoor learning and play spaces, finding your way with navigation skills, making arts inspired by nature, creative teaching on the trail, basics and safety for taking kids on walks, early childhood activities from nature walks to fairy houses, successful teen programs, planting urban gardens with kids, and more. The New Hampshire Children in Nature Coalition is dedicated to fostering experiences in nature that improve physical and emotional health, increase understanding of the natural world, and promote stronger connections to community and landscape. The coalition got its start in 2007, when people from health, education, community planning and environmental sectors came together at a series of events to launch a New Hampshire initiative to reconnect children with nature and encourage children and families to get outside and active in the natural world. Find out more about the coalition at www.NHChildrenIn Nature.org.
from previous page
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.
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Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel By Stan Holz
Gun shop etiquette... or how not to get thrown out of a gun shop
I’ve been in the gun business for over 38 years now. That’s a long time to be doing one thing but, all in all, it’s been a very satisfying career choice for me. I’ve met a lot of really wonderful people over that span, and still count many as good friends. However, not everyone who walks into my shop instills a sense of friendship and camaraderie. Some, in fact, leave me with my blood pressure spiking and my teeth grinding. What is it that separates a “good” customer from a “bad” customer? Surprisingly, that determination has little to do with whether or not any money is spent. I have had some truly engaging conversations with people who never spent a cent with me. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying many spirited political conversations; talks about gun history, target shooting, reloading, repair work, and even about astronomy, ham radio, or just about anything else that might crop up. I’ve met parents who come in with the most polite and considerate children; and some people who are just
so nice that they’re a pleasure to be around. Unfortunately, not all people know how to behave; especially in a gun store. Courtesy and common sense
are qualities I value very much. Conversely, I have little tolerance for those who seem to lack those two attributes. So, here is my little list of things you really don’t want to do in my store, or any other store for that matter. When you enter a store, don’t ignore the person behind the counter. (That’s usually me.) You don’t have to start a deep conversation about anything, but a simple “Hello”
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or “Good day” goes a long way. If you just want to browse, or have some time you have to waste, how about asking “Is it okay if I just browse?” Of course it’s okay to browse, but that simple courtesy establishes the fact that you understand that you’ll be handling someone else’s guns. Do not bring young children into the store if you don’t have 100% control of them. Telling a 5 year old not to touch the guns is not enough. Either hold their hands or make sure that they are within inches of you at all times. Too often, I hear the dreaded “Don’t touch the guns,” only to see the little tykes rushing off to grab some $1,000 shotgun or rifle. The response from the adult is always the same; “I told them not to touch the guns.” If you don’t know how to handle a gun correctly …. don’t. I have had customers break guns, damage stocks, and drop pieces of guns on the floor. Why? Because they wanted to see what that button or lever would do. I have had others completely disassemble guns only to wind up with a pile of parts at their feet. If I don’t catch them in the act, those parts are usually found by me on the floor at some later time. Nobody should ever take any gun apart in any gun store, unless under the direct supervision of the owner or an employee. Watch what you’re doing at all times. Don’t turn your head to talk to your buddy while you’re putting a gun back in the rack. You may miss, and then have to explain why that gun just fell on the floor. Don’t swing guns around and hit other guns. A week doesn’t go by where someone doesn’t damage a stock by hitting it with the barrel of another gun. Don’t “dry fire” guns. That means don’t pull the trigger. Yes, I know that companies like Ruger say it’s okay. Some guns, however, can be damaged by dry firing. My policy, and most gun shops have the same policy, is simple. Do not snap the trigger on any gun …. period. If you’re ready to buy a gun, and want to try the trigger pull, you can always ask. You’ll then undoubtedly be allowed to dry fire the gun before purchase. Don’t open boxes of ammunition so you can see what the cartridge looks like. This puts shop wear on the boxes and makes them harder to sell. Don’t call revolvers “twirly things.” If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, the
best policy might be to keep your mouth shut. You can’t fake gun knowledge, no matter how many Internet message boards and forums you may have joined. Don’t hold pistols sideways, “gangsta style.” You’ll look like an idiot and instantly prove how little you know about shooting. Don’t make gun noises with your mouth. Refer to number 9 for the rationale behind this. When inquiring about a specific gun that you are looking for, don’t be vague. I get questions; in person, by phone, or via email; that are impossible to answer. How can I check on a Savage 30-06 without a model number? A Ruger .357? How much does a .22 rifle go for? How much does a hunting rifle cost? Don’t ask for an appraisal by phone. I’m not a magician, and have no idea what condition your gun is in. Especially with collectibles, condition is a huge part of a gun’s value. So are originality, options, and model variations. None of that can be even guessed at without seeing the firearm in question. I hate cell phones in my store. I don’t know if I’m alone on this, but I find them rude and disruptive. I’ve had people in my store who were so loud that I could not even hear my own phone calls. If you’re in a store, my suggestion would be to take your conversation outdoors. No one really wants to hear your personal business being broadcast across the whole store. Go away, please. If you ask for advice, have the decency to take it. I don’t remember how many times I’ve been asked for advice only to be greeted with an argument. I really do have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about. I’ve gotten to the point where I now just say, “You could be right,” and walk away. Don’t tell me about all the guns you’ve just bought somewhere else. That’s a great technique if you want to be totally ignored and get no service. If your gun needs repair, tell me what’s wrong with it. Please don’t tell me how to fix it. If you knew how to fix it you wouldn’t have to bring it in to me. Don’t complain to me about the gun laws. I didn’t write them, but I do have to enforce them. No, you can’t buy a handgun over-the-counter here if you live in another state. Why? Because you can’t. Use the words “please” and “thank you” when you can. If I answer a question you have, I expect to hear “Thank you.” A grunt or nod of the The Outdoor Gazette
Early Migratory Game Bird Seasons Set
CONCORD, N.H. — The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has finalized the 2012 hunting season dates and bag limits for early season migratory game birds, with few changes from last year. The 2012 seasons for these game birds are as follows: Resident Canada geese: The bag limit is five birds per day, statewide, during the September season, which extends from the day after Labor Day (September 4) through September 25, 2012. Youth Waterfowl Weekend: This year, the youth weekend falls on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30, 2012. All regular season waterfowl regulations, including bag limits, shooting hours, use of non-
toxic shot, etc., apply during the youth weekend. (For more on youth hunting in N.H., visit www.huntnh.com/Hunting/youth_ hunting.htm.) Woodcock: October 1 – November 14, 2012. Bag limit is 3 birds per day. Snipe: September 15 – November 14, 2012. Bag limit is 8 birds per day. Sea ducks: October 1, 2012 – January 15, 2013. Bag limit is 7 birds per day, with no more than 4 scoters, 4 eiders or 4 long-tailed ducks (oldsquaw). Crows: The fall crow-hunting season runs from August 15 to November 30, 2012; next spring’s two-week crow season will be March 16-31, 2013. Hunters of all migratory game
birds must have a 2012 New Hampshire hunting license and are required by federal law to register for the National Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). In New Hampshire, this includes all who hunt ducks, geese, snipe, woodcock and coots. Separate HIP permits are needed in each state. Licensed hunters should call 1-800-207-6183, or go to the “Buy Your License Online” section of the Fish and Game website www.huntnh.com, to receive a permit number (there is no charge). This number should be written on the hunting license. Harvest information from HIP helps Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service make more reliable estimates of the number of all
migratory birds harvested. Each year, a random selection of hunters is asked to complete a voluntary harvest survey. Waterfowl hunters must also obtain a federal duck stamp and a New Hampshire Migratory Waterfowl hunting license. Hunters are asked to report all banded birds by calling toll-free to 1800-327-BAND. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will send a certificate with information about the bird. For more information on waterfowl or other New Hampshire hunting seasons, or to buy licenses and permits online, visit www.huntnh.com/Hunting/hunting.htm.
head is not the same. If you need help with something, shouldn’t “Please” come before your request? I notice that few, if any, young kids or young adults know the use of those two words. They obviously have learned from their parents, who also have no idea when to use those words. Every once in a while I do get a pleasant surprise, but it is getting to be a rarity. Don’t work every action on every gun in the store. I’ve watched guys come in, stay for an hour, and work every single action on every single
gun I have in inventory. I carry about 700 guns, so that’s really quite a feat. What’s the point? I also often watch a person work the action on one gun endlessly. How many times do you really have to work the slide on that pump action shotgun? Isn’t once or twice enough? How about 20 or 30 times? One guy, who was on his 20th pump, finally got to me and I yelled at him to stop it. He did. It wouldn’t kill you to say “Thank you,” when leaving the store. After spending a good portion of the day
handling guns, and sharing the experience with the 6 friends you brought in with you, a simple gesture of thanks would be greatly appreciated. Enough. This gave me a good chance to blow off some steam. Especially during the summer months; when we are inundated with tourists, many of whom have never seen a real gun; riding herd over the hordes can get quite frustrating. Discourtesy, gun damage, and being ignored by many of my visitors, can take its toll. Simple courtesy and decency go a
long way. That’s a lesson that certainly is not limited to gun shops or any place of business. It’s just good old common sense.
from previous page
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Family Tracks Watch That Bobber
The hot sun baked the back of my neck and it suddenly felt ten times hotter as the boat slowed down and entered the protected part of the bay where there was no breeze to keep me cool. I walked forward and poised on the front of my father in laws pontoon boat, a ferry of a boat compared to what I was used to fishing from. With the anchor in hand and ready to toss, I peered below the glassy surface of the lake and observed the dense jungle of vegetation of the underwater world below. Amongst the slimy green fronds waving underwater there slithered all sorts of life, from tiny perch and baitfish to the large bowfin we had spied earlier in the morning while bass fishing. We had now brought the whole family, Michelle, Meg and Ben plus Nana and Grampy along with a bucketful of shiners to try and catch the biggest fish we could find. We positioned the boat, and with a gentle splash the anchor was lowered into the shallow water. It was blistering hot in the calm, sunny bay and it didn’t take long while baiting hooks and setting lines to become damp with sweat. The first lines were thrown out, shiners under
By Brian Lang
big bobbers, to keep them suspended and visible above the weeds. Both kids took a seat on opposite sides of the boat, long bench seats almost the size of the couch at home. They knelt facing the water holding their poles and watching their bobber, which gave occasional tiny dips and jiggles from being pulled by the shiner. It wasn’t long after we had settled in that we spotted the first fish. The shiny brown, large eel-like tail broke the mirrored surface in a slow roll and left a big swirl like a toilet had just flushed. We all gaped in astonishment at the size of the fish. A few moments later, I was distracted with something across the boat when Ben announced, very calmly and informatively “There’s a big fish under my bobber.” I just said “really?”, and kept on with my task. Then he said again, a little more excited “There’s a big fish under my bobber!” So we went and looked over Bens shoulder and into the water. His bobber was floating barely 5 feet from the boat. Directly underneath, just about touching the motionless bobber was a
giant bowfin. Its long brown body contrasted in the clear water against the green weeds below while it’s fins rippled gently, holding its position facing
Checking out the teeth of a Lake Champlain Bowfin
us. The rubbery appendages near its nostrils were a mere inch or so below the surface, and the wire leader trailed loosely from the corner of its mouth like an old man trying clumsily to eat spaghetti. Astonished at the calmness of it all, I simply exclaimed, “Ben, Reel!” He pulled up on the rod and immediately the hook and shiner popped out of the fish’s mouth without any resistance at all. Ben had pulled the whole rig up out of the water and it swung wildly against the side of the boat, all the while the fish remained right there in front of us. “Put it back in!” I yelled, and as he dropped it back in, all the swinging must have loosened it up because the minnow came off the hook, and the giant fish inhaled it instantly. We needed a baited line fast, and Michelle had hers out the other side of the boat. She brought it over quick and plopped it in the water where the fish still swam, ready to pounce like a tiger on anything that moved. As we all practically hung off the side of the boat watching the action, the fish swam over and abruptly inhaled the whole second shiner on Michelle’s line. “You got it!” I yelled again. She set the hook and reeled, and this time the fish was hooked. The rod instantly bent in half and the drag squealed as the fish darted through the weeds and down under the back of the boat. Just as quickly, the line popped. The fish was gone, but we were all
shaking with excitement. I couldn’t get the hooks re-baited fast enough. Over the next couple of hours, we hooked six or seven of those powerful bowfin and landed four or five. We’d watch carefully as the bobbers dipped underwater, and then streaked off to the side, a wavy red blur underwater. We would reel up tight to the fish and try to land it, giving the rod to one of the kids. They would reel, but we needed to give the butt of the rod just a little more support as they did the reeling. Ben did hook another one all by himself, again right over the side of the boat. He yelled “I got one!” as his rod bent down hard against the railing and he held on for dear life until we got to him. The smallest one was about 4 lbs and the biggest one, caught by my father in law John, weighed in at 8 lbs 10oz, not the biggest fish in the lake, but sure big enough for a good fight, especially with the size rods we were using. Megan had one large bowfin on for several minutes, and she played it remarkably well all by herself with some verbal coaching. She got it close, and I got it halfway in the net as I stretched with all my might over the side, but it slipped out. It made one final lunge under the boat and it popped off. Megan actually became visibly upset, and felt the sting of losing a truly big fish. She went on to land a very acrobatic smallmouth that was just about three pounds a little later and that helped generate the smiles again. I noticed a little later, between unhooking fish, untangling lines and baiting hooks that all the other boats in the area were staying well away from us. It must have been that all our hootin’ and hollerin’ as we charged around the boat made them think that we were scaring all the fish, and there was no way they would catch anything within a mile of us! 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.
