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February 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


Above- Rodney Elmer shot this pic at Upper Valley Grill in Groton VT. During muzzleloader season. “The owner looked a little shady and I think “Rex” here was readying the getaway!” Right - Taking his buck for a walk, what a good dad. This fellow was caught walking his buck by our booth at the Yankee Sportsman’s Classic.

The New Hampshire & Vermont

Volume 6 Issue 2

Table of Contents

ARTICLES

Editors Back Porch Letter to the Editor

8 years in the Wilderness Traveling Outdoorsman Taxidermy Trails

Woes of a Snowless Winter Riverbank Tales

Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel Family Tracks

Lessons fron the Outdoors Southern Side Up

From the Back of the Canoe Birding with Briere

The Modern Pan Fisherman Bone Collections

Trail Cam Contest Behind the Sights

Thoughts on the Out of Doors

Searching for Nature’s Treasures Guided by the Light, or.... Gazette’s Book Review

Pictures Gone Wild

On The Cover

Page

Publisher/Editor: Fred Allard Design Layout: Dan Millet

4

Send correspondence to: The Outdoor Gazette 1166 Court Street Haverhill, NH 03765 Tel. (603) 989-3093 • Cell (802) 738-6755 Web: www.theoutdoorgazette.com E-Mail: fred@theoutdoorgazette.com

5 6 8 9

10 12

Graphic Design & Layout: Think Different Design Berlin, NH 03570 603-752-9838

14 16 20 22

The Outdoor Gazette is printed monthly by Seacoast Media Group Portsmouth, New Hampshire

24 26 28

ISSN Number 1941-9805

29 30 32 33 34 36 38 39

Morgan Parrish, age 11 of Grafton, NH with a beauty of a Rainbow caught thru the ice on Mascoma Lake. - Allan Tschorn playing in our winter wonderland last year, praying for snow this year. The Outdoor Gazette

Outdoor Gazette

Legal

The Outdoor Gazette, with all of their agents, officers and employees, accept no responsibility for any or all injuries or damages that may result from interpretations of articles or advertisements within this publication. The opinions expressed by contributors to The Outdoor Gazette are their own and do not reflect the opinions of the The Outdoor Gazette. No part of this paper may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of The Outdoor Gazette LLC. Copyright, The Outdoor Gazette LLC. All Rights Reserved

Submissions

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 603989-3093 or send a copy by mail or email to fred@theoutdoorgazette.com.

February 2012

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Editor’s Back Porch Foul Ups, Bleeps and Blunders

Foul ups, bleeps and blunders, that sums up my experience as the head honcho of the Outdoor Gazette thus far. I have resisted getting editorial help, as I wanted to prove to myself that I could produce one issue, by myself, with no major mistakes. Not happening! Just when I thought I had it right, there on page 39 of the January 2012 issue, in large red letters the word “Photography” was spelled “Photagraphy”… @#$%^. OK, I give, I’ll ask for help. Ken Monte of Arlington, Vermont, one of my huntin’ buddies and best friends, is going to be doing some proof reading for me, you, us. Your pain and suffering is over! Ken was always pointing out my mistakes, so I said put your money where your mouth is, buddy. LOL. Seriously he has been very diplomatic about his

criticism. He is well read, and being an outdoorsman he knows hunters and fishers English.

By Fred Allard

Also on board with editorial help is Alaina Smith of Lyme, New Hampshire. Alaina is a recent Journalism graduate from Green Mountain College and the daughter of another

huntin’ buddy and good friend, Bruce Smith. His mug was on the cover of the November 2011 issue. Anyway, Alaina has been around Bruce. Ken, myself and others in our group for years and has a pretty good handle on what the outdoor sports are all about. She will be the only one on staff with an actual degree related to writing. Who’d a thunk it? Someone with a Journalism background working for the gazette! Brace yourselves we may become a “real” publicashun… lol. Just kidding, I meant publication (Thanks Alaina).

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 fred@theoutdoorgazette.com.

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Letters to the Editor

Fred, I just finished reading Alex Cote’s article in the most recent issue of your publication. Attached is an outline of the form we use to estimate the deer density and herd structure on our property. Also attached is an example from 2009. My understanding is that the method was

The pie-bald buck at one and a half.....

The Outdoor Gazette

developed by James Kroll and expanded on by Grant Woods (established the multiplier for deer that were in the area but didn’t appear at the survey locations). Both individuals have a PhD in wildlife biology. We’ve been doing habitat work, seriously, since 2001. Since 2007 we’ve taken advan-

tage of some of the Farm Bill programs to help offset our costs. I would be more than happy to share our trials, errors and successes with Alex, yourself or any others that are serious about quality deer management. I’ve also attached two photos of a pie-bald whitetail that was disbursed from poor habitat to our tree farm in the fall of 2010. Although a small deer

genetically, you can see the effect that one year in good habitat, even with one of the more severe winters on record, can have on a deer. We hope he survived muzzle loader season and makes it through the winter. Then, next fall, we’ll have an example of what a 3 1/2 year old deer can be on property managed for QDM. David Matthews Fairlee, Vermont

What a difference a year makes. Now at two and a half with better nutrition.

February 2012

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8 Years in the Wilderness Winter in the North Country

Sorry, snowmobilers, this winter doesn’t look like it will fare well for you. Here it is mid-January, and we have very little snow here around Sturtevant Pond. Our normal snowfall averages close to 190 inches, and we are lucky if we have gotten a total of 12 inches from the several small squalls that have passed through this area. I am actually excited about the lack of snowfall as it is the best thing to happen for our deer herd in years. The land management companies around here are aggressively harvesting the wood faster than it can grow. We lost about every major deer yard in the area, years ago, under the guise of salvaging softwood which was impacted by the spruce budworm epidemic back in the late 70s and early 80s. Our deer herd struggles each winter; rebounding after a mild winter but being devastated after a

severe one. Hopefully this winter will be one for the record books and boast our deer population. I have been out on the pond ice fishing pretty much every day

since the first of the year. The weather has been enjoyable, and the fishing has been exceptional. I have experienced plenty of action with yellow perch and pickerel but manage to catch a salmon or two each day I am out. Martha

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By Tom Rideout

and I have enjoyed a meal or two from my success. Most of the time I am out fishing by myself, as Martha has taken a two month position teaching in Colebrook replacing a teacher out on maternity leave.

Jim Calyer, my neighbor, has been out quite a bit, and we have shared his bobhouse on days when it is windy or cooler. It is such a joy experiencing the outdoors on this pond. Probably the most enjoyable part about fishing here is that you do not know what you are going to catch. One flag may produce a pickerel, another a yellow perch. The next flag may be a brook trout or even a salmon. I think the prize fish would be a splake. (I haven’t caught one yet but I am trying.) However, there are so many smallmouth bass in this pond it is a mystery that anglers don’t catch any during the winter. Martha caught one last winter but that is the only one I know of that has been taken out of the pond during ice fishing. Fish in May and early June and even the most novice angler can catch 50 or 60 a day. While out on the pond during both summer and winter, I find the scenic beauty never ends, and I end up spending much of my time staring at the surrounding mountains. The shades of light, or lack thereof, change during the day, and I marvel at how it makes everything look different. Few other fishermen have been around. Two weeks ago, three anglers from Berlin were fishing off one of my favorite points on the north shore of the pond. I was impressed when they released the salmon they caught. They kept most of the perch and some of the bigger pickerel, and

February 2012

claimed they would have a fish fry sometime during the week ahead. A couple of days ago, I watched two coyotes bolt across the end of the pond. Even if I had had a gun, I doubt I could have hit them, as they were over 300 yards away. I have had visits from a couple of bald eagles. I toss my dead pickerel on the ice, and the eagles have come to expect the free lunch. They usually wait until I get done fishing, and as soon as I start my snowmachine and take off towards the house, they circle the pond a couple of times, making sure it is safe. Then they land and chow down. A few ravens and crows also stop by and enjoy the free fish. I can hear logging equipment working off in the distance. I haven’t travelled out back this winter and am not sure where they are logging. It sounds like there are at least two contractors working the area. It is a good winter for loggers also as they do not have to plow that often and the stumps from the harvesters shouldn’t be very high. I remember years ago, when most of the logging was done with chainsaws, finding stumps as tall as I am (over six feet). It was on the back side of West Kennebago Mountain and in an area where snow usually drifts quite deeply. I always wondered if the loggers wore snowshoes. When I worked in the woods during the winter, we never had too much snow and we could get around fairly well without snowshoes. I usually used the skidder blade to drag snow away from the trunks of the tree so we didn’t have to cut too high up the trunk. If I didn’t live so far off the beaten path, I would be attending the sportsman shows that usually happen at this time of the year. They are the perfect venue to see what is new in the sporting world and rejuvenate one’s excitement about the upcoming years’ sporting activities. When I owned and operated Bosebuck Camps, I attended several sportsman show during the winter months. The Harrisburg PA show was an 11-day show and would have close to half a million people attend it. Pennsylvania has Continued on page 7 The Outdoor Gazette


Still Time to Get in on Free Indoor Archery League in Holderness

HOLDERNESS, N.H. – Archers and bowhunters, there’s still room for you in the N.H. Fish and Game Department’s free indoor archery league starting soon at the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness. If you’re looking to keeping your archery skills tuned up over the winter, sign up today! Space remains in the four-week archery league that will meet on Thursday evenings starting

February 9, 2012, at Owl Brook. Intermediate archery skill level is recommended, and participants must commit to attending all four weeks. If you have questions or would like to register, call Tom Flynn at the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center at 603-5363954. Owl Brook facility manager Tom Flynn describes the league as a slightly competitive, yet mostly fun type of league. League par-

ticipants will shoot various animal targets at the center’s 20-yard indoor range. You bring your own equipment in good working condition. Only field tips or target points will be permitted; NO BROADHEADS. N.H. Fish and Game Department’s Owl Brook Hunter Education Center, located at 387 Perch Pond Road in Holderness, N.H. For directions, visit www.huntnh.com/Hunting/hunt

a dedicated deer hunting group, and I could easily fill the camps up with hunters from that show. I did offer bear hunts on a limited basis but I could have filled my camps with bear hunters from that show as well. There was a show in Suffern NY that was a pleasure to attend. It had plenty of sportsmen and more than 400 exhibitors. Shows like these allowed me to make contacts in the outdoor world, and that networking enhanced my business. Though I never like giving presentations or seminars, I usually attended several when at the shows. Over the years I have seen it all when it comes to experts! I have found that many of these socalled experts are great self-promoters and seldom can walk their talk. Once, at the Hartford CT sportsman show, I watched a fly casting competition. Many of the big names were there and competing for a cash prize. I must agree that they all could cast a fly. The competition consisted of several venues, but the most difficult was one where they had to get their fly in a small floating plastic ring about eight inches in diameter. The caster who ended up getting second place (I won’t name his name so as not to embarrass him) booked five days

fishing with me at Bosebuck Camps. I took him out for one day to show him the area and was flabbergasted to find out he didn’t know how to fish a nymph or properly fish a streamer. He cast a great line but that was about all he could do. Now don’t get me wrong; there are some experts out there who are due our respect. The Benoits are a good example. The proof is in the pudding. What is happening today in the deer hunting is something that confuses me. These so called ranches or outfitters are now actually growing deer for harvest and one pays for the deer one shoots. A 10-pointer will cost you $7500, an average 8-pointer $5500. Throw in big scoring points, and it is even more expensive. When I was guiding in Argentina, there was something similar going on there with the red stag hunting. The hosteria (ranch) I worked out of guiding fishing parties also offered red stag hunts. Most of their clientele were from Europe, and they were charged by the point. A four by four would cost $4800, a five by five $6200, and a six by six ran $7500. The difference with these hunts compared to the deer hunts now were that the stags were free

roaming on the ranch and not fed minerals or steroids from food plots. The guacos (cowboys) who worked the ranch kept an eye on the stag, knew where they were and how many points they had, and hunted accordingly. The deer up here around the pond have not gone to their wintering yards yet. Driving around, one can find deer sign just about anywhere. I expect another storm or two that might drop a few inches of snow will force them to the yards. Maybe even some real cold weather will do it. Either way, it looks good for the deer even if we do get snow, as the winter will be shorter. I am not counting the winter

er_ed_center.htm. Activities at the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center are funded by federal Wildlife Restoration Funds, supported by your purchase of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Learn more about this user-pay, user-benefit program, now in its 75th year, at www.wildnh.com/ S F W R _ p ro g r a m / s f w r _ p ro gram.htm. Continued from page 6 over by a longshot, as I have many more days ahead of ice fishing. Probably a few days of rabbit hunting, as well as visiting some other areas to try my luck fishing. I will keep you informed! Tom Rideout is the former editor of NH Outdoor Gazette and was the owner of Bosebuck Mountain Camps on Aszicoos Lake in western Maine for 17 years. He has held a Master Maine Guide’s license for more than 35 years (hence the 8 years in the wilderness) He and his wife Martha operate Sturtevant Pond Camps in Magalloway, Maine and operates Pakesso Guide Service, which specializes in upland bird wing shooting . You can reach Tom at tom@sturtevantpondcamps.com

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The Outdoor Gazette

February 2012

Page 7


Traveling Outdoorsman By Glenn Dunning The Phenomenon of Shed Hunting - Needles in a haystack?

