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Volume 6 Issue 12
Above - Someone shared this with me on our facebook page..... The brain washing has begun. HAHAHA! Right - My brother Scott Allard from Fairfax ,Vermont. He missed the nice eight-point but the muzzleloader scope did not miss him!.... 9 stitches!
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Do you have an interesting story to tell? It could be about a fishing trip with Dad or Grampa, maybe a hunting trip with some buddies or just about exploring nature with Grammie. We are always looking for good stories/pictures to publish in our paper. If you have a story that you think our readers might be interested in, then give us a call at 603-989-3093 or send a copy by mail or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On The Cover
Matt Trombley(Third Alarm Guide Service) with his son Logan after a day on the Massachusetts coast. Mattâ€™s good friend Todd with a Salmon River Steelhead. December 2012
Editor’s Back Porch
Hard Water, we can’t wait!
Deer hunting, duck hunting, are winding down, only, a couple more weeks to chase the wily whitetail, then it’s over for another year. Goes
The floor system of Josh’s shanty, all insulated. Aluminum runners from my, ”I’ll use that someday pile”. Hoarding pays off !
by so fast!....on to the next outdoor thing. Like every season there are too many outdoor things to pursue. Too many to get them all in I mean. Time just isn’t plenty enough. This winter the Allards are going to hit the ice. Ice fishing is on our family’s agenda for this winter. We are all very excited. Good to see the kids looking forward to something
outdoors. To make it more comfortable we are building some ice shanties, one for Vermont and one for New Hampshire. My son Josh has his almost completed. It is a monster, but should be extremely comfortable. Complete with a picture window found in a buddies garage and a stove he welded himself. A door, found in the back of my garage, and some metal roofing from an old fallen down barn in the field behind my home. It will take an army of men to get it deployed and more importantly get it off the ice. My shanty has a little different design. It will be a sectional. Constructed in 4 ft by 8 ft sections. This way it can be taken apart and removed piece-by-piece, and stacked in the back of a pick up truck. The base is 8’x8’, and hinged so half the floor section folds on to the other. The wall sections are all four feet wide and so are the roof sections. The roof will have a single pitch. Once taken apart and the floor
By Fred Allard
sections folded on top of one another, the other sections can be stacked on top and secured with a ratchet
Mid construction. 2”x2” studs and luan plywood. The luan is only thing purchased for the project. The rest of the materials are scrap, scrounged or gifted.
strap. Then just pull it off or on to the lake. Sounds so easy doesn’t it….I’ll let you know how it works. Josh’s Ice shanty will be on lake Morey in Fairlee, Vermont and mine I have not decided yet, but I am thinking either Lake Tarleton in Piermont, New Hampshire or
maybe Bakers Pond in Orford/Wentworth. So if your out on the lake this winter, stop by say hello.
Fun times ahead! The finished product, 6’x10’. Complete with a self made wood stove and a bench cooler system that uses the lake ice to keep it cool. 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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Prevent the Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease
The term “chronic wasting disease” describes the emaciation that eventually results from infection ~ Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources,courtesy of CWD Alliance. Albany, NY -Whether you’re a out of the state. By knowing and hunter, taxidermist, deer processor complying with CWD regulations, or wildlife watcher, you can help disposing of hunter-killed deer keep New York State’s deer herd parts and carcasses responsibly, and free from chronic wasting disease reporting sick or abnormally behaving deer, you can help prevent its (CWD). With the recent detection of spread. Learn the facts of this threatening CWD in Pennsylvania this past October, the threat to our state’s disease and find details about wild white-tailed deer has signifi- actions you can take by visiting cantly increased. The best DEC’s recently updated Chronic approach for protecting New York’s Wasting Disease webpages or by deer is to keep infectious material viewing DEC’s CWD Fact Sheet.
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Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife 2013 Birder Bands Now Available
Augusta, Maine - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is excited to announce the release of the 2013 Birder Bands, which are a great way to support the Department’s non-game and endangered species programs. These unique bands are modeled after actual bird bands the Department uses to monitor bird populations and make a great holiday gift for birders and outdoor enthusiasts. Through a $20 contribution, Maine Birder Band participants get officially registered and receive an individually numbered band. The band is about the size of a turkey band and can fit well on a binocular strap, camera, spotting scope or other equipment. The proceeds from the bands help fund critical non-game bird programs and supporters who wear the bands on gear raise awareness for the important work the Department does for bird conservation. “This is a great way for birders and naturalists to support MDIF&W and have that support be visible for others to see,” said Bob Duchesne, author of Maine Birding Trail. Since 2009, the Maine Birder Band program has helped to fund the Department’s Bird Group efforts through voluntary donations from
people in 27 states and three Maritime Provinces of Canada. To date, Maine Birder Band funds have supported Department efforts to study distributions and abundance of coastal marsh sparrow species, survey remaining grasshopper sparrow habitats and launch Maine eBird. The Maine Birder Band program is intended to provide the Maine birding community an opportunity to support MDIF&W’s non-game bird conservation efforts. Just as hunters and anglers fund Department efforts through license purchases, birders now have the chance to become a participating constituency by helping fund nongame bird conservation. For more information or to purchase your 2013 Birder Band, call 207-287-8000, visit our web site at www.mefishwildlife.com or email email@example.com.
Tails from the Trail By Allan Tschorn
Playing the Numbers
Sometimes I feel like a public spectacle. Inquiring minds want to know. The often asked question, “How many dogs do you have?” sometimes seems more like a source of public amusement than a sincere desire to learn about your kennel and the sport of mushing. “Sixteen” is my reply. “You’re nuts” and an under the breath chuckle, shake of the head or roll of the eyes is a most common reaction. I explain that sixteen is really not a very big kennel in the mushing community, and we are routinely in contact with kennels of 30, 35 and 40 dogs. I am then reminded that someone else’s heightened level of insanity in no way diminishes my individual level of insanity. So are we nuts? Are we addicted or just devoted? Let’s examine the recently posted question on a mushing blog – “How many dogs are too many?” This is as personal a question as one can ask of a musher, and will vary a great deal from kennel to kennel, and be based upon a num-
ber of differing variables. First and foremost, mushers have a strong relationship and bond with
and money – that can be devoted to caring for your pack. No musher is going to want to take on more dogs than they can care for and provide an adequate appropriation
This is a picture of the litter we whelped – known as the Coffee Litter. Momma Expresso is about center, 4 pups on the right of her, 5 on the left.
their dogs, and the primary parameter to governing kennel size is going to be directly proportional to the resources available – time
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of available resources. Additionally, space is going to have to be a consideration, and you should plan on a minimum of 100 square feet of secure fenced in yard per two dogs – this is a minimum, we like to more than double that space for our kennel. Secondly, what you want to do with your team, and your focus and goals, will determine what you will need to be considering for kennel size. And lastly, your number of dogs needs to fall within a personal comfort range of what you feel you can handle. We grew our kennel rather slowly and deliberately because of our emotional attachment and commitment to the dogs. Remember, we started out as one Siberian as a pet and grew to two the second year. We grew slowly because we knew that when we take on a dog, it is for the life of the dog, and that is generally a 12 to 15 year commitment if you are starting out with a puppy. A person can have a lot of fun with only one or two dogs. We began with a single Siberian intended to be a pet, and began skijoring with her. This was fun, but with only one dog, it was an activity either my wife or me could enjoy individually, but not togeth-
or visit our website at
Continued next page
R i c h a rd Tr e m a i n e Optician
er. By necessity to enjoy the sport together, we began seeking another Siberian. This introduction of necessity to accomplish the goals you have for the kennel will be the backdrop to which you define your comfort zone and bring to focus the sacrifices you are willing to make to meet those goals. If you want to be an Iditarod caliber racing team, but four dogs is pressing the outer boundaries of your comfort level, well then you will have to take a step back and take a more realistically consideration of your goals. When we got to six dogs in the kennel, I was pretty confident that we were done growing in numbers. However, even by recreational standards, six dogs is a minimum team size for dog sledding. You can run a sled with four dogs, but you will probably be resigned to fairly flat terrain and not get in a whole lot of distance with the team. A passenger on the sled with the musher is definitely ruled out in a four-dog team. A six or eight dog team is a very nice size for running most of the terrain we encounter, and with between eight and ten dogs on a team, you can begin adding a passenger to the sled. Does anybody else see pattern of necessity emerging with this logic? Six dogs were nice, and I could run the team or my wife could run our team. I was fortunate to be able to connect with some other mushers and run some of their dogs as a team when we all would hit the trail, but as fun as it was, it was not the same as running your own dogs. The analogy that best describes this is seeing your best friends kid score a goal in soccer or hit a home run for the team – it’s a great feeling, but not the same as seeing your own child have the same accomplishment. Dogs number seven and eight were a big step for us. It was a deliberate decision to push our comfort level to new boundaries. It would be the first time we would be taking on two puppies at once and would surely test our resources as far as devoting time to training puppies while maintaining a sixdog kennel. My wife was much
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more committed to the additions than I was. We were out on one of our group runs and I was standing on the runners with a good friend. He said, “So I hear you’re getting two more puppies?” He obviously had been in conference with my wife. I kind of mumbled, shrugged and nodded in a non-committal but affirmative way. He smiled and looked me in the eye. “You’re in denial,” he said. “Resistance is futile – you have the addiction. Enjoy it.” Setting goals for the size of your kennel for mushing can be a juggling act. When we took on the two puppies it was the work and responsibility of two more dogs, but we would not realize the benefit of them as team members until the following year. And realistically, you can’t expect too much in mature performance from a sled dog until they are two or older. And some dogs don’t hit their stride until three or four years of age. The flip side to this coin is that you need to take into consideration the more mature dogs, and their likely longevity to continue doing the type of runs, in terms of length of the run and weight in the sled, that are congruent with the goals and objective you have established for the kennel. The ability to properly stagger the ages of your dogs for the task at hand is a refined process, and may never be perfect, but rather an ideal we would all strive for. Our experience up to this point has always seemed to be a pendulums swing between the extremes of not having enough dogs for the task at hand to having too many dogs for the task at hand. This swing was always directly related to who wanted to go mushing and who could go mushing. We began to support tour operation for another kennel, as they too would find themselves in the quandary of too many dogs versus not enough dogs for the task at hand. If you have forty sled dogs and two paying clients – you may have too many dogs. However, if you have
forty sled dogs and a family gathering of twelve whom all want to go on a simultaneous tour – you will find yourself on the short end of the stick with regards to dog power. A responsible kennel operator will resist the financial temptation to grow their kennel solely for the purpose of increasing revenue potential. It is a year round commitment to care for the dogs, and that needs to be weighed heavily when in the height of winter and all is going well. By partnering with another kennel, they were able to slightly expand their capacity for tours without increasing the number of dogs in their respective kennel. And quite honestly, at 16 dogs we are not really big enough to consider any kind of routine tour operations. It was a win-win situation for both of us. The ninth addition to the kennel was not planned, but rather a serendipitous opportunity to dabble with another line of the Siberian Husky – a historic line of the breed known as Seppalas. A friend had found a kennel selling out, and he purchased a male, the main lead dog from the kennel. We settled on a female from the kennel that captured our attention solely from a picture we saw. We discussed breeding the line, but were not comfortable with the role of or responsibility of a “breeder”. Having to find potential appropriate homes, sell and say good-bye was well beyond our emotional or logistical comfort zone. If and when our female came into heat, we agreed to do a breeding with the understanding that we would split the litter between the two kennels. Somewhere in between this planned breeding and the actual heat cycle and execution of the breeding plan, another couple of Siberian puppies captured our attention and joined the pack. The numbers are resting now at eleven. The female finally went into heat and we did a breeding. Four to six puppies is an average litter, eight is a large litter, and ten is relativity
uncommon. We were preparing to take on another two or three puppies (splitting the average of 4 to 6 with the paternal kennel). We had ten puppies in the litter, one – unfortunately was still born. Zoom. From eleven, to a kennel of twenty, literally overnight. Although we would not be keeping all the puppies, we knew that we would have a kennel of twenty for at least a period of 90 days. Our friends ended up taking 4 or the puppies and we held onto the remaining 5, settling in at a resting count of 16. We did end up expanding our kennel space by an additional 600 square feet. The square footage of our kennel now exceeds by almost double that of our home, but it provides space for the dogs, and since we don’t have a play yard (yet), it is more than adequate space for them to run and play. The puppies are now just over a year old, and we have begun our first fall training with a single string of 16 dogs in harness pulling our ATV. It’s a lot of work, but in my humble opinion the fun trumps the work any day of the week. We are so looking forward to the snow to fly and the ability to break down into two – eight dog teams. Last year we had only one team, and the opportunity to mix up dogs in team position was limited. This
from previous page
year, we will be better able to mix and match dogs with similar abilities and provide double the opportunity to develop new dogs into leaders. We are feeling very comfortable with the current numbers in our kennel – we give each dog daily individual attention, they are all well fed on a quality kibble, they get treats regularly and eight to ten are in the house on a nightly basis (and nights after a training run, when they are tuckered out, we have been known to let all 16 slip inside). So are we addicted, crazy, devoted or just plain insane? I don’t know. But I can assure you this. This passion of ours has tested us at every level. Financially, logistically and emotionally – we have been stretched beyond where we thought our elasticity would snap, but we come out the other side – full of enthusiasm, full of life and feeling very proud of our personal accomplishments. And while you are deciding what label you want to assign to us, we’re going mushing. 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
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A Waterfowler's Perspective What a difference a day makes
Whether you hunt ducks or deer or any animal for that matter it’s amazing what a difference a day can make to your hunt. I’m sure over the past 2 million years there have been times when a hunter had an extremely productive day harvesting their next meal and then the next day was not so productive. If so then I would say although times have changed, as have the tools & skill of which we use to pursue our prey, in the end we are still at their mercy. A weekend ago my hunting buddy Leo and I decided to try a shoreline hunt in a bay that has historically offered several different species of ducks for the hunter to pursue. We have taken at least a dozen different species of diver & puddle ducks in this bay over the years. In the past we have hunted from an elevated blind built in mid-September. This year I was working on a food plot along with an elevated hut for hunting deer. Because of this I was unable to build the blind in the bay. Not having a blind would never stop us from pursuing ducks in this par-
ticular bay. We will simply paddle across the river, ported the kayaks a
Leo after a long retrieve for hen mallard short distance over land to find ourselves in full view of the bay from the shoreline.