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Anchor Points Practicing Different Types of Shots
Throughout my bow hunting career I’ve been faced with the challenge of shooting from many positions. I’ve shot up some extremely steep slopes in Colorado while I was elk hunting. I’ve also made a few shots on side-hills that were so steep that a loose rock could roll for hundreds of yards before dropping into the unknown land below. Although those examples are a little on the extreme side we almost always encounter awkward shooting positions if we hunt long enough. Most people have a habit of practicing on perfectly flat ground. Instead of shooting from the positions that they will be in the most, they practice from the positions that instill the most confidence. It’s always good to build confidence, but we must make sure that we’re prepared for the hunting shots that will ultimately lead to our success or failure. Many of us hunt from tree stands so I’ll start with the few different shots that we might encounter when we’re perched in the trees above the animals that we’re pursuing. A lot of bow hunters use climbing stands that have a bar in front of the seat and a little below waist level. This bar can create havoc if you don’t pay attention to it. The bar will usually be in the vicinity of the bottom limb and cam of your bow when it is drawn. If you haven’t practiced from the stand you can forget about it when you draw your bow on an animal. Within seconds your hunt can go up in flames. When you release the arrow the cam might catch the bottom of the bar and send the arrow in an unexpected direction. Even if you’re not at a hunting height you should still take the time to attach the tree stand to a tree and
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take some practice shots. If you do this enough it will become second nature to make sure all the parts of your bow will clear the bar.
Practicing different shots helped me take this coyote.
Every fall I listen to people talk about their missed opportunities. Many people shoot over their target when shooting out of a tree stand. Although the angle increases and a few yards might have to be cut to make an accurate shot the main reason for shooting high is from people failing to shoot with proper form. If you watch people shoot downhill you will usually see them draw directly onto the target. Most people don’t know any different and they figure that they should shoot the same as they do on flat ground. That’s their mistake and leads to the reason why many of them will
By Todd Mead
shoot high. You should always bend at the waist when you’re shooting uphill or downhill. It may sound stupid, but don’t forget that you’re shooting downhill when you’re shooting out of a tree stand. To ensure that I’m doing it correctly I usually draw straight out in front of me and bend at the waist until my sight settles into the spot that I want to hit. This is a way to make sure that you’re bending in the right place rather than pulling your shoulders out of place to execute the shot. A lot of archers don’t realize that the bubble on their bow is there to make sure they keep it level during the shot. When you put your sight on the bow you should make sure it’s level before you start shooting. If you hunt from the ground you might have to make shots on sidehills. These shots will be much easier if you have a level and use it effectively. If you don’t use a level your bow will usually fall away from the hill which will cause you to have left and right misses. When I’m shooting side-hill shots I draw my bow and turn it into the hill. This will help the bow come to the level position. To make you better understand this just imagine that
the hill is falling off to your right. You should turn the bow to the left so it’s going “into” the hill. The opposite holds true if the hill falls to the left. I’ve discussed the most common shooting positions that you will encounter while in the woods. You must also remember to practice all of the other things that seem natural, but require a lot of practice to perfect. You should always practice shooting while sitting on a chair or kneeling on the ground to represent shots from your stand. If you use a blind don’t forget to set it up in your yard and launch some arrows from that as well. You can never practice too much. Don’t let your lack of practice be the reason for your lack of success. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the great John Wooden. He once told his basketball players, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” The same holds true in archery. 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.
Guided by the Light or is That a Train Coming? Natural or Synthetic?
Some unresolved arguments, not unlike a visit from a relative, seem to last for years: tastes great/less filling; boxers/briefs; Army/Navy; potÇto/pot?to. As unlikely as it seems, even we fly fishers have our disagreements; lefthand reeling/right-hand reeling; sink tip/full sinking lines; hippers/waders; graphite/bamboo. A more mundane, contemporary argument involves fly tying materials - natural versus synthetic. There was a time we had no choice because synthetics had yet to be invented so everyone used materials, au natural. We can blame the British Empire for the demand for natural materials because their salmon and trout fly patterns called for exotic materials that became difficult to obtain. Not a problem for the English because, as they used to say, “The sun never sets on the British supply of fly tying materials.” American fly tiers took their lockstep lead from the British and used natural materials. But, they began substituting more available indige-
nous species. Soon, it became the unwritten law that you must use the same materials called for by the pat-
tern’s originator. This movement created a sub-cottage industry we’ve come to know as the fly pattern book. These days, every jerk with a computer has written a book. (See my bio at the end of this column.)
By Tony Lolli
Requiring the originator’s materials put quite a strain on certain supplies such as the off-pink fur for Hendrickson dry fly bodies – the urine stained fur from a vixen
(female red fox). While I won’t go into details, I know of more than one guy who “experimented”, out behind the barn, with unstained vixen fur in a manner that might have gotten them arrested in less liberal times. Anyhow, somewhere along the way, following WWII, someone thought they’d try some of the new synthetic materials and the movement caught on. However, the entrenched fly dressers rose up in reaction and picketed fly shops across the US. “It’s okay to use tinsel but natural fibers are the only way to go,” they insisted. The upstarts replied with “Up your nose with a (synthetic) rubber hose.” The war was on and there was no turning back. It was a dark time that pitted father against son and many families were torn apart. Some went so far as to avoid attending holiday gatherings like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Opening Day. Those hidebound traditionalists
continue on, happy as clams, looking for natural materials. The materials alone, in some traditional full dressed salmon patterns cost enough to make a payment on my ’92 Ford pickup. I once watched a guy at a fly show pay more than $70 for a matched pair of swan feathers. Hell, I’d run one over and give him the entire critter for less than that! The list of useful synthetic materials continues to grow. Every week there’s some new addition that we just have to try. I think we’re keeping the petrochemical industry in business with our need for new fix every other day. I know a couple of guys who disguise themselves in wigs and dresses and cruise craft shops in search of potential new materials. My bearded lumberjack friend, Ed, continues to get away with this because he claims to be a transvestite. At least, that’s what he told the police. But what about the fish; do they care what you’re using for materials? After all, neither natural or synthetics are edible so what difference does it make to them? Absolutely none, in my experience. Hey, remember that we’re trying to fool them, not feed them. Once in a while it’s almost too easy to fool them. Sometimes the fish show themselves for the gluttons they really are and gobble up cigarette filters or hot-orange foam strike indicators. On the other hand, there are other times their preferences change and they require something natural - like a small twig or pebble. Fish aren’t the brightest species on earth. Don’t believe me? Next time you net one, notice the wide-eyed look of disbelief on his face. Tony Lolli is from Cabot, VT. His book, Go-To Flies: 101 Pattern the Pros Use When All Else Fails is available online from Amazon and Barnes&Noble.
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The New Hampshire Vermont Outdoor Gazette
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Joe Laeunesse of Barre,Vermont found these moose sheds in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, during deer season last fall. They have not been scored as of yet. The big wide one is about 20 " across!
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The Captain’s Corner By Matthew Trombley
A month for KINGS!
Mid July & the hot dry weather has really set in this summer as we have had a fair amount of days above 90 degrees without much rain! This has made the streams a bit low & slowed the trout fishing, but the fishing on Lake Champlain has continued to be steady. As normal with this time of year our best Salmon catches have been in the early morning & the evening, but we are still able to pick away at them during the midday sun. The thermocline has moved a bit deeper but where you find bait you tend to find silver running with them! Many times we have seen the bait down as deep as 60 to 70 ft, but keeping the riggers set above them 35 to 45 ft down has been the go to ticket. Dragging the bottom with inline blades & vertical blades in Glow & Green has been putting some really nice Lakers in the box as well! Don’t be afraid to run some large spoons for these guys, as our mag spoons from our King Salmon tackle have been bringing these behemoths up from the deep. Lakers tend to lay in cool water areas, depths of 85 to 120 ft of
water with long flats or humps will usually find them schooled up pretty well. Running your down rigger
John Mayhew of Pittsford Vt with the captain & a nice King caught in 2011
weights near the bottom or right on the bottom will really increase your catch rate, but knowing the bottom structure is critical! The end of July now has us out on
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the east end of Lake Ontario in the city of Oswego, filling our coolers with those line screaming, drag burning KING Salmon! Anglers from all over the northeast make the trek to
their favorite fishing harbor on this Great Lake, in search of the fantastic fishing opportunity this deep cold lake is known for. The Chinook or “King” Salmon are our target species, but a mix of Coho Salmon (a smaller cousin of the King) Brown Trout, Steelhead & an occasional Laker can be expected! Mid-summer will find a better mix of fish as we also mix our tactics between flasher flies & spoons. But as the days draw closer to Labor Day, the Kings urge to head for the rivers for the fall spawning run will get stronger, making these large predators a bit more “cranky” & willing to hit any irritating lure that comes swimming by. This is where the flasher/fly programs really shine as the Kings just can’t stand the darting action they produce! Kings usually prefer to be in the “Ice box” as they like the 43 to 48 degree water area, below the thermocline. As the spawning urge gets more intense they will certainly be more willing to come out of that preferred comfort zone to chase lures, finding the zone they are working in from day to day is just one of the challenges to putting them in the boat! Most of our Flasher/fly combos will be using long narrow flashers, usually of 8” & 11” in size, with as many color combos as one can dream of. The flasher is the attractor that draws the kings in from many feet away; the “fly” is the target lure that is trailing close behind the flasher. These “flies” are not like your normal streamer fly or any other fly you might find in an Orvis fly vest! They are usually a treble hook with a skirt made of tinsel or milar, similar to a skirt found on spinner baits used by bass fisherman. The flasher causes
the fly to dart and spin around which entices the fish to hit. The fly colors tend match the color of the flasher or parts of the fly should match it. The color green usually always gets the nod in this very clear water that tends to have a green hue. Other fly colors that work well are white, chartreuse, blue & purple. Coho Salmon are known for absolutely smashing red flasher & fly patterns. The leader from the flasher to the fly should be between 20 & 24” long. Flies tend to be made by manufacturers such as Atommik, Big Weenie, B-fly & others. Flashers by Protrol , Dreamweaver, & Lur Jensen are the leaders of the pack, but others can be found on many of the boats working the waters of the Eastern Basin. Having an array of tackle & tactics are key to having success as one will out fish the other from one day to the next. Down riggers are the most popular to get the lures down to the target depth, but their down fall is they are directly below the boat, and the cable hum or “tune” can sometimes cause the fish to flare off. The leads from the release to the lure will vary from hour to hour depending on the mood of the fish, the skies & water conditions. Close to the ball early & lengthening them a bit further as you get closer to midday is a good bet. Another tactic that gets the lure further away from the boat is the use of diving devices. There have been many that have been introduced to the market in recent years, but the most popular is “Dipsie Divers” attached to wire line with a leader of 8 to 10 feet of fluorocarbon and then the lure or flasher/fly. You can run as many as three of these per side of the boat, but one or two is most popular. If one is really brave, and wants to add stealth to the program, running long lines of Copper line or Lead Core Line 300 to 600 feet behind the boat will sometimes be what is needed to put fish in the cooler! Once you have the chance to hold on to one of these fresh water Sharks as they peal hundreds of feet of line in mere seconds, your heart will skip a beat and your face will hurt with the smile that is sure to leave for some time! It is this exhilarating experience that continues to draw hundreds of fishermen & fisherwomen to this awesome great lake year in & year out! See you on the water!! 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 Outdoor Gazette
Hunters Looking Forward to Start of Vermont’s Archery Deer Season Oct. 6
Hunters are enthusiastic about Vermont’s upcoming October 6-28 and December 1-9 archery deer hunting season, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. A hunter may take up to three deer in Vermont’s archery season with three archery licenses. No more than one of the deer taken during archery season may be a legal buck. No antlerless deer may be taken in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) E, where antlerless deer hunting is prohibited in 2012. In Vermont a hunter may take up to three deer in a calendar year in any combination of seasons (Archery, Youth Weekend, November Rifle Season, December Muzzleloader). Of these, only two may be legal bucks, and only one buck may be taken in each season. A “legal buck” is a deer with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer. All three deer in the annual bag limit may be antlerless deer. In order to purchase an archery license, the hunter must show a certificate of satisfactorily completing a bow hunter education course, or show a previous or current bow hunting license from any state or Canadian province, or sign an affidavit that they have previ-
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ously held an archery license. Hunters must have a standard hunt-
sunset. Tree stands and ground blinds may
Robert Cameron of Rutland, VT with a nice buck he took in an earlier Vermont archery deer hunting season. Photo from VT Fish & Wildlif.
