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Trophy Spotlight - The Lapierre Buck “My dad and I had scouted the area we were been hunting for a couple of years and built a couple of natural blinds to sit at during the deer season. I was sitting on the edge of a swamp and hardwood ridge watching a pretty active deer trail. We arrived at the spot before daylight and watched the woods wake up with all sorts of activity. Around 9 oclock, two does came out of the swamp up the trail. We watched them for about 10mins (I had a doe permit but my dad and I were going up north the next week with my grandfather…his brother had been seeing a nice buck on the property so I was hoping to get a chance at it). So I let the does go. We met some of my friends and his dad at lunch and told them about seeing the does and not shooting…he was shocked I didn’t shoot one and said I might regret waiting for a buck. I told my dad I wanted to go

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back to the same spot for the afternoon. It was pretty quiet the first part of the afternoon,

I got my .243 ready and mouth to see if I could stop waited for the deer, as it got it…it didn’t work, so I closer I realized it was a buck squeezed the trigger and it dropped it 20 yards ..it happened so fast. My dad and I went over to it and realized how big it was . A 9pt 220# hog…WOW! I was sure glad I waited. I shot a spike horn the year previous and dragged it myself but this one was a little different! November 5, 2011. “ Luke Lapierre.

Luke Lapierre and his 2011 Maine Big Buck. Luke shot the deer on November 5, 2011. The monster buck tipped the scales at 220 lbs and has 9 points. but around 3:30 I heard a (I saw the side of its horns). It crash in the leaves to my left, was moving pretty quick so I it was a deer coming off the followed it with my scope and ridge down the trail. tried to grunt twice with my

June 2012

Thanks Luke for sharing the your story with us and congrats on taking the buck of a lifetime. For sharing his story Luke will receive a free one year subscription to The Outdoor Gazette. Did you tag a monster buck, a big bull, a braggin size bruin? How about a lunker largemouth or brook trout.? We want to hear about it. Send in your pictures and/or story and you will get a free year of the Outdoor Gazette too...Send your pictures and stories to fred@theoutdoorgazette .com with the subject “trophy spotlight”…Thanks!

The Outdoor Gazette


Couple of pictures shared on facebook...I’m getting rid of all the spoons in our house!

Volume 6 Issue 6

Table of Contents

ARTICLES Eight Years in the Wilderness Captain’s Corner Traveling Outdoorsman Taxidermy Trails Mass Meanderings Riverbank Tales FishTales and other Drivel Lock, Stock & Smoking Barrel Family Tracks Anchor Points Kid’s Corner Bone Collections Lessons form the Outdoors A Hunter’s Best Friend The Trap Line On and Off the Trail Forest Forward Fish and Wildlife Management Tails from the Trail Southern Side Up From the Back of the Canoe A Waterfowler’s Perspective Twin State Bassin’ The Maine Hunter Coastal Zone Behind the Sights Searching for Nature’s Treasures Outfitter Review The Next Camo King Gazette’s Book Review

On The Cover

The New Hampshire & Vermont

Outdoor Gazette

Page 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 26 27 28 30 32 34 37 38 39 40 42 43 44 46

Publisher/Editor: Fred Allard Graphic Design: Dan Millet

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 Graphic Design By: Think Different Design 12A Grandview Drive Berlin, NH 03570

The OUTDOOR GAZETTE

is printed monthly by Seacoast Media Group Portsmouth, New Hampshire ISSN Number 1941-9805

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 in any way. 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

Rodney Elmer and two of his sons enjoy some family time at last years LCI.Trail camera picture from Marty Wall of Randoph, Vermont - Black Sea Bass caught by Matthew O'Clair of Newport, NH while fishing with “Capt. John Curry of Capefishing.net.

The Outdoor Gazette

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.

June 2012

Page 3


Editor’s Back Porch

Tribute to Alan... Enjoy!

Alan Briere’s photos are phenomenal. Going thru the many he has sent me over the last few years, to place in this months edition, I found myself saying over and over again, “man this is a great shot”. Alan was a perfectionist and every one of his photos emulates perfection. He was truly a talented photographer among other things. His columns and photo contributions will be missed. The photos in this edition are only a sample of his work. Printing them in this format, newsprint does not do them justice. Go to “The Outdoor Gazette” on facebook. I have placed an album, in Alan’s name, on our page. No changes have been made to the photos Alan sent to me. The colors, formatting, everything is original. There you can really see the colors, shadows, and feeling of each shot that gets somewhat lost in

newsprint. Lake Memphramagog…we were able to secure a seasonal campsite on the lake. We have been on the waiting list since March of this year, but no openings were available. To our surprise a last minute cancellation by someone else gave us the opening we were looking for. We picked this location for many reasons. I love to fish and Newport Vermont is smack dab in the middle of some of the best fishing Vermont has to offer. The campground also has playground for Olivia, a bike path as well as 2 beaches, oh and did I mention FISHING. My son Jordan and I filled a five-gallon pail full of bluegill and pumpkinseed on his birthday, May 28. We also caught and released a bunch of 12 in largemouth bass. Sure was fun and this pail full of fillets is a good start for our 4th of July fish fry!

By Fred Allard

I was talking about camping, the lake etc.. at work. And I had to tell the story of my first trip with the camper. The camper is fairly large and my truck not quite big enough to transport it. I had it set up to tow it anyway and it doesn’t do a bad job but it sure works hard. Anyway on the maiden voyage last year we decided to head to this same campground on Magog. I was nervous, as I have not had much experience towing trailers and the backing it up in between other campers scared the heck out of me. I arrived at the campground, backed the camper in to it’s site on the first try, with all the other camper folk watching, like I had been doing it for years. Whew! After getting the camper set up for the weekend, I decided to head down to the lake and try some fishing. I hopped in the truck and cut the wheel to the right, forgetting about the 4-foot signpost that marked the sites,

and gave my truck a nice green stripe and a dent to boot on the passenger side… Awesome! Undeterred I headed for the lake, but first I had to pull over and load the canoe. I lowered the tailgate and put the canoe in to the bed of the truck and through my back window. Awesomer!... I walked back to the camper. “Do we have any beer?” “It’s 10 o-clock in the morning.” my wife responded approvingly. “Ya, I know…do we have any?” 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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A Tribute to Alan Briere Continued on page 41

The Outdoor Gazette

June 2012

Page 5


8 Years in the Wilderness By Tom Rideout Strange Hunting and Fishing

The other day I was talking with a local game warden at the store. As with many conversations, the topic changes quickly and seldom lingers on one subject unless it is gossip. This particular conversation was about the warden’s recent trip to Belize bone fishing. “Have you ever fished for bone fish?” he asked. I nodded that I had. He continued to talk about his trip and got really excited when he told of catching a 180-pound tarpon. “How about tarpon?” he asked. I nodded again. After retelling his vacation’s itinerary he added, “I am thinking of doing some red stag hunting and have been reading New Zealand offers some great opportunities. Have you ever hunted red stag?” he asked. Before I could nod my head, he asked. “Don’t tell me, you have, right? Is there anything you haven’t fished or hunted for?” I had to think about the question for a moment. “I have never hunted for big cats. You know lions,

tigers and such. But I really have no interest to, either.” I answered. The conversation made me think about my past hunting and fishing experiences and made me realize that I had indeed fished and hunted for almost everything there is.