By Brian Bouchard
On this morning, we had the decoys afloat, were tucked into the
brush and waiting for the flights to begin all with just minutes to spare. Although we felt a bit exposed not being surrounded by a cozy elevated blind we still felt we would be fine. It wasn’t long until the first birds approached. After a volley of shots we had a bird down. I jumped into the kayak to make what I was expecting to be a quick retrieve. Despite my best effort, for some reason, in my shuffling of the kayak and heading off after the downed bird I lost track of it. I had assumed it was fatally wounded and would be floating feet up waiting for me to snatch it from the cold November water. Returning to shore after an ambitious effort with no bird I was concerned that this day could be less than productive. Neither Leo nor I could explain the birds whereabouts. Not being the type to dwell on our mishaps we quickly got ourselves set back up with a little adjustment to the hiding spot. It wasn’t long until the next birds approached. This time I recovered a nice green head, which quickly lifted our spirits. This was followed by another green head, and a failed retrieve of the hen, which managed to swim off on her own accord while I was after the drake. Then another hen that Leo nearly paddled across the bay to New York to retrieve determined to not loose another bird. Then a pair of drake green winged teal followed by a miss on both our parts of some buffleheads that swooped in. We were then caught off guard while nature was calling on Leo and I was texting a buddy to tease him about being in Florida on vacation during duck sea-
son in Vermont. He sort of got me without knowing because my teasing via text may have cost us a few more birds. This mini lapse in judgment soon passed when Leo took a hen shoveler while I managed to somehow miss the drake. Despite my miss it was a nice boost to keep us going. Leo did feel the need to ride me a bit on that one, saying he was being kind by leaving the drake for me. At one point a couple dozen teal splashed into our decoy spread with neither of us getting off a shot. The ones floating in front of me were sitting amongst several hand-carved decoys that I just couldn’t risk shooting up. So I scanned the sky to see if any were in the air to find Leo doing the same. Once we realized what was clear to shoot they were gone. We did get a good laugh on that one. In the end we managed in all to take 7 birds this day leaving 2 unrecovered which still pains me as I write this now. We should have left with 9 for certain with the potential for a two man limit of 12 with at least 4 or 5 different species. Day two would prove to be different. We set out a bit earlier to have plenty of time to get set up and hidden. We brought along Phil DeLaricheliere who we hunt with often. We told him about the previous days hunt and what a wild time it was. Leo again mentioned the drake shoveler I missed and the mile long retrieve he made on a hen mallard. I did tip my hat to him on both of those deeds. After setting up with a similar approach as we had the previous day, we sat back to await the birds. Then we waited and waited and waited. We did like most hunters and adjusted the decoys like this would improve our odds. We had a drop in temperature the night before which had formed skim ice out to about the 50 yard mark. We busted through it while setting out decoys with hopes that a little wind along with the forecasted warmer temps would take care of the ice. This was not the case. The cold temps may have froze up the surrounding puddles along with the adjacent marsh that was holding the birds. They may have moved off over the night to bigger waters. Whatever the cause the birds were not flying. Not even a shot all morning. Sure there were a few that buzzed around. We did have a couple of black ducks that, in my eyes, may have been close enough to shoot. However, Phil being the patient seasoned Waterfowler he is, held back awaiting a closer pass. Although pass on that shot was the
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Trophy Spotlight Supposedly.... Here’s an 8 point buck, longest tine is 17 inches. It’s already insured for $10,000.00 and in a vault.
Rough estimate of the deer’s age by the WI DNR is 3 1/2 years old. A Boone and Crockett representative is scheduled to score the
rack in about 40 days. The buck was shot on opening day. Trail camera pic’s started to show up after the buck was shot; no one talked about it prior to the kill (imagine that). The hunter’s name is Tom (uk last name), after he shot it he said he couldn’t hardly talk without stammering like an idiot, he thought he only won his local big buck contest ($60.00), until somebody offered him $2000.00 and a new rifle at the registration station. The drop tine is longer than a roll of paper towels (about 13-14 inches) and the buck died with its head upright, the drop tine stuck in the ground holding the buck’s head up as though it was still alive and not dead.That kinda freaked Tom out until he realized
it was truly dead. Buck was shot with a .270. He’s been fielding calls nationwide concerning the buck. Someone took a photo of the buck hanging out of his Saturn when he was en-route to the registration station (found out his name and address from his license plate). Tom said it took four guys to load the thing into his Saturn; he had to call for help. The buck was shot on private land near Ridgeway, ironically the land is for sale now... Tom had it at the shop for a couple of days; it is an amazing rack of a lifetime. Green Scored 201 and has 17” G2s. Scored 180 net as a typical 8 which is 2 inches shy of the world record. Shot just south of Ridgeway, WI.
Tom ? with the mysterious monster buck from Ridgeway, Wisconsin. Time will tell if this is fact or fiction. Word on the street though is that it’s legit.
from previous page
The days harvest 2 guys 7 ducks correct move, it would proved to be the only pass they would make. It’s funny what a difference a day can make. We had high hopes for the second day of our hunt only to be skunked. That’s why we call in hunting. There is no guarantee from one day to the next.
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Now that the buck has been harvested, trail camera pictures of the big buck are now surfacing.
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.
Embrace Your Redneck Tendencies by Tina Coran Squirrely
“I got the little bum!” exclaimed my dear sweet mother jubilantly, as she shouldered her air rifle in triumph. The word she actually used is not fit for a family magazine and called into question the squirrel’s parentage. Seriously I cannot believe she kisses her grandchildren with that mouth! And the look in her eye rivaled the steely look of Clint Eastwood in his iconic movie poster from “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” The only missing components were the bandolier and the cigar clamped firmly between her teeth. I was a little frightened. This was yet another incident in an epic squirrel battle that goes back many years. My mother is a pleasant woman, she stand a bit over five feet tall and is of the roundish variety. She enjoys baking, gardening, reading, and shopping. She can also nail a squirrel looting a bird feeder at ten yards with an air rifle with no scope-first shot is a kill shot-EVERY TIME. I think my father felt sorry
for the squirrels as he refused to get Mom a gun, she had to borrow my son’s air rifle. Perhaps is has to do with ethics and eating what you kill.
I am sure there are folks that consider squirrel a delicacy. To the best of my knowledge I have not eaten it, I hear it is high in saturated fats There were a few times I asked what was for dinner and was told ‘stew’, so
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who knows, could have been rabbit, could have been squirrel. I am not sure exactly when my mother decided to hang bird feeders outdoors around their rural Vermont home, I just know that I have been asked to fill them. No problem. I figure, she likes to look at birds, so does the neighbor’s cat. She has had many visitors to her feeders, the usual cardinals, chickadees; various types of finches, sometimes rabbits will eat the seeds that the birds drop on the ground and the dreaded pirates of the bird feeder-Squirrels! It would not be so bad for them to take some food, but that does not seem to satisfy them, they also want to destroy the feeders. Those feeders are expensive, especially the squirrel-proof ones, Mom’s squirrels seem to enjoy those in particular. Over the years Mom has tried many different approaches to deter the squirrels from the bird feeders, from the amount of information you can find on line, this is not a unique She tried greasing the problem. pole the bird feeders hang from, squirrel baffles, cayenne pepper mixed in the bird seed. Those wiley bandits were not deterred, it was crazy. Then Dad bought a Have-a-Heart trap, and this was the foundation for: The Lasch Family Squirrel Relocation Program. The Have-aHeart trap traps the live animal for release in a more suitable habitat, in this case, far away from Mom’s birdfeeders. Many a squirrel dined on peanut butter and Ritz before realizing he was being prepared for a journey to unknown and wilder lands. I am not sure how many dozens of squirrels were relocated that summer, however Mom became convinced that the same squirrel was being captured repeatedly and that Dad was being neglectful of his duties to remove the squirrel far enough from the temptations of her birdfeeders. In the meantime an old family friend, we will call him Uncle Don, for the purposes of this story as he wishes to remain anonymous (the reason will be clear shortly) was visiting from out of state. This is what happened next; a squirrel had succumbed to the trap. Mom: “I think that is the same squirrel from a couple days ago.” Dad: “It can’t be. I took it up the mountain on the other side of town.” Mom: “We should figure out a way to mark it so we know if it is the same one, I still think it is the same one.” Dad: “It’s not the same one.”
Uncle Don: “Hey, you got any waterproof paint?” Dad: “I have some paint for fishing lures.” Uncle Don: “We could use that to mark the squirrel and it would stay on, so you would know if it’s the same one.”
Mom: “It’s the same one.” It was decided. Uncle Don then procured the waterproof, fishing lure paint from my father’s basement workshop. There was much discussion and debate over what kind of implement could best be used to dip in the paint and use as a marking device, I believe it when it was finally decided on, a pencil was used. Uncle Don approached the caged squirrel with his pencil and fluorescent orange waterproof paint to attempt to mark him in a highly visible way, perhaps on his hip or back. The squirrel, understandably agitated at being trapped, was maniacally jumping all over the trap as Uncle Don proceeded to poke the paint covered pencil into the trap just as that squirrel decided to jump over the pencil thus marking his underparts with fluorescent orange paint. I can promise you Mom never saw that squirrel again. I figure he had a life altering experience and after relocation decided that bird food was just not worth it. Hey who knows, he might be really popular with the ladies. A South Burlington, Vermont resident, formerly a “flatlander” and married to a Vermonter. She and her “Vermnter” husband have 2 sons aged 17 and 22, as well as a Brittany spaniel who behaves better than all of them. Tina was raised country and it is in her blood. Tina can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Outdoor Gazette
The Outdoor Gazette
Mass Meanderings By David Willette
A Cool Thanksgiving
The outdoor magazine, Field and Stream used to have a monthly column called “Grandpa and the Kid”. These were usually stories about an old guy with his grandchildren. The story always held a message or it was reflective on life in some way. I ‘m proposing that the state of Massachusetts and MassWildlife develop their own “Grandpa and the Kid” hunting program, but also include moms and Grandmas. It would be a new hunting opportunity, and a win, win, win, for the state and it’s wildlife, and hunters both past and future. This program would be easy to implement and administer, and it would be all over with in one half day. This new program would allow anyone between the ages of ten and sixteen, women, and anyone whose is eligible for a free license, to hunt bears, deer or turkeys on Thanksgiving. All of these hunters’ would have to hunt with another licensed hunter to participate, (optional for the free hunters). It would be a youth, senior citizens and ladies day for hunting, all in one. This hunt would be available to all new hunters that are over ten years old,
regardless of whether they have taken the Basic Hunter Education Class, (HE), or not. It amazes me that we can allow
our kids to drive a car without taking Drivers Ed, but they can’t hunt without HE. We are losing potential hunters, and the woods are getting emptier every year because of this. We must give these kids and young adults a taste of hunting
before we make them take HE. Why can’t we allow new hunters to take HE on line? (Presently ten states offer this). The current format for HE is passe’, and it’s difficult, if not impossible
for kids to find the time to attend. MCLA offers three to four on-line college courses every semester. One can take a college level course on-line, but you can’t take the Basic Hunter Education Class this way. These kids spend most of their free time on-line, and this would be a perfect way to increase HE enrollment. All participants would pay $5 for a one-day license. This would allow them to hunt deer, bears and turkeys on Thanksgiving Day only. A licensed hunter must accompany all participants and only a muzzle-loader is allowed. This licensed adult cannot hunt other animals, (deer with a bow for example), at this time. The muzzle-loader is used to establish good shot judgments and placement, and it adds a real historical connection to the pilgrims who hunted the same animals on Thanksgiving Day. The state says that we have to kill more bears, well here’s our opportunity. Most bears will be denned up by now, but how cool will it be for a ten year old to actually go bear hunting. We desperately need a youth turkey day, and again here’s our chance. Granted there’s not much of a chance of shooting a turkey while wearing fluorescent orange, but it could happen. And how cool would it be to have a kid actually shoot a turkey on Thanksgiving, then go home and eat it. The overall impact on both these animals would be minimal, but think of the memories that will be made on
Thanksgiving Day. And the child won’t have to miss any school either! Our neighboring states all offer a youth deer hunt the weekend before the regular firearms season. These weekends have been welcomed with open arms. The only glitch in the system, according to Maine Fish and Wildlife personnel, is that some adults take advantage and pretend that their child shot the deer. There are thieves in all groups; and hunters are not exempt. If this is the case, the state should impose a $1000 fine for those caught cheating. Anyone who is eligible for a freelicense should be able to participate on this day too. It’s about time we gave our hunting forefathers a break. Wouldn’t it be great to see one of these old-timers get one more deer, and on Thanksgiving Day to boot? Besides, how many deer do you think an eighty-five year old hunter can shoot with a muzzleloader anyway? And last but not least, women, (especially moms and grandmas’), that fastest growing hunting group in the country, should also be permitted to hunt on this special day. There are more and more articles on women joining the hunting ranks every month, here is a chance to enlist a group of people that normally wouldn’t ever hunt. We can establish a list of licensed hunters who want to help by having them check off a box when they buy their hunting license. Most hunters now buy their hunting license on-line, and the same procedure applies. Just check off the box saying that you would be willing to help out on this day as the licensed adult. One could also help out the next day when the downed deer, bear, or turkey needs to be checked in and the youth doesn’t have a ride. The newly licensed hunter could call MassWidlife to get a list of potential helpers names in the area. I can think of about fifty guys that would be more than willing to help. This is a no-brainer, a must do. It’s selfcontained into one half-day and raises no safety issues. It will have very little affect on game populations, but it will seriously increase our hunting population, something we desperately need. Thanksgiving Day may never be the same, and how cool is that? David Willette is a free-lance outdoor writer who lives in Western Massachusetts. He can be contacted through www.coyotewars.com
The Outdoor Gazette
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Riverbank Tales Ghosts of Fishing Seasons Past
Another fishing season gone by and as Flip Pallot would say: “etched into our memories”. The sun may have all but set on the 2012 season, but the 2013 season not that far off. Yes, the good news is that trout season, at least in the rivers and streams will open January 1st. As for last season it is already, “etched into our memories” and those good times will last us a life time. I am positive that each and every one of us has a special memory of last year and all of the years that came before. When we go fishing we do far more than just try and catch a fish or two. We are casting for memories as well. Henry Thoreau got it right when he said: “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after”. Most of can recall a special day spent fishing with our Dads or possibly our Mothers. The life lessons learned on those days have remained with all of our lives. The fortitude that dear old Dad had, having to re-bait our hooks every five minutes and constantly having to
untangle our lines, would have tried the patience of a lesser man. Any man who can endure an entire day fishing with a child should surely be a candidate for Saint Hood. I did not get to fish with my own Dad a whole lot, but we did have a few memorable times together. My Dad was in the service and much of the time we lived in places where it was impossible to fish and there were other times when he served in places where it was impossible to take a family. I do recall one occasion when Dad was on leave and the family spent a week in a camp on Cobbossecontee Lake in Maine. I had tried my best to catch fish from the shore near camp without any success. The camp did not come with a boat so my Dad arranged for us to go out horn pouting with an old friend of his who lived on the lake. We caught a mess of fish that night and my Grandmother cooked them up for breakfast the next morning. I think that was my very first real experience fishing. The thing I still remember the most is how many times my Dad handed me
The North Country Angler has been in the “Valley” for over thirty years. We are a full service fly shop offering quality fly fishing gear and guiding. Bill and Janet’s 10 Year Anniversary as owners
by Bill Thompson his rod on the pretense that he needed a free hand for a second. Needless to say he had hooked a fish and wanted to give me the pleasure of landing it. Many years later I had the pleasure of taking my Dad fishing. We
ries for them as well. Janet, Summer and I spent some a lot of quality time together fishing on the Saco and Ellis last summer. Summer, for the most part, is a pretty good fishing dog. She sticks close and knows that swimming is off limits until the fish-
spent a week canoeing and fishing in the Allagash. We trolled for lake trout and white fish. This was before I had discovered the joys of fly fishing. The fishing wasn’t all that good and I think my Dad only caught one fish. I have caught fish over the years, but that one fish, that my father caught, has a special place in my list of most memorable fishing days As fast as this past season seemed to go by I still managed to add a few more fishing memories to the old memory bank. We didn’t get to fish much past the valley this year, but you don’t need to travel too far to make good fishing memories. I had the pleasure of guiding some great people this year and I sincerely hope that we created some lasting memo-
ing is over. Janet, Summer and I sincerely hope that you made a lot of your own memories last year and that you create many more in the coming years. We wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. 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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The Outdoor Gazette
Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel We Lead the World in Gun Ownership
Yes, the United States has the most privately owned firearms in the world. No other country even comes close. The latest statistics show that there are 88.8 guns for every 100 people in this country. That’s over 200 million guns! That’s a lot of guns. To put this number in perspective, the next closest country is Serbia, with 58.2 guns per 100, then Yemen with 54.8, and Switzerland with 45.7 guns per 100 people. While the number of guns owned by individuals on a state level is not known for most states, there have been studies done which poll the number of gun owning families. Wyoming leads the polls with nearly 60% of all families owning guns. Locally, 42% of Vermont residents own guns, 40.5% of Maine residents own guns, and a mere 30% of New Hampshire folks report owning guns. I’m not too sure about that 30% figure, since my own guess would have been closer to 100%. Let’s face it, guns are very popular in our country … and they always have been. Since the first settlers
appeared on our shores, guns have been a part of daily life for many. They have been used for personal defense, for hunting, sport, and for war. Given our unique
down from one generation to the next. Many guns made in the 18th and 19th century are still out there and still in good firing condition. Given the huge number of guns
Constitutional right to own personal firearms, the number of guns owned by individuals has continually increased over time. Guns last a long time, and are often passed
we own, it’s surprising how few gun accidents we actually have. Although gun ownership increases by about 4.5 million guns per year, our accident rate continues to decrease. The current firearms accident rate is down to 0.2 per 100,000 people. That’s 94% less than the 1904 rate, and 80% less than the 1930 rate. Child deaths from firearms related accidents are down 90% from 1975. In fact, they are now so low that a child has a one in a million chance of dying from a gun accident. Much of this can be attributed to hunter safety training, the distribution of and use of gun locks, and better training for new shooters. Still, accidents do happen and are almost always the result of improper gun handling. Many gun owners still do not practice basic gun safety, and I see this many times in my store. I still have to deal with closed actions, guns left loaded, and barrels pointing in my face on an almost daily basis. Quite frankly, when I read the accident statistics, I was surprised they were as low as they are. On a more positive note, the NRA has been certifying more and more firearms instructors as time goes on and shooting becomes more popular. Almost every shooting club now offers some sort of firearms training course, and those classes put a huge emphasis on safety. A few years ago the only advice I could give new shooters was to go out with someone who had some experience with guns. Now, I can hand over a slew of business cards from individuals who are certified instructors and can provide competent training in the safe use of a firearm.