ing license in order to purchase an addon archery deer hunting license, except that nonresidents may purchase an “archery only deer license” costing just $75. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after
only be built or used if the hunter has landowner permission. This includes portable as well as permanent stands and blinds. A hunter constructing or using a stand or blind must permanently mark his or her name and address on it so that it may be conveniently and
easily read. Landowners are exempted from this requirement. On Vermont State Wildlife Management Areas, it is illegal to use nails, bolts or screws, including screw-in climbing steps, or wire, chain or other material that penetrates through the bark. Because additional restrictions apply, hunters are urged to read the entire law governing the use of stands and blinds on page 24 of the “2012 Vermont Guide to Hunting, Fishing & Trapping,” which is available online and where licenses are sold. Hunters who are planning their first Vermont archery deer hunting trip or who are looking for new hunting areas should get a copy of the 2011 Whitetailed Deer Harvest Report, which gives the number of deer taken in each town in last year’s deer hunting seasons. It’s available on Fish & Wildlife’s website (vtfishandwildlife.com) under Hunting & Trapping and then “Big Game.” Vermont hunting and archery licenses may be quickly and easily purchased on Fish and Wildlife’s website (vtfishandwildlife.com). For more information, contact Vermont Fish and Wildlife by phone at 802-241-3700, or by Email at (email@example.com).
The Trap Line By Randy Barrows
Well you might know it is spring in Vermont. The snow is gone, the muddy roads are back to normal, the road posting signs are gone, the sap buckets are washed and put away, and the peepers are peeping with every warm rain. I also know it is spring because the phone is ringing off the hook with nuisance animal problems. The calls usually go something like this; please help me, I have a skunk under my deck, porch, etc. I do not believe there is an animal that causes more hate and discontent then skunks. As summer wears on it turns to woodchucks dining in the garden, mother fox and her pups eating out of the dogs bowl on the deck or squirrels building condos in the attic. If you are a nuisance trapper this is your busiest time of year. Just when the regular fur trapping season winds down the nuisance work picks up. If you are interested in this type of work all you need to do is call the Fish and Wildlife department and let them
know where you live and what areas you would like to cover and sit back. I promise your phone
will get busy. Once a nuisance trapper it is your responsibility to learn the laws that govern this activity. A call to your local warden will usually answer all the questions you
have, and it is good to stay in contact with your warden throughout the year. Wardens are a big help and a great allies. Not only that but they realize all you do is help-
ing them out also. The first thing you need to do is get the preventative rabies shots. Dealing with wild animals is an inherently dangerous job. There is no question of how it will happen but you can guarantee it will. A slight scratch or worse yet a bite and you will be in trouble. These shots are expensive; but cheap compared to the alternative. Next you will need a contract with an insurance disclaimer. In this world today there are folks who will try to weasel out of paying for services you provide and as signed contract will help out if you need to go the court route to get paid. The insurance disclaimer will release you from any unintentional accidents that may happen while you are doing your job. Have the contract signed before you start! Obviously you will need traps and know how to use them. If you are not already a trapper take a
state sponsored course and know what you are doing. Nothing gives trappers a bad name worse than someone not knowing what they are doing and catching someone’s house cat or dog. Searching the internet on trapping will be very helpful also. A good site to visit is www.wildlifedamagecontrol.com. Through that site you can order a book called “Wildlife Removal Handbook” which is a wealth of info. Now it’s time to answer the phone. Listen to the problem and try to get as much information as you can i.e.; what is the animal, where is it living, types of damage, time of day it is seen, and any other patterns that might make your job easier. Advise the person calling when you will be there and how you plan on removing the nuisance. Call the local warden and advise him of the situation. This is also the best time to advise the folks on what you will do with the critter once you catch it. In Vermont, it is law that any animal that may harbor rabies must be destroyed. Taking them to the other side of town and releasing them only spreads the disease. If you get caught doing this you will get a visit from a warden and it will not be pretty. Be up front with the caller and explain that you have to destroy the animal because of diseases that can effect humans. Don’t be surprised that some folks will decline your help because of this fact, it happens frequently. Their tunnel vision does not help them understand that removing their nuisance and moving it to another area makes it someone else’s nuisance. The next issue is cost. I charge
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The Gazette’s Book Review HUNTING AND THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION By Daniel Justin Herman Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001 356 pages, $29.95 ISBN: I-56098-919-X (alk. Paper) By Colonel J.C. Allard Central Washington University’s Professor Daniel Justin Herman does not hunt, a point he makes clear from first page to last in his book Hunting and the American Imagination. But he certainly knows a lot about what hunting means psychologically and culturally to Americans. Today, most sportsmen’s bookshelves contain memoirs, adventure tales, guidebooks and how-to manuals. Few scholarly works ever find space among the lighter fare. Herman’s book makes a worthy exception. Those that think about their own hunting and the legacy of hunting that we Americans share ought to read this well researched and outcome of the author’s years of study. Originally a doctoral dissertation at the University of California at Berkeley, the book results from postdoctoral studies at the Smithsonian and the not-too-distant Adirondack Museum and Library in Blue Mountain Lake, NY. As the author states, he pursued his questions about hunting “from the perspective of cultural history.” His focus runs from Captain John Smith’s 1607 colony at Jamestown, VA to the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt at the very beginning of the 20th century – the Age of Exploration to the end of
the Gilded Age. During this time, our ancestors built not only the political system but also the culture and self-image that in large measure, defines what is “American” today. Our embracing of subsistence hunting and later sport hunting, and the acceptance of hunters as societal heroes and icons continues to fascinate and confound today’s society, as well as help to
define what each of us think it means to be an American. Scholarly and formal with 65 pages of notes, and definitely not a casual read, Hunting and the American Imagination is also organized, well argued, and extremely interesting. Anyone, whether passionate hunter or vehement antihunter, will learn from reading Professor Herman’s carefully crafted history. He forces readers to reexamine their own views on hunting. To this day, hunting defines much of what it means to be an American. Even those Americans who have never known a hunting experience or reject hunting completely remain partly defined by it. That alone makes Herman’s book important. Illustrated throughout with sketches, woodcuts, paintings and early photographs that graphically portray the story of hunting in America through the years, these visuals alone make the book worthy. Herman and his editor did a brilliant job of amassing and selecting the illustrations.
Hunting was and remains a bundle of contradictions, and while never a universal pursuit or even close to it, hunting has fundamentally been a part of America’s definition of freedom and individual liberty. Here hunting survives as an inherent right of the middle and lower classes—the people, something unheard of in the Europe our forbearers abandoned. Yet, even hunting’s staunchest advocates harbor a kernel of conflict with some aspect of the hunt. Spending some time with the contradictions and paradoxes is what makes Herman’s book so valuable. In this single volume, he raises and discusses the salient points of the modern hunting debate in their historical context. The thinking that results does not always follow expected paths. 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”.
The Gazette’s Hunting and Fishing Solunar Tables
Fishing Tip 109 With certain hooks and baits, you'll get increased hook-setting efficiency by using a knot that provides a direct pull from the fishing line through the eye of the hook. This can only be accomplished with a snell knot, which is made by running the tag end of the line through the eye of the hook, then forming the knot on the shank and tightening it so it is snug on the shank.
The Outdoor Gazette
Behind the Sights By Charlie Chalk
The knife in any form requires sharpening. Sharpening is a skill that has been improved on over the years by the addition of good stones and tricks to keep a better edge. Before we start, there are many different ways to sharpen a knife. Everyone has a way they think is best, and techniques and tools that are essential in getting a sharp blade. In the end, much of it comes down to personal preference. The basics remain the same but improvement on equipment can be helpful. Also, there are different ways to sharpen a blade depending on what you’ll be using your knife for; skinning, whittling, work, etc. Sometimes the finest shaving edge is way too much for the daily carry knife. To sharpen you don’t need much. Just a sharpening stone and a lubricant. Just as there are dozens of different ways to sharpen a knife, there are dozens of different sharpening stones. There are oil stones, stones with diamond encrusted surfaces, and stones with different grades of grit. If you’re sharpening expensive
knives, you probably don’t want to use a cheap sharpening stone.
Conversely, if you’re just getting started with sharpening your pocket knife, there’s no need to get too fancy in the beginning. You can find a sharpening stone at most sporting and hardware stores for about $10. Most basic sharpening stones come with two sides: a rough grit and a fine grit. The finer the grit, the finer
Rancher's Rave Barbecue BBQ PORK CHOPS
A ranch style barbecue recipe, cooked in the crockpot.
4 bone-in pork loin chops 2 teaspoons canola oil 1 1/2 lbs.red stew venison/bear/moose cubes 1 medium pepper, chopped 1 1/2 lbs. pork cubes 2/3 cup chopped celery 1/3 cup chopped onion 2 cups chopped 1 cup ketchup 1/4onions cup packed brown sugar 3 small green bell peppers, seededbroth and chopped 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste 1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup cider vinegar 1 tsp chili powder In 2ateaspoons large nonstick salt skillet, brown pork chops in oil 1over medium-high heat. Remove chops and teaspoon dry mustard keep warm. Add green pepper, celery and onion to 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
or sharper you can get your blade. You usually start off sharpening on the rough grit and then finish sharpening it on the finer grit.