Lying in bed this morning, I really didn’t want to get up, but I couldn’t get back to sleep again. My thoughts eventually turned to my conversation with the warden, and I tried to remember some of my strangest experiences hunting and fishing. Now I have fished all over northern Canada, Alaska, Florida, the Caribbean and South America as

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well as most of the Rocky Mountain States and beyond. My hunting experiences have been limited to mostly New England and Canada, except for a couple experiences while in the military, which, by the way, many of you might find interesting. I was in the US Army in Vietnam, and though it wasn’t actually hunting or fishing trip I did manage to get some done in between firefights and cowering from incoming rockets and artillery. During my tour in Vietnam, I never received any type of pay. My payroll records were lost somewhere in the bureaucracy of the military. It was okay with me, as I didn’t need much money since the army gave us beer and cigarettes. I did find a way to make pocket money and additional money to help defray the cost of going on R & R. I hunted monkeys and sold them on the local markets. These weren’t actually real monkeys but I later learned, were Douc Languor’s. About a mile from my base in Qui Nhon, Vietnam was a small, narrow valley. The valley was full of trees that had some sort of hanging fruit pods. I never learned the real name for these trees, but I did see them frequently in my travels through the central highlands in Vietnam. This particular valley held one of the largest concentrations of monkeys that I have ever heard about. We discovered it by accident while returning from a mission to secure a downed helicopter. There had to be thousands and thousands of monkeys living in the fruit trees. The monkey shit was at least three feet deep beneath those trees and was disgusting, as it

was crawling with creepy crawlers and such. I learned from a Vietnamese interpreter that monkey meat was sought after by the locals. So whenever I needed money, I would go to “Monkey Valley” with my M-16. I would gather up as many monkeys as possible and carry them up a steep hill to a narrow dirt trail that served as a main road to a couple of villages on the other side of the mountains. I would load them into a ? ton truck I “borrowed” from the motor pool and then drive to a nearby village. With a friend standing guard and watching the wood line around us, I would set up shop. It wouldn’t take long for the word to get out that there was a new store in town, and the mama sans would line up. I would sell one monkey for 500 piaster’s (roughly $1.50) or three monkeys for 1200 piasters. I remember holding these sales several times, once when I went on a 3-day R&R to Thailand, another when I went on a 10-day R&R to Hong Kong (I raised over $1500 for that trip) and another one to put a down payment on a Dodge Colt I purchased through the PX system ($2000). I never ate monkey meat (that I knew off) but did give quite a bit away to the South Koreans who had a base nearby. They would, in turn, give me several cases of their OB Beer in exchange. As for fishing, yes I did fish in Vietnam. Outside of our base was a small river the name of which has been long forgotten. It was visible from the west side of the base, and Continued on page 13

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June 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


The Captain’s Corner By Matthew Trombley

May is in full swing & we have had a roller coaster of highs & lows with our first week of Turkey hunting. The stellar weather of April has slid some & the opener of Turkey season has been a bit damp! We have been on birds every day, with most cooperating nicely considering the weather, but putting a tag on them has been a different story. It’s the year of guiding many “newbies” to the sport, including my spouse, my son & two new clients. All of which have witnessed how critical it is to sit stone still when the Tom is in the kill zone! Some very frustrated hunters witnessed the “gobbler fever”, being so close to pulling the trigger but having the bird get a little wary when they saw the slightest but of movement. But that is what turkey hunting is all about, enjoying some incredible mornings where we had multiple birds working & gobbling at once! No wonders we continue to get up at the crack of dawn to compete against these wary birds! Our Striper trips are in full swing, the Hudson River is teaming with spawning fish, & multiple hook up days has been the norm! The river temp is getting up in to that prime high 50 degree area & the fish have turned on! We are doing our best to top our 2011 season top fish, which was a 32lb female caught by Miss Jessica Chase of Rochester VT! This “Big Dawg” put on a fight for over 20 min before we were able to get her to the boat, as we pulled all four riggers & ended up backing down on the fish while Jessica played her out. Stripers have paper thin mouths, keeping the rod loaded is critical to stay hooked up, but leaving the drag loose enough to allow the fish to run when needed is all key to landing these size fish! Most of our hook ups we keep right on trolling as the person fights the fish, but when a real line burner is hooked up its organized chaos for a few moments to get rods pulled while we prepare to go to drift our back down on the fish! The Outdoor Gazette

cal flashers will be the prescription. Spoons such as Honeybees, Needlefish, Michigan Stingers, Hi Techs & the latest to the market Crazy Ivan’s usually get the nod. Colors change from day to day & hour to hour, but Green & glow on copper; Blue

satility. The other tool in the box is leadcore rigs. These fish are notorious for They can be deployed of the coming to the boat then hunback of the boat “down the kering down ten to fifteen feet chute” or off to the side below the boat, taking minutes attached to planer boards. This to gain a precious foot at a time gives you a line that can get to get them up to the net! The down deeper, but is also away river water in the spring tends from the boat and down rigger noise. There have been days that these rigs have saved the day, adding to our coolers & smiles to our clients! Versatility & not being afraid to mix things up will keep rods popping and action on the boat, which makes for soar arms and lots of smiles! Champlain has really gotten a lot of notoriety as of late for its fantastic Bass & warm water species fishing! (More on that for next month!) But Champlain’s cold water fishery is still alive & kicking! With increased stocking, better Lamprey control, & the influx of Alewives to our waters our "Miss Jessica Chase from Rochester, VT with her 32 lb Hudson River Striper!" Salmon & definitely Lake Trout to be cloudy with limited visi- & Purple on silver & Orange & are starting to pack on the bility, when that fish makes the black on copper are hard to pounds! surface many times “striper beat! Usually start with leads June can make for some off fever” sets in when the person about 10-15ft off the ball early the hook action & fine table fair at the Rod sees just how big the in the morning. Depending on coming to the coolers! Don’t fish is! Staying calm & being weather & boat traffic, leads miss this great time of the year, patient is critical to landing may be increased out to as wonderful weather & awesome these wonderful fish, whom much as 60 ft. off the ball. fishing action…so get out on make awesome table fair!! As the mid-day slow down the water! Memorial Day weekend is the occurs we then mix in Slide transition for us from the Divers off each side. These Matt Trombley is a career firefighter, Striper season to the Lakes for tools are similar to dipsie divers residing with his wife & son in Trout & Salmon! The heavy but have a trip arm on them Florence Vermont. He is a U.S.C.G tackle gets put away (until we that trips when a fish hits allow licensed Master captain, guiding & head west for King Salmon!) & them to “slide” down to the chartering fishing trips through out the lite weight rigger rods & bead above the lure. The addi- Vermont & New York. His charter leadcore come out for tion of these divers has really business, 3rd Alarm Charters can be Landlocks & Lakers! A pleasant increased our catches and ver- viewed at www.3rdalarmcharters.com surprise during the last few seasons has been the Steelhead mixed with the Salmon on Lake Champlain. We generally concentrate on the section of the lake from Westport NY, North to the Charlotte – Essex Ferry crossing. This area is renowned for its deep trenches & drop offs that narrow the lake currents & congregates the bait, with the Salmon & Trout not far away! This time of year usually finds the thermocline setting up anywhere from 35 to 55 deep, with a noticeable mark in bait fish congregation. Down riggers set with spoons & occasional verti-