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By Stan Holz
Accidents still happen. Every year, hunters shoot other hunters. People shoot themselves while cleaning their own guns. How do you shoot yourself while cleaning a gun? I never really have understood this type of accident. You would have to have the gun loaded and the action closed, the safety off, and then pull the trigger while pointing the gun at yourself. It’s even more mind boggling when people do this with muzzle loaders. Then, not only does the gun have to be loaded, but it also would have to have a primer in place and have the hammer cocked. How could anyone be that negligent with any gun? Then there are the accidents involving drugs and alcohol, where an individual’s judgment is simply not there anymore. “Fooling around” with a loaded gun may seem like a thrill at the time, but the resulting carnage is never very rewarding. Children often do not understand just how deadly a gun can be, and it is the responsibility of the adult to insure they will not handle guns unless under direct adult supervision. Guns should be stored out of the reach of children, or locked so that they can not be accessed without a key. Politics are also now a part of gun ownership. Since the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, gun regulation versus gun rights has always been a political issue. Public opinion has varied; often going back and forth between pro-gun and antigun views. Right now, with more and more Americans owning guns, the pendulum has swung in a decidedly pro-gun direction. As I expected, incumbent President Obama has been re-elected and will sit in office for another four years. Although certainly not a friend of gun owners, he has been able to do nothing to increase gun restrictions. Part of that is because of a pro-gun House, one which would certainly not support any anti-gun legislation. Another factor is the two key Supreme Court rulings which have affirmed not only the individual right to own firearms, but also the obligation of each state to comply with that interpretation of the second amendment. Given the lack of both public and Congressional support, I really don’t see any likelihood of new restrictive gun laws being passed. I do expect that there will be calls for bans on so called “assault rifles” and high capacity magazines again. This is an almost knee jerk reaction to any crime that takes place using
Continued next page
The Outdoor Gazette
Preliminary Reports Indicate Slight Rise in Number of Deer Harvested During Rifle Season
Preliminary reports received from 140 agents throughout Vermont indicate this year’s rifle season harvest total is slightly higher than the average for the previous three years, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. As of December 4, 2012, with numbers still coming in, it was reported that hunters harvested 4,897 deer during the November rifle season. The average harvest as of this date for the previous three years was 4,867 deer. Final numbers will be tallied after all reports have been turned in and the information has been reviewed for accuracy. Archery harvest totals are also up slightly to 2,915, compared with an average of 2,484 deer reported on the same date over the last three years. Results for youth weekend are still being tallied, but appear to be at or above the previous three year average. Vermont’s whitetail population is healthy, and the antler restriction that started in 2005 has resulted in more numerous and older bucks in the deer population. “Hunters this year saw the benefits of managing for deer herd health,” said Adam Murkowski, deer biolo-
gist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “Preliminary analysis has shown that not only are more deer being harvested this year but the physical condition of these deer
one of the AK-47 or M16 replicas. It’s always the same tired old rhetoric coming from the same tired old politicians. I don’t know how many more times I’ll have to listen to the endless diatribes about “spraying bullets” and “weapons of war.” They don’t know what they’re talking about. Unfortunately, many gun owners are just as clueless. Too many times, I’ve listened to hunters and gun owners ask me why anyone would even want to own one of those “machine guns.” They are missing the point. What are referred to as “assault weapons” are the same guns as any semi-automatic rifle, shotgun, or pistol. They are talking about ANY semi-automatic gun that uses a magazine. Yes, your Ruger 10/22 .22LR rifle, your Browning Buckmark pistol, your Remington 742 hunting rifle. These are all magazine fed semi-automatic “assault weapons.” Other than appearance, they are no different than the AK-47 and M-16 rifles that anti-gunners rage about. How about all those “high capacity” magazines that seem to threaten public safety? Anything over ten rounds would be banned. During the 1994 to 2004 ban, even .22 rifles with tubular magazines that held more than ten rounds were banned. The result of the now defunct “assault rifle” ban was no decrease in the crime rate. That law was considered a total failure and even lost the support of the national police organizations the originally helped
sponsor it. Even the FBI had to admit that the statistics did not support the law, and dealt with a problem that didn’t exist. Will these renewed calls for an “assault weapons” ban go anywhere? I doubt it. Again, I can’t see where their support would come from, and I certainly can not see Congress even wanting to deal with such a divisive issue. As gun owners we have a responsibility to not only handle and use our guns safely, but also to insure that other gun owners do the same. Gun ownership is increasing rapidly, and those new owners must know how to use their guns. Any accident reflects poorly on all of us, and misuse of a firearm exposes us to more political attacks. We enjoy a wonderful and unique right guaranteed by our Constitution. We must do all we can to insure that this precious gift is passed on to future generations. Safety and knowledge, and the ability to pass that responsibility on to others, is one of our greatest attributes and it’s how we can help achieve that goal.
The Outdoor Gazette
and second archery seasons end on December 9. A detailed annual deer harvest report will be available on the department’s website (www.vtfis-
Dennis Thompson- 2012- 222 pound 7 point Vermont buck. Dennis took the deer in Bethel.
is indicative of a healthy and robust population.” Harvest results will not be complete until all agents send in their reports after the muzzleloader
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.
handwildlife.com) by early March. You can read previous reports on the department website under “Hunting and Trapping,” by clicking on “Big Game” and then on “Big Game Harvest Reports.” The reports contain information hunters need to
understand the health of their deer herd and provides information on making informed harvest decisions. “Hunters shouldn’t stop thinking about deer just because Vermont’s hunting seasons are coming to a close,” added Murkowski. “Hunters wishing to know what steps they can take to improve the areas they hunt for deer should visit the department’s website and the Big Game Harvest Report for more information on deer herd management.” Hunters continue to provide the means for managing Vermont’s white-tailed deer populations across the state. Post-hunt deer densities in most regions of the state remain at levels within management objectives set in Vermont’s big game plan for 2010–2020, which is also available on the department’s website. There are regions in the state where some people feel there are either too many or too few deer. Deer management will always be a balancing act and require a continuous series of corrections to keep Vermont’s deer populations abundant, but not overabundant, for all Vermonters to enjoy now and in the future. Vermont’s annual deer hunt yields more than 800,000 pounds of local, nutritious venison worth millions of dollars in food value alone.
Family Tracks Connections
The steady crunch, crunch in the leaves could have just been another hunter, but because of the cadence and direction it was going I felt certain it was a deer. The noise stayed just above the lip of the ridge above me and I followed its progress until it crossed a small saddle in the ridge. I strained my eyes, peering through the mottled brown landscape of the mixed hardwoods and spotted the back of a deer moving along just over the crest of the ridge. The terrain allowed me to only see the deer’s spine, and just in front of the spine floated the long tines of the buck’s rack projecting up above its head, which was still hidden by the ridgeline, about a hundred yards away. The deer steadily moved along with no hesitation or pauses, and I only glimpsed him for a moment before he was past and out of sight. I blew on my grunt call, but he didn’t hear it or ignored it. After a moment the crunching rhythm of his footsteps in the dry leaves faded, and the woods were silent. I have thought of this buck many times since then, but especially now
By Brian Lang as I leaned against the large ash tree, scanning from above the bench along the hillside where that buck
traveled many years ago. He wasn’t the only buck on that ridge. I had seen others, including my first buck,
Physical connections, like this tree, may someday be broken. But connections in your mind and heart can never be severed.
plus a few others that got away. I grew up hunting these woods and it seemed like I knew every tree and wrinkle in the terrain. On this evening, my Dad and I had decided to hike the ridge behind our old house and check things out. I had arrived at our parking spot a few minutes before my Dad, and made my way into the woods to poke around while I waited. I slipped across the stream and up the steep bank of mature hemlocks and in a few moments I was in the woods where I grew up and explored incessantly as a young boy. I made my way slowly to where we had a tree stand, and right away I spotted the old fragment of wood hanging from the tree. The rest of the stand was crushed on the ground at the base of the tall pine. It felt strange to now be old enough to have built and hunted from one of those old, rotten wood stands you find in the woods every so often. I worked my way uphill toward an old landmark; a very large white birch that had fallen in a little clearing on a knoll. It was now very rotten and not as large as it used to be, but right next to it there were still the couple of cinder blocks I had piled up as a seat. Just beyond the birch in the clearing were a scrape and a fresh rub on a small beech tree. The sign put me on alert, and I tip toed my way to the edge of the knoll and peered down the little valley beyond. Suddenly, my radio crackled. My
Dad had arrived. “Where are you?” he asked. “Just below the white birch” I replied, and a moment later, in a patch of woods with several white birches, my Dad walked straight to me. We stood contemplating our hike, together again on our old property, and mere yards from where he had taken me on my first deer hunt many years before. We climbed carefully, half hiking, half still-hunting up a series of thick benches of mixed hemlock and oak. It was dry, but breezy, and the wind covered our noise as we traveled. There was some fresh deer sign, and in one clearing were two more scrapes. We separated at one point; Dad looped ahead to an old blind overlooking a trail through a funnel while I made a swing below through some thick cover. His old blind had collapsed somewhat, but was still there, as was the trail with fresh tracks below it where I crossed and met up with him again. We continued higher, and as we crested the next steep section we came across an old board half buried in the leaves. It was soft and soggy, with green moss on one side. We thought it may be from another old stand we had found long ago, just ahead. We automatically scanned the large expanse of open oaks as we stepped forward to the stand site, silently pausing together and checking all directions. It was even windier up on the ridge, and the constant dull roar of the wind was punctuated with the clattering of the bare, skeleton like limbs banging together up in the canopy. We came to the old stand site and saw the remains scattered on the ground. One of the key trees it was built in had fallen, and nothing but a few ladder rungs remained on a smaller, adjacent tree. “It’s still amazing,” said Dad, looking to the side. I followed his gaze and saw the branch. I had forgotten about it, but knew it well. Two trees, about 10 feet apart, had one straight branch the thickness of my forearm connecting the two trunks with no interruption. It formed a perfect, natural “H” shape of smooth wood, and we struggle to imagine how it could have grown this way. We admire it every time we pass by. We split up for the rest of the evening, going in separate directions. I still-hunted in a loop around the crest of the hill and made my way back toward the side of the ridge where I had seen the buck at the beginning of the story. As I crept silently, slowly through the woods, I
Continued next page
The Outdoor Gazette
Special Fundraising Effort Underway to Help Restore New England Cottontails
CONCORD, N.H. – Nine New England cottontails that were born and raised in captivity now call New Hampshire home. They are here as a result of a major effort among six states to restore their population and protect them before they disappear forever. A special fundraising effort is now underway through the N.H. Fish and Game Department’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program to support this multi-faceted restoration effort for New Hampshire’s only native cottontail. The nine New England cottontails were born in a captive-breeding facility at the Roger Williams Zoo in Rhode Island earlier this year. In September, they were transported to a special outdoor pen at the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newington, N.H., where they will spend the winter while transitioning to life in the wild. In addition to captive breeding, onthe-ground habitat restoration is helping to create more of the shrubland habitat that New England cottontails need for food and shelter. This winter, biologists will provide supplemental food and will be monitoring areas where wild New England cottontails are known to still occur. The Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program is seeking public support for this exciting restoration effort. Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. (Make checks payable to NH Fish and Game/Nongame Program.) For a print-and-mail contribution form, visit w i l d n h . c o m / Wi l d l i f e / N o n g a me/support_nongame.htm. New England cottontails are endangered in New Hampshire and are a candidate for listing under the Federal had flashbacks to each deer I had seen in the area over the years. I remembered just where they stood, walked or ran, and where I was when I spotted them. I remembered each deer trail, and the buck sign I had found. As I approached the lip of the ridge, I spotted a large scrape below a hemlock bough. The first time my Dad brought me up here, we found heavy buck sign, and for many years after I had found buck sign following this edge, and it seemed as though the current generation of deer hadn’t changed. I stood until dark against that ash tree, shivering in the cold wind. I remembered that large buck I saw go by and all the other deer I had seen over the years, including my first buck, which I had shot just below on The Outdoor Gazette
A special fundraising effort is underway to help restore the endangered New England cottontail. Endangered Species Act. They occur litter and may have 2-3 litters per year. in parts of southern Maine, southern Conservation partners working New Hampshire, Massachusetts, together to restore New England cotConnecticut, Rhode Island and south- tontails throughout their range eastern New York. Their current dis- include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife tribution is less than a fifth of their historic range. These native rabbits are 15-17 inches in length, with a brown and gray coat that does not change color with the seasons. They often have a black spot between the ears and a black line on the edge of the ears, which can help distinguish between them from Eastern cottontails, but these features are not always present. New England cottontails are active year round at dawn, dusk and at night. In the summer, they feed on grasses and forbs, and in the winter they eat bark, twigs and buds of shrubs and young trees. They have 3-8 young in a
Service and its Partners for Wildlife; the Natural Resources Conservation Service; state fish and wildlife agencies in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York; the Wildlife Management Institute; Roger Williams Park Zoo; the University of New Hampshire; and the University of Rhode Island. Additional conservation partners in New Hampshire include the Society for the Protection of NH Forests, N.H. Audubon, the Great Bay National Estuarine Reserve, and the towns of Lee, Durham, Londonderry and Pelham. For more information about New England cottontails and the rangewide recovery effort, visit newenglandcottontail.org. The N.H. Fish and Game Department’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program is the steward for species not hunted, fished or trapped. Through wildlife monitoring and management, plus outreach and education, the Nongame Program works to protect over 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, as well as thousands of insects and other invertebrates. Learn more at wildnh.com/nongame.