To the average Yankee the whole concept of searching for shed antlers seems ridiculous. After all, if you spend half the fall roaming the woods trying to find a deer with horns on its head with only intermittent success, how can it possibly make sense that you could hunt the same woods in the spring of the year and find just the horns without the buck attached? While horns without the deer are less mobile, they are also a lot smaller package. Not to mention how much antlers and sticks look alike lying on the forest floor. I personally have never found shed antlers in the hills of Vermont. My nephew once found a set in the Adirondacks and I know of moose sheds that have been picked up but the occasions are rare and it’s not rocket science to understand why. Most bucks drop their horns from late December through January in northern climates and that’s snow season. Antlers become buried and by spring they’ve been whittled down to nothing by squirrels and mice or covered by the debris of winter until they rot back into the soil. Conclusion: New England is not a go-to destination for shed hunting. However there are places you can go, most notably the Midwest, where an afternoon walk in the woods could yield multiple antlers, usually found a side at a time but sometimes in close proximity to one another. For the hardcore whitetail hunter, especially one that has sampled the

bounty of the Corn Belt’s incredible genetics, heading back to their favorite outfit in the early spring can become a bit of a ritualistic migration. The practice is so popular that most outfitters in that region price

for ones that are recently shed. I asked Kevin Sweet of W. Rutland, his take on shed hunting. Kevin, a lifelong Vermont deer hunter, has spent the last decade as a professional whitetail guide in Illinois and Iowa.

shed hunts in their brochures. Depending on a lot of factors, including your personal relationship with the outfitter and/or farmer, you can pay $500 or more for 4-5 days including meals and guides or next to nothing except maybe buying lunch at the local Bob Evans. Obviously, if your search is concentrated on leased farms that the outfitter has been managing to produce big bucks and it’s reasonable to assume that big antlers are easier to find then little antlers, you get part of the picture. But the real difference is that the deer in this part of the country don’t typically start to drop their head gear until early spring just prior to the new season’s growth cycle. You’re not looking for horns that have been decaying under the snow all winter; you are searching

“These big dominant bucks have secretive places where they like to lay up. Often, you’ll find one side of a big antler right in the bed where it broke off while the old boy snoozed with his head down.” Kevin also agreed that you can often find the matching side nearby. “I don’t know if when that deer gets up out of his bed with only one horn he is so unbalanced that he goes and actively tries to knock the other one off or if they both just come loose at the same time, but the bigger the beam the more likely it is that both sides will be shed in the same general area. We discussed whether buck/doe ratios were resulting in bucks breeding later and therefore delaying the hormonal changes associated with the end of the rut cycle and the shedding process, and whether heavier racks were most likely to be fall off first. Like everything else about whitetails, in the end, the more you think you know; the more you become aware of how much you don’t know. But the reality is that for the cost of gas money, lodging and some grub, you have a perfectly legiti-

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February 2012

mate excuse to take a week off in March to hunt antlers. Since hunters seldom consider a spring pilgrimage back to the outfit unless they have already hunted there a season or two, you are not only returning to woods you are already familiar with but friends and farmers you would ordinarily only see once a year. Now granted, you may have a hard time selling this idea, if you have already promised the family a trip to Disney World but consider the advantages; its relatively inexpensive, you get to do a trip with your hunting buddies in the off-season, there isn’t the pressure of when your hunting horns in the fall (deer attached) and you’ll improve your chances for future success by becoming that much more familiar with the area. Do you really stumble across an antler or two? You’re more than apt to. It’s not guaranteed, but outfitters generally have a pretty good idea of what they have left for deer after their clients have all gone home. Riding the back roads around their farms glassing the fields for bucks that survived the hunting season is a pretty reliable indicator of areas where sheds might be found. Furthermore, like anything else the more you do it the better you are going to get at spotting the curve of an ivory colored beam partially covered by leaves. So, if your obsession with whitetails lures you back to the Midwest for a spring shed hunt, don’t be surprised; because it just might become a seasonal event. Glenn Dunning lives in Brookfield, Vermont and owns TUNDRATOUR Consultants, a travel agency specializing in North American hunting and fishing adventures. He is also a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Assoc. Glenn can be reached by phone at 802-276-3317 or via his web site at: www.tundratour.com

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The Outdoor Gazette


Taxidermy Trails By Rodney Elmer

We came here to hunt!

It was our first hunt together. “You’ve got to meet this guy, he’s just like you.” Jimmy said. The long hours of story telling, shared passions and experiences had led to this late season Muzzleloader hunt in Maine and the deer track at our feet. He sat in the driver’s seat, 40 miles north of the golden road, looking at me, reading me. “It’s a buck, no big deal... a buck 75... seen better, to perfect a day... “ “Naaa, let’s go!” I said hopping back into the truck and cutting him off midsentence. “Oookay” He said with the tone I would learn to listen too. The kind that says we’d be back in 3 hours. This was the only one around, the type of tone proven correct to the hour! As we rolled to a stop back at the track, he said “Now you know...we came here to hunt... let’s just Kill it.” His words seemed all to appropriately blunt, but the last part, “Kill it”, changed me as a hunter. I often look for defining moments in my hunting career and the first ten steps on this buck’s track would be. I would no longer “wonder in hopes” if the deer would present himself. I would just go kill him. Make it happen, like a wolf, no shame. I would tell him, I was coming, and he would understand and make his choices. Show me his steel, his will to live, and play out the challenge’s where he decided. It’s still the fairest way I could expect to earn the deer’s gifts. No holds barred, “wolf ” him down. “The road out ahead is close, 3/8 of a mile, and if he crosses it, help yourself, I’ll be coming, shaking my head, at the fate of the day. The buck was still reading me. Eager to walk, I gave it some effort. Breaking out onto the Road a shot rang out ahead. Sure enough another had taken over the track, jumped the deer, used the tipper can for the first time and was shocked as our buck came back at him, presenting only a head shot, full alert! “Take the shots you’re given” philosophy kicked in and he fired, later stating... “He was scared... I’ve never seen that before”! The hole is still in the left ear of the mount, a perfect piercing! “STRIKE ONE”! The Outdoor Gazette

After some radio chatter and gps button pushing, Jimmy swung the truck around picked me up and we circled ahead on to the next dead end road 2 miles ahead of him and the buck. Jim told me that the road

was about 2 miles long and I should “trust my guts and hop out wherever.” “I’ll go out about a mile further than you.” We each picked a good looking spot, loaded up and hopped into the woods. After ten minutes my spot felt worthless, and my gut said “the deer’s gone northeast, back to the road, head east, hurry!” As I marched up the logging trail full steam, a shot rang out up ahead. Jimmy’s 60- yard neck shot missed clean and the prompt 180-degree turn sent him back in on his tracks. “Strike two” It’s rare they will go any distance back tracking and when tracking in relay the story develops at a walking pace by three people, all old news, but valuable! My 4th mile of the day, march up the road was with a smile as Jimmy shot and took over the tracking duties from Jeff. The landing at the dead end showed no fresh crossings, but experience told me that deer in Maine don’t like crossing roads, and hook around dead ends. Passing Jimmy’s spot by another mile, I dove in. Sure enough, they had quiet a runway of old tracks and my guts turned me toward where the deer would come from. “Right At me, right down these tracks!” I said to myself. The radio went wild; Jeff had seen other some sign of another bigger buck, that this buck wanted nothing to do with! They both spoke of this deer’s size as “a good one” and needed scouting out. My hair was standing up. Their

voices faded as the volume went down and my gun readied. I couldn’t help not bending down slightly as I moved toward the on coming deer. Rounding a corner and laying eyes on him is the rush I love most and he didn’t disappoint. As his dogtrot brought him right down the

to the edge of no return, and leaps off. It’s done, “Strike 3”, your out. Jeff walks up, looks at him and says “Yup. DEAD!”… We named him Three Strikes. Buck #2 is scouted in the remaining daylight and determined to be Wide! Jeff names him after jumping him with no shot, “ You could ride him like a Harley!” “Handbar Henry!” Then promptly declares him dead tomorrow! The check station attendant laughs as we call it a night and promise to see him the next day with the grand daddy! “Well boy’s... where’s old what’s his name?” “Out in the truck, He won’t fit through the door.” Jeff said matter of factly. trail to me, the beauty of the “That’s a corker boy’s.” Things were never the same again. But moment needed pause. The ice on his forehead, his that’s a story for another day! brown, smooth hair, the antler’s bobbing as he moves silently. The view in the scope is why I work so Rodney Elmer and his wife Theresa hard at this. Then time stops. The own and operate Mountain deer taxihead moves clear, the finger tightens dermy in Northfield,Vermont.

February 2012

Page 9


by Alan Tschorn

Woes of a snowless winter . . . . . .

I’m an addict. (This is where you all say “hi, Al” and make me feel welcome to the group.) Not your usual addict, though, and I know of no support network for a cure; only a support network of friends and fellow mushers to support a desire to do nothing but run your dogs. I refer to myself as an addict because nothing in my life previously has gripped me the way my dogs have, and truly the time, money and resources we devote to our passion is ridiculous. There is no promise of financial return, (though we have begun a transformation of this passion into a small business venture) – only the reward of an unwavering love and reward of companionship I (we) get from our dogs. I tell people our dogs are more than pets, they are a hobby; our dogs are more than a hobby – this passion is a commitment to a life style. There are many a day that my wife and I feel that we eat, breath and sleep dogs. Most days the first thing we do when we get up is tend to the dogs, and the last thing we do at night before retiring to bed is tend to the dogs. A majority of the dogs are in the house with us each night; we love it and wouldn’t change it for the world. Let me attempt to share our journey with you. I will refer to this as “our” journey as my wife is an equal partner in this venture. We complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses perfectly – her desire to grow too quickly was balanced with my (previously held) rational mind. She is the nutritionist and medical records keeper. She sews, makes and repairs collars, leashes, and harnesses. I am more of the laborer of the kennel – build-

ing kennel areas, digging post holes, burying cinderblocks and railroad ties to keep the critters safely secured, and building dog houses, hauling bedding, sacks of dog food and the like. We both love to run our dogs, and when we load them all into the truck,and head out for the trail, it not unlike loading the family into

dren / other dogs, ease of trainability, major health concerns and a brief history of the breed were all covered topics. We settled on the Siberian Husky, primarily because the breed met out size criteria, but also because there is no AKC standard for color coat or eye color. They are a unique breed with about 7 different rec-

Alan and Suzanne Tschorn, and the rest of the Tschorns, at the top of the world...Vermont’s Mount Mansfield

the car and heading to the beach or out for a family picnic, or having six, eight or ten of your best friends ready to gather and party at anytime. They are part of our family, and we are part of their pack. It is a social time; time out of the house; time out of the kennel. It is a time for bonding, working together, and having fun. It began as a search for a family pet. Our only requirement was a dog in the thirty to fifty pound range. We referenced the AKC Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds – a wonderful reference book that covers the 156 or 157 recognized dog breeds, and covers all the primary points of interest in a given breed. Size, weight, need for exercise, friendliness with chil-

ognized coat colors, ranging from all black to all white. Once we had decided on the breed, the task at hand was to find a (reputable) breeder who had puppies available. We found such a breeder outside of Concord, New Hampshire, and ventured over one early summer afternoon. What we found was a kennel in a rather suburban neighborhood with way more dogs than we expected. Cute little puppies scurried around the back yard, and sleds adorned the top of dog trucks. We were amazed at a couple of things – first, that there were so many dogs in such a neighborly back yard; and second, that these folks idea of a great weekend was loading the dogs (and kids) in the truck and heading out to run the team 20, 30 or more miles. We had absolutely NO IDEA that mushers even existed in the Northeast. And, as all responsible and reputable breeders of Siberians will do, we were screened thoroughly on our expectations of the breed,

our work schedules, the dynamics of our home life, our ability to socialize and exercise the dog, as well as our ability to safely and securely confine the dog. It was suggested that we consider taking two of the puppies. “They are very social, you know. Two will ultimately be easier than one” the breeder informed us. “No. We have done our research. They can be very head strong, difficult to train. We would rather ruin one than take that risk with two. One will be fine for now” was our reply. “What do you plan to do for exercise” was the next question from the breeder. Not having thought this through, I quipped “I am an avid skier. Think she will go skiing with me.” Without missing a beat, their reply was “Oh, skijoring. How fun.” The glances my wife and I exchanged said something like “I am a downhill skier and was only (tongue-in-cheek) joking about the skiing” . . . By the way “What IS skijoring?” So we departed that day with a pet. We had in our possession a Siberian puppy that launched our focus on the household dog from pet to passion; from passion to addiction; from addiction to lifestyle. We did as much research as we could on this newly found activity of skijoring, but didn’t know where to start. We didn’t know how to train, where to train or even what to train. The books we read were informative, but I am the kind of learner that can read something over and over and not really get it – but if I combine that with seeing it done, I am much better off. Perhaps some of the reading we were doing was over our head, and was more aligned to managing a team or kennel, identifying lead dog qualities and characteristics and assumed that the reader had experience on the runners already. I can honestly say, I do not ever recall reading “If you’re going to train your dog, a proper harness and tug lines are the basic essential equipment.” Continued next page