Most knife sharpening experts recommend you use some sort of lubricant when sharpening your knife. The lubricant is usually water or oil. Most of the knife literature out there recommends mineral oil to be used for knife sharpening. The lubricant reduces heat from the friction that is created from sharpening your knife. Lubrication also helps clear out the debris that are created as you move your knife blade on the stone. In the field, you should carry a more expedient method to put an edge back and for that I recommend a diamond hone. They are generally round and about the size of a pencil. No lube is required, and just a few passes will really make a skinning job go so much faster. So how do you put on a good edge? If you have a particularly dull blade, start off with the rough grit sharpening stone. How do you tell which is rough grit? Sometimes you can tell by sight. If you can’t do that, do a thumbnail test. Scratch the surface with your thumbnail and whichever feels rougher, that’s where
you start. Now you need to lubricate the stone. If you’re using a lubricant, pour an ample amount of mineral oil all over the surface of the stone. Just enough to wet the surface is enough. Now, some stones call for water, like the DMT® diamond stones. Just substitute water when I mention oil. Place the knife blade flat on the stone and raise it to a 10 to 15 degree angle. The key to knife sharpening is maintaining a constant angle. Different knives require different sharpening angles. For a pocket knife, shoot for a 10 to 15 degree angle. This will give you an edge that’s sharp enough for most daily needs, but not sharp enough to shave. Keeping a constant angle by hand takes a lot of practice. If you’re having difficulty, you might consider investing in a sharpening guide. It takes all the guess work out of maintaining the needed angle. With your blade set at the angle, you’re ready to start sharpening. Imagine you’re carving off a slim piece of the stone’s surface. Some bring the blade into the stone, others stroke the blade away from the stone. Both ways work, so just use whatever technique you prefer. If the knife blade is curved or if it’s longer than the stone, you’ll need to sweep the blade sideways as you work, so the entire edge is sharpened evenly. Just keep the same angle all the time. Apply moderate pressure as you sharpen. No need to bear down hard on the blade. After you make one stroke, start back at the beginning and repeat. Do this about 6-12 times. Flip the blade and do the same thing on the other side. After you’ve sharpened each side, make several alternating strokessharpening one side and then sharpening the other successively. Finally,
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the skillet; cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften.ingredients Return pork chops to the pan.and In cook a bowl, Combine in slow cooker. Cover oncombine high for 6the to 8ketchup, hours, orbrown until very tender. Shred sugar, broth and chili meat with a potato masher or forks; serve over buns,to a powder. Pour over chops and vegetables. Bring potatoes, rice, orheat; any pasta. boil. Reduce cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until meat is tender.
Bill "Pop" "Pop" Burke, Burke, resides resides in in Claremont, Claremont, New New Bill Hampshire. If If you you would would like like to to contact contact Pop Pop Hampshire. send an an email email to: to: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com send
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an hourly rate plus mileage and the time starts when I leave my door yard and ends when I get back home. Included in this charge is traveling to the nuisance, setting traps, checking traps, removing and disposing of the animal and clean up time. In some cases I simply rent out the trap on a weekly basis and the homeowner does the checking, removal and disposal of the catch. I pick up the trap when the problem is gone. I determined how much to charge after calling a local franchise who handles animal control and found out their rates. Believe me they charge a lot so I charge half of what they get and I get a ton of work. After a few years in this business word of mouth keeps you up to your armpits in calls. While setting your traps keep in mind “SAFETY”. You certainly do not want to catch a neighborhood kid in a trap or the neighbor’s pets. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to warn the neighborhood of your activity, not yours. Do not put up signs saying the property is being trapped as “jonnie Sneekum” will help himself to them while you are not looking; also be sure to have in your contract that any destroyed go to a fine grit and repeat. In the knife sharpening section you will also find knife hones, which straighten the microscopic teeth (burrs) along the knife edge. Do not confuse these with sharpening stones. They are designed for a fine finish, not to bring back a dull edge. There are also two other sharpeners that require caution. The carbide ‘v’ that you drag your blade through to sharpen and the electric sharpener. The carbide type has hard metal blocks that rake off a lot of steel quickly. The angle is permanently set, so your blade angle or profile will be modified if it does not exactly match. They can really mess up a fine edge by leaving almost a saw
or stolen traps will be added to the bill. Also while setting traps remember the animal you are trying to capture. When after coons use fish smelling bait or oiled sardines work good for this. Skunks, anything with a smell seems to work, woodchucks love broccoli, and cabbage, and squirrels love peanuts. Think about what the animal loves to eat and provide that for lunch. Fox love mice, soo, you can buy ground up mice for bait or make your own. Once you make a catch, it is time for caution. If caught in a cage trap, cover it and remove. Move to another location for dispatch. If caught in a foot trap the same caution should be used when trapping year round, every animal comes with disease, claws, teeth, fleas, parasites, etc. Keep your distance, wear gloves and wash frequently. To dispatch animals you have caught I use a hollow point 22 caliber hand gun. A shot delivered to the forehead above the eyes and between the ears usually insures a quick death. The hole will make no difference because the fur from summer trapped animals is usually worth little. So there you have it. Sign up,
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tooth edge. The electric sharpener will also quickly re-profile an edge. Tiny dry stones rapidly heat up the knife edge and often ruin the temper. Remember the steel at the edge is extremely thin and heat is the enemy of hardened steel. Electric units are OK for keeping your steak knives ready for your venison/ but not for keeping you skinning knife ready to skin your venison. 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.
break out the traps and make some extra cash during the down months. As with all things in life, you will get out of it what you put into it. The sky is the limit. Keep your waders patched, your lures in the shed, and take a kid outdoors with you. See you on the trap line. Notes: I just completed the teaching of another trapper education course. Seventeen new folks will be out on the line this fall. Welcome aboard. If you are interested in a course call the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department or visit their web-site. Let those folks know you want a class and they will put you in contact with an instructor. Most classes are home study that is you do the bookwork part on your own and then show up at a location to show the instructor that you know what you are doing. All of this is usually done in one day. The only requirements are that you complete the bookwork prior to field day, show up at the work day with clothing compatible with trapping and a smiling face. The rest is easy. And girls, it is not just a guy thing. I had two females in my last class and they did as good as the guys. As the economy worsens more
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and more people are looking for ways to earn a little extra cash and trapping is a good way to do this. It involves commitment on your behalf all while being outside, enjoying Mother Nature at its best, getting exercise and it sure beats work or being a couch potato. Once you become a trapper then join the Vermont Trappers Association and the National Trappers Association. These two groups work hard all throughout the year to ensure this sport stays alive. Your help will help this cause. If you take a Trapper Ed class taught by a member of the Vermont Trappers Association you get a free years membership with the VTA. Just being a member and getting the wealth of info that comes along with it is well worth the time and effort. What are ya waiting for? 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.
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Forest Forward By Chris Mazzarella
Night on the Water
A few weeks ago I had a particularly memorable night on the water. It started with the incredible fishing display of a beautiful loon on a remote lake in west central New Hampshire. I had the entire lake to myself that night; that is until some evening visitors started coming out of the woodwork. I was paddling in ankle-deep water just before sunset while a chorus of coyotes sang through the brush at the north end of the lake. The loon was darting through the water at impressive speeds. These birds are magnificent swimmers, but usually disappear from sight until resurfacing in an unpredictable location. The shallow water offered up a new perspective, as the loon's course was clearly marked by a serpentine wake. As the sun sank in the cloudy sky, the coyotes settled down and a new sound caught my ear. This time the action was coming from the south. I scanned the shoreline with my telephoto lens and spotted a dark and blurry creature climbing over a fallen birch tree. It continued making its way down the lake getting progressively further out of sight. At several hundred yards away I suspected that my chances of catching up to this guy were pretty slim so I did what any hopeful and naive photographer would do—paddle! I said goodnight to the loon and dug into the water with excited strides. As I reached the half-way mark I peered back through my zoom lens revealing what I was chasing after. As I had hoped and suspected it was a young black bear rummaging around, sniffing and grabbing everything in sight. Still a football
field away, I had a slim chance of capturing a decent shot so I continued on, hoping the bear would stick
around while I got a little closer. Well, I wasn't so lucky and by the time I reached the shoreline all that remained were footprints and some scattered debris. The prospect of seeing a bear from the water at sunset was enough reward to keep me waiting for a second chance, and my patience paid off in dividends. Not twenty minutes later I heard branches snapping and leaves rustling just around the next cove. With renewed excitement I paddled over carefully with silent strokes. Just as the cove came into view the small black bear stepped out of the brush and down towards the water's edge. I quickly replaced paddle with camera and
started snapping shots while still drifting in closer. I couldn't have asked for better entertainment and the light was cooperating nicely. Not even the
horseflies could bother me as I watched the young bear playing in the water and exploring the fallen logs along the shore. My drifting
kayak slowed to a stop just fifteen feet away, and my company hardly paid any attention. While this intimate encounter
would have been memorable anywhere, it was made truly magical by the remoteness of the lake devoid of fishermen and fellow paddlers that night. The bear sauntered back into the brush. I was now alone and filled with a peaceful sense of excitement. I couldn't have asked for a better way to cap off the night…or could I? Just as my mind returned to the task of finding my way back to the truck, another visitor grabbed my attention. Off in the distance a young bull moose was making his way to the water for an evening bite to eat. He was approaching a small marshy cove flanked by two narrow outcroppings of rocky shoreline. I paddled off to one side placing me out of sight while I closed in on the cove. I chose the western side so I'd be in position for well-lit shots when I drifted back into view. The approach
worked nicely. I rounded the corner with the setting sun spilling down on the young bull. I felt clever with my stealthy advance, but soon discovered that this guy wasn't the least bit interested in me. The carefree moose resumed his feeding routine while I clicked away with my 5D Mark III. At a distance close enough to hold a casual conversation I was able to capture some nice stills and a few video clips as well. Now I'd really had my fill of excitement. I left the bull in peace still enjoying his meal, and happily paddled on, plenty content with retiring my camera for the night. Forest Forward is an online wildlife photo digest focusing on northern New England. Check us out at www.forestforward.com to view our latest wildlife sightings and informative commentary. You’ll also find our new interview series, featuring guests such as environmentalist Bill McKibben, world-renowned photographer Scott Bourne, and Vermont Edition’s Jane Lindholm, just to name a few. The Outdoor Gazette
Fish & Wildlife Management By Wayne A. Laroche
Local Canada Geese Populations Thriving in Northeast
I can still remember, as a boy in the 1950’s, how the high flying V-shaped flights of Canada geese thrilled me. They were a sure sign marking the arrival of spring as well as fall. The sights, sounds and smells of those seasons are things that will always stick with you. In those days when corn fields were few and far between, migrating geese mostly just passed over as they traveled between their far away wintering and breeding grounds. There was no local goose population in Vermont or the region, for that matter, in the 1950’s. Certainly, a lot has changed since I was a boy. Geese were first introduced at the Dead Creek Waterfowl Refuge in the Town of Addison, VT in 1956 when forty-four wild, trapped Canada geese were introduced. The first successful nesting occurred in 1960 from which was built a nesting population of about 100 geese. From this source, Vermont’s local Canada goose population was established. By the mid1990’s, breeding geese could be found across the entire state. Today, Canada geese can be found nesting around beaver ponds, lakes, streams and farm ponds all over Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Their numbers have burgeoned providing new hunting opportunities and even an increase in nuisance complaints to wildlife agencies. Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department waterfowl biologist Bill Crenshaw believes that Vermont is now home most of the year to about 10,000 local geese. Biologists in New Hampshire believe that perhaps three times that many now reside in the granite state. I recently spent an afternoon banding local geese with Vermont and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and several of their sons who were along to help round up the geese.