Sturtevant Pond Camps On 580 acre Sturtevant Pond
from previous page
the same ridge. Unlike any physical connection, which can be broken, connections you make in your mind and hold dearly in your heart can never be severed. Whatever may happen to that land, the memories and experiences my father and I share in those deer woods will live forever.
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 Practice
The most common question I get asked about archery is how often I practice. This question sometimes makes me squirm because practice takes on a different meaning for every person. Whenever I attempt to answer the question I always relate back to my early experiences. When I was much younger I used to shoot one arrow after another for hours on end. Since I didn’t have any purpose behind my practice I eventually got target panic. I put too much emphasis on where the arrow hit instead of how the shot felt. I began punching the trigger and after a while I couldn’t hold the pin on the target. It felt as if there was a cement block on my sight pin. In the beginning the pin settled under the bulls-eye. I compensated by adjusting my pin to hit a little high. As time went on the panic became worse and I couldn’t get the pin above the bottom of the target face. That’s when I realized that my practice routine directly related to the problems that I encountered. Shortly after I diagnosed the problem I learned how to shoot a back tension release which is a release without a trigger. I learned to aim and the let the shot happen, rather than force it. After a solid nine months of training I finally was able to shoot with confidence again. At that point I decided to organize a practice routine that would work well for me in order to attain the goals that I set. I learned that the number of arrows I launched every day didn’t matter as much as the purpose behind launching them. I told myself that I would not shoot an arrow unless I had 100% concentration behind the shot. Some days I was able to shoot a hundred arrows while other days I only shot 20. I knew that as long as my concentration was cen-
tered on the task I was performing then I would get the most out of my practice. If I found my concentration drifting into other areas I imme-
By Todd Mead
myself consciously thinking about any part of my shot sequence my groups tend to open up. I’ve also noticed that if I can hear someone
Practice makes perfect! The author honing his skills at the range during the off season.
diately stopped shooting. This helped me to form a better mental attitude than what I had when I used to launch arrows for hours at a time. I’ve found over the years that concentration and group sizes usually go hand in hand. My groups are the tightest when there are no outside thoughts in my mind. The only thing on my mind is aiming. If I find
talking I know that my concentration isn’t where it should be. During my best shooting I can’t hear anything and my mind is quiet and relaxed. I always pay attention to how I’m shooting from day to day. As you all know some days are much better or worse than others. I shoot as long as I can on the days that I’m shooting
well. On the days that I’m not shooting well I usually put my bow away and let it sit for a day or two. I do this to avoid picking up bad habits from sloppy shooting. The good days help build my confidence and I don’t want to destroy what I have built by reinforcing anything that is bad. I always reward myself when I’m shooting too. Whenever I make a good shoot I always mentally pat myself on the back and say, “Good shot Todd.” If I make a bad shot I don’t acknowledge it and I go on to the next arrow. This makes it a lot easier to let a bad shot go during a tournament without putting too much emphasis on it. When you over analyze you open a can of worms that can come back to haunt you. You have to realize that everyone who has shot archery has missed before and they will miss again. Nobody is perfect. I encourage all of you to set up your own practice routine. One thing that you must remember is that although something works for one person it might not work for you. I have given you the examples of my routine so you have a general guideline to follow. My routine is far different than many people that I know, but it works for me. The secret is finding something that is easily repeatable. The routine must also bring enjoyment to your shooting session. Shooting can become boring if you’re not constantly challenging yourself. Do whatever you have to do to make your practice pay off when the moment of truth arrives whether it’s in the woods or on the tournament trail. 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.
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Guided by the Light or is That a Train Coming? K.I.S.S.
Can there be too much reliance on technology? Can technology diminish the joy of fly fishing? At what point does technology begin tipping the scale in the wrong direction? It’s all a matter of opinion. However, sometimes, when we’re stuck in the midst of too much technology, we lose sight of the goal: to enjoy learning about, and participating in, our sport. So many people have told me “Keep It Simple, Stupid” that I’m amazed I ever allowed myself to get caught up in believing if it’s bigger, or newer, or more expensive, it must be better. It’s as if the goal is to somehow become better, never thinking about how much fun I was already having. I’m also amazed I never developed an inferiority complex although Ruth insists there’s no chance of that ever happening. (Hmmmmm – I need to think about that one.) Fly fishing has not been my only experience with this phenomenon. Once upon a time, I shot registered trap and skeet. If you think fly fish-
ermen can become neurotic over equipment, spend a little time at a gun club. Countless guys I’ve known have anguished over missed clay
birds and thought they’d solve the problem by buying a newer, more expensive shotgun. Did it work?
By Tony Lolli
Hell, no. On the plus side – I was able to pick up some very good bargains at very low prices. I guess I was at the right place at the right time – something that almost never happens to me.
The tackle manufacturers are responsible for this problem of unnecessary demand. They’re in the business of selling stuff so it’s in their best interest to convince us we’re not enjoying the experience unless we have the biggest, or lightest, or newest or most expensive. I can understand the pride of ownership that comes with expensive, handmade tackle - even if I don’t own any. If that makes you happy, that’s all that matters. However, expensive tackle is not essential. Believe it or not, it’s possible to enjoy yourself completely without blowing your kid’s college fund. Does anyone need every rod ever made ranging from one-weight through whatever? If you want them, more power to you. Have a ball and enjoy yourself. But, don’t think you can’t enjoy yourself without them. How about lines? Do you really need four different densities of sinking lines? Is it necessary to sally forth encumbered by a baker’s dozen flyboxes containing several thousand flies? Most of us risk a hernia toting all the stuff that passes for “essential” equipment. My friend, Larry Mucci, was a great proponent of the less-is-more philosophy. He carried a single,
ancient, fleece-lined flybook. He fished only with emerger patterns of his own design. He also fished the only rod he ever owned. Couldn’t he afford anything more? Sure he could – he simply was happy with what he had. Even his preference for casting was simple - not to mention effective. He used the old Leisering Lift method. He’d cast upstream with a slack line and long leader, giving his emergers time to sink as they drifted without drag. Then he’d wait until the fly was just upstream of where he thought a trout might be holding. At that point he’d stop the drifting line, letting it come tight and the fly would rise to the surface, looking like an emerging insect. This waiting around gave him plenty of time to take in the sights missed by most of the other fly casters on the Beaverkill River. In fact, Larry might make only one cast in the same amount of time others would make eight or ten casts. He’d still out-fish them and continued to do so even when they began crowding around him, thinking Larry was fishing to the only trout in the pool. He’d give up his spot, take over their vacated positions and continue outfishing them. More than one encroacher went home muttering to himself. Here’s a sporting proposition: just once, go light. In fact, find out exactly how light you can go and still have fun. In spite of risking equipment withdrawal, take only one rod, reel, line and leader. Leave your vest home and carry a single box of flies. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to go out and not worry if you brought the right x, y, or z. You might even rediscover the joy you knew when flyfishing was something new. P.S. Purely in the spirit of public service, I’m willing to accept all that tackle you’re about to get rid of. I know several South American orphans who will be happy to receive whatever I can’t use. Tony Lolli is a broken down fly fishing guide, freelance writer, sheriff ’s deputy and ne’er-do-well from northeastern Vermont. His book, Go-To Flies: 101 Patterns the Pros Use When All Else Fails, is available through bookstores and Amazon.com.
ROSCOE BLAISDELL Official Measurer Boone & Crockett Club Pope & Young Club NH Antler & Skull Trophy Club Maine Antler & Skull Trophy Club
22 Scribner Road, Raymond, NH 03077
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This Green Mountain bone collection is in Norwich, Vermont.
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The Captain’s Corner By Matthew Trombley
The final minutes of the 2012 VT Big game season are ticking down, with the Black Powder gun put away & wishing we had a little more snow to enhance this year’s hunt. It has been a pretty tough road for our crew this year with the up & down weather, snow coming in between seasons and not staying around long when it did. I am very happy to say that EVERY day I spent in the deer woods this year my 10 yr old Son Logan was right by my side! We hunted dawn till dusk during the youth weekend with only a fleeting opportunity at a doe on the opening day that just didn’t slow down long enough for a good shot. We did hunt the opening three day’s of our firearms season with six does making their way past our blind…but the bucks seemed to elude us. There have been some really nice bucks taken in our area of Rutland County this season, as a half dozen years of antler restrictions are starting to show the fruits of the Fish & Games efforts! I can count close to a dozen eight to ten pointers taken with in a 5 mile radius of our home, all bucks
I would be proud to shoot in any state! I just hope that mother nature is kind to our herd this year, as mast crops are scarce and the lack of food
Cold - weather we did have, with a couple mornings starting out in the single digits. But this made for very noisy conditions a tough still hunting, as this is the primary tactic that we employ up there as the deer are
A nice take of Eiders with Coastline Guide Service
in the woods has put the deer into browse mode very early this fall. We spent six days prior to Thanksgiving hunting the Great Northwoods of the Pittsburg New Hampshire area, but again there was very little spotty snow to help us out.
MOUNTAIN DEER TAXIDERMY
pretty wide spread. We did jump a few but I believe the herd is still recovering from the tough winter of 2010/2011 as most reported seeing a few does but the buck kill was way down from years past. We did see a half dozen Moose, including a really nice four year old Bull at 35 yards that had about a 45 inch spread, giving Logan a really great show and
fowl season getting in some gunning for some sea ducks over Christmas week with Capt. Jack Renfrew of Coastline Guide Service of Plymouth Mass. We have hunted with Jack in years past during the month of October, this will be our first time down to test our endurance and brave the elements that the Atlantic Ocean will dish out in late December! Fast action for tough birds is usually the menu for the day, with an offering of Eiders (Eidah’s as down eastah’s call them) Old Squaw & a mix of Scoters with an occasional Brant can all be expected to fly by the boat at any time! Three inch shells with loads of number two’s are usually what is needed to knock down these hearty birds, always being on the ready to make a finishing shot on the birds once they hit the water as they are notorious for diving and swimming long distances after being hit! Jack’s Chocolate Lab Gunner has made over 6000 retrieves in his hunting career; he is slowing down a bit but at 11 years old he still pushes though the seas like a champ! Jack’s 21 foot custom built boat built by Duck water Boats of Ohio makes for a safe and enjoyable hunting platform and steady gunning. For getting
With over 20 years of experience in taxidermy, we pride ourselves in our ability to preserve your trophy to look as it did in its natural habitat. We work annually on about 300 mountings and presentations of many varieties of wildlife; deer, bears, moose, coyotes, fox, fisher, turkeys and more. We also work on animals from other parts of the globe including Africa. In addition to being entertaining, the stories of the hunters who are our cus tomers provide information allowing us to suggest possible ways to present and mount the trophies that they have bagged. Our high quality work can be seen by our many repeat customers that seek out our services. The presentation of your trophy can be head wall mounts or full body depictions. We are also the State of Vermont Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Big Game Reporting Station. A specially designed outdoor scale system with tall vertical clearance is also provided for easy weigh-in of all species.