The Best Month of the Summer

June 2012

Page 7


Traveling Outdoorsman By Glenn Dunning

All The Buzz About Black Bears

Does it seem we are all hearing more about black bears than we used to? I was in my twenties when I saw my first Vermont bear in the wild but saw two last summer in separate incidents. Then there was the story this spring of Governor Shumlin being chased in his pajamas trying to retrieve a bird feeder from a troupe of bears one night at his rented downtown Montpelier home. This despite what have become annual warnings from Fish & Wildlife officials about taking bird feeders down in the spring as a precaution to keep bruins off the back porch. Maybe it was because of this heightened awareness that a headline on my Yahoo home page caught my eye, “Bear Encounters Increasing.” The story was picked up from the Associated Press news wire, having been originally published in the Louisville, Kentucky Courier Journal. It quoted Canadian bear researcher, Hank Hristienko, who

along with The International Association of Bear Research and Management, had released the findings of their census of bear populations. The numbers reveal nothing short of a population

explosion. For example, the U.S. bear population more than doubled between 1989 and 2006 rising from 165,000 to over 350,000. States east of the Mississippi showed the great-

est increase and are now home to over 163,000 bears. Along with more bears come more bear-human conflicts and the increases here are even more dramatic. In his survey of state wildlife agencies Hristienko found that in the span of 10 years 18 Eastern states reported dramatic increases in these encounters. Tennessee saw the greatest average increase from 300 to over 1000 per year, New York was second going from 587 to 1,127 and, believe it or not, New Jersey went from 691 to over 1100 encounters annually. Last year alone New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection received 693 bear complaint calls including an incident which made national news when a big sow attacked a Vernon resident in his driveway, roughing him up and making off with his Subway sandwich. While for most states regulated hunting seasons provide the most effective tool for managing bear populations, New Jersey has been slow to pick up on the idea. In fact, the anti-hunting and animal rights activists have such a strong voice in state politics that they have effectively derailed efforts to reinstate bear hunting. Frank Somodi, an avid hunter and Jersey resident offered this perspective, “In this state Guns and Hunt are the most uncivil of 4 letter words, people just don’t get the whole concept of hunting and God forbid you suggest that killing anything can be classified as a sport.” He went on to add, “We have had bear sightings in every single county and up in the northwest where I deer hunt we frequently see more bear than deer.” In some states like Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas where bear were hunted nearly to extinction in the 19th century, they have made dramatic comebacks. In North Carolina where bear hunting is allowed, the total annual harvest in 1976 was 121 bears; in 2008 that number had grown to 2162 bruins. Unfortunately such unprecedent-

ed population growth of a single species, especially a predator, can have a trickle down effect on other wildlife. This has been no more evident than on the island of Newfoundland in Canada’s Maritime region. Newfoundland is well known among sportsmen as a “go to” destination for a variety of big game including moose and caribou. It is the only place in North America with a huntable population of Woodland caribou. But now that resource is severely threatened. Outfitter Ron Hicks, owner of Snowshoe Hunting and Fishing is no longer able to offer caribou hunts in his extensive central island territory. “While coyotes had originally been blamed for the dramatic decreases in our caribou herds, more and more of our biologists are now pointing the finger at Newfoundland’s black bears.” Ron pointed out that while the island has always had bears there are now so many that caribou calves all too often are falling prey to hungry bruins. For many of us it appears that living with more bears around is going to be part of a new reality. The impact may not be so dramatic for those of us in the north country but for urbanites not used to encountering a 300 pound bear rummaging through their garbage, education, precaution, and acceptance may be key challenges. As stated by Pennsylvania state bear biologist Mark Tement, “You’ve got bears moving into areas where people live and people moving into areas where bears live. Both of those scenarios frequently involve people with little experience living around bears.” 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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Page 8

603-237-8857

June 2012

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The Outdoor Gazette


Taxidermy Trails By Rodney Elmer

What gets you going?

What gets you going? What gets you out there? What's your prescription for inspiration? We all seem to hate getting out of bed , yet once up we're often glad we did. The list of reasons not to go is long." It's raining, to cold, to hot, I'm tired, to windy, no one to go with." " I'm to busy." Pretty quick your asking why you ever went! BUT YOU KNOW WHY! That big buck would still be chewing his cud up on that mountain, instead of staring back at you on the living room wall! Your best friend's smile as he holds the deer of a lifetime in that cherished picture would not have happened if you stayed home. The deep belly laughs and tears brought on by the off the cuff jokes as you ride home from the N.H. Trophy Awards would have been missed, the hardest laughter you ever had. Your son's red faced grin as he pulls up to you on a logging road on his first trip to Maine, and tries to explain why he's naked and the pile of close on the hood of the jeep makes perfect sense. The black bear lying on the kitchen table at camp, spread eagle , with four men standing around it in the candle light as a storm rages outside and the land lord collecting rent asks if everything’s all right?! Oh the look on his face! The clunk the truck's broken power train makes hitting the corner pot hole a quarter mile from camp as the broken axel gets in and out of the rear end, would have been missed. Or the scream of the warden's to get lost as you have a photo session around their decoy. The racing heart as the grouse comes back to life in

your hands and flies off after almost a minute of completely, limp inspection. The muzzle blast just stunned him at six feet I guess! Missed would be the time the

dog leaped from the boat's bow to get the geese, on to what looked to her, like just a carpet of grass. It gave way to six feet of water and the weed bundle around her head, let only her poor nose stick out, as I tried to bring my swamp thing back into the boat. If she could really talk, me and those geese would both be dead! The sunsets, the cold snow down the neck, the mountain winds, the smell of yellow birch, the splash of truck tires coming to pick you up, would not be part of the best vacation you ever had. You would not know the fear of dyeing as the unexpected log truck takes up the whole road and the trees you opted for didn't break the windshield as expected. The need for a flash light wasn't a big deal until the spruce limb poked the only good eye you had left after the campfire smoke did its thing. The roar of a rifle shot at midnight tells you your broth-

er in law is still dragging his deer and wants some help, the batteries are dead and he doesn't want you to worry just because you've not heard a thing for hours. What a buck! The memory of the Redtailed hawk blink-

ing at ten feet in the nearby tree, the feeling of turkey wing tips in the ear as he roles of your back into the bed of the

With over 20 years of experience in taxidermy, we pride ourselves in our ability to preserve your trophy to look as it did in its natural habitat. We work annually on about 300 mountings and presentations of many varieties of wildlife; deer, bears, moose, coyotes, fox, fisher, turkeys and more. We also work on animals from other parts of the globe including Africa. In addition to being entertaining, the stories of the hunters who are our customers provide information allowing us to suggest possible ways to present and mount the trophies that they have bagged. Our high quality work can be seen by our many repeat customers that seek out our services. The presentation of your trophy can be head wall mounts or full body depictions. We are also the State of Vermont Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Big Game Reporting Station. A specially designed outdoor scale system with tall vertical clearance is also provided for easy weigh-in of all species.