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Adult geese molt and are flightless for a period of time each summer making it rather easy to “herd” or “round-up” adults and goslings into portable enclosures. In a few hours, we managed to capture and band over a hundred birds. Uniquely numbered metal bands are placed on one leg of each goose. The band number along with
of five birds during 2011. I expect a similar number this year. If you decide to hunt the early goose season, it will pay to do some pre-season scouting to find where local geese are resting and feeding. Being residents of the local area, local geese tend to establish a daily routine and use the same fields and ponds to feed
Canada geese can easily be "rounded-up" for banding during summer when adults and young are flightless.
the sex, age and location of capture is recorded for each bird. This data is sent to the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Laboratory in Patuxent, Laurel, Maryland which works in cooperation with Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service to monitor the status and trends of North American bird populations. This information helps state and federal agencies set seasons and bag limits for geese. If you harvest a banded goose, it is easy to report the band number either online at www.reportband .gov" or by calling the Bird Banding Laboratory at 800-327-BAND. Take the time to report band numbers; this information is critical to managing seasons and populations of geese. Waterfowl seasons including goose hunting seasons are set in August. Given increases in local goose populations, seasons have become increasingly liberal providing excellent early season goose hunting opportunities. Vermont had an early season bag limit
and rest on from day to day. It is difficult to decoy these geese into fields that they have not been using. Since flocks of local geese tend to be small compared to flocks of migrating geese, there isn’t a need to deploy the large decoy spreads used for migrating geese. There is also little need to do a
lot of calling because the birds are used to and want to come into the fields they are habituated to. Taking time to get land owner permission before season is also a good idea. Some land owners consider large numbers of geese to be a nuisance. For this reason, you may find it easier to get permission to hunt hay fields during the early season than corn fields later in the fall. Compared to when I was a boy, there are a lot more hunting opportunities these days. Get out this fall and have some fun. You will also be helping with goose management. Don’t forget to report any bands that you find. Wayne Laroche directed Vermont’s Department of Fish and Wildlife from 2003 until 2011 serving as the Commissioner. He holds degrees in both fisheries and wildlife management from the Univ. of Maine and California State Univ. Wayne is a native Vermonter and currently resides in Franklin, VT. He enjoys tracking whitetails in the big woods of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Wayne can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tails from the Trail By Allan Tschorn
The sport of mushing is built upon an incredibly strong bond between humans and canines. This bond spills over, unites the mushing community and connects humans in a way I have not witnessed before. As we enter into August, let us not forget the fateful hand dealt to us by Tropical Storm Irene in the last week of August 2011. My story this month illustrates the connectedness we witness in the mushing community. Jeremy and Laura Bedortha operate Husky Works Mushing Company in West Wardsboro, Vermont. A touring kennel of pure bred Siberians offering tours 5 days a week during the winter months on seven plus miles of private trails, they also have the Dover River dissecting their property. As most people in the Northeast, we were watching the weather and preparing for tropical storm Irene. The forecast was for heavy rains and high winds, and we all braced ourselves and prepared the best we knew how in anticipation. Jeremy and I
had been in phone contact in the days preceding the storm, and on Friday night he said he was going to put the dog box on his truck in case he needed a place to put the dogs in
Waters of the Dover River getting higher. Jeremy knee deep in water salvaging kennel panels. 20 Minutes later, the kennel was gone.
the event the river behind his home and kennel flooded. Saturday night we talked again, and he said he had a bad feeling about “this one”. Sunday morning I opened my shop
time, and she had no business lifting heavy sled dogs over her head. Vermonters, as most New Englanders, are a proud and independent type – mostly accepting help if your available, it’s not too inconvenient, and you have nothing else more pressing to do at your kennel. In no uncertain terms, Jeremy called and said, “I need help. Can you come?” I sensed the anxiety and urgency in his voice, and in a matter of minutes, I had my daughter on her way to cover the shop for me so I could shake free and head to West Wardsboro to assist a friend in need. It is about an hour’s drive from Arlington to West Wardsboro. A narrow dirt road is the most direct
As I was leaving Arlington, I noticed how high the water had become in just a few short hours of rain. There were good size streams were once was only a barely noticeable trickle, and the main rivers looked angry and swollen with dirty water. As I was passing Stratton Mountain base lodge, only 15 minutes or so from Husky Works, I called Laura to tell her I was close. I could sense the panic in her voice – a vocal combination of one on the verge of breaking into tears, but keeping a stiff lip because we have to keep our shit together to deal with the gravity of what is going on in our back yard. “Jeremy will be glad when you are here” she said. I passed the Sun Bowl entrance to Stratton Mountain, and as was traveling on Mountain Road when I witnessed what appeared to be a narrow flow of water over the road suddenly open up a 20-foot gap in the road. WHOA! That was a bit scary. I turned around in the road and phoned my wife at home. Reporting to her what had just happened, I told her to call Bedortha’s and tell them I have run into accessibility issues, but I am still on my way. After a couple of other failed attempts to get into West Wardsboro, I again called my wife to tell he just how difficult I was finding the travel. She said Jeremy was waiting on me to evacuate the dogs. I instructed her to call and tell them NOT to wait on me – the traveling is proving to be more difficult than I thought, but I am still on my way. I ended up spending almost 10 hours and 2 tanks of gas trying to get into West Wardsboro, and subsequently back home. When all was
After the flood waters passed, this is where the kennel was.
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for business at 8:00 AM. The phone rang at just before 9:00 AM and it was Jeremy. The river behind his kennel was “roaring”, and he asked if I could come help load his dogs into the dog boxes on his truck. His wife Laura was 8? months pregnant at the
route over the mountain pass known to locals as “The Kelly Stand Road”. Though it is the most direct route, the road is rough on good days, and it passes through a very isolated and sometimes rarely traveled terrain. I opted to stay on the main roads, where, if need be, assistance could be had. I too had developed a strange feeling about this storm.
said and done, I had spent 27 hours in my truck with one of my dogs traversing the State in an attempt to get back home. I slept that night behind the Citizen Bank in Woodstock, Vt. Jeremy called my cell phone at about 10:00 PM that night. He felt horrible for asking me to come help, and even worse that I had to sleep in my truck.
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“No problem” I said. “I have a beer, a dog. I am warm, dry and most of all SAFE.” It didn’t need to be said, we both knew – Jeremy would have done the exact same thing for me had I been in need and asked for his assistance. Unfortunately, the HWMC kennel did not fair so well, nor did the community of West Wardsboro. In the aftermath of Irene, there were 12 Vermont communities that were cut off and isolated from neighboring communities due to road and bridge failure. West Wardsboro was such a community with no way in and no way out. Power lines and phone communication were lost, and with such a damaged infrastructure there simply was not even a guess as to how long communities would remain isolated and without power. No Power. No Phone. 8? month pregnant – labor anticipated at any time. Not even an outlet to get to the hospital should labor descend upon the family. Stress. Anxiety. 30 some dogs now housed only in the boxes on the back of a one-ton truck. And not only was the kennel proper – fence panels and doghouses –
to their FB wall on their behalf so those logging on and able to log on would at least know they are alive, and though the tasks before them seem daunting, they are surviving and everyone is OK. Tropical storm Irene hit on Sunday, August 28. By Tuesday a secondary road had been patched to be at least passable, albeit by only one lane. We were relieved – we could actually get in to be of some help to them. They needed, and we brought: a large generator, water – for drinking, flushing and watering dogs, gas, diesel, food, paper towels, hand sanitizer, ice, beverages, and most of all hugs, concern and helping hands. To those who believe social networking is less than significant, it proved invaluable to quickly and efficiently connect with all who would be concerned, and sound the need for help when appropriate. Here are some of the posts from the week after Irene: To all who have reached out to J & L – we just got back from seeing them today, and they are doing ok. Don’t be concerned by lack of communication from them, they have no power, no phone service – and no
The dogs safely confined in a much smaller temporary kennel. washed down the river, so was the very land it sat upon. But Jeremy, Laura, son Ty and all the dogs were OK. There was no question they were going to need some help on a variety of levels, but the frustrating thing from the outside looking in was – WE couldn’t get there to help! News of the devastation Irene left traveled fast, and it did not take long for the fact that Wilmington, Wardsboro and West Wardsboro were in a line of some of the hardest hit, and now most isolated communities in the State. I spoke to Jeremy just about every night via cell phone, even if only briefly, just to know they were surviving. Cell phone service is spotty at best in Vermont, and there is one corner of the porch at HWMC that gets cell reception. So unless Jeremy or Laura happened to be at that particular spot where they could get cell reception, those trying to call in and see if they were ok were only getting voice mail. Not a very comforting situation to those so concerned about their welfare. I took it upon myself to post status
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internet, and there is no definite time of restoration. Their only contact is via very limited cell service. They sounded the most optimistic today than they have since Sunday. Major roads in and out of Wardsboro have not yet been restored, and there is not a time frame for that either. The dogs are housed in a make shift kennel set up on their driveway and are doing ok – a bit confused, but ok. Their biggest concern was if Laura should go into labor, how to best address the health concerns of both Laura and the baby, and deal with all the dogs very much out of their element. Now that a secondary road is passable, they can at least get out, or help can get in – and that alleviated a lot of primary concern. There is still much restoration to the infrastructure in and surrounding Husky Works, but they are all ok and taking one day at a time. And as you can see from a post by Jeremy on September 1, it was truly a community effort to support them: A huge thank you, to everyone who helped us out over the
last several days. Especially my dad and our neighbors Mike/Michelle Arbogast and Lucas/Tammy Bates for helping get the dogs out in time
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other’s dogs. I believe that mushers have a connectedness to each other via the relationship(s) they have with their dogs. To try to explain how I
Many hands make light work to replace the many lost dog huts.