Call Rodney or Theresa Elmer 1308 Loop Road - Northfield, VT 05663
Matt with his son Logan after a day on the Mass coast
getting his heart pumping for a moment! The lucky member of our group was my middle brother Mark taking a 155lb 7 point VT buck on the second morning, but out side of that freezer is looking bleak for venison this year! We have gotten in some waterfowl hunting & the cold weather has pushed the dabblers down in better numbers then we saw in the Champlain Valley last year. Diver ducks such as Bluebills, Buffleheads & Goldeneye are starting to show up, hopefully providing us with some decent gunning over the later part of the season. Our season closes just before the Holidays, but Logan & I are planning on wrapping our water-
in some great sea coast hunting & fishing be sure to check out Jack’s web site out www.coastlineguideservice.com, a great friend and superb seamen, he will take great care of you! I have made the trek over to the Salmon River for Steelhead 3 times so far this fall, at the time of this writing I am planning on heading over next week (Dec 17th) for our second drift boat trip of the fall. Thanksgiving weekend found us over to Pulaski with strong northwest winds & heavy lake effect snow coming down that the area is noted for. The river was running low from the summer drought, which made for
Continued next page
The Outdoor Gazette
New Barrier for Sea Lamprey Control in the Great Lakes
Albany, NY- The completed barrier at Orwell Brook will reduce the numbers of parasitic sea lamprey entering Lake Ontario Did you know a single adult sea lamprey is capable of killing up to 40 pounds of trout and salmon in its lifetime? To control these parasitic fish, techniques like chemical treatments (lampricides), trapping and barrier dams are used. Recently, the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, DEC’s Lake Ontario Unit and Region 7 staff completed construction of a sea lamprey barrier on Orwell Brook, a Lake Ontario tributary. The new barrier will: Prevent lamprey access to about 1.7 acres of preferred
spawning and larval habitat. Eliminate an average of 47,398 lamprey larvae upstream of the barrier. Allow native aquatic organisms to move upstream when barrier operations are ceased during non-sea lamprey spawning migrations. Decrease the frequency of lampricide treatments from annually to every four years. Visit DEC’s Sea Lamprey webpage for details on additional control efforts in the Great Lakes and connecting tributaries, as well as lamprey facts and images.
bumpy ride in the drift boat but we did bring a few fish to the net. All of that Lake effect snow has melted now & some warmer rains have brought the Salmon River Reservoir back up to full capacity & the river is running back at normal fall levels. The reports have been some fantastic early season Steelhead are hitting, which mirrors our September & October trips success and super action! The heated drift boat can take the sting out of numb fingers and add to
the splendor of drifting the river in quiet peace with out the hum of an engine. Viewing wildlife such as Bald Eagles, deer & turkeys adds spice to the trip, putting bright chrome steelhead in the boat puts the icing on the cake! We will continue to do a couple of trips over to the river each month through the winter, March & April will find us putting in some long days before the spring runs wanes off & the big boat takes over for the summer! The Holidays will be upon before
The Outdoor Gazette
RIGHT - The completed barrier at Orwell Brook will reduce thenumbers of parasitic sea lamprey entering Lake Ontario
we know it….. Giving us the chance to spend time with our loved ones, enjoy watching our children grow before our own eyes, and relish the food and drink of the season that will make memories for years to come. We wish every one a Very Happy New Year, looking forward to meeting new friends and catching up with old ones in the New Year! We will be starting our annual tour of the winter sportsman shows, beginning with the Rockingham Fishing & Hunting Expo in southern
from previous page
New Hampshire, then three days at the Yankee Sportsman Classic in Essex Vermont on the third weekend of January. Stop by the booth, visit for a bit and find out what’s new! Hope to see you there!! Matt Trombley is a career firefighter, residing with his wife & son in Florence Vermont. He is a U.S.C.G licensed Master captain, guiding & chartering fishing trips through out Vermont & New York. His charter business, 3rd Alarm Charters can be viewed at www.3rdalarmcharters.com
The Trap Line By Randy Barrows
Mink resemble weasels in many ways but the only major difference is the mink is much larger in size. Male mink weigh in the two to three pound range while females average two to three pounds. Both male and female will measure in under eighteen inches normally although if you trap around lakes larger ones are possible. Both vary in color from brown or black. Mink are found both in the U.S and Canada. They normally breed in February and have their young in April depending on the weather. Litters consist of six to twelve young and are born in old rat houses or any holes that offers protection from the elements. Mink fur is usually prime from the first of November until February when the breeding starts. Mink are at home on land or in water. Their diet consists of mice, rats, crayfish, frogs, muskrats and baby ducks. Mink live in rivers, brooks, swamps or any body of water that offers food and shelter. Female mink tend to be home bod-
ies seldom trekking far from home. Male mink however tend to never be home. Studies have shown that
males have a route they travel that takes them two to three weeks to complete. Kind of sounds like a
trapper and his wife with mother at home taking care of business while Dad is away tending his trap line. After a fresh snow sometime go out and find some mink tracks and fol-
the forests. Next month I will go over a few sets that will help you catch these little critters. I hope your trapping season is
low them for awhile and you will be amazed at how much ground these little critters cover in short order. Hopefully while scouting you found mink tracks away from water which usually mean itâ€™s a male mink and he is on his route. Try to concentrate on these mink and give the females a break. Yes you can and do catch female mink but remember these females produce twelve young per year on average and cleaning them out will mean less mink next year. At $14.00 to $20.00 per pop a dozen will give you more in the paycheck category. While in the water mink will check every nook and cranny they come to. This may not be a big feat in our eyes but when you factor in they do this all day long every day this is huge. If you have ever had a pet ferret you know what I am talking about. They are the C.S.I. team of
going well. Mine started out slow but is cranking along now. The weather certainly has not been the trappers ali , with hurricanes , cold weather, 70 degree weather , back to 20 we have certainly run the gamut this fall. Oh well its better than the alternative, a foot of snow. Keep your waders patched and your lures in the shed. Take a kid with you please. See ya on the trap line. 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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Your Picture on The Outdoor Gazette! No, not the real cover but an 8x10 full color mock-up of our cover. You can put your favorite hunting, fishing, snowmobiling or anything you can think of, right on The New Hampshire and Vermont Outdoor Gazette cover and it will look like the real thing. Itâ€™s the perfect gift for any outdoor enthusiast. Cover will be full color on heavy stock photo paper and will fit an 8x10 picture frame.
Price is only $20.00 including postage
What do we need from you? A digital photo with at least 200dpi resolution at 8x10 size or original photo mailed to us for scanning. 4 headlines of 30 characters or less and the month and year you would like on the cover Want to buy one? send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Behind the Sights By Charlie Chalk Making a Knife Sheath
The knife sheath is as important a piece of gear as anything you have for the outdoors. Fixed blade knives all come with one, though today, even some good knives come with cheap sheaths of nylon or plastic. They hold a knife, but lack the style of a leather sheath. Another reason to create your own sheath is that you got a knife, but no sheath. I did that on an EBay bid on a Marbles “Field Craft” from the early 1900’s. Crafting a sheath is the only option. Getting the materials for a sheath is simple. Online dealers like Tandy sell some small pieces in bulk. Most lots will have pieces big enough to make one sheath. Oak tanned is best, but whatever type, it should be thick, typical of commercial sheaths. Another source, especially if you like a ‘vintage’ look is found at thrift stores. Old cowboy boot shafts can be cut off and make some unique sheaths. Perhaps you can think of other sources of good leather?
Other goods you need are thread, saddle needles or “Speed Stitcher”, awl and contact cement. You will wrap up with dye and wax, both
which should be at shoe shops. Designing the sheath is simple.
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Get out a pad of paper and a pencil. Trace out the entire knife, handle and all, on the paper. After that’s done, fold the paper around the knife. Always allow adequate space around the blade for expan-
sion when the knife is in the sheath and stitching sides. You need a belt loop, which can be formed by extra leather coming off the back top of the sheath and folded down and stitched, or it can be a simple strip added on the back and stitched top and bottom. Either way this belt loop is step one, before other stitching. The idea here is to transfer your drawing to the leather as accurately as possible, and then cut it out as cleanly as possible. Place your leather on a cutting board and lay the sheath design over that. Use a pencil to trace the outline. When you’re done you should have something that looks like picture four below. Pencil is good for marking leather because you can see it, but it isn’t too dark. Now, cut along the pencil lines with a sharp razor knife. You may choose a spacer to go between the edges. It’s basically the exact same outline, but wide enough to catch the stitch line, but not so wide as to interfere with the blade in the sheath. Putting it all together will be where you need contact cement.
Contact cement, is great for leather. You use it by spreading a layer on both sides to be glued, wait fifteen minutes, and then press the pieces together. It adheres instantly and gives a strong, flexible bond. Stitching is easier when the edge is positioned with the cement. Now take your awl or Speed Stitcher and begin around the edge. Try to keep spacing equal. While the stitcher comes with thread, the use of saddle needles and thread may be easier. It is easy to push the stitcher at an angle through the leather and make unequal stitches. The traditional method is to punch holes with an awl, then use two needles and a “saddle stitch”. To do this, punch the holes for your seam. Fold the leather into position when making the holes, so you’re sure they will line up. Cut a piece of thread four times the length of the seam. Thread a needle and run it through the first hole. Center the thread so you have equal amounts on each side. Thread a second needle on the other end of the thread. Pass each needle in turn through the next hole and draw tight. When you get to the end, backstitch for at least two holes to lock the stitch. After stitching, trim the edges of the leather for a neat appearance. If you notice, I have not mentioned any type of keeper strap. I see no need if you design your sheath to be of a deep design that only exposes a third of the handle, or less. Straps are just more work with some form of snap. A deep sheath will work just fine. Almost all of the sheaths I make are deep sheaths. The deep sheaths are also historically the earliest designs. That covers the basics. Study more on designs and decorations to create a truly original design if you wish. The best compliment you could get on your work is; “Would you make one of those for me?” 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.
R i c h a rd Tr e m a i n e Optician
Please allow 2 - 4 weeks for delivery. Mail or photocopy this form and send to: NHASTC Record Book Roscoe Blaisdell, President 22 Schribner Road Raymond, NH 03077
Locally owned and operated
603-752-3382 M-F 9-5• Fri 9-6 Sat. am by appt.
148 Main Street • Berlin, NH 03570
The Outdoor Gazette
The Outdoor Angel Reflections ofThe Outdoor Reflections of The Outdoor Angel
I’ve made plenty of turkeys in my lifetime, but I’ve always purchased them at the store – frozen. Well, I’ve come to Bennington, VT with a different intent. I am going to shoot my very own turkey! At least I’m going to TRY to shoot my very own turkey. It all started last month, also in Bennington, VT. I was given my 1st taste of turkeys up close with Lee Dufresne, owner of Elusion Camo; Jay Faherty, owner of HIPS blind; and Kevin Hoyt, videographer extraordinaire! We would go out early in the morning on “practice runs”. Their season is the month of May and they were trying to locate the ideal hunting ground. When it was suggested I come back for an actual hunt, I jumped at the chance. After a VERY successful salmon fishing trip, it was time to head back to my new friends. The car loaded with my fresh catch – I caught over 200 pounds – the excitement began to build. I’d been seeing pictures from youth hunts and figured if they could do it, so could I! I even was taking my potential success one step further. I have a crystal fish ring that I always wear when I fish. Now I am the proud owner of a crystal owl ring. The owls share the woods and I hadn’t found a turkey ring – yet! I had my Elusion Camo and now all I needed was to harvest a bird. My 1st day was to be spent with guys known to me as the Coyote Patrol. They’d given me the thrill of a lifetime with a coyote hunt done with dogs. They were taking me from coyote mode to turkey mode. I was to meet the Mulready brothers, Jeff and Tim, at 4 am in New York. Don’t these guys know I need my beauty sleep? On top of it I would have to drive all the way to New York to meet them! That sounds worse than it is. I just needed to cross the VT border and I was there. Meeting at 4 meant leaving the house at 3:30, which meant I needed to get up around 2:45 – IN THE MORNING! I can’t just roll out of bed, put on my Elusion Camo and be off. I have to properly prepare. I’d need to get the makeup on and fix my hair! I don’t know why I was concerned about getting up so early because I didn’t really sleep due to anticipation and the unknowns swirling in my head. Hoosick Falls, NY here I come, look out turkeys. In addition to the The Outdoor Gazette
Mulready brothers and my cameraman, I had the legendary Lane Benoit along with me. His family is known for their deer tracking
successes, but are all around outdoorsmen. Lane had his camera along to capture the sights and sounds as well as my 1st hunt/harvest. Wouldn’t you know the turkeys were not “talking”? Didn’t they realize how far I’d come for this? After hours of slow action, we switched into coyote mode. This is the real love of the Mulreadys, and a newfound passion with me! We got the dogs and headed back out for a bigger target. Maybe I would go home with something. Lane Benoit and I took up residence and waited. We weren’t hearing the dogs, but my eyes stayed focused and continually scanned the area. Lane was the smart one, getting in a little catnap, but I figured I’d catch a few zzz’s later. I was on a mission! I thought I spied something in the distance but didn’t want to wake Lane. After all I’d been wrong before! Well, he was stirring and I said I think there’s a red fox straight ahead of us on a hill. Lane quickly saw what I was excited about, but pointed out it was a deer. It appeared to be bright red (similar to my hair!) so it was natural (unlike my hair!) for me to assume fox. While we were chit chatting about the deer, Lane looked at me and saw a turkey beyond. I slid my eyes and sure enough. I knew you couldn’t shoot a hen, so I remained still. Lane said it was a Jake, but then we questioned what time it was – the hunt stops at noon – and by the time I had the safety off and
By Mary Kay shotgun up, the bird had disappeared. My one and only sighting and I blow it. I wonder what the hunting legend thinks of my “skills”?? Well, there’s always tomorrow.