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February 2012

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I started skijoring with my first Siberian, Nina, by looping her leash through my belt and letting her run to pull me. It was the worst set up for training a dog to pull imaginable, and I am somewhat chagrin to admit publically that is how I got started. But in my defense, I only did it 3 times until my belt broke and my Nina ran off. Fortunately, my wife was with me and Nina ran right to her. But it was a lesson learned. After that we sought out proper equipment. And it was in a catalog, either online or in print that we read for the first time the importance of a proper fitting harness (not a collar. No dog should ever have to pull from the collar), and a proper skijoring lead with a bungee section to absorb some of the initial start energy, and a proper skijor belt. A skijor belt is somewhat like a weight lifting belt, some have leg straps to keep the belt from riding up the waist, and two points of connection at each hip. These two points of connection are often a d-ring or round ring that you connect to the bungee section via a quick connect. One thing you don’t ever want to do is lose your dog (or dogs), but in the event of an emergency, being

tance of the dogs pulling on the way up, but we grossly underestimated the stamina and desire of the dogs to continue pulling all

the way back down. You don’t need to have “sled dogs” to experiment and dabble with dog powered sports, nor do you need a whole team. I have loaned equipment to a friend who has one golden retriever and borrows a neighbors golden retriever, and they have a blast. Golden’s do not have the drive and forward orien-

Alan and Nina enjoying some winter exercise, skijoring. able to quickly disconnect yourself from the dog will be important. Recommendations are to not use skis with edges, unless you use a longer tug line and have developed proficiency with the sport. Dogs arteries are very close to the surface in the leg region, and an unfortunate crash into the dog with edged skis could result in a serious bleed or worse for the dog. Skijoring equipment is also very suitable for other activities. When we were at only five dogs, we hiked Mount Mansfield with the dogs in harness. It was a wonderful experience to have the assis-

The Outdoor Gazette

tation that Siberians do, but the main point is that he was out having fun, exercising himself and his dogs, and most of all, building a relationship with the pooches. If you’re interested in learning more, a quick internet search for skijoring equipment should yield results. As well, most suppliers of dog sledding and mushing supplies will also have available skijoring equipment. Bikejoring is the sport of cycling with your dog or dogs in harness, and there are specific safe ways to attach your canine friend to a bike. Canicross is generally recognized as jogging or running with your dog in har-

from previous page ness, and “scootering” is using a these dogs on some snow. specially designed scooter for As I sit and pen this article, it is training or running your dogs. late January and raining outside. The Northeast does not have a Ski areas have the (expensive) luxshortage of folks with distaste for ury of making snow, though there the winter season. My comment is no guarantee of proper temto those complaining about the perature to keep the white gold snow or cold is simply – “You on the trail. My friends and comneed a team of sled dogs”. Their rades who operate dog sled tourpuzzled look is then followed by – ing businesses have, for the sec“if you have a team of sled dogs, ond year in a row, lost the week of winter goes by so fast, and it’s a business between Christmas and blast, and summers seemingly last New Year. And racing kennels are forever”. having to rethink their training Last year we didn’t get our dogs strategy and whether or not the on snow until the first of January. race season will even come to Though we had snow on the fruition this year. Racing is a ground by mid-December, it was whole new level to the sport of a light fluffy snow that didn’t pack mushing. It is a heightened comreal well. The call of the musher mitment in training and finances. this time of year throughout the region is “Hookable snow, anyone – Hookable snow anywhere?” Having enough snow to run on is one thing, but being able to set a snow hook (a metal apparatus of hooked shape style, with a spade type blade that digs itself in the snow deeper as the dogs pull harder) is paramount to a safe run. And once we did get the dogs on snow last year, the season was a short eleven or twelve weeks long. That leaves a remaining forty or forty-one weeks of canine nutritional and health requirements to be met, and kennel management and maintenance to be tended to. Mushers will generally look for temperatures to drop into the lower to mid fifty degree It is expensive to run dogs. It’s range before entertaining the even more expensive to add entry thought of beginning fall training fees, travel and lodging to the runs, so my 11 to 12 weeks of dog mix. And if the Northeast doesn’t powered activity may be a little get some snow cover soon, we will short, but there really is no substi- begin to see race cancelation and tute for standing on sled runners postponements similar to those quietly gliding over the snow. that have begun in the Midwest Fall training is most usually exe- due to lack of snow. cuted with the assistance of an I have maintained that our ATV of some sort, especially for economy revolves around the larger teams. Remember, being white stuff falling from the sky for able to safely stop and secure those few short months of winter. your team is a top priority for As a musher, our world is based both the safety of the musher and upon a thick blanket of the stuff, the team. Most mushers are so if only for a few short weeks once ready and willing to begin fall a year. training that the bothersome noise of the ATV is a minor Allan & his wife Suzanne have a inconvenience for the thrill of recreational oriented kennel of Siberian running the dogs once again. Huskies. This will be their fourth seaBy November, we begin to son dog sledding. Currently they have watch the short range and long nine working dogs, with two puppies range weather forecasts, and the that will begin harness training later ATV has taken on unfavorable this winter. Additionally, they whelped names as you become more their first litter of puppies in September, annoyed with the sound of the of which they will be keeping five out of motor, and your dogs begin the nine. responding better to the rpm’s of Allan Tschorn the ATV than they do to your Tsan Tsulan Siberians voice commands. We need to get Sandgate, Vermont

February 2012

Page 11


Riverbank Tales by Bill Thompson

A Rainy Day Trip Report

The old adage: “The time to go fishing is when you have the time” came into play one day last fall. I had made arrangements to fish with my long time friend, Rick Davidson unfortunately the day before Rick had called to say he couldn’t make it. No matter, I thought, I will just go by myself. The morning of the planned trip rolled around and I woke to a rotten cold rainy morning. My first inclination was to stay in bed and forget the whole thing, but than the end of the fishing season was drawing close and a little rain never hurt the fishing, so in the end I headed north to fish the Androscoggin. Despite a late start I arrived at the Errol Dam around 10:30 in the morning. I rigged up two rods; one with a new sinking head and the other with a floating line. The sink tip is a new prototype from Airflo and I was eager to try it out. I am not much of a fan of

sinking lines and in fact this is only the second one I have ever owned; I guess I am too much of

a purist. The line does shoot extremely well and as advertised the tip section sinks like a rock. Nate Hill and I had fished the dam two days before Irene made her visit to New England. With apologies to Winston Groom and his character Forest Grump: “The Androscoggin is like a box

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Page 12

of Chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. On the day that Nate and I fished we caught lots of salmon and rainbows and a couple of browns

thrown in for good measure. On this day it was all bass. I have nothing against bass, however on the whole I prefer to fish for trout and salmon. I do admit that bass are a noble game fish and can give a good account for themselves. The bass I caught gave me every bit as good a fight as any trout I caught that day. The first bass was caught using the sinking line in the fast water below the raceway of the dam. I thought I had hooked a monster brown and at first was disappointed that it was only a 15 inch bass. However, after thinking it over I had to admit that he was a pretty nice fish and I was lucky to have landed him. After taking a quick snapshot of the bass and releasing him I started casting again. On my third or forth cast I managed to snag my fly on a chain-link fence behind me. The fly was wrapped around a strand of barbwire several feet

February 2012

over the water below the dam. It was to far out to reach and I tried to break off the fly, in doing so I managed to break the leader off a few inches below the line. A new leader would have fixed the problem, but for some reason or another I had forgotten to bring a spare. I would have liked to continue fishing the sink tip, but instead congratulated myself on having the forethought to have rigged up the second rod with the floating line. The prospects for fishing dry flies didn’t look all that good. It was raining quite hard and there seemed to be a definite lack of insects on the water or rising fish for that matter. I tied on a Stimulator and began casting up to the dam. On the second or third cast I missed a fish. This was a good sign I thought and contin-

ued casting. I was rewarded with a vicious strike. Again I thought I had caught a good salmon or trout. The fish tore off across the Continued next page

The Outdoor Gazette


front of the dam and than raced right back at me. In the struggle to get line in the fish managed to wrap itself around a large rock. In a predicament like this the best thing to do is back off and give the fish line; I did just that. I let line off the reel and backed up to get my net which I had left

wich and watch the river. After lunch I rigged up and waded in. The fishing proved to be slow and I had only caught one small salmon before I decided to move on down river. I stopped in town to take a picture of an unusual wooden moose that caught my attention.

lying on the bank behind me. After retrieving the net I slowly reeled in the line. By the time I got back into position the fish had unwrapped himself and was headed back to his lie. I’m sure he was surprised to find that he was still hooked. I was now in a much better position to fight the fish

Further down river I stopped to fill my water bottle at the spring at Seven Island Bridge and arrived at Pontook Dam at around 3:30 in the afternoon. It was still raining and in fact raining hard. The one thing about fishing on rainy days is you rarely find any competition. This was

and soon had him in the net. Like before my fish turned out to be a bass. My third fish of the morning turned out to be another bass of about the same size. He readily gulped down the Stimulator and like his brother headed for the same rock. This time I was prepared and put the wood to him and netted him with little delay. All three of these bass were just a hair over 15 inches, but fought like fish twice their size. The fishing slowed down a bit and it was now well past lunch time so I headed in to town and picked up a sub at the local country store. I drove back up to the “gauging station” to eat my sand-

quite oblivious this day as I never saw another fisherman the entire time I was on the river. In retrospect, I guess, I was the only one foolish enough not to come out of the rain. I sat there for a while contemplating whether or not to get out and fish or get out of my damp waders and head home. It came down to “fish or cut bait” and at last I decided to fish. I couldn’t have made a better choice. They had just started to close down the gates of the dam as I waded in. A few moments latter I caught my first fish; a small bass nothing like those I had caught in Errol. I was questioning the wisdom of my decision when I

caught my first trout of the day. A lovely rainbow of about 16 inches came to net. I was still fishing the Stimulator only now I had added a dropper fly. The rainbow had taken the dropper and so I continued to fish the rig. The next rainbow I caught took the dry fly. And so it went for the next hour or so; first I would catch a trout on the dropper and than the next on the dry. After catching a small salmon on the nymph I managed to bend the hook when removing it from the fish’s mouth. I tied on a new nymph, but for some reason the fish wanted nothing to do with it. I caught a couple more rainbows before I cut off the dropper fly and continued to fish only the dry. I caught several more rainbows and a very nice brown trout before I decided enough was enough. There were fish still rising in the run just in front of me and I knew that if I waded out another twenty feet I could catch them. I reeled in and called it a day. Every dog has his day and this dog had just had a spectacular one and well…. enough is enough. By now I was pretty much soaked to the bone. When I got

from previous page back to the truck and started to

shuck off my rain jacket and waders I discovered that both had failed miserably. I started the truck and turned up the heater and by the time I got home I was fairly dry. So the old adage still holds true: “The time to go fishing is when you have the time and the weather be dammed”. 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 bill@northcountryangler.com.

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February 2012

Page 13


Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel The great mouse hunt of 2012

Being the well known hunter that I am, best known for my exploits in the hair raising Backyard Squirrel and Woodchuck Hunt of 2011, it was with some surprise that I witnessed an aggressive, and obviously none too bright, mouse casually trotting across my living room floor. Pausing only to grace me with the slightest of side wards glances, the little beastie seemed to think that he was taking a leisurely stroll through his own domicile. There I was, relaxing on my recliner, watching my favorite show on my nice flat screen TV, the remote control in one hand and a snack in the other. Then, with no warning, my acute peripheral vision picked up anomalous motion off to one side. Snapping to full attention, I immediately identified the intruder as a dangerous, and often venomous, brown field

mouse. My wife, whose love of mice is only exceeded by her love of snakes, was luckily not in

the room when this blatant incursion was first noticed. Having successfully traversed the carpeting in the living room, the mouse quickly darted under a piece of furniture, concealing

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himself from my view. I knew this tense situation would have to be defused before my wife confronted the mouse, a situation that could have resulted in

mutually assured destruction. So there I was, completely unarmed, with an intruder in my home … a nightmare home invasion scenario. Quickly reviewing New Hampshire’s self protection laws in my head, I was sure I could use lethal force as long as I could prove that I was in fear of my life. Well, if not my life, certainly my wife’s life. Also, not having a current hunting license, I wasn’t completely sure if there was an open season on mouse or not. Did I need a mouse tag? Didn’t New Hampshire have a lottery for mouse hunters? I thought I had read that mouse hunters had a 70% success rate this year, so a license surely must have been needed. Regardless, I decided that the safety of my family was paramount, so I would do whatever I had to do to hunt down and kill this vile little creature. If I had to take it in and have it weighed and registered, I would do it and risk the fines later. I quickly grabbed my trusty old Ruger Number One 45/70 rifle and began the hunt. A 405 grain bullet should have been

enough to handle this little guy and, coupled with a 2.5 to 8 power Leupold scope, he didn’t stand a chance. I nestled into a concealed position in my dining room, just behind a chair, and waited for him to cross my field of fire. I was not disappointed. In just a few minutes, the sound of scurrying little feet reverberated through the room. Keeping my scope at its lowest magnification to increase my field of view, I lined up on the rapidly moving target and touched one off. Okay, so maybe a single shot rifle wasn’t the best of choices I could have made. I either shot high or he saw the bullet coming and ducked; but I missed. Our new laminate flooring buckled from the impact, throwing up clouds of shredded fake wood. Pictures fell from the walls, chairs toppled, and the resounding boom deafened me instantly. As my ears slowly cleared, I could hear a faint call from an upstairs room. “Did something fall?” “No dear, everything is fine here.” My hunting plan was flawed. Given the speed of the mouse, I never should have gone with a single shot rifle. Time for Plan B. The Ruger went back in the cabinet and I came back with a Colt AR-15 .223 with a 30 round magazine and an EoTech red dot holographic sight. This mouse was toast! Having now found a hiding place in our kitchen, I repositioned myself and set up a sniper’s nest behind a kitchen counter. I pulled down my Harris bipod, loaded up 30 rounds of Hornady varmint rounds, and waited for him to make his last fatal mistake. I knew where he was holed up, having followed a trail of spoor across the vast plains of my house. Soon I heard a faint rustling sound as he prepared for a breakout. Continued next page