The Outdoor Gazette

at 802-485-7184

Call Rodney or Theresa Elmer

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Rodney Elmer and his wife Theresa own and operate Mountain deer taxidermy in Northfield,Vermont.

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truck or rust on you fish tape measure from bowfin slim would be absent from our lives. The smell of brook trout, the sting of rain at 50 mph, the buzz of heat bugs, the scratches on your stock from that old moose horn carried for hours, the stiffness getting back to camp after along day and ride. The feeling of life and being alive at it's very best. Watch the shows . Read the books. Look at the pictures. Talk to the friends. Look those mounts in the eyes and look for your reflection in the things you love and get out there! Bring a friend and get back to real heart pounding, fish smelling, gun roaring, back slapping trophy pulling good living!

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June 2012

Page 9


Mass Meanderings By David Willette

The Power of the Deerfield River

The Deerfield Rivers’ headwaters are in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont. There, three branches of smaller rivers essentially form it. Two of these flow out of an area known as the Somerset Dam complex. Somerset Reservoir is a large earthen dam located in south/central Vermont. The river that flows out of the dam and another smaller stream form two thirds of the branches that make up most of the Deerfield River. The other third flows along Route 8 & 100 south of Readsboro. This brook starts in the mountains of Heartwellville then flows north to meet the Deerfield River in downtown Readsboro. There are many more brooks and streams that flow into the Deerfield before its confluence with the Connecticut River in Greenfield. The Deerfield River flows seventy miles and its watershed consists of 149 streams, 21 lakes and ponds. It is the coldest, cleanest and most sce-

Page 10

nic river in Massachusetts. Annually this river attracts thousands of fishermen and white-water enthusiasts. The Deerfield is not without controversy though. There are ten active hydroelectric plants situated on this river and these are a boon or a bust depending on whom you are talking to. These dams are the cause of many headaches to the local fisherman due to unnatural high water needed to generate electricity. For the white-water folks, these high water releases are a godsend, helping to prolong their sport throughout the year. One would ask, “Why does the Deerfield River have all these hydro-plants and other comparable rivers like the Hoosic and the Housatonic do not? There are a few reasons why the Deerfield River gets stuck with these hydro plants. The first and foremost is that from its headwaters to the Connecticut River, the Deerfield

drops over 2000 feet in elevation. Mt Greylock has an elevation just over 3000 feet, while the city of North Adams’ elevation is around 1000 feet. The drop of the Deerfield River is like the water

The Scenic Deerfield River

starting at the top of Mt. Greylock and pouring down into North Adams. This is important to the hydro companies because this drop in elevation helps these companies to generate power more easily. Another reason the Deerfield River is a good candidate for generating power is that the location of its headwaters is in the heart of an area that gets a heavy annual snowfall. Each spring engineers from the hydro plants trek into the mountains of Somerset and take snow depth readings. With these readings they can determine how much water to “hold back” in the dams to generate electricity. The topography of the land that the river flows through is also an important reason that hydro dams were built there. The Deerfield River flows through some steep narrow mountain gorges. This lends itself to dam building. It is much easier to build a dam in these areas because there is nowhere for the river to go, once the dam is built, also the dam wall isn’t very long because the distance from one side of the steep gorge, to the other side is short. Most of these dams were built around 1920. Engineers knew that this river could be utilized for generating power and started building

June 2012

hydro plants then. These plants were for the most part small generating facilities with the generating capacity of 8-10 megawatts. Harriman Station, built in 1924 was the biggest producer with a generating capacity of 40 megawatts. In 1974 New England Power Company started generating power from three new dams; Fife Brook with a capacity of 8 megawatts, Deerfield Station #5 with a capacity 14 megawatts and Bear Swamp with its massive capacity of 588 megawatts. But, why use water to generate electricity? Hydro dams are particularly suited for this use because they can be brought from a standstill to full generating power in a matter of moments. Since electricity can’t be stored, rapid start-up is essential. One would ask, why couldn’t they build one big dam and generate all the power they need with it? The river is only so big with a certain maximum of water flow. They can’t generate unlimited electricity in ONE dam with only a certain amount of water. The power companies have several dams on the river, all with different capacities for generating power. The difference stems from the fall in elevation from one dam to the next. In the mountains where the drop in elevation is acute, the power plants there generate high amounts of megawatts in a short distance on the river. Where the river flattens out more in the Charlemont, Shelburne Falls area the plants can’t generate much power. The power company gets a good bang for its buck on the Deerfield River. As the water cascades from dam to dam to dam, electricity is generated again and again by the same water, multiplying many times the usefulness of the river. Whether this is good for the fishermen and the fish is another matter. David Willette is a free-lance outdoor writer who lives in Western Massachusetts. He can be contacted through www.coyotewars.com

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Fish Tales and other Drivel

June means GIANT mayflies and BIG trout

Late last June, I sat on my back deck, hiding from the summer sun under the big green umbrella. At sunrise I’d been fly fishing for brook trout . The brookies rose to small dry flies for a short time after sunrise but by 8:00 AM I had to tie on a bead head hares ear to chase them deeper as the sun topped the trees. Even in the morning the water temperature was 70 degrees and many fly fishermen had gone bass fishing . As I sipped my ice cold lemonade I was in the process of preparing to go evening fly fishing , on a nearby pond that held rainbow trout and smallmouth bass. There was no rush because I didn’t plan to set in my canoe until shortly before sunset. The water temperature would be far from the cool temps that both rainbows and smallmouth prefer but the last weeks of June and the first days of July provided an insect bounty the even the biggest and smartest fish couldn’t resist. Select ponds and streams would host nightly hatches of our largest mayfly Hexegenia Limbata or just plain old “Hex”. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire there are only a few waters that support a good population of this trout magnet. Hexegenia mayflies require very specific habitat. The larvae thrive only with bottom material of firm silt where they live in burrows for most of their life. They might come out for short foraging jaunts but they are vulnerable for only a short period of time when Mother Nature tells them that it is time to produce more mayflies. Unlike most mayflies they don’t take their time wandering around while they prepare to swim to the water’s surface and casually flutter up stream or land on bushes along the edge of a pond. With little time wasted Hex larvae leave their burrows rush to the surface to pop their larval case and sprout wings that are nearly an inch tall. The only time that they are in serious danger of becoming fish food is when they are caught in the viscous water surface while they thrash around trying to get a huge body out of a rubbery shell. On a calm evening you will notice a commotion on the surface that looks like The Outdoor Gazette