Same plan, same place and same time. Now I figured I could catch a little nap, but as the days seem to go in Vermont, I did a little unplanned fishing. We caught dinner and enjoyed some fresh brook trout and LOTS of laughs. Okay, maybe I’ll head to bed early – beauty sleep, remember? When it was 11 pm and I wasn’t tired I wondered if I should stay up for a few more hours and work on adrenaline. I finally did give in at 12:30 and got a little sleep. The routine started again, but this time instead of Lane Benoit, Jay Faherty, HIPS blind and a phenomenal turkey caller, would be meeting me. We got on the way and met up with Jeff Mulready. I guess Tim Mulready had enough of me the previous day! After what seemed like a 5-mile
hike ducking in and out and over and around, we came to our spot! Jeff had a pop up blind, which we set and I waited. The cameraman was in the blind with me and I had to jab him several times because he was SNORING. I didn’t want him to blow my chance because he was sleeping. If I was able to stay alert, he needed to make an effort rather than sounding like a freight train in the serene surroundings. Jeff and Jay were heading toward the blind – time to go. No! I hadn’t gotten my bird yet. Well, we were changing spots, after all this was hunting, not sitting! It turns out that Tim Mulready wasn’t tired of my sissy girl hunting style (my words – not his!). He was out, along with several others, spotting birds for me! All these men were on my side!! Tim was in communiqué with Jeff and it was time to move again, he’d spotted a Jake. Maybe my guy from the previous day, Lane will be proud! Now the real fun started. I did feel a little bad for the hen figuring this was the last walk with her offspring. It was then explained to me that the Jakes are young gobblers, helping with breeding. I told you I’m a novice, and I’m not afraid to look silly asking the questions! How else will I learn? We had a game plan and again hiked to where it would all happen. Just as predicted the pair made their way from the field where initially spotted and were on course for us! They must have read the script! Watching and waiting, the blood was pumping. Now, I started to wonder if I’d really be able to get the shot off. Pictures of the youth season flooded my mind and I was re-invigorated. But now “my” turkey seemed to have a different idea. They were heading
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From the back of a canoe 2012 in the rear view mirror
The end of each year I send out a mailing to clients; this column contains excerpts from the letter along with a few rambling thoughts. The November column Kennebec Runs was the first time I tried using Dragon Naturally Speaking software. Typing is a skill (more or less) for anyone who writes unless you’re a survivor from the prehistoric days of secretaries. Efficiency is somewhat related to keyboard skills; that and being able to corral thoughts into sentences and paragraphs which sometimes seems more difficult than herding cats. Not an original thought but from a memorable super bowl commercial. Fortunately I learned to type while in the Marines starting as a keypunch operator. Working in an air conditioned environment was preferable to crawling around in the mud with a rifle in the tick infested southern states which also had a lot of snakes. Unfortunaly they had the concept that all Marines had to maintain the basic skill set so there were frequent trips to the rifle range and boonies for maneuvers. Proficiency with a keyboard or pad is something todays youngsters grow up with; it’s almost intuitive. Spelling and grammar were two of my many weak points; spell checkers, software and repetitiveness eventually helped but Barb, my wife always edited columns and articles. Using Dragon was like going back in time; there were a lot of errors. Overall it’s pretty good and faster than typing; there’s problems with pronunciation especially with unique local
names. It’s capable of doing a lot of time saving tasks. 2012 was my tenth year guid-
By Jim Norton to cross. Hurricane Irene in August of 2011 had a major impact on the rivers and streams in the Northeast. Some pools on the
The Androscoggin in October just as the fog is starting to burn off – Jim Norton
ing; I never anticipated guiding that long. Now it’s year by year mostly determined primarily by health and a growing awareness that if I continue guiding until I can’t physically do it I’ll miss a lot of fishing days. This was almost an injury free year until October when I lost a month with a banged up leg. Bird season went down the tubes with the exception of a few days in mid-November when I was able to get our setter Duchess out to stretch her legs. She’ll be ten next spring; all of our female setters have hunted until they were twelve or thirteen but there are no guarantees. There’s always a last dog; from my wife’s viewpoint that would have been a few dogs ago; that will be another bridge
Connecticut, Pemigewasset and other rivers and streams changed; overall we made out much better than Vermont. For anglers who like to fish remote ponds a few of the trails in the White Mountains are still not open. This was the third year in a row we've had a hot dry summer. There was a lot of damage to the small brooks and streams that support wild brook trout. Trout fishing in many of the rivers was subpar as a result of the warm water and low flow conditions. The winter of 2011/12 was basically snowless; combined with no rain from January until late May. That resulted in great conditions for wading in March, April and May. With the lack of rain and
run off rivers that nor mally have good salmon fishing including the Merrymeeting and Winnipesaukee were disappointing. In March I had my boat on the water; in 2011 it was June. We did have rain in late May and June; that was short-lived and by July rivers and streams were at record lows that continued into October. The Androscoggin was at 2700 to 1800 cubic feet per second most of June; by September it was down to 1450. The Connecticut was low most of the summer; at North Stratford the flow was often 400-450. The Alder fly Hatch on the Androscoggin was out by June 12 that's the second time in the last three years that it has started before the 21st. It used to be the last weekend in June or early July before the hatch started. That's a direct relation to the warmer water temperatures. The same was true for the hex hatch on ponds; the hatch was early statewide again this year. Overall the spring fishing was good but by June most of the rivers south of the notches were not worth fishing. The Pemi and Saco held up pretty well until late August and the Pemi fished well into September. Water temperature on the Androscoggin was in the 70s for most of July and August and I didn’t fish the river. In the summer war m sunny days and high water temperatures can make fishing difficult; low flows decrease the oxygen level, not a good combination. There were a few days on the Androscoggin in June and September on the Connecticut
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The Outdoor Gazette
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the wrong way! Fine, we’ll head them off at the pass. I didn’t realize we’d have to hike through the Amazon to do this! It was so overgrown with prickly bushes and trees I’ve come away with cuts and scrapes. The tall grass hides the mucky mud but my $10 camouflage rubber boots (fashion) did the trick. I kept up without falling. We (at least Jeff) were confident we’d gotten ahead of the birds. The field was filled with tall grass, so I assumed we’d pop his blind in the middle and wait. I’d be able to do this. But no, he had an entirely different idea. Jeff
handed me his gun and I was now on point. I still had it in my head that we were ahead of the birds and they’d be coming our way. Jeff told me to walk slowly, and also watch the tall grass, they could be hiding. I guess I didn’t focus as much on the tiny detail because all the sudden there are 2 birds in FLIGHT and he tells me to shoot at the redhead. What now? He wanted me to shoot myself ? What had I done to make him so mad? He actually meant the redheaded bird, not me; at least that’s his story! The excitement took over and I didn’t have the gun shoul-
dered properly but I did get off a shot and…. I…. MISSED. I wanted to cry, but not because I’d missed. I hurt my finger. Still can’t figure how, but I had to be holding the gun some odd, girly way and with the recoil, my left hand pointer finger was in the wrong place. How does anyone go turkey hunting and only come away with bruises (ego included), cuts and scrapes? Well, I did, but it was all worth it. I came to turkey hunt, which I did. I enjoyed my time hiking through the woods and trudging the Amazon. I was one of the guys and liking it.
I’ve heard many stories of true hunters not bagging their bird so what did I expect? It certainly would have been nice to feast on freshly harvested turkey, but there’s always next year. By then, hopefully my gun skills will have improved if the bird takes flight. I still maintain if I had a shot on the ground I’d be eating turkey. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Might have had the same outcome as the flyer but at least I can dream! I’ll be back next year and will walk out of the field with more than a 20-pound pop-up blind!
in late August and early September when the fishing was poor. Overall the fishing in June on the Androscoggin was pretty good in September it was more difficult. Overall we did better than expected given the conditions. Being able to have the boat on the water in March and April provided the opportunity to fish rivers like the Merrymeeting, Pemi and Winnipesaukee that I would not normally be able to do. Low flow conditions made it possible to row upstream and fish different sections of the rivers. That was good news the bad was there were very few salmon in the rivers. I had the boat on the water 50 days; 10 or 15 more than a good year. The Connecticut around North Strafford was in the high 60s and low 70s many days but overall the river fished well in July and August. Labor Day weekend with low flow and sunny days turned out to be disappointing. The exception was the Androscoggin; the same weekend the river fished well although the water temperature was in the mid 60s. Trout in the Androscoggin are used to higher water temperatures than the Connecticut and are usually
more active when the water is in the 60s. June on the Androscoggin was pretty good. The alderfly hatch was on for three weeks; on the 30th clients were still able to land several fish using alderflies. We fished the hex hatch about every other night. The last week of June the water temperature on the ponds was in the 70s and we stopped fishing ponds. There were some excellent evenings on the river fishing dries including stoneflies. In September there did not seem to be as many trout in the Androscoggin as previous years. Although we had some very good days there were sections of the river drifting and wading that we normally fish that did not produce. On the other hand we were able to do well from the wayside picnic area to Seven Islands which sometimes can be more difficult. This year we ran our Androscoggin package the last two weeks of June and September. In September we had two days without clients. My partner Gerry, my wife Barb and I were able to get out and on the fish. One day Androscoggin was excellent Gerry has a video clip on his
fishing blog of Barb catching two trout on back to back casts; actually it was three but he did not have the camera on. HYPERLINK "http://flyfishnewengland.blogspot.com/" http://flyfishnewengland.blogs pot.com/ The other day we fished a pond and did well on dries catching brook trout in spawning colors. The show schedule for 2013: 5th & 6th January Rockingham Hunting & Fishing Expo Salem NH - speaker January 18th – 20th
Marlborough Mass Fly Fishing Show - tier and speaker March 2nd & 3rd F ly Fish New Hampshire Show Pelham NH – booth March 9th & 10th Twin States Big Game & Outdoor Show Lebanon NH booth Check our web site for tying and presentation dates.
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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.
Fish & Wildlife Management By Wayne A. Laroche Antler Restrictions: Will Smaller Antlers be the Result
No whitetail population can be expected to include a large percentage of big, older aged bucks if most of its’ young bucks are killed as soon as they develop antlers. There is no “rocket science” involved here.” If you eat most of your bean sprouts, you are not likely to get a lot of beans from your garden. There is simply little room for argument; bucks like beans need time to age and grow if you expect to get more out of them. Deer herds that have benefited from the use of antler restrictions have had relatively high numbers of yearling bucks in their harvests before implementation of a restriction, typically 60% or more being yearlings. The most basic fork-horn restriction “saves” and passes on to the next age class a little more than half of the yearlings that would have been harvested. Hunters in Vermont have definitely noticed a marked improvement in the average weight and antler size of buck’s harvested following implementation of an antler restriction. It really was not necessary to look at
the harvest data. It was obvious to most people that visited deer check
out that if yearlings, for example, make up only 20% of the harvest
Joe Blodgett of Corinth, Vermont with a trophy buck he took on the first day of the 2012 VT muzzleloader season. stations. before and antler restriction that On the other hand, again, it does only 10% of that number are likely not take “rocket science” to figure to be passed on by a basic antler restriction. So, buck populations that already have an excellent age structure should not be expected to benefit much by imposing an antler restriction of any kind. The facts are: A. Implementation of even the most basic fork-horn antler restriction results in protection of all spike bucks. (This means that spikes stand the best chance among all antlered bucks of passing on to the next age class.); B. Yearling bucks with well developed antlers have no such advantage and are subject to harvest as yearlings (This means they have some lesser chance of passing on to the next age class). “OMG…an antler restriction means we are killing the best of the best.” The genetics of our deer herd
is sure to go to “HE…double hockey sticks.” Deer hunter and deer biologist alike find it easy to “leap” to this kind of conclusion. This is not surprising, just look at the “facts!” To the alarmists, I would say: “Whoa…now! Not so fast! Calm down.” We may need to dig a little deeper into the science of genetics, phenotypic expression, and natural selection and maybe even do a little more research before getting overly excited about the fate of our deer herds. Simple antler restrictions that protect spike bucks may turn out to not be the preferred way to manage buck populations through the long term. Perhaps, more complicated antler restrictions involving a “slot limit” approach that culls spike bucks instead of protecting them will turn out to be preferable to “us humans.” Think about it. Big antlers or small antlers, white-tail deer are likely to continue as a species just fine either way. Big bucks, big antlers, those are things that are probably of greater importance to us hunters than to the whitetail as a species. Bigger deer and antlers add value to deer and deer hunting experiences. On the other hand, as regulations become more complicate, they become more difficult to abide by. This can take some of the fun out of hunting and reduce this value. So, science needs to help us answer the questions concerning how fast can genetic and phenotypic changes occur. Will antlers get smaller in just a few years, decades or millennia? We as hunters and wildlife managers need to answer the questions concerning what enhances and sustains the value that deer and deer hunting have for us. Science to date has provided no evidence pointing to any eminent
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Stick and String By Fred Allard If you are like me, you have many outdoor activities that you enjoy. Of those, are one or two that you absolutely can’t go much time with out doing, you are passionate about to the level of, what my wife calls, obsessed. (She tends to over react I think…LOL) I love to bowhunt with traditional archery gear and practicing with that gear with folks cut from the same cloth, gets me excited as well. There are a lot of great clubs around to bring together sportsmen and women of the same likes and passions. So a few of my buddies and I have decided to start another. A club that will bring traditional bowhunters /archers together for good times good hunts and spread the “word”, show people the path to bowhunting nirvana, show…calm down Fred. MontShire Traditional Bow hunters, a group of bowhunters from both sides of the river that share a passion for traditional archery and bowhunting. There are already clubs in both Vermont and New Hampshire. In New Hampshire there is the White Mountain Traditional Bowhunters. This group of folks is primarily from the Manchester area. They even have a lot of their events in Massachusetts. I have been to few of their events and was a member at one time. They are a great group of bowhunters/archers and a lot of fun to be around. For most of us north country folk, it is just too far to head down there on a regular basis to attend their events. In Vermont there is the Green Mountain Traditional Bowhunters. I have been a member of this club since Greg Magnant of Essex Jct. genetic calamity that is a likely outcome of antler restrictions. If it had, you would almost certainly have heard about it. It would be big news. This means there very likely is time for study and observation on which to base future management decisions. Wildlife managers should not think of throwing away or rejecting the obvious benefits realized by improving buck population age structure for the sake of preventing possible negative genetic affects, which at this point in time are mostly speculation. On the other hand, biologists should be gathering the data necessary to monitor changes in deer populations and running the scientific experiments, which will be necessary to The Outdoor Gazette
ber or as a participant at one of our shoots. If you are new to the sport or just want to try it come on out and give it a whirl. Most of us have plenty of extra gear for you to test drive before you commit real money to it. If you are an experienced compound shooter/bowhunter and the sport is losing the “it” factor for you, put down those training wheels and pick up a real bow. The “it” you lost is in a longbow or recurve I guarantee it. Just kidding about the training wheel thing. I use that one on my compound bow shooting friends all the time. Bowhunting no matter what equipment you use, is the ultimate challenge. Montshire Traditional Bowhunters founding members , Ken Monte (the shooter) and Ed Earle (in the dark tank top) have teamed up to form MSTB. The club of tradtional bowhunters and archers hope to host events all over the twin state area. called me more than 15 years ago events come 2013. Dues will be to start the club. I have catalogued used to build our target inventory many great memories with mem- to start with but after that who bers of this club and I am sure I knows. will have many more. The only I hope you will join us as a memissue with that club is a majority of the members and it’s events, are in the Burlington, Vermont area and again it is just too far to make regular appearances. The birth of MontShire Traditional Bowhunters is here. What will this group provide for it’s members? That remains to be seen in the long run. In the short term, MSTB will come together as a group and begin planning a traditional shoot or two for 2013. One of our biggest goals is to provide events in all corners of the twin state area, so that we all share in the travel commitment equally. We are committed to producing 2-3
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 works as a Registered Nurse at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Fred can be reached by emailing email@example.com.
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make informed management decisions in the future. We in the public sector should indeed question and encourage our biologists. It is good for them and for us. 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.