and taking Tyler all day. Thank you to the Tschorn’s for all they have done and continue to do. Thanks to Daryl Larson and John Read for helping make the makeshift kennel after the storm. Ironically, once they had the generator connected to the house and running they were able to get on the internet and let people know first hand they were ok. Though the phone lines were down, for some reason the internet was working. The generator didn’t run all the time, and as progress was made on restoring power and telephone poles the internet service was sometimes spotty, but they were able to get word out of their needs and status. A welcomed relief to so many, who were concerned for them. A work party was scheduled for a Saturday, September 4 to begin the restoration process to the kennel and the land upon it once sat. Heavy equipment brought in fill, dozers covered the bushel basket sized hard heads that littered the landscape, and friends, neighbors and fellow mushers from as far away as Eastern New Hampshire all descended upon West Wardsboro that day to pitch in. We all pooled resources, and got many supplies donated from generous vendors in our respective communities. The list of raw materials alone was daunting, let alone the labor required to assemble hundreds of feet of kennel fencing, lay patio block around the perimeter, cut 2x4’s and sheet plywood for new dog huts and restore the integrity to the landscape. But many hands made light work that afternoon. A grill was lit, and everyone was well fed as they worked. What is it about the mushing community that fosters such relationships? It’s the dogs. It’s the camaraderie of another person who cares as deeply for their dogs as you do for your dogs. It’s the safety zone of having a lot of dogs and not being called insane. We have common concerns with health, food, logistics and kennel management. We speak the same language. And we care about each
feel about my dogs to a “non-musher” loses something in attempting the translation. I don’t think this is unique to mushers per-se, as I have had better success relating the relationship to other people with working dogs of some kind – herding dogs, hunting dogs, etc. (And, likewise, I better understand the level of commitment and training that an owner of hunting dogs may have with his kennel.) The key here is the plurality and the evolvement of a pack life style. Our dogs are part of our family, and we are part of their pack. As far as we were concerned, Jeremy & Laura’s needs may just as well have been for 30 some kids as 30 dogs! I may not have the same emotional attachment to another kennels dogs as they do, but I surely have a great deal of respect for that relationship, and am compassionate when someone has a specific need, or in this case, emergency involving their dogs. Jeremy tells of how he had a “bad feeling” about this, and how screwed he would have been if he didn’t have the fore sight to put the dog box back on his truck. At one point I commented how in tune dogs are with the environment, and how they pick up on many things before we humans do. I said to him – “You may not be able to put your finger on it, but at some point there was an action or event, perhaps lodged in the subconscious, that registered with you the gravity of what was about to happen”. About 20 minutes later, Jeremy lifted his head from what he was doing and recalled – At one point Friday all the dogs in the kennel were facing the river, on alert. Focused. Not a tail was wagging. His dogs were talking to him. Thankfully he listened. Allan & Suzanne Tschorn have a kennel of 16 Siberians Sled Dogs in Sandgate, Vermont. They have supported Husky Works Mushing Company with their tour business during the busiest weeks of the winter mushing season. For tour information, check out www.huskyworks.com Page 29
Southern Side Up By Alex Cote
I took my first bear in the summer of 1980 in Jackman Maine. I took my second and last bear, in 1981. That too in Jackman Maine. For what ever reason, I had a burning desire to take a black bear and hunting with a guide was probably the best way to make it happen. I was no not however that thrilled about taking a bear over bait! I simply thought that it defied all of the fair chase rules that I so stood by. I pulled together some information from several magazines and made some calls. I settled on Mike Brent and Moose River Lodge. We talked a fair number of times over the phone and I aired my concerns over the baiting issue. He assured me that it was no way no how hat I had envisioned. Which incidentally was basically hunting over a dump site! I assured me that I was hunting over a big handful of bait. To sweeten to pot even more, he offered to allow me to bring my wife at no charge! When I arrived for the hunt, I was a little surprised at, well, the lack of organization I guess is the fairest
way to put it. As it turned out, Mike was in his first year of guiding! How I didn’t pick up on that in the first place is beyond me! But in
Mike’s defense, he was spending as much time as possible in the woods and he had befriended one of the areas top bear operations owner who wasn’t bashful in sharing. As it
turned out, I was actually Mikes’ third paying client. The other two had arrived the day before or I would have been the first! I was full of questions, and eager to learn the ropes. As I recall, I was
still hung up on the baiting aspect of things. Then Mike showed me what he was using. He took gallon milk jugs cutting them down the front about halfway, leaving the back and handle intact. He then went to the freezer and took out some meat scraps that filled roughly half of the gallon container. That was the bait! Basically, the meat scraps were no more that a treat for the bear and not their main meal by any stretch. He would ready the jugs in the morning and sit them in the sun until he made his rounds later in the day checking his bait sites. For the three of us at the lodge that week, he was maintaining somewhere around 20 bait sites. Any bear was fair game but we were asked to let the bear come in and make sure it wasn’t a sow with cubs. Taking a mother from cubs would greatly decrease the cubs’ chance of survival. Today’s bear management plan in Maine doesn’t even offer a
spring season any longer. Part of the deal with Mike’s operation was he provided the transportation daily to and from the stands. Only made sense, he knew where he was going and he knew where he wanted us to go! He had a seven passenger Dodge van. The first afternoon out, I made an interesting discovery. Again, something that I hadn’t, but should have picked up on before. While driving, Mike had his head kind of cocked to one side. As it turned out, he was blind in one eye! Not that it really mattered at the time but as we were damn near slammed into by a logging truck that Mike didn’t see because of it, damn near became a huge issue! Anyway, the hunting was all done in the afternoon to dark. We would leave the lodge around 2ish, get to the stands around 3ish. Mike would walk us in and at the same Time, freshen up the bait. On his way out, he would freshen up the other sites that he was maintaining. The van that we were riding in was unique. So unique that it broke the average person from a few nasty habits. It stopped one from putting the fingers in the mouth and stopped one from nose picking! By the time the meat had thawed out in the van, the smell was soooooo bad, it made a normal person gag! In fact, it was so bad, the flies didn’t want anything to do with it! After touching anything associated with it, ones fingers never went out of site afterwards! While on stand, we were allowed no food, be as still as possible and above all, no smoking! Although bear may have not the best eye sight, they do see movement well and their sense of smell is second to none. I passed the time doing in the mosquitoes that were trying to suck the life out of me. Seemed like
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Lucky Arkansas Brothers Excited to Hunt Moose in Maine
Augusta, Maine - Two brothers from Hot Springs, Arkansas will bring their luck to Maine in September after both their names were called as winners during last month’s moose permit lottery. Benjamen Dunn, 22, and Jedidiah Dunn, 12, each had ten chances to win, resulting in a 1.8 percent chance that one of them would win a permit and a 0.03 percent chance that they would both win. They were two of the 54,338 people who applied for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s moose permit lottery this year, up from 49,887 applications in 2011. This year, 39,681 residents applied, while 14,657 non-residents put their name in. Of the 3,725 permits available, 3,362 went to residents while the remaining 363 were won by non-residents. The brothers – along with their parents Gene and Rhonda Dunn – were out of town during the week-
end of the June 23 lottery and found out the good news when they lis-
when you killed one, 50 more came flying in for the funeral. I was piling them up on my pant legs in an effort to increase the body count hour by hour. As I recall, my best hour was 147 of blood sucking the monsters. Mid week, I shot an old dry sow. When I got out of the stand and checked her over, she was fairly still well furred but she didn’t have much left for teeth. When I checked her in a tooth was taken for aging. When I got the results back, I think that I did her a favor, she was aged at 26 to 28 years old! When we did the skinning job back at the lodge, her eyes seemed cloudy like she had cataracts and there was a huge build up in her ears. Not only was this bear old but she was apparently almost blind and deaf to boot! For my efforts, I won a free hunt the following year from Mike because I had taken the first bear out of his newly established lodge! I was also successful the following year and thus satisfied my urge to shoot a bear! If given the chance today, I would go on a hunt but I would want my youngest son to reap the benefits, not I. Since those hunts, there are many changes that have taken place in the bear hunting world. There are no longer any spring hunts offered in Maine and baiting regulations have been placed in effect. Here in New Hampshire, the number of bait sites in limited as well as when bait can be placed. There are also rules governing the clean up of any mess left after the season as well as exact GPS locations of any bait stations being maintained. It seems as though every few years, the controversy of baiting rears its ugly head. In talking with a fair number of wildlife biologists, there is no reason not to
bait. It by no means is their main diet, the low bear harvest numbers attest to that. The bears simply didn’t respond all that well to bait because there was an overabundance of natural foods available. Still hunters had a great year by the numbers, hunting the natural food supplies. I know many hunters that have hunted bear for decades by still hunting methods and have taken “0”. It is estimated that hunters by all methods take between 8 and 10% of the annual black bear population which is estimated to be between 5,000 and 6,000 animals. The bear populations are on the rise as are human, bear conflicts. The majority of the conflicts come from development. Many cry foul when the term baiting bear is heard. Wonder how many of these nay Sayers occupy these newly developed lands that have displaced the wildlife in the first place? The White Mountain region of the state has been a constant for the region taking the largest number of bear annually followed by the North Country, Central region, then the remainder of the state lumped in. I have known several guides for quite some time, all offer a quality experience. Steve Courchesne, K and S Outdoors, 603-485-8776, Lionel (Buck) Mercier, Perry Stream Guide Service, 603-582-5123, Paul Piwarunas, Tag-Em Guide Service, 603-538-9536 and reasonably new comer, Toby Owen, Connecticut Lakes Guide Service, 603-5386981. Not to mention, if you are fortunate enough while in the North Country to take a bear or moose for that matter, I met a unique individual a few years back hauling out a moose for a friend of mine! He has quite a system to get animals to the
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tened to their voicemail messages at home and had a congratulatory one from an outfitter. “I said to myself, ‘No way, this is impossible that they both won,’” Gene Dunn said. “I still can’t believe it happened.”
Both brothers have September bull tags after Gene was able to swap Jedidiah’s November permit. Gene started visiting Maine in the early 1990s after making friends with a Winslow couple while hunting in Colorado and saw his first moose during a bear hunt. Since then, he has been applying for the moose lottery and started applying for his sons once they reached an appropriate age and took enough hunter safety courses. The brothers’ September moose hunt will be a family affair as Gene will serve as Jedidiah’s subpermittee in Zone 1 and Rhonda will hunt with Benjamen in Zone 4. The group will use guides in
truck. He uses a gas powered winch and a block and tackle set up where needed that is second to none and his rates are more than reasonable. For this type of assistances, the MAN is John (Grum P) White, 603538-6811. Still not to sure where the Grum-p comes from!
Wallagrass, where they will stay during their visit, and also plan to get some bear hunting done. The brothers are ecstatic to have the chance to hunt in Maine and many people they know in Arkansas are envious of their opportunity. “I already put the call in to my younger son’s school principal to get time off to go to Maine and the only complaint we’ve heard is that people from the school wish they could come with us,” Gene said. “They said if more parents did things like this with their kids, the world would probably be a much better place.” Gene, Rhonda and their sons are all avid hunters who like to hunt deer in their home state and travel to Colorado to hunt elk. “The hunting world takes care of you if you treat it properly and respect it,” Gene said. “I’ve hunted enough in my life to know that killing the moose is the bonus. Hunting the moose is what it’s all about and my sons are just thrilled to get that chance.”
from previous page
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.
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A Waterfowler's Perspective No hunting - unless you ask nicely
Whether you have been waterfowl hunting for 50 years, or if this fall will be your first season, one thing you will need to do is find a place to hunt. There are more places to hunt waterfowl then one would think. As waterfowlers we are very fortunate to have organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, and of course, our State & Federal organizations that continually work to secure and improve lands for us to enjoy. One of the more difficult tasks has always been gaining permission to hunt from private landowners. Most landowners have already granted exclusive permission to hunters or hunting clubs. Too often landowners simply prefer not to allow any hunting on their property. Over the past 30 plus years I have learned a few ways to gain access to land, and more importantly, maintain that access for the following years. I am successful even with the landowners with “No Hunting” signs scattered around the property. The trick is to try all sorts of different tactics. I go
to the landowners directly and ring the door bell. I call them on the phone. I mail letters asking for permission either for free or through a
By Brian Bouchard
Whatever tactic you use, what you will want to do first is, decide how much you plan on hunting, how many hunters in your group, and how far you are willing to travel. Also, would you be willing to offer
a 500 acre farm with cut corn & honey hole I lease each year
lease. I offer pay for the day options. This works well for land owners that want to control how often you hunt. It’s worth it for me to pay $100 a day to bring 3-4 other hunters. It’s like paying green fees at a golf course.
the farmer manual labor in return for access to hunting land? Maybe help them with summer chores by bring in hay, trapping or hunting predators for them. Oh yeah, the big one, how much are you willing to pay? Money seems to work well when all else fails. As an Outfitter it's very important for me to be able to have access to land. Whether outfitting or just hunting, either way the land needs to hold birds, so scouting is extremely important. I have land that I have access to hunt for no charge. I have land that I lease on an annual basis. I only pay for land that I know will be very productive and that would be leased by someone else if I was not to lease the land myself. There are many things to consider whether you're leasing the land or you simply have permission to hunt it. With a lease you usually have the exclusive rights to hunt the land which helps eliminate or control others from hunting the property. When simply having permission you could show up to find you’re not the only hunters setting out decoys in your “secret spot”. If you are looking for permission only, without a lease or financial commitment, you want to approach the landowner in the spring or early summer for the upcoming fall hunt.