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Page 14

February 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


Reminder — Junior Duck Stamp Contest Deadline Is March 15

CONCORD, N.H - Hey kids! Here’s a chance to express your creativity, learn about wildlife and win cash prizes. Create your own original artwork of a North American duck or goose and enter it in the 2012 New Hampshire Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2012. The contest is open to New Hampshire youth from kindergarten through grade 12. Entries are judged on artistic merit and scientific accuracy in portraying the waterfowl. The competition is open to public, private and home-schooled New Hampshire students. This year’s winners will take home some great prizes, made

possible by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The artist selected as Best-of-Show will receive a $500 scholarship and the first place winners in each age group will be awarded cash prizes of up to $75. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department runs the statewide competition, which is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Contest. The contest serves a dual purpose, giving students a chance to use their artistic talents at the same time they learn about wildlife and conservation. Don’t forget — entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2012. Competition guidelines, includ-

There was movement, and then I spotted him making a run for it. The Colt is only semi-automatic, but it’s capable of some very rapid fire. With the red circle of the holographic sight planted right on him, it only took what seemed like seconds for me to empty the magazine. Goodbye Mr. Mouse! “Honey, did you just drop something?” “No dear, it must have been from outside.” Carefully revealing myself from my expertly concealed hiding spot, I went out to recover the body … or what was left of it. With a plastic body bag in one hand, and a scoop in the other, I was ready to search for, recover, and dispose of the body before my wife ever knew what was happening. Slowly sifting through the pulverized remains of what used to be kitchen cabinets, I was shocked to find not even a trace of blood. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted it. There, not five feet from where I stood, was another mouse turd, and a fresh one at that. I missed! How could this be? I was beside myself, and near panic, when I remembered an old trick taught to me by an ancient Abenaki chief many years ago. Searching my memory, I was able to recreate the technique which worked for so many through the ages. First I had to scrounge for the necessary materials. Luckily, everything I needed was in the house. I quickly assembled the wood, metal, and food ingredients needed to execute Plan C. Using a flat piece of wood, I fab-

ricated a spring loaded lever and trigger assembly. Then, carefully extracting the oil of fresh peanuts, I smeared this concoction on to a small bait pad. It was now complete and ready for action. Cocking and locking the spring, I cautiously placed the device in an area near the most recent spoor site. Putting my weapons aside, I now sat back and waited. Minutes, then hours, went by with no activity. Had I mortally wounded the mouse with my last barrage? I had just about given up on the whole concept when I spied a quick movement off to a southerly direction. I barely had time to turn my head when I heard a loud SNAP echo off the walls. It was over. I had won this battle, ensuring the safety of what was left of my house. I carefully recovered the carcass and will soon be on my way down to the local registration station to have it weighed. Meanwhile, my wife has come downstairs. I’ll have to explain how quickly we have to get an exterminator in here. The termites have just shredded our house, chewing through floors, carpets, and cabinets. On the other hand, I wonder which gun would be best on termites?

The Outdoor Gazette

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, photography, ham radio and scuba diving. He can be contacted by emailing him at saholz@myfairpoint.net.

ing dimension requirements and an entry form, can be downloaded from www.wildnh.com /Education/Junior_Duck_Conte st.htm, or contact N.H. Junior

2011 Winner- Artist, Michalla Wiss

Duck Stamp Art Contest Coordinator Ellen Macneil at the N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; email wildlife@wildlife.nh.gov or call 603-271-2461. The N.H. Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest will award first, second, third and honorable mention ribbons in four groups: grades K-3; 4-6; 7-9; and 10-12. The State Best-of-Show is select-

February 2012

ed from among the first-place winning designs. The Best-of-Show New Hampshire winner advances to the National Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest, in which the three top winners receive a cash award and a trip to the adult Federal Duck Stamp Contest. Winning artwork in all categories will be displayed at N.H Fish and Game headquarters in Concord, N.H., in April 2012. The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is an integrated art and science activity developed to teach environmental science and habitat conservation. Teachers who want to integrate these lessons into their coursework can find a curriculum guide for teaching conservation through the arts at http://www.fws.gov/juniorduck/E

Page 15


Family Tracks Dragonflies and Giant Butterflies

It was a stellar summer day, clear and warm. First thing in the morning, everybody is happy and rested, and this was a good morning for a little stroll in the woods. Not a whole day affair, but some fresh air before lunch. We decided to stay close to home, and drive the couple of miles to some recreational trails around the base of Mt. Ascutney, our home mountain. As we approached the parking area at the end of a dead end road, there is a nice close up view of the summit and the kids yelled “let’s go to the top!” from the back seat. A full climb to the summit would be just a bit much for them, we thought, but they made me pause, and I had the idea to drive up the auto road then hike the trails around the summit. I have always lived in the shadow of Mt. Ascutney. My wife and I got married there, and I learned to ski there when I was very

Page 16

young. My first ski’s were wooden, with cable bindings that strapped around your regular winter boots leaving your heels

free, and a big metal clamp that folded over toward the front holding it all together. It was the type

By Brian Lang

of equipment that would probably get a parent arrested now for child endangerment, but it got me skiing and I survived. The auto road that climbs the mountain is a nice paved surface

that crisscrosses through the hardwoods on the east side of the mountain and costs only a few dollars. At the bottom was a sign that said there would be hang glider activity this day. Ascutney is popular with hang gliders and they have a special launch platform built at one of the peaks. It’s very cool to watch them launch but you have to be there on just the right day with good weather. I hoped we may get to see some. Many people were riding their bikes up the auto road. These folks must really like a challenge because it looks incredibly grueling and I get tired just looking at them. The riders just starting out at the bottom have energy and are happy; they smile and wave to

February 2012

you. When you pass the ones who are approaching the top, they are barely moving at a crawl and have a permanent grimace on their face. They look like they want to die, to just throw themselves right under your car as you cruise by with your air conditioning on. I’m sure it’s quite an accomplishment in the biking world, and what a nice ride down. Hiking the trails was nice. It was still pretty early and there was hardly anyone there. We took the long route and got to the summit in about 30 minutes. Unlike some earlier hikes, the kids now run way ahead, and we have a hard time keeping up with them. Just before the summit there is a lookout tower to climb. It’s pretty high, with just narrow, steep stairs spiraling around the steel frame with just a waist high rail and some chain link fence at the top. Too scary for Michelle, who stayed at the bottom with the dog, but I took the kids up, carefully and a little nervously. They listened to instructions well and we got a great 360 degree view, including right where our house is. The actual summit of Ascutney is not quite as thrilling as some of the other lookout spots. It is the home of the radio towers and electronics building. The antennas are impressive though, and the giant microwave antennas look like giant drums strapped on the side of the tower. We made our way to the highest rock and found the marker in the stone showing the summit, and explained that this was the high-

The Outdoor Gazette


Snowshoe Hare Hunting Workshop: March 3, 2012, in Holderness, N.H.

HOLDERNESS, N.H. — hunting with beagles. You’ll learn Learn about the exciting sport of about snowshoe hares and where snowshoe hare hunting at a free workshop being offered at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness, N.H., on Saturday, March 3, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. To register, call the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center at 603-536-3954. Workshop presenters include Edward Vien President of the NH Beagle Club and a volunteer Hunter Education instructor; Bob Drozdowski, a past president of the NH Beagle Club; and Adam Gauthier. These instructors have many years of experience and a true passion for their sport, so bring all your questions. Workshop participants will be introduced to one of New Hampshire’s finest small-game hunting experiences — hare to find them, equipment needed est spot on the whole mountain. They sat next to it and I tried to get a picture looking down at the marker by their legs, but they just would not look up and smile together. As we hung out at the top, there seemed to be dragonflies all over, hundreds of them. There was a huge swarm spiraling in the sunny clearing in and around the radio equipment. It almost seemed like you could imagine they were little robots flying around and the loud hum of the radio equipment was giving them power as they guarded the tower. We got back to the car and it was only about 10 am, and I really wanted to try and see the hangliders. It was too early, as they usually show up in the early afternoon when the sun warms

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the air more creating the thermal currents that they seek out to fly in. We thought we could go home, have lunch, and make it back to see the gliders. We made it back for the gliders, but missed them actually launching. As we reached the top of the auto road we could see the hangliders circling just above us near the summit. We made the short hike to West Peak, where the launch site is. It looks like a boat dock anchored onto the edge of a great cliff, and it had a small crowd of, people on it when we arrived. It’s pretty impressive to see the pilot holding his glider, poised right at the edge, jump off when the time is just right. We got up there with the rest of them, but careful to stay near the back, well away from the edge.

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The gliders were just above us, soaring just like birds, riding the invisible columns of rising air. They say they actually watch for birds and try to follow them, because they show where the thermal currents are, bringing them higher and giving them a longer ride. We craned our necks looking straight up, holding our hands against the sun. The bright , multi colored wings looked like giant butterfly wings, and the pilot, who sits in a sort of sling-like sleeping bag looked like an insect body hanging below. One of them cruised by real close in front of us at eye level and waved at us. The kids could actually make out that it was a person flying and excitedly waved back. We hung out for a little while,

from previous page

until they all flew too far away to appreciate. We could actually see them start to land in the fields far below. As we drove back home, some of them were still alongside the road, packing up the gliders on their vehicles. It was a great day to explore the summit of “our” mountain, and we did it twice. 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 up bringing 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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for hunting hares, dogs and their resources, and how to find clubs needs and training, safety consid- in New Hampshire that focus on dogs and hare hunting. Participants should bring warm outdoor clothing and be prepared to spend some time outside. The first portion of the workshop takes place in the classroom, and then the class moves outdoors, where the dogs will show their stuff ! Please note that this workshop does not include lunch. Activities at Fish and Game’s Owl Brook Hunter Education Center are funded by the federal Wildlife Restoration Program, now in its 75th year, supported by purchases of firearms, ammunition and archery supplies. For more information about Owl Brook, visit www.HuntNH .com /Hunting/ hunter_ed_center.htm.The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit www.huntnh. erations, hare and rabbit hunting com.

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February 2012

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KID’S KORNER Joey Upton holds up a Brookie he caught after school ice fishung with dad, Shawn, somewhere in central New Hampshire.

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February 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


The Outdoor Gazette

February 2012

Page 19


Lessons from the Great Outdoors By Martha VanderWolk

Longer Days

The days are getting noticeably longer. That’s one of the reasons that I love February. February allows me to really relax and enjoy winter. In October and November, I am usually all worried about preparing for winter. In December and January, I am still worrying about all the things that can go wrong in the winter that are that much harder to deal with because of all the snow and cold. But in February, I can relax into winter and just enjoy. The days are getting longer and the sun just a little stronger. Yes, we will still have tons of snow—I am old enough to remember some doozies, like February of 1969, when we got 10 feet of snow in less than a week and the ski areas had to shut down because they couldn’t dig the chairlifts out. And we will still get plenty of cold temperatures,

even cold snaps with whole weeks when it doesn’t go above zero.

But the reason I can relax is that the end is in sight. Groundhog Day is the day: half the wood and half the hay. Groundhog Day is halfway

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The 2012 “Year of the Gazette”

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Sturtevant Pond Camps PO Box 32 Errol, NH 03579

terms of wood, and it usually works out just about right. There was a time in my life when my vacations always fell in the winter. I liked to go someplace warm in late February because, when you leave, it is winter, but when you get back, it is almost spring. By the beginning of March, it’s beginning to feel like sugaring time. The sun has some heat, the birds are beginning to sing mating songs, the pileated woodpeckers are out banging loudly on hollow trees. February is when I love most to ice fish. Ice fishing is like sugaring in that it involves short burst of activity and then a lot of sitting, watching and waiting. You can sit in a sugar shack or bobhouse if you want, but in February, I want to be out in

the sun. I want to soak up as much Vitamin D and heat and light as I can to make up for the lack of it for the last three months. When I was a baby, my father was a naval officer stationed in post-World War II Great Britain. Unemployment was very high in postwar Europe, especially for young women (men returning from fighting the war could find employment rebuilding from the war damage). Young, single women would go the American embassy looking for work, and American military and diplomatic officers, like my father, often hired them as nannies or other household help. So, we had a Norwegian nanny. Norwegians are sun worshippers. No wonder; if you think winter days are short here, you ain’t seen nothin’ ‘til you’ve gone to Scandinavia. It’s not that much colder than here; in fact, it might even be a little warmer on average, but the same ocean currents that keep it warmer also make it cloudy and raw in the winter, while the latitude makes the days almost incomprehensibly short. The sun barely comes up before it is busy setting again. The converse of that, of course, is that in the summer, the sun barely sets. Like in Alaska, one can be running around outside in shorts at midnight in June looking for all the world like it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon. When you get used to having that much sun for half the year, it’s hard to then have Continued next page

One whole year of The Outdoor Gazette is available on CD now! You get all 12 issues from 2012 on one CD in PDF format, compatible with both Mac and PC. This will make a great gift anytime! Only $20.00 which includes shipping. Also the ‘08’, ‘09’ and ‘10’ “Year of the Gazette” are also available for purchase email sales@theoutdoorgazette.com for more information on ordering.