The Maine Hunter Muzzleloader Care and Cleaning
Keep your powder dry… I am sure many sportsmen have different ways of cleaning their muzzleloaders and if it works for you? Super! I have developed a method to clean my inline black powder rifle that can be used for most any muzzleloader made today! So if you are new to muzzle loading or want a foolproof method for cleaning your muzzleloader? Keep on reading! I always make sure I have a bottle of bore cleaner, bore butter, cleaning pads, and nipple anti-seize grease handy. You can buy a kit at Walmart or about any sporting goods shop near you these are not expensive, under $20. You will also want an old towel to lay your gun on while disassembling the breech assembly. Get out your wife’s hair dryer when she isn’t looking. Also having a roll of paper towels handy or rags is a plus. I start by removing the breech assembly, then remove the nipple and breech plug, making sure I lay these parts out in such a way I remember their return into my gun assembly when done cleaning. Each gun is a little different; I have a T/C Black Diamond that I have converted over to 209 primers from its original No. 11 cap firing system. The 209 gives you a much hotter ignition and has a lot less misfires then other caps do. After you remove the breech assembly, you should now be able to look right out through your barrel, when held up to the light! If not, you forgot to fire off the round in the chamber before beginning to clean your gun! It’s ok… But you will need a bullet extractor accessory, which has a screw type tip that you attach to your ramrod and insert it down the muzzle until it reaches the lead lodged in your barrel. Screw the extractor into the bullet lead firmly
By Steve Beckwith
and pull it out using your ramrod. Then clear the old powder and dispose of it in a wet paper towel. Of course if you have one of the break down barrels muzzleloaders you still have to remove the nipple, breech plug and clean it as well.
the breech plug and nipple, using extreme care to remove all old powder residue, the nipple I use a pin to clear the small ports that the primer flame exits to ignite the powder charge, making sure it is clean and clear when held up to a light! This next step is the most important step of all, in making sure your
With you barrel cleared you can now begin the cleaning process. I use a funnel and a container of warm soapy water, I flush the inside of my barrel thoroughly and then using pads soaked in bore cleaner attached to my ramrod, I push several patches through the barrels length until they come out almost clean. I only run the wire brush attachment down my riflings about every 5-6 cleanings, it will make your barrel stay accurate longer by not over brushing the riflings too frequently. With the barrel now clean but still damp, I set it aside and using bore cleaner and hot soapy water I clean
gun will fire correctly when you need it too! Using a hair blow dryer dry the entire gun, inside and out until the barrel is noticeably hot to the touch, also do the same to the breech plug and nipple and any other parts that became wet in this process. After getting everything good and dry, parts will be hot from your hair dryer, allow them all to cool to room temperature and then re-assemble. Make sure to use nipple anti-seize grease also called “Gorilla” grease lightly on the “threads only” of the breech plug, nipple and threads on your spring tension bolt if on your gun. “Do
not” allow any of this grease to enter the nipple ports or the breach plug area the powder rests in, this one sure way to get yourself a misfire and loose that buck of a lifetime. The purpose of this grease is to allow easy removal when cleaning your gun. Not using this will cause breach plugs and nipples to corrode into the threads and this can destroy your firearm or make removal almost impossible. After the gun is fully reassembled let you gun air dry over night before loading it! This is how to make sure your gun fires when you need it too! I use 90-100 grains of powder and do not use pellets, I use quick loaders, plastic container (find them where black powder supplies are sold) that holds a lead and a pre measured powder charge, for reloading after gun has been fired. These are handy when you need a quick second shot. Check you manual of your model gun for bullet sizes and powder suggested for your gun before loading your muzzleloader! Keep your powder dry is an old saying, but remains the same today for black powder shooters! Always stay safe call the factory if you have any questions about cleaning, loading or using a muzzleloader. Happy hunting and shooting! 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
Hard Water Fishing Tournament Fishing Vermont, Small State, Big Competition To many, winter is not an enjoyable time of year. Between the wind and cold why would you ever leave the comfort of home before sunrise to go trudge through snow and slush just for some fish? Well, for a select group of us, a little camaraderie, bragging rights, and the thought of pulling fish through the ice is more than enough motivation to leave the comfort of our warm homes. Some would argue that Vermont is behind the times when compared to the rest of the states along the ice belt but we think that is not necessarily true anymore. When you attend an ice fishing tournament, such as the ones put on by the Vermont Sportsman Hardwater Tournament Series, you will find the same passion, intensity, and gadgets being utilized to search out a winning limit of panfish. The Vermont Sportsman’s mission is to help advance the sport of fishing and outdoor recreation in the North East by providing the
highest level in education, competition and product promotion. The tournaments we are talking about are all located on , what is considered to be the sixth great lake; Lake Champlain. With close to 500 square miles of fishable water the options are nearly endless. These tournaments target panfish, more specifically bluegill, pumpkinseed, and both black and white crappie. Depending on the location, different species will comprise the winning basket. This coming year, two tournaments will be held at Dillenbeck Bay on the Northern end of the lake while the other two will be on the southern part of the lake at Lapham Bay and Larabee’s Point. Northern Lake Champlain boasts plentiful populations of large pumpkinseed and black crappie while the Southern end a winning bag will be
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By D & B Ice Adventures
composed mostly of bluegill and both species of crappie. The majority of people who fish these tournaments are locals, however the series has gained a lot of interest in recent years and has seen a number of competitors traveling from New York and Pennsylvania. Each event is a one-day competition. Take off is usually at 6:00 am and anglers have until 3:00 pm to get back for weigh-in. Like all tournaments, there are designated boundaries, which are determined and marked at the start of the event. Anglers are allowed to weigh-in six fish of which only three can be crap-
pie. Anglers spend most of the day fishing within sight of everyone, this makes keeping a good area to yourself all the more difficult. Most anglers choose to spend the day in the shanties moving from time to time in effort to stay on a decent bite. Some that prefer to stay a little more mobile in their efforts to search out that small spot that seems to be holding a good number of fish. Both tactics have their advantages and disadvantages. Although this is a single person event, many fishermen work together in hopes of locating and staying on a school of crappie or the ever so present pie plate pumpkinseed that inhabit the shallow weed beds of Northern Lake Champlain. There is a wide array of techniques used on tournament day, but one thing is for sure, the modern way of catching fish is becoming a December 2012
major factor in one’s success at these events. It was a big deal to see an angler with a flasher unit at the first event three years ago, now it’s the exact opposite. Flasher units, underwater cameras, electric auger, portable fish houses, and micro plastics have all become a part of the tournament scene here in Vermont, giving those with an open mind a better chance at bringing home a plaque. Weigh-in takes place in the afternoon and all anglers participating in the event need to be present to weigh-in. One thing is for sure, every one of these tournaments that I have fished, have been a complete toss up. I recall one day when the winning
bag consisted of only one crappie. That fish wasn’t a monster but it was one of a very few that had been caught that day. At another event, just about every angler weighed in their six fish. Bags of up to 4.5 pounds have been seen at these events. You can find more information on the VT Sportsman Hard Water Tournament Series at: www.vtsportsman.com, Forum http://vtsportsman.proboards.com or Facebook. D & B Ice Adventures is based out of Barre, Vermont and composed of two fishing fanatics: Dylan Smith and Robert Booth. With an equal drive time to the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain, the hardest decision is whether they want to catch giant bluegill on the river or huge pumpkinseed on the lake with crappie in the mix at both. These decisions have been logged through their blog www.dbiceadventures.wordpress.com which gives details on what they have to endure to be successful. You can checck them on facebook too at www.facebook.com/DBIceAdventures.
Southern Side Up Best Wishes and Happy Holidays
We had sat for about 2 hours and he was more than ready. If I could only get him to be reasonably still for another ? hour! I reached into my day pack and pulled out my antique 25 year old game boy! It was the same game boy that kept his older sister amused for hours while waiting for a flag ice fishing many years ago. It too kept her quiet on a deer stand or two in her younger days. Now, it was a God send for Alex II. I don’t think he had the hand held game powered up for 5 minutes and there he was. I reached over and took the game boy and pointed to the right. The spike kept coming. I whispered that he was a small deer and it was up to Alex to shoot or not. He muttered something about me being crazy or something along those lines. He followed the bucks progress. At 30 yards he stopped, Alex slipped off the safety and at the report of the rifle the deer dropped where he stood. A monster buck? Definitely not, but in the eyes of a 12 year old a true trophy by any measure. Some might disagree but that’s what makes
the world go round. Kids at this age are still a work in progress. They need the rewards that come from the lessons that we have taught them. Several years back, after seeing deer at 90 plus yards, I traded in a
A Young Alex Cote and his deer. Ruger that sat in a case for a shooter for Alex. I settled on a Remington Model 7 youth in a 7mm-08. Now I had never fired a 7mm-08 but had
By Alex Cote
read about the cartridge since it was introduced by Remington in the 80’s. In fact at the time, some of the bigger gun writers hailed it as the new must have deer round. On the advice of a respected friend that knew Alex was comfortable with a 20 gauge pump, we chose the 7mm-
08. We added a couple of boxes of their managed recoil ammo and we were golden. Or, so I thought anyway. I got the rifle home, mounted the scope and got it bore sighted. The next afternoon was “D” day. This little rifle handled so sweet, I just had to have one of my own! I looked high and low at the local gun shops but nobody had a second model 7. I ended up with a model 700 sps youth 7mm-08. To say that I’m sorry for the choice of a 7mm-08, would be a huge understatement. I absolutely love everything about the rifle itself and the cartridge is impressive to say the least. Being interested in hand loading, it didn’t take me long to play with the 7mm-08. I created a load using a 162 grain bullet being pushed by IMR 3031 powder. We have taken three deer to date with the hand loads. They all dropped where they stood. I’m no expert by any means but when I hand load, I take my time and each round is carefully loaded to duplicate the very first. When we target shoot, it isn’t uncommon to shoot dime size groups at 100 yards off a bench rest. Well, now I have another challenge to overcome. The wife has always enjoyed shooting sports. When the three older kids were younger, weekends found the clan in search of 3D archery shoots. It was fun, we all got exercise and the misses collected a fair bunch of trophies in the process. Then came Alex II! Not that that has been a bad thing but it cramped our style a bit. Now that he has gotten older and found a passion for the outdoors, she has opted to join us in the deer woods, at least for now.
Here comes the challenge, we only have 2, 7mm-08’s! I have been taking on-line classes, studying to become a gunsmith. Part of my studies call for me to do a project gun. My project is to take a military rifle and sportier it. I need to replace the stock, mount a scope, change out the trigger assembly ect. When the wife started to look over my shoulder, she fostered an interest in my project gun. That was until she started to hunt with Alex II and lugging around my model 700. The light weight and shortness of the youth rifle has given her second thoughts. I recently did some research for part of my classes and stumbled onto Marlin’s website. I’m not entirely sure, but maybe I bought the first 2 rifles in haste. Not that I regret my choice, because I don’t! Marlin has turned out a sweet little youth rifle in the model X7 available in the Remington 7mm-08. This little gem is supplied with an adjustable trigger, 22 inch barrel and a recoil pad on a composite stock. Now I understand that this isn’t your Granddaddy’s wood stock hand me down bolt action rifle, it doesn’t claim to be. It does claim to be a great out of the box shooter and has taken the hunting world by shock and awe! With an MSRP of 390 bucks, it certainly is more than affordable for even a kid with a paper route! In shopping around, I have seen them for under 350.00! With an in the box weaver style scope base included, it’s a can’t miss deal for someone in the market for a great Christmas gift! I hope the wife doesn’t read this! So, it isn’t a wood stock but for the price, you van easily go on line to Boyd’s or Hoague’s stocks and buy one! As your youth out grows the rifle, a stock can be easily replaced if need be! My personal choice is the short youth model and composite stock. But, that’s me! The X7 is available in 25-06,3006,and .270 long action calibers. In short action, the choices are 7mm08,.243.and .308. For those wishing a more weather resistant rifle, there is a model X7S. S being stainless steel. Available in the same calibers, the MSRP is a tad over 500.00. A great deal for a quality out of the box shooter very capable of sub ? inch groups. Well, the numbers aren’t in but from all reports, this ha been a banner year for New Hampshire deer hunters. Both the size of deer and harvest numbers appear to on the rise. Unconfirmed reports have several bucks in the 160 to 170 inch range have been taken. The real
Continued next page
The Outdoor Gazette
Taxidermy Trails By Rodney Elmer Forestry and Wildlife
With high fuel prices, our forests can come to the rescue and we can help out the wildlife too. As I drive my tractor slowly through my woods, chains clanging, looking for my next “weed tree”, I often get discouraged by the amount of work that needs doing, just like a big garden. The young balsam fir trees in the old winter bedding area need hardwood relieving. Those young birches and poplar seem to outgrow everything around them. It only seems to take a couple of thinnings around softwoods to give them an advantage at the light necessary and not get choked out. A lot of work, and probably will not get done in 99.9 % of our state’s forests, where softwood areas have been removed or thinned. A major forestry mistake, in my opinion, is to remove or thin a softwood stand and not encourage it to grow back. THIS SHOULD BE A MAJOR ISSUE WITH HUNTERS! Deer wintering area’s canopy trees are in general, middle to old age. The large numbers of deer & moose demanded by hunters to be on the land has age classes of trees missing in many traditional yarding areas. Next time you walk through your local wintering area, look for yourself. Count the numbers of big hemshocker, in the Southern third of the state. Not that it is that much of a shock to those of us that live here but it certainly takes away of the big woods lore of Northern New Hampshire. Not to be out done by my youngest, I made good on my firearms deer tag with my front loader. I took a fat 130 pound spike out of the same ladder stand Alex II hit pay dirt out of. So now I have been out as much as possible with my bow trying to make amends for a last minute blown shot last year. I’d like to think with several weeks left there is still hope for me. Looks like
locks, say 15” and up, the mediums- 7” to 15” and smalls 6” & down. Odds are good you have a modest number of good size
canopy trees, 15”+ with no lower limbs a deer can reach. Replacement canopy trees of modest size may exist, but are usually half the number or a lot less. Finally, new recruits are usually none existent or close. New wintering areas are needed to begin growing NOW! Replacing aged canopies may prove difficult if not impossible
from previous page
we will be down to the wire once again. I have been laying scent trails and have created a line of mock scrapes. The pictures tell me that I am on to something! Time will tell all. So, from the Cote house to you and yours, Best Wishes and Happy Holidays.
Skidders, Backhoes, Dozers, Loaders & Excavators. Skidsteers, Feller-Bunchers, Forklifts, Chippers, Screeners and Forwarders. New & Used Tires & Chains for Tractors & Skidders. New & Used Parts for All Makes of Equipment, Tractors & Farm Machinery - Tandem Trailers. Culverts, Bushhogs, Finish Mowers, 3 PH. Backhoes, Woodsplitters & Gates.