By Dick Baker

completely filled!! For that same reason I always tie on my Hex fly a tiny fish rising. Its this commo- the eyes on your flies. Nothing is in full daylight and before I push tion that often arouses the feeding more exasperating than spending off in the canoe. As an even better plan I prepare two fly rods and lay them forward across the canoe. There are nights when you will only have an hour of fast and furious fishing and you want to make the most of it. OK! The canoe is loaded in the back of the pickup with both rods laying flat on its floor. I’ve packed two big ham and cheese sandwiches and a can of soda. The sun sets late during June and July so its not impossible to eat a leisurely BBQ cheeseburger supper but I like to enjoy a very relaxing evening of fly fishing. Sometimes, Three Hexagenia immitations. The fly on the right is my favorite, a #6 white if you get behind schedule or even wulff. The middle fly is a better likeness of the yellow and brown Hexagenia dun try to get in some last minute lawn but it tends to lay too low in the water and sinks after a couple of fish. The fly to mowing you will find yourself the left is one of the most accurate mayfly simulators I've found and can fool even rushing to the pond dropping the the most selective trout. The trouble is that it tends to twist the leaster badly after canoe out of the pickup or worse a few casts. finding that the fish on the far side instinct in large fish. In a stream fruitless minutes trying to thread a of the pond are already rising. I or river it will happen in quiet leader in low light or even no light love to get to the pond a half hour back waters or eddies. In a pond it and finding out that the eye was Continued on page 33 will happen in relatively shallow water that would normally be inhabited by bass or pickerel. In any event these huge mayflies will attract the biggest trout of the year. These are trout that would normally feed on larger prey like minnows or crayfish. While the ice melted in my lemonade I placed two fly rods on the picnic bench and replace the leaders on both. The long leaders and hair like tippit material that was good for morning brookies wouldn’t be appropriate for an evening of catching big trout and some 2 and 3 lb. bass. Heavier leaders of 6 to 8 ft. are needed to fight big fish but more important is that they must turn over a large, wind resistant fly with little time for back casting. My next chore is to soak a half dozen bit big White Wulff dry flies in silicone and set them to dry in the sun before I store them in a small Perrine fly box. Once upon a time I could thread a tiny tippit through the eye of a #20 dry fly by the light of a full moon. This evening fishing will find me wearing my 3X drugstore reading glasses and holding a mini mag light between my teeth. Which reminds me that one of the most important thing you will do in the daylight is to clean out June 2012

Page 11


Riverbank Tales by Bill Thompson The Return of Fiberglass

Chances are if you are a boy about my age you probably started your fly fishing career with a fiberglass rod in your hand. Fiberglass became the primary fly rod material shortly after the end of World War II and lasted almost to the end of the 1970’s. So popular were fiberglass rods they nearly drove the bamboo rod into extinction. When they first came to the market they were distained by fly fishermen and for good reason. Early glass rods were often solid blanks and either too stiff or too wimpy. Early manufactures tried in vain to imitate the action of bamboo rods; even going as far as to color their rods to look like bamboo. After a while they realized that they had a material that had attributes of its own and began to build rods that began to change the way we cast and think about rod action. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that fiberglass rods began to dominate the market was cost. To

be sure there were plenty of cheap bamboo fly rods on the market, but good ones were and still are, entirely made by hand, effectively keeping the cost high. Politics also

structing a bamboo rod. Joining two pieces of a rod together has always been a problem for rod makers as the joint will add stiffness and mass to the rod. With the advent of glass rod designers were able to create rods with either inter-

Two new rods: a Scott and a Diamondback rod from Cortland.

played a roll in the demise of bamboo. As U. S. relations worsened with a new Communist China an embargo was placed on goods coming from China; thus ending the source of quality bamboo. The first glass rods used metal ferrules just like those used in con-

nal spigot or “tip over butt” ferrules that greatly reduced both stiffness and mass making for smoother casting rods. As glass rods improved bamboo all but disappeared from the market. Only a few curmudgeonly old anglers refused to give up their bamboo rods. Alas, what goes around comes around and when graphite rods hit the market a similar scenario played out; soon glass rods could only be found at yard

sorts, to occur and bamboo rods still have a following today. Not only are bamboo rods highly sought after by collectors there is a whole new generation of bamboo rod makers. In much the same way there has been resurgence in fiberglass rods both by collectors and new makers. This resurgence is no doubt driven in part by nostalgia, but also because fly fishermen have come to recognize that fiberglass has properties that in some cases improve on graphite rods. Today prices for old glass rods have started to rise. There is also a rebirth of small companies opening up making finely crafted glass rods. So strong has this movement become that several of the major fly rod manufactures have reintroduced fiberglass rods. I think that most fly rodder’s would agree that the modern graphite rod is a thing of beauty when it comes to casting. At first it was the damping qualities of graphite that drew rod designers to experiment with it. However, it wasn’t long before makers were making incredibility light rods with fine thin tips enabling casters to throw tighter loops and make longer casts. On the other hand

The North Country Angler has been in the “Valley” for over thirty years. We are a full service fly shop offering quality fly fishing gear and guiding. Bill and Janet’s 10 Year Anniversary as owners

Three collectable glass rods. A Phillipson made for the Jonnson Company, an unmarked custom built fly rod and a Fenwick spinning rod.

sales where they could be had for a song. Most anglers are aware that today bamboo rods can fetch some pretty high prices. It seems those old curmudgeons managed to hold on long enough for a renaissance, of

2888 White Mountain Highway North Conway, New Hampshire www.northcountryangler.com Phone: 603-356-6000

Page 12

graphite rods can be rather stiff and don’t do as well in shorter lengths. Glass rods are the almost perfect tool for the fly fisherman that loves to fish small streams with smaller rods. For the most part modern makers have concentrated Continued next page

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June 2012

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8 Years continued from page 6

many times while on perimeter guard duty I would see this old man fishing in a deep corner pool. He used a long bamboo rod and a string line. For a hook, he used a bent nail, which was filed to a flat point. For bait he used these brown grubs, which were everywhere. I watched him fish many times, and finally once I had the opportunity to stop and try to talk with him. Using an interpreter, I learned that there were only two types of fish in the river. The one the ole man was after were small, silver, scaly fish that resemble our golden shiners. I actually sat on the shore of that

river a dozen times with the old man, catching a few of those small fish. It was a nice change from what was going on almost daily with my squad while out on missions. The old man was grateful for the fish I caught for him. When I went to Thailand on R&R I purchased a Mitchell spinning reel, a Berkely spinning rod, and line and hooks, which I gave to the old man as payment for being such good company. He seemed pleased, and I saw him using it several times after that. One day the old man stopped coming to the river, and I learned

that he was killed by the South patrol one day. It had a huge rack Koreans while planting booby traps and was something any hunter on a trail leading to their base. would have had mounted! I found it strange that both of us found solitude from the war by sit- Tom Rideout is the former editor of ting on that riverbank. I never NH Outdoor Gazette and was the thought of him as the enemy and I owner of Bosebuck Mountain Camps don’t think he did either. We were on Aszicoos Lake in western Maine for just two fishermen enjoying some 17 years. He has held a Master Maine down time. I sometimes wonder Guide’s license for more than 35 years what happened to the fishing gear I (hence the 8 years in the wilderness) He gave him; perhaps it is still being and his wife Martha operate Sturtevant used by his grandson or great Pond Camps in Magalloway, Maine grandson, in a friendlier environ- and operates Pakesso Guide Service, ment. which specializes in upland bird wing Sometime I might write about the shooting . You can reach Tom at sambar deer I shot while out on tom@sturtevantpondcamps.com