February 2012

D

• Four pound smallmouth bass are not uncommon • Fly fish the Magalloway River or the Androscoggin with numerous backcountry trout ponds and trout streams for the adventurous angler • Fantastic grouse and woodcock hunting • Challenging trophy white-tailed deer hunting

through the winter, not just by the calendar; in all my many years, I have never seen a year when it wasn’t just about exactly that. I usually measure in

The Outdoor Gazette


NEW PROGRAM OFFERED BY VT FISH & WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT PROVIDES EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR TRAINING TO HELP CONNECT CHILDREN TO NATURE

BARRE, VT — A new, national environmental education resource is now available for educators through workshops given by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children is an early childhood education curriculum guide focusing on wildlife education. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has been offering Project WILD and Aquatic WILD training workshops to Kindergarten through grade 12 teachers, environmental educators, and college students for many years. Now, Ali Thomas, the Education Coordinator for the department is adding Growing Up WILD to the list of training to live without any for the other half. No wonder the Norsemen “went a-Viking” and conquered most of northern Europe, the North Atlantic and even parts of North America; it was just too depressing to stay home. Even nature knows that Scandinavians needed more sun that other people; that’s why the people of the north have fairer skin and lighter hair than those who evolved in more southern climes. Dark skin and hair protects you from the harmful rays of the sun and from Vitamin A overdoses, but in the north, at least until humans destroyed the ozone layer, those were not the danger; a shortage of Vitamin D was. So peoples who evolved in the north lost their protective darkness and became light skinned and fair haired. Anyway, Uni started me on Norwegian sun-worshipping almost as soon as I was born, since my birthday is in July. I had my first sunburn at the age of 2 weeks. Yes, I know all about the dangers of ultraviolet rays and skin cancer, but I am going to get my sunshine, thank

options. “Growing Up WILD is an incredible resource, as the creators of the curriculum clearly

porating multiple learning styles and optional activities such as music and movement, snacks ideas, home connec-

understand the needs of early childhood educators,” says Thomas. “All of the lessons creatively address concepts in math, science, physical education, and literature while incor-

tions, and more. These interdisciplinary methods are necessary for successful early childhood learning. The curriculum guide and online supplementary materials are easy to use and fun to do. Whether you’re a formal teacher in a school or a non-formal educator at a nature center, this guide is an effective teaching resource in any setting.” Growing Up WILD was developed by a national non-

from previous page you very much. (And we now all have Vitamin D deficiencies because we are all so busy hiding from the sun.) I know about the real dangers of the sun, even in February, reflecting off all that white snow and ice as well as shining directly on me. But it feels sooo good, and it is so nice to be able to be outdoors all day, enjoying this amazing place that we live, after having been cooped up for the first half of the winter. This year, I am teaching school every day from the first of January until February vacation. I will be forced to spend most of my time indoors. But you can bet that as soon as February vacation arrives, you will find me out on the pond reading or doing puzzles as I wait for flags to fly!

profit organization, the Council for Environmental Education (CEE). Funds to create the program came from a grant awarded to CEE by the Environmental Protection Agency with the goal of strengthening a national effort to connect young children to nature, particularly with diverse audiences. Developed with the vision of changing the culture of early childhood education to embrace learning in the outdoors, Growing Up WILD is the first nationally distributed professional development program and activity guide that integrates environmental education into the early childhood curriculum. For more information, visit: www.projectwild.org/growingu pwild.htm. To schedule a workshop, contact: Ali Thomas VT Fish and Wildlife Dept. 802.241.4094 Alison.Thomas@state.vt.us

Martha VanderWolk owns and operates Sturtevant Pond Camps in Magalloway, Maine with her husband, Tom Rideout. A lifelong educator, she currently teaches in the Sustainable Business and Communities Program at Goddard College. She can be reached at Martha@sturtevantpondcamps.com.

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February 2012

Page 21


Southern Side Up By Alex Cote

he ran with one the other dogs that my father had. Bottom line, he was truly my best friend. Billy wasn’t afraid that he was going to get lost without one of the

to me asking for a dog for my youngest son, how could I really say no? Even though I knew better, Alex was bringing home a 9 week old beagle puppy he appropriately named Buddy. His registered name is “Alex Cote II’s lit-

other dogs, I’m completely convinced that he was afraid of ME GETTING LOST! Some of my earliest and best childhood memories were around a dog of one kind or another. So, when my wife came

tle Buddy”. The problem with Buddy, unlike my dog Billy, he loves to run and every time you look the other way, he’s headed for the hills. In true beagle form, he comes back, but when he is darn good and ready. He is a

A Boy's Best Friend

During the summer of 1965, my parent’s house was busy just like any other in urban America. My parents like many other people in the small town that I grew up in became almost obsessed with the current events that flashed across the nightly news. Current events in those days consisted of a new president, Lyndon B. Johnson and the Vietnam War. Without getting into the rights and wrongs and the when’s and whys, the country was in total turmoil. And with a brother in the army, things weren’t much better in our house. Mother was a complete basket case and my father became a workaholic. My saving grace in those days was my beagle, Billy. There seemed to be a question as to who was actually Billy’s father was, he was almost all white with a patch of black running up his back giving him the resemblance of a backwards skunk. In those days, we didn’t have to go far to find a hare or two. Fact is, we only needed to cross the railroad tracks behind the house to get a good run. From the end of November to March, free time was spent here in what I called the big woods. That is, me and Billy. The woods weren’t really all that big, maybe 200 acres or so. When I was out alone with him he wouldn’t leave my side. Therefore, he didn’t run to many rabbits without another dog to prod him along. Usually

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well marked little cuss with big brown eyes that everyone in the Cote house has fallen in love with. He is truly Alex’s best friend and his buddy. He eats, and sleeps with Alex and even takes showers with him. Alex’s grandfather would be proud if he was here to share it. The big challenge is getting Alex to let me take the dog hunting! Alex is afraid that his dog won’t come back. Not only is he cute but he is an extremely smart dog. Anyway, with the lack of bunnies and the lack of time to hunt him, I guess it is just as well. So, where oh where have the rabbits gone, oh where oh where can they be? No one seems to be sure but there is a good part of southern New Hampshire closed to snowshoe rabbit hunting. Back in the 60’s, all it was prime hunting cover. Some blame the coyote, some say disease, and some say the decline is directly related to habitat loss. One thing for sure it is a loss. Rabbit hunting is certainly one of the best ways to spend a free day that you could ask for. It is what it is, there is still a good population of the smaller “coonie” rabbits in the southern tier to hunt. One of my favorites as a youngster is still good even today. Spruce Swamp in Fremont and Brentwood is still excellent hunting and is easily accessed from Rt 125 in Brentwood and from the old railroad bed in Fremont off Rt 107. Also on the other side of Rt 107 off the Continued next page

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February 2012

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Rockingham Recreation Trail some good cover can be found. It is all easily accessible to the public with ample parking at the trail head. Other areas of interest in the southern third of the Granite State include the Stevens Family Forest in Nottingham, the Sandown Town Forest in Sandown, the eastern part of the Madbury Reservoir in Madbury, Manchester Water Works property located in Auburn, Candia and Manchester, Pawtuckaway State Park located in Nottingham, Deerfield, and Raymond and the Doust-Cate Town Forest in Deerfield. These are not the only available areas but are easily found on maps to plan a weekend hunt. In the towns of Auburn, Candia, Raymond, Chester, Danville, Deerfield, Northwood, Epsom, Epping, Lee and Nottingham, all one needs to really do is acquire a copy of the New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer and do a little

research. There is ample, unbroken large tracts of prime bunny country open to hunters. As of late the ice fishing has picked up considerably. Tower Hill Pond in Candia, Pleasant Lake in Deerfield, Bow Lake in Strafford, Beaver Lake in Derry, and Massabic Lake in Auburn and Manchester all sport a trout fishery. I factor the latter holds some tagged Rainbow trout giving up a major prize winner during the annual Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby a few years back. I was told of an unconfirmed report that three fisherman caught and released over 25 trout from Pleasant Lake in Deerfield the second week of January. As for a warm water fishery, all of the above support bass, pickerel, perch and some even hold black crappie. Lakes that support a brook trout fishery, including browns and rainbows are not restricted to lake trout regulations! But, check all the rules and regulations before you go. Designated brook trout ponds

for the most part are ALL CLOSED TO ICE FISHING. With the lack of snow cover and unseasonably warm weather, ice conditions have been slow to improve. A recent cold snap has brought improvement but extreme caution must still be used. There are still “Thin Ice� signs posted on many of the southern lakes. These signs are there for a reason and are put in place by local folks who know the area. To feed or not to feed? Supplemental deer feeding has become more and more popular annually. New Hampshire Fish and Game has created a special publication that explains the reasons why feeding is not a good thing for the deer. We need to keep in mind that the folks at fish and game are the experts. Regardless of what is written on the back of the feed bag, the staff at fish and game are animal specific professional biologists. The feed makers are trying to sell feed. The state biologists are trying to grow and manage the

March Hunting and Fishing Solunar Tables

from previous page

deer herd. In talking with a close biologist friend of mine, he recommends that the best supplemental feeding is to create a back yard food plot. No matter what the size, it will attract different species of wildlife. There are products on the market today from a throw and grow annual product that requires only a quick raking to some perennial blends that will last up to 5 years and require tillers and tractors to put in the plots. Alex Cote resides in Deerfield New Hampshire. He is on the Pro Staff for Northwood's Common Scents! He is also a scorer for the NHASTC. Alex and his son spend as much time outdoors as possible and he only works when he has to.

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February 2012

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Page 23


From the back of a canoe Fly Fish New Hampshire

There’s a saying “Time waits for no man and dammed few women”. As the year rolls by sportsmen look forward to the beginning of a season; mourn the end and then repeat the cycle again the following year. Years seem to blend together and remembering exactly what happened on any given trip or season becomes a little blurred; and sometimes slightly exaggerated when extracted from the memory bank. Mile markers along the way like birthdays are reminders but don’t seem to really register because the incremental increase is only a year at a time and the older you get the smaller percentage of your life it represents. A comparison I often make is to a 10 year old a year is 10% of their life but to a 50 year old it’s only 2%, Time rolls by and inevitably besides getting older a time check comes along that makes you stop and think about it. The 10th annual Fly Fish New Hampshire show will be March 3rd & 4th; somewhat of a milestone. In the early 90’s I was President of the Merrimack River Valley TU chapter and coordinated a one day show for three years. Each show was in a different location and parking, space and hall rentals were problems. At that time there was a fairly successful fly fishing show in southern NH that had good attendance. That show ended sometime in the 90’s. In the early 2000’s the chapter decided to look into sponsoring a fly fishing show. There were several members on the committee including Jim Riccardi who had worked the other show. We teamed up with the Pelham Fish

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& Game Club which had a large club house and ample parking. Pelham has a large kitchen facility; Bob Greenwood has coordinated and cooked food and refreshments and a dinner Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning for vendors and club staff working the show. Of the original team Mitch Kopacz

Janet & Bill Thompson at the Fly Fish the Pink Fly Contest. Sr and Bob from Pelham, and I are the only ones left. Volunteers provide all of the set up and staffing for the show. We’ve been fortunate to have fly shops like Cote’s and North Country Angler that helped anchor the show. Unfortunately several shops have gone out of business. Over the years we’ve been able to add shops including the Evening Sun, Opechee Trading Post, Dan’s Fly Shop, Paul’s Bait Rigs & Tackle, Shadcreek Flies, Six Sisters Fly Box, and Fly Fishing Products

February 2012

By Jim Norton and for antique tackle and appraisals Jim Philbrook . Guides and outfitters with the show include Broadsides International. Osprey Fishing Adventures, Fish Story Guide Service, Northwind Outfitters & Guide Service, North Star Guide Service and NH Rivers Guide Service. Non profits include Costal Conservation Association of NH, United Fly Tyers and the

New Hampshire Show with entries for New Hampshire Guides Association. Tom Jutras a guide and former owner of Mountain Road Fly Shop has been doing the casting demonstrations at the show for years. Presentations at the show for 2012 include: Dick Peterson -Fly Fishing 101 – What you need to get started, Bill Thompson – Fly Fishing in the White Mountains, Alan Erdossy – Stripers on the Dry Fly, and Patrick Ard Fly Fishing the Upper Connecticut River. There’s also a rod building class; pre registration is required.

Call Cote’s 508-892-3765 to register. Information and directions for the show are on the TU & Pelham web sites:www.merrimacktu.org or www.pelhamfishandgame.org. I seldom make New Year resolutions but this year I did, more or less. For those familiar with Special Agent Oso one of his quotes is “It’s all part of the plan, more or less”. At the end of the year we send out a card and newsletter and include a fly for our current year customers. That’s about 14 or 15 dozen flies. I usually try to get most of them tied in the winter and finish up in November. Patterns used to be more complex like Gray Ghosts but as the number of customers increased tying simpler patterns prevailed. Winter is the time to resupply the fly boxes so that’s what I like to spend my tying time doing. There are a lot of tips for fly tying; one is to tie a fly a day so my resolution was to tie a fly a day for the mailing; so far I’ve stuck with it. Tying is a lot easier if you have a tying bench or desk and can leave tools and materials out. For tying large quantities of the same fly it’s easier and quicker to use an assembly line process. An example would be saddle hackle for streamers; select and prep all of the feathers. Try to handle material once; if it’s pinching barbs on hooks do a pack verses each one separately; you only have to handle the pliers once. If applying head cement; tie a batch and go back and put the cement on. Put the number of hooks you need on a magnetic holder so you don’t have to open a pack or container for each hook. I keep the materials for the pattern I’m Continued next page

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Lt. Governor and Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Recognize Youth Hunting Memories Contest Winners

Essex, Vt — Lt. Governor Phil Scott and Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry recognized the winners of Ver mont’s 2011 Youth Hunting Memories Contest on Saturday, January 21 at the Yankee Classic Sportsman’s Show in Essex Junction. “The Youth Hunting Memories Contest showcases the achievements of Vermont’s youth hunters,” said Commissioner Berry. “In addition to the three young people who received awards, we had 70 youths who submitted wonderful essays capturing their thoughts, passions and experiences about hunt-

Lt. Governor Phil Scott and Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry congratulated the young hunters in the photo who entered Vermont’s Youth Hunting Memories Contest and attended the awards ceremony Saturday, January 21, at the Yankee Classic Sportsman’s Show in Essex Junction.

tying in a plastic container (not required if you don’t have cats, dogs or kids around). It’s also easier to transport stuff. If you can tie a particular fly pattern in 5 minutes don’t expect to be able to do 12 in an hour; it usually doesn’t work that way. Repetition is the key to improving tying quality and productivity. Try to tie a minimum of six of the same pattern and size. The more you get used to repeating the process the better the flies will be. If your tying flies

in different sizes like a parachute Adams start with the largest hook size you need a 10 or 12 then tie 14’s and 16’s. Getting used to working with the material will make it easier to tie smaller patterns. Winters can go by pretty quick and this one’s off to a late start; we were fishing in late December and quite a few of the guys have been out in January. I probably spend more time skiing than anything else in the winter. There’s 4 to 8 of us who ski, fish and tie.