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them! We must demand a forestry minded educational program from state agencies and the media. As outdoor people with a deep connection to our land, the trees spell the future of how we treat our world. They aren’t just trees! The funds needed to protect our natural resources come from a small percentage of the population participating in those activities. Imagine the effect it could have if those people stopped or slowed? Or imagine the other way, everyone tries to hunt and fish and we now must limit everything. The “green” movement may just save the day, who knows! As many middle- aged people are moving towards a self-reliant life style, the youth of our nation seem more dependent then ever. It’s time to reconnect, slow down, calm down, build a fire and talk of what life should really contain. The fish and wildlife dept. must look to the future for funding, to continue to educate the public about forestry, wildlife and the need for nature we can’t survive without. Combat invasive’s, monitor man’s consumptive and economic demands and offer guidance and solutions to those who will listen and work against those who don’t. Run that chainsaw with care and imagine the future as you do. Love diversity and wildness. How many maple buds does it take to make a pound of venison? Check out the Vt. Division of forestry web. site! Rodney Elmer and his wife Theresa own and operate Mountain deer taxidermy in Northfield,Vermont.
HUNT HARD AND HUNT SMART
USE NORTHWOODS COMMON SCENTS!
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.
Eddie Nash & Sons Inc.
if people demand more deer then RECRUITMENT can withstand. The ter m “tree recruitment” is often left out of our conversations, what a shame! Sure the deer are doing ok because the old canopy is still doing it’s job, but what happens to things when they die off ? Deer Numbers will drop or crash in some areas, putting further stress on good yards, speeding their demise. According to the U.S. Forest Service in 1997, Vermont contains 177 million cords of wood. An average of 26 cords per acre. Since 1966, the average diameter of these trees has increased from 8.3 to 9.16 inches (diameter breast height), and the average number of trees per acre has increased from 170 to 187 (trees 5”or larger in diameter). Increased tree diameter means less wildlife period. Since 1948, the net growth of trees has exceeded removals. In fact, about twice as much wood has been grown as was cut or otherwise removed! Currently we cut less then a 1/4 of 1 percent! Don’t worry, when the price is right our forest will come down. The down side too much of what people do is money driven, or benefits themselves and thoughts of our future are forgotten completely. We should pride ourselves on good forestry and thoughts of the future. We should be telling our state gover nment that we want good forestry practiced on our state and federal lands, the ones we all can use. We want the forestry and the wildlife divisions of government to at least share information, and remove this riff between
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The Coastal Zone Captian John Curry By Captain
Two Sport Athlete
While the sea will always be calling my name and I can’t go a day without checking the tide and weather forecast, there is one time of the year when I get a little distracted. You guessed it, deer season in the North Country. While I’m no Bo Jackson these days , like many of you I am a two sport athlete, Fishing & Hunting! Notice the fishing comes first. My career as a professional guide on Cape Cod consumes much of my time from January to November. January through April sees me attending and exhibiting at the regional sporting trade shows and preparing my gear and boat for the upcoming season. From mid April to early November its game on with chasing fish all over New England. Around the end of November the boat is winterized and the gear is cleaned and stored for a long winters nap. While I hope this never gets old I do look forward to my time in the woods. Imagine how good it feels to sit on a downed log basking in the autumn sun with smells of maple leaves, balsam and ferns when for 10 months out of the
year the sea, salt flats and ocean mist have been the majority of what’s gone up my olfactory organ. It may seem a little strange, but this awakens my senses and as someone who
Our deer camp in the Adirondack Mountains.
can read the water by smelling the air for signs of bait and game fish I just love the drastic change the November woods brings to my well being. As with most of my clients who have stepped on my boat each year I find myself needing to “get
my woods legs” as appose to their “sea legs”. It takes me a solid day to get the feel for downed logs, bog holes and steep ridge slopes. A very different motion than I am used to with the constant rocking or balancing on the boat. The past few sea-
sons have been absent of any significant snow fall in my area of the Adirondacks that I hunt, so I have found that my eyes also need to adjust to this new chaotic environment of trees, branches, leaves, cattails and ever-present shadows. I
hunting partner Bob Gallinger and his 9 yr old son Brian. Bob lives in Acton, MA and his family has owned the camp since 1944. Mark and Connor Hobin of St. Albans, VT have a camp not far from ours and we have enjoyed hunting with their family for many years. Well the deer activity was better this season as the mild winter has seemed to help our numbers just like in other parts of New England. Bob shot a nice 6 point earlier in the season so he was mainly teaching Brian more about the woods and understanding deer activity. This worked very well for those of us with unfilled tags in our pockets as we had two willing still hunters to help move some deer around. Having arrived the Saturday before Thanksgiving I had seen probably 5-7 deer each day by Monday afternoon. With no decent shots on bucks yet I was feeling pretty confident that we would connect on a deer as the week progressed. Connor missed a fat spike horn ( yes they are legal in NY)on Sunday so he was looking for a little redemption and for a 17yr old I must say he is a pretty darn good deer hunter having already taken a big 8 point two sea-
Left to right - Bob Gallinger, Connor Hobin, and Brian Gallinger
always find it magical how such a large animal can simply stand still in their natural environment and not be seen until they move and that tell tale white flag goes up. I haven’t even mentioned the best part of deer hunting yet and that of course is our deer camp. A true tar-paper shack built in the 1800’s as a homestead and void of all modern amenities. No running water, electricity or bathroom. Reachable only by ATV this place is heaven and its surrounded by woods for many square miles. After a day or so of seeing tails I start to settle in and the real hunt begins. Mostly I hunt the week of Thanksgiving so the main rut activity has ended so it’s stand hunting early then I like to take it all in and still hunt the rest of the day. This season I was joined by my long time
sons ago still hunting on his own. On Tuesday afternoon Bob and I decided to “push” a ridge that we haven’t hunted yet this season. The ridge runs east and west and is bordered by a large pond on one side and a swampy creek on the other creating a natural funnel for deer to move away from the still hunters. Mark Hobin had to go back to work so Bob decided that Connor and I should stand on either side of the ridge and he and Brian would walk through the top section with the wind at his back. I found a perfect stump with a clear lane down each side that a skidder left 3 years ago during the last cutting. I settled in and began to soak in the fall sunshine as it was a perfect 42 degrees with a light westerly breeze. I didn’t
Continued next page
The Outdoor Gazette
Reminder - Take Safety Wild Atlantic Salmon Precautions When Around Ice to be consumed with care
Augusta, Maine - With bodies of water beginning to ice over, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Warden Service would like to remind ice anglers and others who enjoy outdoor winter activities of the importance of safety when around ice. “We can’t stress enough the importance of checking ice conditions right now,” said Capt. Chris Cloutier of the Warden Service. “Never guess at the thickness of the ice - check it for yourself.” Test the thickness of the ice using an ice chisel or ice auger and check with local bait shops for known thin ice areas. Remember that new ice is usually stronger than old ice and ice seldom freezes uniformly. Ice that forms over flowing water and currents, especially near streams, bridges and culverts, can be particularly dangerous. Refrain from driving on ice whenever possible. If you must do so, make sure to keep the windows down, unbuckle your seat belt and discuss emergency plans with any passengers in case you need to exit the vehicle quickly. Wearing a life vest under your
gear and having a pair of accessible ice picks can be life-saving decisions if you do fall through the ice. Remember that your helmet and snowmobile suit, even if it’s nonbuoyant, may keep you afloat for several minutes. Kicking your feet like a seal can help propel you onto the ice. If you witness someone fall into the ice, call 911. Instead of putting yourself in danger by trying to reach the victim, assist them from the shore by reassuring them help is on the way and extend objects like a rope, ladder or jumper cables to them if it’s safe to do so. While many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe, the Warden Service suggests staying off ice that is less than four inches thick. Ice that is at least four inches thick may allow for ice fishing or other foot activities while 5-inch thick ice often allows for snowmobile or ATV travel. Eight to 12 inches should support most cars and small pick-up trucks, but at least 12-inch ice is recommended to support a medium sized truck. For more information, visit www.mainegamewarden.com.
take long when a single shot rang out and I knew exactly where it came from. I turned on the portable and heard Connor excitedly say to Bob that he shot at a small buck that came right up to his location. Bob told him to hang tight as he just started his walk and he saw another deer jump and even smelled a buck! Well I stayed right in my spot and a big doe came right up to me and stopped 20 yards away. I froze and she froze. The wind was in my favor so I hoped for another buck to be hot on her trail. After what seemed like 30 minutes, but was really like 2 minutes my radio came back on with Connor asking for assistance and off she ran with another deer behind her much bigger that I never saw the head on. That’s what I get for leaving it on I guess. Connors deer ended up being a 125 lb 5 point that
should have been an 8 point, but a horn broke off when it collided with a tree on its last leap. I never saw another buck that week, but had a magical time refreshing my senses that had become locked into the land and sea surrounding my home here on the Cape. As I write this it’s almost opening day of the Massachusetts shotgun deer season and I am a little itchy to go, but I have much to prepare for before the first spring run of Stripers.
The Outdoor Gazette
from previous page
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.
Québec, CA – The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) recommends that fishers exercise care when consuming wild Atlantic salmon. The presence of the parasitic worm Anisakis simplex, found in over 200 species of fish including cod, mackerel and herring, appears to be on the increase in the salmon population worldwide.??Eating insufficiently-cooked wild salmon infected by the parasite may pose a threat to human health, causing digestive problems and allergies. To avoid contamination, it is important to apply all the following rules:? •avoid eating heavily infested fish; •remove all visible larvae when preparing the fish and before cooking it; •cook the fish sufficiently before eating it (the internal temperature of the fish must reach at least 63°C for 15 seconds). The consumption of raw salmon
is not recommended unless it has been frozen for at least seven days at 20°C, a temperature that is not usually reached in a domestic freezer. Smoking the fish is only effective if the internal temperature of the fish reaches at least 63°C for 15 seconds. The parasitic larvae are found mainly in the entrails of the host fish, but can also be found in the flesh. In salmon, the presence of a large number of parasites leads to an inflammation around the fish’s anal opening called the Red Vent Syndrome. In light of current scientific knowledge, there is no indication that the inflammation has a negative impact on the salmon’s survival rate or reproductive success. To gather more information on this syndrome, the MRNF, working with salmon river managers and the Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages, will continue to observe the situation in some salmon rivers in Québec.
George River Caribou Herd MRNF publishes the survey’s results
Québec, CA – The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) has published the survey’s results of the George River migratory caribou herd population. The survey was carried out in July 2012, in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Government’s Department of Environment and Conservation, the Institute for Environmental Monitoring and Research and the Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat. The total herd population is currently estimated at approximately 27,600 animals. Biologists from both provinces consider the survey’s descriptive accuracy to be superior to normal standards, at around 10%. Other herd health indicators, such
as adult survival rate and calf recruitment rate, are also being monitored by the biologists, who believe the herd’s population could fall to less than 25,000 animals by October 2012. In October 2010, the herd’s total population was estimated at roughly 74,000 animals, and the recent survey confirms an ongoing decline of the George River migratory caribou herd population over the past few years. Given these results, the MRNF will consult the Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee and the other partners concerned to prepare a caribou management plan identifying management measures aimed at restoring the herd.
Trail Camera Photo Contest Sponsored by Chadwick’s Trail-Cams
2012 contest finalists - Vote for your favorite on our Facebook page
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 Camera Picture of the Year”, will be chosen by the Outdoor Gazette staff and folks on our Facebook page. The “Pic of the Year” will be on the cover of the Jan. 2013 issue!
Are you worried by sending in your pic of that trophy buck or huge bull moose, will give away your secret location? No need to worry! We will post your pics anonymously, with as little info as you like. Your secret is safe with us!
2011 Trail Camera Photo Contest Winners ; 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: email@example.com with the subject line “TC Photo Contest 2012” Page 40
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Trail Camera Photo Contest Sponsored by Chadwickâ€™s Trail-Cams
2012 contest finalists - Vote for your favorite on our Facebook page
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The Gazette’s Book Review
By Colonel J.C. Allard
Suddenly, the Cider Didn’t Taste So Good By John Ford Islandport Press 2012 218 pages, $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-934031-94-0 There is no more quintessential outdoorsman than a State of Maine Game Warden. They seem to meet life head on, pursuing law breakers, rescuing lost persons, patrolling wild country, nursing sick or injured animals, and educating the public in sound conservation practices as well as wilderness safety. All this and more is confirmed in the 35 varied stories told in the pages of retired Maine Warden John Ford’s new book of reminiscences. Suddenly, the Cider Didn’t Taste So Good stems from a 20-year career as a warden in Waldo County, Maine. Fortunately, Ford heeded his game warden stepfather’s advice to write notes and keep them so he could later recall the details of his adventures. The result is a sometimes funny, sometimes deadly serious
account of two decades along Maine’s game trails. With a forward by retired Chief Warden John Marsh, Suddenly, the Cider Didn’t Taste So Good reads like stories told around a campfire or over pie and coffee at the local diner. Much of it will make you smile or even laugh outright; some of
it will thrill, such as when the Ford family successfully rears barred owl hatchlings and returns them to the wild. Other stories are much darker. Facing down armed poachers, tracking escaped murderers, or smashing drug smuggling operations takes a tough character. And the reader learns that life for a game warden and his family isn’t all sunny days in the woods. Ford writes in a straight forward unadorned style that is easy to read, whether taken in one sitting or in 35 easy pieces. The conclusion of each story has the reader eagerly turning the page to see what comes next. What Ford fails to do in these stories is bang his own drum, or star in his own narration. He writes of the people he encounters, the land and the animals without embellishing his own role in the tale. His is a humble recounting that allows the work itself to hold the starring role. Suddenly, the Cider Didn’t Taste So Good is a book with Maine at its heart. However, any Vermont, New Hampshire, or upstate New York game warden could tell similar stories. Any hunter, angler, hiker, boater, or wildlife enthusiast in those places will find that Warden
Ford’s narrative applies equally well in those places as it does at home in Maine. Anyone who loves and spends time in the outdoors will enjoy this book, though some may wish for some more of Ford’s thoughts and feelings about his work. Clearly he loved the characters he encountered in the course of protecting Waldo County and its wildlife. In the years since he retired from the Warden Service, Ford continued to fight crime by twice getting himself elected Sheriff of Waldo County. He is also an accomplished wildlife artist and writes outdoor oriented columns for multiple publications. This may be his first book, but it should not be his last. He’s in possession of a real talent for story-telling and no doubt he has a wealth of more good stories just waiting to get out. But, in order to find out why the cider suddenly didn’t taste so good, you’ll have to read the book. The answer to that question will not be revealed here. Col. J.C. Allard lives in Pittsfield, NH about 20 miles north by east of Concord. “We're in the shadow of the Belknap mountains here, but we can see Mt. Washington on a clear day”.
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Pictures Gone Wild Our reader submitted photos
Not seeing many deer in Vermont, but at least we are seeing something! Jayson Lucarelli. He is originally from Brownsville, VT, but he lives in The Forks, Maine now. 263 lbs. 9 points.
Alex Cote of Raymond, New Hampshire. 8 points 152 lbs.
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34lb Striper caught on the Hudson River by 9yr old Alex Polli of Pittsford VT. photo courtesy of Third Alarm Charters.