in this area. Today prominent manufactures like Scott, Hardy and Diamondback are making glass rods once again. It is likely that other may follow. What surprises me is the price that these manufactures are able to command for these “NEW” rods. One would think that there isn’t a whole lot new here to work with. Truth is that today’s

actually uses some carbon fiber in the construction of their rod. Of course, up until very recently, every graphite rod used fiberglass to strengthen the blank. Older glass rods have started to become very collectable. Today there are collector clubs and Internet sites devoted to fiberglass rods. Much the same as with bamboo

that is very popular with collectors better yet: “Yesterdays trash is and anglers. Shakespeare, Heddon, today’s treasure”. Orvis, Winston, Scott and Wright McGill are other names to look for. Originally from Maine, Bill Despite the fact that prices are start- Thompson, with his wife Janet, lives in ing to rise there are still a lot of bar- Freedom and owns North Country gains out there to be found. Angler fly shop in North Conway. He Those who religiously stop at has been fly fishing for more than 30 yard sales are still likely to find a years and is a licensed NH Fishing treasure now and again. If you Guide. He has fished all over New have previously fished glass you England, in Canada and out West, but might want to take a look in your claims the Saco as his “home river.” He closet and see what you have in also writes a column for a local paper your own inventory. I guess that the as well as articles in national fly fishing old saying is true: “What goes magazines. Bill’s email is bill@northaround, comes around”, or maybe countryangler.com.

from previous page

A Timberline pack rod. Timberland rods were made in North Conway, NH manufactures’ have indeed improved on an old theme. To quote from the Scott Catalog: “Our F2 series are built with a new highly unidirectional S2 glass weave matched to a high performance epoxy resin”. The Hardy glass rod

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Page 13


Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel By Stan Holz

Guns and the Internet

The Internet has been around for many, many years now. Still, there are some people out there who are not comfortable with computers and have only very limited, or no, hands on experience with them. Actually, you don’t even need a computer to get online any more, since a variety of tablets are now available with full Internet capability. You still need to subscribe to a service with an Internet provider; but most cable, satellite, and telephone companies now provide that service for reasonable monthly fees. So, why am I even bringing up the subject of Internet access when this column is supposed to be all about guns and shooting? The simple fact is that, if you have any interest in shooting or collecting firearms, the Internet is just

too valuable a resource for you to miss out on. Almost everything you could possibly

want to know about guns can be found online. Discussions

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about the political aspects of gun ownership and the intentions of politicians go on constantly. Pricing information, online forums, videos, auc-

tions, parts, historical data … the list is endless. Many gun companies have almost given up on the expense of printing and shipping annual catalogs. There are still some good ones out there but, more and more, manufacturers and importers are using their own web sites to showcase new product lines. In many cases, the web sites are the only way you’ll ever know what the company has for sale. With new models being introduced at a steady rate, the Internet is also the ideal way for gun companies to introduce the “latest and the greatest” to their target audience. Most companies offer email subscriptions that will keep you posted on any news about your favorite brand of gun. I frequently start getting inquiries about newly introduced guns the same day they are announced … it used to take weeks to get this infor-

mation out to the public through magazines or catalog updates. Another trend, in an effort to cut printing and distribution costs, is to put catalogs on a DVD. While this doesn’t require Internet access, it certainly does require a computer to use. Searching for gun parts used to be an endless and frustrating process. Many phone calls and/or letters were required before you could have any hope of finding that elusive little part that somehow got lost. Now, all that searching can be accomplished in just minutes by simply entering the name of the part into a search engine. You can literally “let your fingers do the walking.” I recently picked up a very nice Winchester Model 1892 rifle. In really good shape, the gun was all original except for a heavy brass butt plate that had replaced the original steel one many years ago. I got on my computer and entered “Winchester 1892 butt plate” into the search engine. Within seconds, I had a long list of both original and replica butt plates that were for sale … all with pictures, descriptions, and prices. I ordered and paid for an original one and, within days, I had the correct part for my gun. It was that simple. This is something that would have taken me many days or weeks to accomplish before the Internet … if I even knew where to start looking for one. There are many very good parts houses that list their inventory online. The biggest, and one of the oldest, is Gun Parts Inc. in West Hurley, NY. Also known as Numrich Ar ms, this outfit has been around forever and features an extensive inventory of Continued next page

4 King's Square, Whitefield, NH 03598

Phone 603-837-2345

Visit our webiste www.villagegun.com

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June 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


both current and obsolete gun parts. Another great source for parts is eBay, the online auction company. eBay is not particularly gun friendly and, until recently, had banned the sale of most gun parts; allowing just stocks and sights to be listed. After years of complaints, they finally have loosened up their gun policy and now allow magazines (10 shots or less only), barrels, and most parts to be sold. They do not allow guns of any type on their site. Still, if you’re looking for that lost magazine for your old .22 bolt action, or a new sight or stock, it’s tough to beat the varied selection of gun goodies that are now on eBay. You can buy and sell guns online. There are several reputable auction/sale sites. I like Gun Broker, which uses an auction for mat. Guns America is another popular site and features fixed price sales. There are other gun sites that are perfectly fine to use also, but these are the two I’m most familiar with. You can sell a gun, or you

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can buy a gun through these sites. If you do, you’ll have to get a dealer involved if the gun was made after 1898. On interstate sales, firearms must be shipped through a dealer. Most dealers charge between $25 and $50 to handle a transaction, so know what you’re getting into before you do anything. With any online transaction, make sure the other party has positive “feedback” and offers a return policy if you’re the buyer. I have seen all too many purchases made where key defects were not mentioned in the description or shown in the photographs. In most cases the seller will accept a return with a refund, or risk getting negative “feedback.” If things go really bad, the host site will typically intervene to help resolve any dispute. Looking up guns on one of these gun sites is an easy way of judging the value of a gun you might have or want to sell. Just don’t assume that your gun is worth $1,000 because you see a similar gun selling for $1,000. Guns are often listed at inflated prices,

with the seller just “fishing” for a high price. Overpriced guns usually go unsold, so don’t reach any conclusions based on unsold items. Also, what is being sold may be a rare variation of a gun, having no similarity in price to your own piece. Condition also is critical in determining value. A choice firearm in 98% condition has little relationship in price when compared to the same gun in 60% condition. The same thing holds true with refinished or altered guns; which can be worth a fraction of what an unaltered original version will fetch. Another truly invaluable online use is research. When online, you have the ability to uncover the history of virtually any gun ever produced. It doesn’t matter how old the gun is, or where it was made … somewhere out there is a story about it. Unheard of makers, unusual models, odd calibers ... if it exists, the chance is that somebody else has come across it and posted some infor mation on the Internet. Every once in a while I’ll come across some-

June 2012

from previous page

thing that eludes my best attempts at identification, but that’s not the norm. In the great majority of cases, I will find some reference to what I’m researching. I am constantly amazed by the huge amount of information that is at my fingertips. I think the Internet has got to be the single greatest resource available to gun enthusiasts today. Even if you don’t have a computer at home, free computer use and Internet access are generally available at most local libraries. If you’re already using the Internet, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you have no idea what you’re missing. Get out there and start surfing the Internet now! 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.