By rule this should be done at least 3 months prior to the season. One reason why an early approach is so important is that other hunters may have already done so. Sort of the early bird gets the worm idea. Another reason is landowners do not like you showing up opening day all dressed in camo with shotguns in tow. When asking permission, do this during the day while wearing regular street clothes, looking more like a salesman than a hunter. This will usually make the landowner less concerned about the reason for your visit. I like to send a letter to potential landowners first describing my intentions. In the letter I tell them who I am, a brief history about myself, and what type of vehicle I drive. I let them know that I will be stopping by one day next week to meet with them and to ask for their permission to hunt their property. I include my name, address, and my phone number in case they prefer to call me first to welcome my visit or simply tell me not to bother stopping by. You would be surprised how often this works at easing the landowners concerns while giving you a chance to talk with them at a time when it's convenient for them. I have found they seem to respect you
an elevated blind we build in Lake Champlain to hunt puddle & diver ducks.
for not just popping in. This works particularly well for those landown-
Continued next page
The Outdoor Gazette
New Hampshire Becoming an Outdoors-Woman activities are for you if you’ve never tried them before and want to learn; if you’re a beginner looking to improve your skills; or if you’re familiar with some outdoor activities but want new challenges. Though designed primarily for women, the program is an opportunity for anyone 18 or older to explore new outdoor interests. New Hampshire’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program is cosponsored by the N.H. Fish and Game Department and the N.H. Wildlife Federation.
early June. Winter B.O.W.: This one-day workshop in February encourages participants to get out and enjoy the outdoors during the winter. Choose a single topic for the day. Courses include ice fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, winter survival skills and “shoe and shoot” (snowshoeing and woodland rifle target shooting). “Beyond B.O.W.” specialty workshops: A variety of specialty workshops are offered at varying skill levels from time to time.
Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (B.O.W.) is a chance for women to learn outdoor skills they can use to enjoy fishing, hunting and many other outdoor pursuits. BOW workshops are presented in a fun, supportive environment. Come learn in the company of other women! Try something new! B.O.W.
NH BOW Events Fall B.O.W. weekend workshop: Features classes in archery, fly-fishing, spincasting, firearms use, camping, backpacking, nature photography, canoeing, kayaking, map and compass, outdoor survival and much more. Presented at Rockywold /Deephaven Camps in Holderness, N.H., set on the shores of Squam Lake in early September. Registration opens in
Topics have included:
ers that you do not know. For those you know you can simply call them
ance. This is about $200 a year and shows the landowner you are consci-
times while hunting the land. This shows you have permission to hunt in the event a game warden or someone else comes by. Also, if you encounter another hunter, you can nicely provide the lease and ask them to leave, or perhaps join forces. Maybe you now have a new hunting buddy. Of course they should pay to play like you had to. Once you have secured permission to hunt by lease or by handshake, it's extremely important to respect the landowner’s property. Find out the best place to park, so you can quietly come and go. Ask if they would like you to stop in or call after each hunt to let them know you were there. I offer up any help they may need maintaining their lands. Always pick up any trash, whether it was yours or not. Never leave shells in their fields and try to pick up all shells if possible. I count our shells going in and out to ensure we get them all. I leave a note on my dash while hunting with my name and cell number and the names of the
44 acre corn field I have permission to hunt
or stop by. If you happen to know someone who knows the landowner it's best to talk with the mutual friend first and have that friend approach the landowner for you. Worst case when you call or write the landowner, you can mention the mutual friend's name. Another thing that goes over well with all landowners is to offer up some of your harvest. Ask them if they would like some of the game you hope to harvest on their land. Offer it to them processed, packaged, and labeled with date of harvest. You can also return at the end of the season with a bottle of something that they might enjoy along with a thank you card. A gift certificate to a local eatery always works well. I am fortunate to hunt with the award winning decoy carver Leo LaBonte, so he & I offer up a handmade duck decoy as a thank you. Although not required, it’s very smart to have hunter's liability insurThe Outdoor Gazette
entious of everyone's welfare. I always have a liability policy which I provide to all landowners that either lease or allow me use of their land. Most landowners that lease their land will require insurance. If you are going to lease the land you plan to hunt you will want to be sure it holds game. If you are a duck, deer, turkey & predator hunter like I am, you will want to include all of the species you intend to hunt in your lease. I even include trapping in my leases. This allows me to trap while also letting the landowner know I will be able to remove nuisance animals from their land. Sometimes they welcome this, sometimes not, so ask first. Make sure you carefully read over the lease. If the landowner doesn't already use a lease you should provide one for them to sign, and for each of you to retain a copy. I have an example of a hunting lease on my site. Carry this lease with you at all
• • • • • • • •
Fly Tying Wilderness Survival Map and Compass Deep Sea Fishing Overnight Backpacking Kayak Fishing Wild Cooking Intro to Trapping
All photos are courtesy of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
from previous page
hunters who are with me. This way the landowner knows we are there and who is on their land. I especially do this if I'm riding with someone else and the landowner might not recognize the vehicle. Land to hunt on can be easy to find but hard to access. However, if you follow certain practices to demonstrate to the landowner you are not a terrorist, your chances are better of getting them to allow you to hunt their land. If you have any questions or want more tips on what I do, send me an email and I will be glad to help you get started. Heck, maybe we could even hunt together someday. 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.
From the back of a canoe The good, the bad, and the ugly
Thursday June 28th four clients, my partner Gerry and I were in Pittsburg fishing the Connecticut River. Other than the Connecticut in Pittsburg above Indian Stream everything within driving distance above and below the notches had flooded out. I had drifted the Connecticut a few days including the day before when the river went from 1100 to 3050 CFS at North Stratford. Definitely fishable but it increased to 4000 overnight and was still rising so drifting was out. There were quite a few anglers on the water; not hard to comprehend when it was the only place to fish other than ponds. We had a father and son combination; the father was 82 and although an avid angler had never fly fished. Gerry talked to an angler in an easy wading pool. It turned out to be Angus Boezeman; another guide. Angus had been guiding twenty days and was looking forward to a day off with a little time to fish; he graciously gave up his spot. Gerry ran into a few other anglers he knew up river later in the morning who also gave up a pool for a while. There are a lot of good people on the water. The father and son had a great time. The father may never fly fish again but the memory of the trip will remain for the rest of their lives. That prompted memories of camping trips to Mollidgewock with my father who no longer fished but enjoyed getting out and spending time with his great grandsons as they fished and kayaked the Androscoggin. The time came when he decided he was too old to go on camping trips. Three years ago he joined us in Errol over the 4th of July. Our Androscoggin package had ended and he stayed at the house we rent. He was 90 at the time and still living
on his own. It turned out to be his last trip. In the last few months his memory has faded; on good days he
By Jim Norton
is well oxygenated which helps otherwise there would be a lot of dead trout. Trout fishing in the morning was usually good. We have two brothers who have hit the hatch
Jim Norton fshing for the first time in a month with a 7 1/2 foot 3 weight rod and a reel I made. Photo by Gerry Crow.
can still remember trips to Great East Lake, Dolly Copp, Mollidgewock and our camp in Maine. Many people don’t believe in global warming but statistics are hard to argue with and the last twenty or so years have had a major effect on just about everything. The Alderfly hatch was out on June 12th; and maybe a few days earlier; that’s only the second time I’ve seen it start before the 21st. Twenty years ago we felt lucky if it started by the last weekend in June; usually it was July. Three years ago it was out on the 11th. On June 1st the Androscoggin was up to 65; that’s usually the water temperature the last week of June but the last several years it has warmed up a lot earlier. By the third week of June the Androscoggin was in the 70’s; and reached 74. That’s OK for swimming but doesn’t do anything for trout fishing. The river
when it’s been prime three years in a row; they are really getting spoiled. On the other hand afternoons when the sun was on the water were slow. There’s always the exception and it was on June 30th when I had two novice fly fishermen land a dozen brookies and a few browns on dries on a few runs where the alderflies were still active. Ponds were up in the 70’s with a few reaching 80 by the 3rd week of June. Three days of rain and cloud cover the last week of June lowered the water temperature to 64; that was good. The bad was the river jumping up to 4000 CFS; the Connecticut over 4000, The Pemi over 1000 and the Saco to 1700; all rendering a lot of water unfishable for a lot of anglers. Anytime you’re on the water for weeks it’s unlikely to have great conditions. 2011 was the exception; the flows were low from mid June until the hurricane. In June
the Androscoggin in Errol fluctuated from 8,000 to 1,800 and the Connecticut in North Stratford from around 7,000 to 500. There were a few spikes when rain pushed the rivers up; that’s part of fishing as inconvenient as it is to anglers and guides. I had one afternoon off and took my wife drifting for a few hours; she did pretty well on dries. She had a few good nights landing an 18 inch brookie and loosing another about the same size fishing with a friend and guide who stayed with us for a few nights. The fly was a Hex pattern another guide had given her. The never ending saga of lost anchors continued with the Andro claiming another one. My 15 pound mushroom anchor with the duct tape expandable option worked well. I’ve gone back to using weights. A 25 pound weight with a 3 inch I bolt is ready to go. Three 10 pound weights are susceptible to getting wedged although not as much as traditional anchors. My only previous 25 pound weight was lost because I forgot to tighten the clip. We have another guide that worked with us in June; he dove for two anchors. At $160 per anchor plus shipping it can take a toll on a day’s pay. Duct tape may not look as good but it works just as well and is a lot less expensive. Gerry and I got to fish July 8th; our previous outing was June 8th; so much for guides fishing a lot. It had rained hard the previous evening north of the notches and although the flows were good when we left by the time we started fishing the rivers were rising. We hit four rivers and a few streams with poor results; maybe next month. Jim a native of New Hampshire enjoys fly-fishing & tying, bird hunting and a variety of other outdoor activities and is a registered NH fishing Guide www.nhriversguide.com and author of the book Granite Lines.
The Outdoor Gazette
The Coastal Zone Captian John Curry By Captain
Silver Beach Blues
Last month I wrote about the Inshore Slam and how difficult it can be to collect three species in one day on the water. Well on July 17th John Durkee of Tunbridge, Vermont completed my fist slam of the season by catching a keeper striped bass (min. 28”), a bluefish and a keeper fluke. Way to go Mr. Durkee! We actually got into the fluke and stripers pretty heavy, but that’s a topic for another day. This month we are talking about bluefish and a unique spot that attracts them at certain times of the season. Old Silver Beach is a very popular tourist spot for its white sandy beach and nearby upscale resort accommodations. Situated on the western shore of Buzzards Bay with a nearby deep cove that is in a direct line with the incoming tide and consistent southwest breeze it’s a natural trap for baitfish and the marauding blues that coral them on certain conditions. For many of our readers their experience fishing for blues means trolling umbrella rigs and plugs on heavy gear. Not on my boat. This location is perfect for one of my favorite tactics, fly fishing for blues. This location is unique in many ways, but one factor that has my clients stumped is there are no birds.
Often to find schools of blues you look for Gulls and Terns that will indicate a blue fish blitz with bait and water flying everywhere. That is not often the case I have observed many time a few loons or cormorants stationed The Outdoor Gazette
near small underwater humps or even depressions that for some reason the blues will hold near the bottom during the day and
remain in the area for weeks. There is no visible sign of activity and many times I am the only boat within miles and that is just fine with me. I always enjoy the look on a clients face when we pull up and I say ok lets fish and they are like, right here? This is where the fun begins. We start by throwing top water poppers, the louder the better. It seems to “wake up” the blues and get them into the feeding mood. After we have located the right approach and have landed a few for the smoker I break out the fly-fishing gear. Depending on the bait in the area I match the size and shape with a fly that has a 5-inch thin wire bite-guard attached to the leader. It doesn’t seem to matter the color fly as long as you match the bait. Next I then take out my trusty wooden custom made “Long Bomb Special” made by P.T. Custom Plugs© in red/white with the hook removed. I can send this plug a long way and then the real fun begins. I coax the blues up the surface and have the client send out the fly in direct line with my retrieve or vise versa depending on who is casting when and rip it as fast as I can to get the fish chasing the plug right up to the boat. As they are smashing and biting at the plug they hopefully see the fly appearing to be a baitfish
wanting out of this crazy situation and they slam into the fly with a fury no smallmouth or even northern pike could even dream up. This is one of the few times
that I get to actively fish while
guiding even though my plug has no hooks. It’s a real treat for me and seeing a client land their first saltwater game fish on a fly is the real reward. This technique has also worked well for schooling stripers when they are actively feeding. There is more to this story than the technique. It’s about spending many days on your local waters and through observation of our marine environment finding a way to turn negative fish into positive feeders. Sometimes you have to be aggressive to consistently land fish other times a subtle approach will be the ticket. This is why I love my job as a guide on the beautiful Cape Cod. 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.