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ing in Vermont. Perhaps most striking is the importance our kids placed on family, friends and having fun outdoors.” Each winner received a Beagle Outdoor Wear fanny pack, binoculars, a compass and several Fish and Wildlife Department publications, including the 2012 Calendar. All contest winners and their family members also received complimentary passes to the show, courtesy of the Yankee Sportsman’s Classic. The Youth Hunting Memories Essay Contest is a joint partnership between the Ver mont Fish and Wildlife Department and the

University of Ver mont Extension System. All of the essays can be read on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s youth page. Go to www.vtfishandwildlife.com, then to Youth Hunting under Hunting & Trapping, and click on the Youth Memories Scrapbook link. Congratulations to all who entered. 2011 Youth Hunting Memories Contest Winners Colby Fox, age 9, Wallingford Jacob Crawford, age 11, Jericho Trevor Houle, age 14, Brattleboro.

from previous page We’ve had a few ski and tie trips; sidelining injuries. Mine was slipover the last ten years the moun- ping in the lodge and fracturing a tains have been winning. One of few ribs on the corner of a picnic the group had two concussions table bench a few years ago; techresulting in surgery; unwillingly nically that doesn’t count; it’s in he gave his skis away. At the end the same category as a foul of last years ski season a fall hooked fish resulted in rotator cuff surgery; this year the same trooper went Jim a native of New Hampshire enjoys down and broke the cartilage fly-fishing & tying, bird hunting and a from a rib. He still plans on skiing because variety of other outdoor activities and is he can’t have surgery on the other a registered NH fishing Guide shoulder until the rib heals. www.nhriversguide.com and author of There have been numerous other the book Granite Lines.

February 2012

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Birding with Briere The Search for Winter Birds

Unless you camp out near a window watching bird feeders, finding winter birds can be difficult. It’s always enjoyable to watch birds close to the house. You get many opportunities to witness and learn about bird behavior. The pecking order

chasing off subdominant birds. We put out our seed later this year than normal in an effort to keep feeder damage by bears to a minimum. It was fairly mild early in the season with a couple of eight inch snowstorms that quickly disappeared to warm temperatures. This left a lot of natural food available to birds and allowed the bears to avoid going into hibernation until later than usual. When we did put out our seed this season, we attempted to save money by only hanging one feeder of black-oil sunflower and one of thistle seed. The tight econobecomes well established and it’s my and rising expenses makes easy to determine which birds are you select your priorities. Sorry the most dominant. Their prob- birds! It did take two weeks for lem is that the most dominant the birds to find the feeders once bird can spend so much time we erected them, but we still have arguing over feeder rights that it a good variety in manageable actually does little feeding. The numbers. Goldfinches and reddominant bird is just too busy polls, chickadees of course, jays,

By Alan Briere

and tufted titmouse as well as downy and hairy woodpeckers all visit the feeders. There are four very healthy gray squirrels visiting today. At this point they seem

jumps in an effort to chase the mouse scurrying under the snow. Your search for tracks may even turn up grouse tracks on a muddy trail.

to be well behaved and are not too reckless around the feeders. If you too are choosing to be a bit thrifty with your bird feeding budget, there is another great way to add to your wealth of wild bird knowledge and behaviors. Whether you have open ground or snow cover in your local area, there are stories to be found in the form of tracks. Birds in search of food spend a

Make a note of this location as a good place to check out when the upland bird hunting seasons open next fall. February into March is a time of transition and rebirth. The barred owls and gray squirrels are beginning the search for mates and suitable places to raise the years’ young. The chickadees and tufted titmouse will be singing their territorial tunes on the next days that feel even slightly like spring. I’ve always found how resourceful the birds can be in obtaining grit for their digestion. They need some grit in their stomach to help them fully process the food they eat. I generally park my truck outside the garage, since cleaning out my parking bay means finding room for the generator, the snow thrower, the table saw, etc . . . The birds find that since the ground under my truck is generally bare, it is a great access point to obtain grit. They will also come into the other bay of the garage to gather grit that falls off Cheryl’s car. Recently I cleaned out the ash from the fireplace and placed it in a coal scuttle. I set the container outside to cool and now that it is cool the birds hop over to it collect small tidbits to serve the digestive process. I think it’s safe to say that the birds find many ways to adapt to close proximity to humans. Enjoy the beauty, strength and idiosyncrasies of our New England birds.

lot of time on the ground and the aerial predators, the hawks, owls and shrikes strike from above and leave sign of their attack in the snow cover. Not every attempt results in a meal however and you may find multiple punch marks in the snow where the hawk hits and

Alan Briere is an award winning photographer and outdoor writer and the outdoor photography instructor for the NH Becoming an Outdoors Woman program. Alan lives in Acworth, NH with four lovely ladies: his wife, Cheryl, and their Brittanys, Gypsy, Penny and Millie. His email is alanbriere@sugar-river.net.

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February 2012

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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. It’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 sales@theoutdoorgazette.com

The Outdoor Gazette

February 2012

Page 27


Tools Of The Trade - The Modern Pan-Fishermen

By Robert Booth

The first jig rod I ever caught a fish on was hand-made, nothing more than a crafted piece of wood. Today, 15 years later my rods are custom built from the finest graphite blanks and designed to catch specific fish and detect the lightest of bites. Ice fishing has gone through a major revolution in recent years. By all means, what you’ve got will work, but if you are willing to adapt to these new methods and tools then you will see more success on the ice. The modern age of Ice Fishing has created the finesse Ice Fishermen. It has become common practice to put down the large wooden jigs sticks with 10lb test and pick up a lighter graphite jig stick spooled with 2-4lb test, have boxes full of jigs, and carrying a Vexilar from hole to hole. All of these things are essential tools for me while chasing Pan fish in the lakes and rivers of the Northeast. I have three rods that I use. The first is a True Blue made by Clam, the second is a custom built “Meatstick” by Jason

Mitchell, and the last (which I use the most) is a Riversider. Each rod has it’s own productive qualities that help me detect bites in different situations. All of these rods are in my rod case because they are durable and they get the job done. These rods are also very affordable for the average “weekend warrior”, they are all pretty much under forty dollars. More important than the rod, is the jig. I mostly fish for Blue Gills, Perch and Crappie, having a variety of jigs is a huge advantage for me in catching fish. Believe it or not, I have found that smaller is usually better. There are two types of ice jigs on the market today, vertical and horizontal. Vertical jigs are soldered jigs and are for most fishermen their “go to jigs”. My favorite vertical jig is an Orange and Chartreuse Teardrop Katy jig tipped with 3-4 spikes. These jigs are small, but the teardrop shaped blade gives it a deadly downward flutter, often times triggering the fish to bite. This action allows the fishermen to fish the entire water column, targeting the

most active and aggressive fish. The second type of ice jig is a horizontal jig. These are somewhat new to the market and these jigs consist of molded metals in all shapes and sizes,

Diamond Jigs, and their Gill Pill. One of these jigs tipped with a micro plastic, say by Maki Plastics, (makiplactics .com) will surely put more fish on the ice.

Dylan Smith with his Vexilar and Two Jumbo Perch caught using Modern Techniques.

and now metals, including tungsten which is heavier than lead. These jigs offer the fish a different presentation. Unlike the vertical jig, these jigs swim. They have a sudden side to side up and down movement that mimics small bait fish or a small insect. Teamed with a micro plastic, this bait can be very productive. My go to horizontal jigs are Custom Jigs and Spins

Page 28

February 2012

Out with the old and in with the new, well only if you want to. The old techniques will always work to a certain extent, but I encourage you to finesse more fish on the ice this season and try some of the tactics of the Modern Ice-Fishermen. Robert Booth lives in Barre Vermont and can be reached at fishinmusicman@gmail.com

The Outdoor Gazette


$100.00 Winner? Maybe….Ed Earle of Bridgewater, Vermont rearranged his “Bone Collection” and sent it in for us to admire, and now he has a 1 in 10 chance of winning a $100.00 gift certificate from one of our advertisers this December. Do you have a bone collection in your home, on your garage or shed or in your man space? Take a picture of it and send it in…Your “Bone Collection” could be a winner!

Pop’s Kitchen

Rancher's Baked Rave FrenchBarbecue Toast

Hound Hunting for Bear in NH

8 slices day-old bread slices day-oldrecipe, bread cooked in the crockpot. A ranch 8style barbecue 22 eggs, lightly beaten eggs, lightly beaten Sliced strawberries or Sliced or blueberries, blueberries, or or aa mix. mix. 1 1/2 lbs.strawberries stew venison/bear/moose cubes 22 tablespoons sugar tablespoons sugar 1 1/2 lbs. pork cubes 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup milk onions 2 cups chopped 22 to 33 drops vanilla extract to drops vanilla extractseeded and chopped 3 small green bell peppers, 88 tablespoons melted butter tablespoons melted butter 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

1/2 cup packed brown sugar Remove Remove crusts crusts from from bread bread slices; slices; discard discard or or reserve reserve for for 1/4 cup cider vinegar another use. Set bread aside. another use. Set bread aside. 1 tsp bowl, chili In beat In aa small small bowl,powder beat the the eggs eggs with with sugar, sugar, milk, milk, and and vanilvanil2 teaspoons salt la. into glass la. Pour Pour into flat flat bottomed bottomed glass dish. dish. Put Put bread bread slices slices into into 1 teaspoon dry mustard the dish to soak, a few at a time. Turn with a spatula and the dish to soak, a few at a time. Turn with a spatula and allow soak other teaspoons Worcestershire sauce allow2to to soak on on the the other side, side, but but not not too too long, long, or or they they will will be be difficult difficult to to turn. turn. Lightly Lightly butter butter aa baking baking sheet; sheet; gengently remove the soaked bread slices to the baking sheet, tly remove the soakedin bread to the baking Combine ingredients slowslices cooker. Cover andsheet, cook cover with strawberries, blueberries, or mix, and continue cover with strawberries, blueberries, or mix, and continue on high for 6 to 8 hours, or until very tender. Shred with the bread Spoon any egg withwith the remaining remaining bread slices. slices. Spoonserve any remaining remaining egg meat a potato masher or forks; over buns, mixture over the slices. mixture rice, over the slices. potatoes, or any pasta. Place Place the the baking baking sheet sheet in in aa preheated preheated 400 400 degree degree oven; oven; bake bake for for 30 30 minutes, minutes, turning turning after after the the first first 15 15 minutes minutes to to brown brown on on both both sides. sides.

Bill "Pop" "Pop" Burke, Burke, resides resides in in Claremont, Claremont, New New Bill Hampshire. If If you you would would like like to to contact contact Pop Pop Hampshire. send an an email email to: to: pop'skitchen@hotmail.com pop'skitchen@hotmail.com send

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Vide $20 o’s .00

and Mountain Lion in Montana

The Green Family, 148 Studio Rd., Warren NH, 03279

February 2012

Page 29


Trail Camera Photo Contest

Fran Nichols - Lempster , Ne

Dan Green - Lyme,

w Hampshire

Ne Dan Green - Lyme,

New Hampshire

Central New Hampshir e

hire Central New Hamps

ter, New Hampshire

Central New Hampshir e

ps Fran Nichols - Lem Page 30

w Hampshire

February 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


2012 Trail Camera Photo Contest

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. 2-Winners will be drawn Randomly and announced in the Jan. 2013 issue. Plus 1-Winner, Owner of “The Trail Cam Pic of the Year”, will be chosen by the Outdoor Gazette staff and folks on our Facebook page. The “Pic of the Year” will be on the cover of the Jan. 2013 issue! New for 2012’s contest---Do you have a picture of a trophy buck or huge bull moose you want to share, but are afraid to give up it’s location. We will post your pics anonymously, with as little info as you like. Your secret is safe with us!... HaHa!.... Really it is!

2011 Trail Camera Photo Contest , and the Winners are ;

2011 Trail Trail Camera Camera Picture Picture of of the the Year Year is is 2011 Dan Green Green from from Lyme, Lyme, New New Hampshire Hampshire Dan Random Winners Winners -- Thomas Thomas Flynn Flynn from from Holderness, Holderness, New New Hampshire Hampshire Random and Mary Mary Emery Emery from from Enfield, Enfield, New New Hampshire Hampshire and

It’s a Granite State Sweep!