Page 15


Family Tracks Fish Food

Our craft was an aging wooden skiff, painted bright blue and with a canopy for shade. There was a newer outboard that looked in good shape, though. In the center of the floor was a panel of Plexiglas with wooden walls around it so we could look underwater for fish. It was green and murky with little bits of algae clinging to the underside edges of the window. We were in the port of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, one of the stops on our 7 day cruise on the Disney Wonder, a tremendous adventure in which Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and various other Disney characters join a ton of kids and their parents on a humongous boat and head out to sea. We had arranged this short boat tour on our own when we arrived from one of the endless numbers of tour guides lined up along the docks selling trips.

Page 16

By Brian Lang

After a brief wait on board for some other suckers, I mean, umm, tourists to join us we began idling out of the harbor

towns back home in Vermont. Soon, we were cruising on the clear blue water down the rocky coastline to the point in the distance. We had a fantastic view of the cruise ship, our home for the

Megan Lang riding to see the stone arches of Cabo San Lucas past many houses and yachts of week. The fresh salty air and such a magnitude they probably light spray of water blowing over cost more than many whole the low sides of the skiff were refreshing. I cracked a can of beer from the plastic grocery bag I clutched between my legs and passed out some drinks and snacks I had quickly picked up before the trip to the rest of the family. They ripped into the bags of cheetohs and crammed a few in their mouth. Ben immediately frowned and scowled, sticking out his tongue with half chewed cheetohs falling onto his shirt. “There tasty” he said, and spit the rest out. “Well if there tasty,” we reasoned, “why don’t you eat them”? “No” he said and gave back the bag. I looked closer at the bag. “Spicy hot Jalapeño” I now noticed the bag said as Ben smacked his lips and spat over the side of the boat. “Tasty” is Ben’s rendition of “spicy”. Meanwhile, we began idling along a little closer to the rocks, approaching the famous Lovers Beach. There were sunbathers on the golden sand, and snorkelers kicking along the rock formations off the beach. We started drifting closer to the same rocks, and soon we could see the bottom creep up through the green murkiness in our window on the floor of the boat. Our guide then reached into a bag and June 2012

pulled out a loaf of bread, broke it into pieces, and began chucking it into the water near the boat. Soon, the water around us was boiling with fish. They jumped and splashed at the bread and hit the side of the boat. We could see them darting and swirling below the boat through our viewing window. Some were colorful, and some were black and mottled but surprisingly big. As we drifted along, the kids squealing and yelling at the excitement, I noticed we were getting very close to the rocks, each swell pushing us a little closer. Then I saw two black things moving slowly along the surface next to the boat, between us and the rocks. I thought they were some sort of animal at first, and then I realized they were two snorkelers. They lifted their heads and realized we were almost drifting in to them and quickly tried spinning themselves and kicking backwards to get away from our hull heaving in the swells and the schools of fish that craved carbs. The guide eventually reversed the boat away from the rocks a bit, and never seemed concerned. The guide then noticed the bag of spicy cheetohs I was holding. He motioned to me to throw the cheetohs into the water. The water had calmed just a bit as the supply of bread had either been eaten or dissipated in the current. I broke off half of an orange cheetoh and tossed it into the ocean. Immediately a fish came and rolled in the surface devouring the spicy snack like a trout snatching a grasshopper. I gave the bags back to the kids and told them to throw the pieces in the water. They had a great time feeding the fish the bright colored floating snacks. In Mexico, apparently even the fish like spicy food. After our fish food was gone, we headed out the rest of the way to the point with our guide pointing out sights along the way. There was a big rock with dozens of seals lounging in the sun, a tall rock formation that looked just like the profile of Scooby doo, and of course the famous arches, a naturally Continued next page The Outdoor Gazette


Anchor Points By Todd Mead

the hay bale. Eventually I was able to cut the apples in half on a enough to let me hunt deer. regular basis. I knew I was ready Before long I could get all my to head into the woods. Although I didn’t shoot my dad’s new compound too often, I occasionally gave it a try just to see how much different it was from the bow I was using. I tried not to do that too often because changing between bows made it harder to be consistent. One evening a few weeks before hunting season I decided to shoot both bows. When I was done with mine I gently placed it on top of the bale and returned to the shooting line. I picked my dad’s bow up, nocked an arrow, drew back, aimed, and released. Almost instantly I heard an extremely loud cracking noise. Not sure what it was I walked toward the target. When I got there I felt tears quickly start running down my face. There was an arrows in a paper plate at 20 arrow sticking right in the middle yards. When I started getting of the top limb of the recurve. I cocky I began hanging apples on Continued on page 23

Archery: A Little Background Information

When Fred approached me about writing an archery column for his publication I didn’t think twice about it. Since I’ve enjoyed many wonderful experiences with a bow and arrow throughout my life I figured this would be an awesome way to help people with some of the pitfalls I’ve encountered along the way. I’ll use this first column to give you a little background information about myself. I was introduced to archery when I was five years old. My father was a bow hunter so he got a bow for me, which enabled me to be outside with him and fling arrows at the hay bale. Even though I couldn’t hunt for quite awhile, I enjoyed watching the flight of the arrows. It fascinated me then as much it does now. When I became a teenager compound bows were beginning to replace recurves and longbows. This allowed most archers to be more accurate with less practice. It wasn’t long before my dad decided to purchase a Bear LTD

carved arch of stone with the blue waters of the pacific swirling through it. We headed back at full speed with steady traffic of other water taxis going back and forth around us, creating what seemed like an eight lane highway along the coastline between town and the point. It was a great trip for twenty bucks, and if you ever head to Mexico and want to see some fish, be sure to grab some spicy snacks.

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compound bow. Shortly after he got the bow he

handed down his Bear recurve to me. Since I would be able to hunt the following year I spent most of time shooting. I wanted to be as accurate as possible. I also wanted my father to feel confident from previous page

Brian Lang lives with his wife, Michelle and two children Megan and Ben in Reading, VT. Brian grew up in VT and started enjoying his outdoor pursuits at a very young age. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, camper, and hiker and hopes to give his kids the same wholesome upbringing he enjoyed in the New England outdoors. When he's not outside, he works as an MRI Technologist. He can be reached at Bclang78@gmail.com.

June 2012

Page 17


KID’S KORNER

Above -Cousins Andrew Schwarz, 15, and Mackenzie Schwarz,14, of Orford, N.H. Andrew’s bird was 20.5 lbs. Mackenzies bird was 20 lbs.! Left-12 year old Aidan Poirier of Canaan, NH got this beauty 20 lb. gobbler on the first day of the youth season this year. Aidan’s tom had a 9 1/4" beard and 3/4" spurs.