On and Off the Trail By Ken Monte
Long Trail Travels Part 2
Sorry for not having a column last month. Hiking and computers got in the way. I was hiking on the Long Trail when the Gazette went to press and I somehow put my article in drafts and never sent it out to Fred. Maybe I should just go back to basics and write it out on my old manual typewriter and send it to Fred by snail mail. I’m sure he would just love having to re-type my article out each month. By the time you read this in August I will finally have finished my entire Long Trail hike. I only have 30 miles to go and I am leaving to do that as soon as I finish this article and get it off to Fred. I thought I was already going to have it done by now but that is a story for a later column. When I last left off, I had just replaced a lot of gear and it turns out that my replacements were just what was needed. My father dropped me off for a 3-day trip that would take me from where the LT crosses Rootville Road to Route 103 in Clarendon. I was still carrying my tent at this point and planned on going all the way to Mad Tom
Notch. There is some flat ground there and good water so I figured it would be a good stopping point. Along the way I met a father and son that were also hiking the LT. The father was only going half way and the son was going to hike the whole thing as a high school graduation gift to himself. Meeting them and hiking around them for the next few days went a long way towards making sure I actually finished my hike. They gave me great moral support and some trail tips that worked well during the rest of the summer. The first tip was to take your boots and sock off whenever you stop for more than a few minutes. Giving your feet a break if only for a half hour does wonders for you both physically and mentally. The second and most important tip was to slow down. Set a slower pace and you can usually cover more ground in the long run. The one thing I forgot to take into account when I was hiking this time was that the Summer Solstice was going to take place on the second day of the trip. For those of you who don’t get out on the trails much during that time the significance of
it is that there is a long history on the AT and Lt of naked hiking that day. I was about 3 miles away from my final destination for the day at Little Rock Pond when I saw someone coming down the trail. At first I thought that he just didn’t have a
shirt on. He got a little closer and I realized that his pants weremissing as well. Eyes on the trail, we passed and I figured I had weathered the storm. Or so I figured. About a mile further as I was skirting around a beaver pond I looked up and saw 7 or 8 more hikers headed my way all dressed in nothing but their birthday suits. They also had a little tiny dog with them. I don’t know why but somehow that made it worse. The lead guy had to be in his mid-sixties and wanted to talk. I just kept my eyes on the trail, called out watch out for the horseflies and kept on going. Thankfully that was it for the day and also the last naked people I saw on the trail for the summer. I spent a real good night at Little Rock Pond and was off to 103 in the morning. By the way Little Rock Pond is a nice day hike for the family (as long as you avoid the Solstice). It’s pretty level hiking and you can swim and fish at the pond when you get there. Just take US Forest road 10 off of Route 7. It’s about 8 miles round trip and well worth the visit. Just make sure you bring along extra food for the starving AT and LT thru-hikers. Everybody appreciates a little trail magic now and then. The way to Route 103 was pretty easy and I had my own little bit of trail magic when I met up with somebody who gave me a little nip of Jack Daniels to help me get through the rainy day. He and his wife had driven up from Boston just to day hike for a few days and to be trail angels. It turned out that his pack was full of little bottles that he was handing out to all the hikers they met that day. Little things like that go a long way when you’re cold, tired and hungry. The next section I planned on doing was from Route 103 to Brandon Notch. I arranged for some ride support from a friend Josh
in Brandon. He was having a pig roast at his house the night before he was going to be dropping me off. Let’s just say that when I got on the trail the next day, I wasn’t at my best. The very first thing you have to do when heading north from 103 is to start climbing. I took a short rest at the Clarendon Shelter and kept going until I reached Cooper Lodge where I ended for the night. Cooper is the highest elevation shelter on the LT. It had been cold and rainy all day and it turned into a cold rainy night. Unfortunately, Cooper Lodge has become a hangout for out-ofbounds skiers during the winter. They have busted out all the windows and written graffiti all over the walls. The roof and the bunks are also in need of some repairs. When it started raining again during the night, water started running down the wall next to my bunk. Now the reason for the uneven bunks was clear. The water had let the supports on one side slide down into a hole. For all that, I ended up getting a good nights sleep and was on my way again early the next morning in heavy fog. None of my clothes had dried out due to the missing windows but I hiked my way into being warm. The weather shifted and the next 2 days turned out to be great. I got across Route 4 and was soon at Maine Junction. This is where the LT and the AT split. The LT keeps going north and the AT turns west. From this point on I was on just the LT. I spent the night at the Rolston Rest Shelter with a father and son from Cape Cod who were thru-hiking the trail. The father was having some problems with his feet and with shin splints but he was still plugging along. The next day was pretty uneventful. No big climbs and very few views until I was almost to Brandon Gap. My ride met me there with a cold beer that definitely went to my head. It’s amazing how quickly a beer works on somebody who has been hiking all day. My next section was supposed to be from Brandon Gap all the way over Camels Hump and down to the lowest point on the trail at Jonesville, VT. I’ll leave that story for next month. Let’s just say that the first mountain I was going to have to climb was perfect foreshadowing for the rest of the trip. The first Mountain was Mount Horrid. Ken Monte lives in Arlington, VT. He works with his whole family at the Village Chocolate Shoppe in Bennington, VT and The Chocolatorium in East Arlington, VT. Any time not spent at work is spent somewhere in the woods, usually with his longbow and a quiver full of arrows close at hand. Ken can be reached at email@example.com. The Outdoor Gazette
Trail Camera Photo Contest
Couple coyotes- Roscoe Blaisdell,
mpshire dell of Raymond New Ha Moose calf - Roscoe Blais
Raymond, New Hampshire
Christopher Taylor- Bradford, Ver
ck- from southern NH
Monster Granite State Bu
2012 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 2013 issue. Plus One (1) Winner/Owner of “The Trail Cam Pic 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. 2013 issue!
Are you worried that sending in that 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!
2011 Trail Camera Photo Contest Winners are;
Trail Camera Picture of the Year is Dan Green from Lyme, NH Random Winners - Thomas Flynn from Holderness, NH and Mary Emery from Enfield, NH
It’s a Granite State Sweep!
Send photos to:firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “TC Photo Contest 2012”
The Outdoor Gazette
The Maine Hunter By Steve Beckwith
Bear Baiting Tips That Work
Bear baiting seems a simple task to those that have never actually baited bear! I hear people say, all you have to do is put donuts in a barrel and shoot a bear ” or “it’s like shooting fish in a barrel”! All I can do is smile and say to myself. “How’s that working out for ya!” There is much physical work when bear baiting and there is a few tricks to help make it easier! There are several methods that work well for baiting, the key is keeping them coming and attracting multiple bear to your bait sites, prior to opening day of the season! I am going to explain two methods I use, for different areas of the State of Maine. Of course every bear baiter has their own preferred method these are my favorites! In Southern, Maine I like to bait bears using what I call the clothesline method. I check my baits every 2-5 days locally, I will attach a heavy gauge wire, such as a dog run cable, between two trees about 6-12 feet apart, the cable is positioned just high enough so that I can stand on the ground and with my arm extended as high as I can reach the wire is at my wrist. I also select two trees that face a good size tree, with a clear shooting lane that I will place a treestand into. Usually my stands are 20-30 yards from the bait and 12-20 feet high. My bear bait of choice is good old pastries and donuts, but there are many other sweets that will work to hold bear at your bait sites. I place my pastries into 30-40 gallon black trash bags, these are easy to carry into the bait site and simply tie the bags onto the cable and place them in the center between the two trees. Coons are a problem at bear baits, they can devour your bait leaving nothing for the bears, cutting back
tree limbs that they can easily access your bags from is important when setting up your site. I usually put about 5 Gallons or more in each bag, and will place 3-4 bags on my cable wire at each bait site. It depends upon how often I can
Photo courtesy of Nicteau Lodge
return to re-bait. After placing the bags onto the wire, I will rip a hole in the bags near the top, just below the knot on the wire were I tied the bag over. This allows the smell of the bait to exit the bags to aid in encouraging bear to your bait site. I then pour either cooking oils, grease, jelly, maple syrup into the bag holes I made and let it drip all over the outside of the hanging bag. With your bags hanging, proper name tags affixed to the bait area, treestand hung, your trail camera set up pointing at the bait, and the next step is to do a honey burn. Honey burns is one of the best ways to attract a bear over long distances, bear smell the sweet smoke and find the hanging bait site by following
this smell. Take along a small gas stove, or can of Sterno when you set up your baits. I use a one burner propane stove, it’s quick and easier. I have an old 2-quart saucepan I use and all you do is place a good puddle of, honey, maple syrup, Karo syrup or sugar and water into the pan, turn the burner on and make it smoke
and smolder. I do several re-burns when I do a burn to get the smoke really rolling, you want the smoke to stick to the underside of the leaves above your bait site, marking the origin of the sweet smoke the bear smells while laying deep in a swamp mid day when you set up your bait sites! When the bear gets up near sunset, he will make his first investigation of that sweet smell that was in the air earlier in the day! We developed a bear attractant paste that comes in 4OZ jars; we call it Scent Attack made by MaineHunters.com’s pro-staff. (ScentAttack.com if you need to purchase some!) It comes in Anise and Bear Formula 101; both equally work very well to attract bear over long distances. The bear do not eat this product, as it is petroleum based. It is applied onto the trees with a stick; simply smear it onto the tree bark. Using a product like this in conjunction with honey burns is the key to attracting bears so that they will locate your bait. Once you have them coming to your bait, keeping plenty of pastries at that location is all you need, along with the grease or oils that you pour into the bags each time you re-bait. The reason you want oils or grease poured into your bags is so the bear gets it all over their feet, when they return to where they sleep, the track that smell across the woods, other bear smell that and follow it to the food source! The second method is used when expense or time only allows checking baits once a week, or even every
other week during Maine’s 4 week pre-baiting season in remote areas such as northern Maine. That is when we use our 55 gallon bait barrels, instead of trash bags and wires! The barrels allow us to keep larger amounts of bait high and dry. Bait sites in northern Maine usually will go through 55 gallons of bait a week, barrels are often empty upon our return each Saturday to re-bait. I prefer to use wide mouth screw top 55 gallon barrels, I cut a 10-12 inch round hole about half way up the barrel for the bear to access the bait, as I pour the bait into these barrels through the screw top opening on the top, I will place sticks in front of the round hole to keep the pastries from falling out onto the ground, when the bear come to eat, they have no trouble moving sticks out of the way to get at the bait! You can use open-ended barrels, and it is best if they are laid on their side so rain does not fill the barrel ruining your bait! We do everything else the same as mentioned with the clothesline method. If you live in a State that doesn’t allow using bait, but lets you use non-food based scent attractants such as our product Scent Attack, anise, it should be used only in areas of natural food sources. Such as a standing crop of corn, berries, or tree nuts the bear are regularly feeding on. Placing scents that reap no rewards only discourages bear, they will come to the scent at 2-3 AM find no reward and never return to that area. But, if you place out scent in the corner of a cornfield that has a good treestand location, it will encourage the bear to take that route when entering natural food sources such as corn crops, berries, or other food sources bear frequent! Using scents in a smart way can really help increase your odds for a good clean shot especially for archery hunters. It also is a great cover scent that distracts bear from your human odors! Good luck this bear season! Remember to send your picture into MaineHunters.com! 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. The Outdoor Gazette
The Outdoor Gazette
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The Outdoor Gazette
The August 2012 edition of The Outdoor Gazette