2010 Contest Winners - Paul Nault of Gorham, New Hampshire for the Trail Camera Picture of the Year. Random winners - Kevin Skinner of Newport, New Hampshire Bob George of Newport, Vermont......It’s a “Newport” Sweep

Send photos to:fred@theoutdoorgazette.com with the subject line “TC Photo Contest 2011”

The Outdoor Gazette

February 2012

Page 31


Behind the Sights By Charlie Chalk

Building a Rifle Pouch

"He wore buckskin leggins and beaded moccasins; a shirt of red cloth, carried a knife and tomahawk in his belt, and a shot pouch and powder horn of a white man slung over his left shoulder and under his right ar m, and was armed with a long rifle, which he carried muzzle forward on his shoulder". Mrs. Jenny Wiley, 1787, eastern Kentucky. Call the shot pouch, rifle bag, or hunting pouch; it is the same item. A small bag, usually leather; that is the accessory pouch for the muzzleloading rifle. It carries the bullets, tools and cleaning accessories for the gun. It will vary in size but it usually is only large enough for the basic supplies. The complete collection of goods placed inside made the gun a useful tool. Reaching for one meant reaching for the other.

Before we begin construction of a pouch I would like to share a few things from Madison Grant's book, "The Kentucky Hunting Pouch".

Mr. Grant wrote a well-illustrated work. His discussions of origin, development and dating are short but educational. For instance, he makes the statement that few original

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pouches have survived with any positive indications of their exact date of manufacture. Leather wore out from daily, constant use. Backwoods replacements were made as needed and nobody dated the

manufacture. Therefore, Mr. Grant is left with some subjective dating on many pieces in the book. He also has some good information on construction details. This information gives pointers on the best style for a particular application. This is a good point to begin our construction of your pouch. Choose one of two basic styles to begin. The "D" shape, which is a deepened semicircle made of two pieces of leather. The back piece is longer and is folded over to make a flap cover. You could also choose a simple square pouch. This is built from one piece of leather in a rectangular design. Once you get a design laid out on paper (grocery bags are a good choice) get some good leather. I suggest vegetable or oil tanned leather; 5 oz. in weight. Vegetable tan will require dying to the color of your choice. Scars on the surface will add to the effect of creating an aged pouch. Just a few simple tools are

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needed. A good knife, several harness needles (blunt point) and a stitching awl. This awl has triangular sides and will push through the leather better than a round awl. Finally, you will need some 6-ply linen cord. No synthetic materials, because they will not take a dye. All stitching will be done by a harness stitch. This involves punching the awl through the leather and then by having a long piece of cord with needles on both ends. Pass one needle through the hole one way and other, back through, the other way. Try to keep stitches even and about an eighth inch long. Sew the pouch inside out and turn to place the stitches inside for the best look. Straps were attached to the back of most original pouches. Sew them with the same stitch about one inch down from the flap fold. Make sure they are secure. If you have any place that is critical, this would be the spot. Now that you have the basics, let's begin the artificial aging process. I suggest looking at museum pieces and Grant's book as reference sources. After you view a few, you will notice certain repairs that are common. You will also see that most had brass buckles on the straps. To begin, try and find an old harness buckle at a flea market. The D shape with an iron tongue would be perfect. They already exhibit age and fit right in. Notice the wear points of a pouch. The flap often shows broken threads or field repairs. Consider making a rough knife cut in the flap and closing the cut with the linen cord. Make the stitches Continued next page

*Unless otherwise requested, all new subscriptions will begin with the present issue in production.

Page 32

February 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


Thoughts on the out-of-doors by Gary W. Moore Unusual Occurrences Do Happen

You never know what you will camera. encounter as these photos show. It stopped there just long enough for this picture , then headed into the woods. We could tell from that distance that it didn't have a tail and waited until it had gone before I went to the camera to see if we had a picture. We have gone back and forth since then about whether it is a I heard from Don and Shirley Nelson of Albany who sent me the above photo taken with a game camera on May 19, 2009. They wrote, “We had just sat down on our porch and saw the animal running along the edge of the woods toward our game bobcat or lynx. We did see a lynx on our lawn a couple of years before that but he was more of a grey color. We had watched him for a few minutes but didn't get a picture. We would be interested in hearing your comments on what this animal is.� The next photo was taken by one of my game cameras on uneven, like a hurried repair. Even consider breaking the thread in the middle, adding a knot and finishing the cut with another piece. The bottom of the pouch often wore through and was patched. This can be simulated by adding a mismatched piece of leather on the outside and stitching it in place. Other indicators of age are torn, rough edges on a portion of the flap, worn button holes in the flap, where the closure used to be or stitching holes where straps or accessories used to be but are now missing. Even old brass buttons as flap closures look good if aged with a solution of wet black powder. With the leather work out of the way, it is time to stain the leather. Oil tanned in already dyed, a basic color. You will want to add black dye to edges The Outdoor Gazette

and a few other spots to simulate wear points where oily hands touch leather. Vegetable tanned will be dyed a dark brown/black and then spotted with the black. Let all dyes dry well before proceeding to finish. Your finish will consist of 100% neetsfoot oil applied heavily. It will dry in a few days and then you will need to apply a beeswax boot dressing. This will give you an oily, dark finish with a wax gloss; similar to many surviving original pouches. These are the basics of a fine looking pouch similar to an original, but still having strength in the leather. Many other tricks exist such as using old boot tops for leather or finding old leather bags or items and cutting them up for pouches. You are limited only by imagination and resources.

October 28, 2011 in Bradford. The location is a half mile from any road or dwelling. It was the long tail that caught my attention. To the left is a four foot diameter fence that protects an apple tree. It appears the cat is about the same length from head to tail. The last two photos were taken in Groton on Christmas Day 2011. Groton residents Ryan Ashford and Jon Hill were rabbit hunting Christmas Day when they bagged what appears to be

a completely black rabbit or hare. The friends were hunting in Groton mid afternoon with their dogs William and Ruger when the unusual bunny appeared. It is headed to the taxidermist for mounting and will likely be talked about for some time.

Syndicated columnist Gary W. Moore is a life long resident of Vermont and a former Commissioner of Fish and Game. He may be reached by e-mail at gwmoore1946@myfairpoint.net or at Box 454, Bradford, VT 05033.

from previous page Study the styles of old pieces you need any help. and try to copy their work. Finally, be ethical and leave Charlie Chalk is an outdoor writer and a date somewhere inside. You has a background as a professional would not want your copy to Firefighter and is a member of the be mistaken 50 years from American Mountain Men, an organinow; for an original. As zation that emulates the life of the fur always, contact me at trappers of the 1800's and their surmtmannh@dishmail.net, if vival on the land.

February 2012

Page 33


Searching for Natures Treasures By David John

Moose Troubles

Go up on top of any mountain, when you get to an open area where you can see hill and dale, stop, be still and listen. You will soon hear the cry of the moose calling out for help, help from the unrelenting blood sucking tick, which is sucking the lifeblood out of the moose population. Listen closely and you will hear them say, if you want visual evidence, walk the hills and lowlands and see the dead bodies, some still intact having just died, some rotting and putrid, and some picked clean with snow white bones. I have seen the bodies, as have many others. Not just a few, not in one certain area, but all over our woodlands. Dozens and dozens, and all reports added up will go into the hundreds. There are too many sightings of dead moose to ignore then any longer. These giants of

our woods, dropping one by one to the forest floor, is a sorry sight. You who have

Moose rub against tree’s and rocks or whatever, to rid their bodies of the “life” sucking ticks. Are our moose in trouble? The folks that live with them say they are.

blinders and ear muffs on, who look the other way, had

Antlers for Sale! Call David John 603-381-000 or 207-486-9352

You sell what?

257 257 Wilson’s Wilson’s Mills Mills Rd. Rd. Errol Errol NH NH 03579 03579

Page 34

better listen up. The moose population cannot and will not survive the tick epidemic. I have seen my share of dead moose in the woods, as have

all the other woodsmen. Tom Rideout met a man coming out of the woods to the road with four skulls on his packboard. When asked where he got them, he said he had no trouble finding them, as the bodies were laying in the woods. Mike, who owns Bosebuck Camps, found sixteen dead moose while setting out baits in Bosebuck country. The latest and most disturbing news comes from the Rangeley Lakes region and onup to Jackman. One antlerer from Jackman, along with other antlerers, found fifty dead moose! One antlerer, Jerrold Mason of West Paris, found eleven dead moose around the Rangeley area and south of it. The antlerers in Maine gave a report to Governor Paul LePage and to the legislature’s Inland Fish and Game Council. I know of three dead moose not far from my home here and know of four more in Grafton Notch and East B Hill country. I feel, with all the reports of dead moose, that all the dots are now connected to forecast a fast-dying moose population from Pittsburg to Rangeley to Moosehead lake and most northern areas. It will be a

February 2012

sad day when we antlerers start bringing out more moose skulls than antlers. Dick Sprague and Steve Harris of Minot, ME are meat processors, and they wear Tyvek suits so they can see what’s crawling on them. Harris sprays himself with insect repellent before processing deer and moose, and stated that other processors are requiring you to skin your own deer and moose before you bring it to them. Dave Parent of Mt. Dustan Store and Butcher Shop told me that around ninety-five percent of the moose he processed had some kind of egg sac parasite all through the meat. Yes, the meat. Choice cuts, all the cuts infested with egg sacs. Now, who would eat that meat? It seems the moose are imploding from within. The moose population cannot sustain this mortality long before it hits a brick wall. Does anybody really know how many young moose the bear and coyote kill? You can’t stop vehicle accidents, which take a heavy toll. But I feel that number will go down big time if the moose keep dying from the tick. That leaves only one more big piece of the pie that kills hundreds of moose: the moose hunt. That can be stopped. With all the reports of dead moose, I hope it’s being taken into consideration. So all these reports bring up some questions. Who is listening? Will anything be done? Can anything be done? How long a time span before these reports hit home? Will Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont ever stop the moose hunt? The deer also are hosting ticks. In early January, a knock at the door brought Roger Erwin to visit. Roger is a nature photographer who has his pictures on display around Coos and Carroll Countries. This visit, he brought along Larry Metcalf, who used to work at Emerson’s Sporting Goods store. Both men know Continued next page The Outdoor Gazette


our woodlands. Our talk eventually turned to the Phillips Brook country, a place we all loved. I have antlered Phillips Brook area for twenty years, I know the land as well as anyone and have hauled a lot of moose antlers from this place. Now, when I talk about it, I call the topic the ruination of Phillips Brook country and Phillips Valley. I never believed an area could be so drastically changed in such a short time. Roads, powerlines, and many ugly-looking wind towers with many more in the works. I won’t be walking those hills anymore. I drive in from the Colebrook side, off of the Bungy Road via Kelsey Notch Road to a gate. Then a hike up to the top of Moose Mountain. When on top, you are instantly hit with a closeup view of wind towers when looking east into Phillips Brook. Back to my house with the visitors. Roger is easy to talk to, and so is Larry. We talked of goings-on in our woodlands. When they left, I told them the coffee is always on. While talking on the phone one morning, I was watching three deer standing only twenty feet from the house while across the road in a field was a flock of a dozen or so turkeys. There is a couple of inches of snow on the ground, and every morning, there are deer tracks all around the house. I walked across the brook, and there were around thirty deer standing all over the woods waiting to feed at a favorite deer feeding spot up the road. While antlering this season, I have seen in good numbers the rabbit and partridge. Also a lot of coyote tracks, and this year, I have run across a bob-

cat track every time I went out. On my antlering trips, I have been seeing a lot of wildlife even while riding to my spots. The otter is easy to pick out now, with his shiny black body running along the ice shelf. And I have seen many mink running along the ice also. In the woods, each walk I view the rabbit and partridge along with woodpeckers, chickadees, Canada jays and the pileated woodpecker. Also, every so often, I watch the coyote and fisher, along with deer and moose. If I don’t bring home the antler, the day is not lost. I record in my mind the beautiful landscape and wildlife, and enjoy lunch on a log. And as I walk away, I wonder how long before the sounds of my footsteps fade away and some one else has lunch on that log. After all, there will be quite a feast on that log. Cookie crumbs, breadcrumbs, and bits of apple along with the core. The mouse, mole, chickadee and jay will snack out. How many creatures have I fed in sixty years of lunches in the woods? I also feed the birds. Here in Wilson’s Mills, life on and under the bird feeders is very active day and night. I have four suet feeders, a large tray set on a pipe with sunflower seed and corn. A nail driven up through the tray holds a dry ear of corn, which will feed the blue jay and crow. And one large tube feeder with sunflower seeds. Regulars who come to dine are the nuthatch, chickadee, hairy and downy woodpeckers, two crows and a couple of doves.

Off and on, come the turkeys, sometimes one and other times many. On January 12th, we got our first snowstorm of this year, and there were eighteen turkeys at the feeders cleaning up the dropped feed. Sometimes my rooster and hens are picking the ground, and there two crows are there and some turkeys, all looking at each other trying to claim the turf. Deer are regulars here at the house, even in broad daylight. One morning, while talking to my daughter on the phone, along came three deer not ten feet from the window. At night, the fox, coyote and deer all check out the feeders and henhouse. I will end up putting out a trail camera to record such happenings. I can see now my apple trees, blueberries and veggie garden will all need protection. The deer and moose population seem to be downsizing here in the North Country, but the small animal populations along with the var mints are in good shape. And so is the bear holding its own. February’s full moon will be

from previous page the Snow Moon. February is a short month but has a lot going on. Groundhog Day starts off the month, and then Valentine’s Day. Also February ushers in the big nor’easters that can dump two feet of snow, followed by subzero weather. It is now time for the mating season for the fox and the great horned owl. Toward the end of the month, dusk will come much later with spring on our minds. Now the snowpack grows deep with ice fishermen snug in their shacks. And the bears are snug in their dens, dreaming of corn patches, beehives and dumpsters. February, one more solid month of winter. While pulling into my driveway in the middle of January, there was a lone partridge. As soon as he saw my truck, he fanned out his tail and did a slow waltz around the truck before standing by the garage door still fanned out. One of nature’s surprises. David John roams the hills year-round, bringing home the moose antler and other nature’s treasures. You can email him at DavidJohn1943@gmail .com.

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February 2012

Page 35


Guided by the Light or is That a Train Coming? Take Me To Your Leader

I stopped by the fly shop to get a few leaders because the expiration dates on all mine were from the last millennium. Imagine my surprise when I learned there are too many choices. Given man’s propensity to screw up a good thing whenever possible, I wondered how all this confusion got started. Technically, the leader does several things. It transmits the casting energy from the line to the fly so the fly turns over properly. It should also dissipate this casting energy so the fly lands softly and not with the sound of a pig falling off a bridge. Finally, it’s supposed to fool the fish into thinking the fly is not attached to any nefarious machines. Also, it must appear invisible and must not create drag that hinders the float. That’s a tall order if it’s to be executed correctly. The early English fly fishers used horse tail hairs for both

Page 36

their lines and leaders. Common wisdom held that the hair should come from a white horse. Cripes, everyone knows a black horse has

stronger hair – right? By braiding or twisting the hair, they could reduce some fibers and produce a tapered leader. Soaking the whole thing in oil

By Tony Lolli

resulted in a floating contraption. There was no concern about shooting the line because it was simply tied to the end of the rod. The “main line” was often dyed using various dyes but the part

that attached to the fly was left au naturel. Expert fly fishers, like me and you, would use a leader tapered to three or four hairs. Guides, and others prone to deviating from the truth, clamed to use a single hair. During my research I learned that horse hair is rot proof and could last so long that lines and leaders were passed from father to son. I have no comment, having only been left a rotting horse by my father. At some point, leaders were furled. Several strands of material were twisted and counter twisted together to form a knotless tapered leader. They were first made from horse hair and later, from silk. Furled leaders disappeared when monofilament became available. The first mono leaders had “compound tapers” achieved by tying pieces of ever decreasing diameter mono to make a leader of the desired length. Some of those “formulas” are still available and are claimed, by their users, to turn over very well. Somewhere along the line someone discovered that running a level piece of monofilament through a set of graduated cutting dies would yield a leader that is tapered from thick to thin without the necessity of knots. Moreover, all kinds of tapers could be created by selecting different dies. Eureka – the modern

February 2012

leader was born! If you think about it, you can see that as soon as we tie on a length of tippet, we’ve created a compound leader so all this business about knotless leaders only matters for the first few minutes we’re using the leader. Once we tie on a new tippet section, we’re back to a compound leader. These days, furled leaders are making a comeback. I don’t know why – I was perfectly happy with the previously available selection. You’ll have to try one yourself to decide if they are worth the expense. Not wanting to leave you in the lurch, without some useful advice, I’ll let you in on a leader formula that I’ve found good for special trout fishing situations. I often use a cast of multiple flies. The problem is that each time you tie a fly on a dropper fly, the dropper gets shorter. Pretty soon, the dropper is too short to tie on another fly. The solution is to build a dropper leader that’s only used for this situation. At 18 inch intervals, along the leader, tie on a dropper. I make mine by leaving one leg of the barrel knot about the width of my hand. Next I tie on one of those small spring steel clips. The fly gets attached via the clip and the dropper never gets shorter. When I’m through fishing droppers, I remove the leader and save it for next time I need it. How many droppers can you fish? The correct answer is “as many as the law allows.” The real answer depends on whether or not the statue of limitations is up. I believe it’s up in this case. One evening I used a cast of twenty wet flies and I had a strike on each drift. I ended the night with more releases than I could count. Back at the truck, by flashlight, I discovered the leader appeared as if a small kitten had taken vented its frustrations. I haven’t had the patience to tie another dropper rig with that many flies. Let me know how yours works out. Tony Lolli is from Cabot, VT. His book, Go-To Flies: 101 Pattern the Pros Use When All Else Fails is available online from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. The Outdoor Gazette


Just don’t give up! ••••

on my other woodlot 5 miles I again walked along the shore but as I drove around a ledge on from my house but there was no and using my binoculars I the edge of the pond the top The 2009 NH muzzle loader need to get there until around noticed a brown rock out in the heavy 4-wheeler tipped over with season for my wife Kathy and I 3:30. At 2:00, as I sat reading the pond that had an unusual fist the buck, rig, and I rolling 30’ was successful and eventful but paper after only 20 minutes of sized pinkish white snowball on over the cliff into the pond. I was could have easily turned into a rest from the mornings events, I it. Could it be him? I ran around in 6’ of water and the buck and great disappointment if not for my rig started to float away. persistence in following up the We tied the rig and buck to a shots. tree at the base of the cliff but Kathy was in one of my there was no way we were going favorite tree stands in a great to get them out the normal way. bottle neck when I heard her I figured our only chance to get shoot just before dark. I the rig out was to get my bulldozapproached minutes later and er and haul it up over the cliff. I heard her describe the events. returned with the dozer an hour Two doe had walked by her at 15 later after bushwacking through yards and she took a shot at the the woods. larger one which ran off in a I dragged the 4-wheeler up and northerly direction. She directed over the cliff, almost ripping it me to where she had last seen the apart when it got lodged against deer and I found a few specks of a tree. The 4-wheeler was not in blood and bile, not a good sign. working condition ($500 repair It was starting to get dark so I bill) and we were out in the midfollowed the best I could but ran dle of the boonies so my neighout of sign quickly. I didn’t want bor called Kathy to come rescue to push the wounded deer so we us using my other truck. My decided to come back in the Persistence pays off for Roscoe. His reward a Granite State big buck and a long $400 cell phone was toast after morning to follow her up but we awaited 200 lb club patch. its meeting with the water. unfortunately jumped it on the She arrived an hour later and way back to the truck. decided you can’t get a deer sit- the pond and found him 20’ we finally started to make more We were back early the next ting in the living room so I head- from shore floating barely above progress. I was in a hurry to get day and I proceeded to start ed out early to try some still the water surface. The snowball I the deer reported and get home where I had left off finding just a hunting before the evening had seen was foam coming out of so I drove a little faster on the little more sign going in the watch. the entry hole in his shoulder. I woods road than I should have. I direction where we had jumped I had been in the woods less had taken out one lung and he went over an unnoticed rock that the deer the previous evening. than 10 minutes when a doe ran had gone over 300 yards. Don’t normally isn’t a problem and There were tracks everywhere by in front of me. From the way give up! smashed the transmission. I got and I was finding no blood so I it was running I expected to see a Again it went from the lowest out and saw oil leaking out of set up a grid pattern placing sur- buck following and was not dis- of lows to the highest of highs the bottom of the truck. S*** veyors flagging every 50’ so as appointed. I soon saw a large but the excitement was not over happens! not to miss any spot. After 5 framed rack low to the ground as yet. I had to disrobe and swim We finally got the buck hours of searching a large area he ran after the doe. Neither of out to get him (no boats on this weighed, registered and hung we had not found any more sign them had seen me. I took a quick small pond). I dragged him to out in the barn. When I got so I began to think the deer shot in the only opening avail- shore, admired him, cleaned him inside the house Kathy presented would not be recovered. able and waited for the smoke to out, then went home for help me with my 200 lb. patch. I coorI went back to the last spot of clear as he crashed off in the dis- since he was over 200 lbs and in dinate the NH Trophy Deer blood which was only 50 yards tance. a nasty area. I returned an hour Program for deer over 200 lbs so from Kathy’s stand and started I was relieved to find some later with my neighbor and my it felt nice to receive one of these crawling on my hands and knees blood after a short search and 4-wheeler. After a few photos, we patches that I’m giving out to and found a speck of brown bile followed it to where it started to got him loaded and off I went everyone else. That was one very about 20 yards farther. I contin- peter out after around 150 yards. with the neighbor following expensive patch but an unforgetued and found a speck another I did my usual grid pattern with behind. Things started out good table experience. 10 yards farther showing it surveyors flagging after an initial 107 Summer Street turned 90 degrees to the left, search of the area and found litaway from where we had suppos- tle more sign before evening Lancaster, NH 03584 edly jumped it the previous came. I had covered a large area evening. All morning we had and he was nowhere to be found. been following the wrong deer in Had I only grazed him? 0% up to 60 the wrong direction! I returned early the next mornWe sell a wide variety of items I continued crawling, occasion- ing and went to the last blood months from Tractors to Excavators as ally finding specks of sign and sign. Since there were deer well as quality used machines. eventually found the dead deer tracks and trails everywhere it We also do maintenance work after around 300 yards. We went was hard to figure where he had on everything we sell! from the very lows of hunting to gone. I crawled on my hands and the very highs immediately. knees and after 50 yards I found Hours of Operation: Don’t give up! one little speck of blood. I evenMonday-Friday 8am-5pm We got the deer dressed, tually found another speck showSaturday 8am-12pm hauled it to the checking station, ing that he had headed a sharp and then headed home. I had left towards a beaver pond I had A family owned and operated business since 1983 planned an evening stand hunt already searched the shore of. As By Roscoe Blaisdell

603-788-4577

The Outdoor Gazette

February 2012

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The Gazette’s Book Review RUNNING WATERS By Datus Proper The Lyons Press, 2001 162 pages, $24.95 ISBN: 1-58574-280-5 February usually holds on tight with the iron grip of deep winter and the heaviest snowfalls of the season. Rivers and streams lie hushed under a roof of ice, still weeks away from the freedom of spring. For an angler, trout fishing seems a distant fragment of the past or a vague dream of an unseen future. Those devoted to the pursuit of salmonids use February to inspect rods, dress lines, tie a new batch of flies, patch torn waders, or devour books on their favorite subject. A good book and a warm fire on a dark winter night can stir the souls, almost as much as finding a favored pool filled with rising trout and hatching mayflies.

Though more than ten years old now, Running Waters by the late Datus Proper stirs the soul of a fisherman in just that way. Proper, a career Foreign Service Officer retired to an outdoorsman’s paradise in the Gallatin Valley of Montana published three fine books before the masterful Running Waters. He passed away in 2003. This fourth book strings

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together 26 beautiful essays into a whole the way fly-line strings through the eyelets of a fine trout rod. His graceful prose and obvious reverence for the natural world draws the reader and holds on from the first page to the last. Proper is one of those gifted writers who can spellbind a reader with the sights, sounds, smells and poetry of woods, water and open air. Proper’s admiration for his quarry reflects the finest motivations of any outdoorsman. As he contemplates the course of his life he finds, “Once I had dreamt of catching big trout, read books about how to do it, and chased them from Patagonia to Donegal. When I catch one now, I am still pleased. It is a gift, but it is not a triumph.” A gift…not a triumph perhaps in terms of fishes he caught, but his writing is a gift to those of us who find it and a triumph for he who set it on the page. Running Waters is no howto book. It contains no tips for finding or catching fish. It offers no instructions on casting or tying flies. It provides no recommendations for equipment or even places to fish. Rather, Running Waters is about the poetry of fly-fishing and spiritual adventure found along streams the world over; as the author says, “Magic is part of fishing.” Sadly, Running Waters has no sequel. The talented voice of Datus Proper has been stilled. Yet, as with all great

art, the body of work becomes more valuable, more treasured by the passing of the artist. Knowing the author died barely two years after compiling Running Waters sharpens the reader’s attention and sharpens the wisdom in Proper’s words. Foremost within Running Waters’ pages, woven amid the stories of fishes, watercourses, friends and mere encounters, lays inspiration. The author weaves together words to inspire anyone to get outside and know the sublime pleasures of feeling the pressure of water against waders, and watching the seams where sunlight meets shadow and hungry trout hover. February is a perfect time to sit somewhere snug, with a copy of Running Waters, marveling at the flow of words so like the flow of the water. February is a perfect time to dream of every stream ever fished in the way Hemingway did in his short story Now I Lay Me, an appreciation of trout fishing very much akin to Running Waters. February is also the perfect time to dream of waters unlocked from the ice and the reawakening of a slumbering world. The dreaming is better with a copy of Running Waters at hand. 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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2nd Edition, 89 to 92 - $15.00

3rd Edition, 92 to 94 - $15.00 4th Edition, 94 to 96 - $15.00 5th Edition, 96 to 98 - $15.95 6th Edition, 98 to 04 - $19.95 7th Edition, 04 to 09 - $19.95

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Page 38

Enclosed please find my check for $

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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

February 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


Pictures Gone Wild Our reader submitted photos Deer season at "The Old Corner Store" in Jefferson, NH"

Richard Way Jim- 5 point, 115 lbs

Frederick Sullivan

Robert Tuttle – 5 point, 145 lbs

Larry Green – 7 point, 204 lbs

Ryan Lewis – 10lb tom

Dan Valdez

Doug York – 8 point, 215 lbs

The Outdoor Gazette

Lee Eastman- 4 point, 178 lbs

Jaycee Murray – 123lbs

February 2012

Michael Hatfield – 6 point, 161 lbs

Corey Young – 7 Point, 228 lbs

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February 2012

The Outdoor Gazette



February 2012 - The Outdoor Gazette