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June 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


Here are a couple of pictures of the sheds Eric Densmore, Scott Poirer and Scott’s yellow lab, Stanley, found this spring. Most of them came out of NH with some out of Maine. These shed hunters are from Canaan, New Hampshire.

The Outdoor Gazette

June 2012

Page 19


Lessons from the Great Outdoors By Martha VanderWolk

Fishing is Addictive

Fishing is addictive. The fact that I am just now learning that in my advanced years is an indication of how bad my introduction to fishing was. Actually, my first introduction to fishing wasn’t that bad. At dawn on summer mornings, my older brother and I would tiptoe out of the house so that we didn’t wake anyone and make our way down to the pond about a half a mile from our house. We kept a rowboat tied up to a tree on the shore there, and we would row out through the lily pads, carefully snake worms onto our hooks, and fish until it got hot. Mostly, I would row while Bill caught fish. I would catch an occasional perch or sunfish, but Bill sometimes caught bass. We never had very good rods or reels, and our parents never bought us any tackle, that I remember. We used hand-medown equipment that, I assumed, was from my father’s childhood. I remember my grandfather taking Bill fishing in Vermont, but I was never invited. I assumed that he had done the same thing with his

sons, but I never saw my father fish. My brothers tell me that he did, but, again, apparently I was just never invited. My father was just a touch on the sexist side of things. Later, when I had sons of my own (no daughters, unfortunately), I was married to a fisherman, a Vermont one who liked to fish for brookies in small ponds, rivers and streams. During that part of my life, fishing was what fathers got to do while mothers untangled lines and rescued lures from trees. I can tear a reel down and put it back together in record time, but using one was not something I got to do a lot. And no one ever really bothered to teach me how to fish. Somehow the boys managed to learn—by trial and error, most likely—and enjoyed it—probably because I was doing all the line untangling and lure rescuing. Jake was the better fisherman, which bothered Sanford no end. As the two closest boys, they were pretty competitive. (When Sanford came to visit last month, he out fished both Tom and me.)

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The youngest got the benefit of both big brothers and his father taking him fishing; I had pretty much opted out by then. Fishing hadn’t been fun for me for many years. You can’t live with Tom Rideout, though, and not fish.

Red Drapeau of Berlin, NH with a Sturtevant Pond Smallmouth. Tom is also competitive, and he did his best to humiliate me every time I put a line in the water, but he also liked the company and, in his own weird way, he actually made an effort to teach me to fish. (He does not treat his clients the way he treats me when he teaches them.) But precisely because he likes to make fun of me when my cast doesn’t go exactly where I want it or if I hook up on an underwater rock, I have taken to taking a rod out in the kayak with me on my morning paddles. I can paddle out of sight of the house and flail around all I want. On these still late spring mornings, I find it really hard to come back in to start my work for the day. I love being on the pond, of course, but if I’m fishing, I feel like I’m doing something productive, so there is no nagging guilt about being out there instead of on shore doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I don’t get bored fishing, unless there is absolutely no action at all. But that’s pretty rare; there are, at least, always enough fish rising to keep me trying. There’s always one more rock to cast behind, one more spot to try. I am now hooked. It’s not the catching of fish that’s addictive. It might just be being outdoors, alone with your thoughts and nature. There’s a rhythmic quality to casting and working the line that is meditative. And just when you think you might be beginning to get bored, Wham! you get a strike and you become alert. In our lake, you can’t see the fish until it’s right up

June 2012

to the boat, but you know where it is and what it’s doing. It flings itself out of the water trying to shake the hook. You reel and then stop, letting the fish play out, keeping the line tight but not trying to muscle it in. In a kayak, the fish reels you as much as you reel it. A big fish can pull you all over the lake, if it wants to. And finally, you reach out and grab the line and you are holding a live, squirmy fish in your hands. Getting the hook out of a fivepound bass in a kayak can be a challenge, especially because I don’t have a rod holder, so I’m also trying to keep the paddle and the rod from getting flung overboard. I never have a camera, and no one is ever there to witness my catching of a monster fish—or a little one, for that matter. But the fish knows, and I have no choice but to try for the next one just as soon as I throw it back. And I even managed to teach someone to fish last year. I had given one of my students a weekend at camp for a graduation present. She is a native Minnesotan who remembered fishing as a child but who had been living in a big city and hadn’t touched a rod and reel in many, many years. First, she wanted to learn to kayak on the pond; that part was easy. Then she wanted to fish from it. So we went out in separate kayaks and I showed her how to fish. She spent the next three days on the lake. She didn’t catch much at first, but she kept at it and eventually started catching perch and even a bass. When she left here, she was headed to South Dakota to care for a very elderly, dying aunt. She knew no one there except for a handful of family members, most of whom she doesn’t get along with very well. But she quickly found the fishing spots, and spent every free moment, fishing. At first, she would email me every time she caught a fish. Soon, she was eating trout for dinner almost every night. She told me that she was learning how to read the water and could now cast right to the fish. She was hooked. I wonder if that’s why we use the word “hooked” to refer to someone being addicted to something, because fishing is so addictive. 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. The Outdoor Gazette


A Hunter’s Best Friend By Alec Sparks Reading Your Dog

Training a dog is one of the easiest things that can be one of the most difficult things you could imagine. All we have to do is get them to do things (many times) they don’t want to do and train them to not do things they may really want to do. At the same time we need to not create problems we don’t want while we get them to do the things we do want. Clear as mud? Here are a couple examples: Many people would like their pointing dog to not creep in too closely after a point has been established. Most pointing dogs will point naturally but most will, at some point in time (some much sooner then we’d prefer), want to rush in and catch the bird for themselves. We may work on training the dog to be staunch…or not to creep in. The down side is that unless that training is done well, many dogs may end up exhibiting some behavior we don’t want such as laying down on point, sitting on point, or blinking birds (ignoring them). We may want our retriever to sit (or tread water) on a single whistle blast in order to cast him in a different direction. We don’t want them to lie down on that same whistle. We don’t want them to stop and turn looking for direction before we blow the whistle, and we don’t want to be blowing three or four whistles before they stop. Almost every time we train our dogs to do something we want, we run the risk of inadvertently getting them to do something we don’t want. At times it seems that creating undesirable behaviors is almost unavoidable. Most behaviors we don’t want are avoidable, but with some dogs it can be super difficult. The first step in avoiding them is to know what those behaviors you want to avoid are. That list is long and outside the scope of this column

but much has been written and the various training discussion forums are alive with people look-

ing for help fixing the issues you’ll want to avoid. Read up. The second is understanding what may cause them. Third, we try to avoid doing what may cause them. High on the list of creating ‘issues’ is pressure. Don’t think of pressure as harsh or corporal punishment, inappropriate level of training collar use, or endless difficult training. Some dogs may perceive even the most thoughtful application of certain training concepts as trying. Some dogs think all training, no matter how deftly it’s approached, is stressful. The best route to avoid creating problems is having the ability to ‘read’ a dog. You hear a lot about having that skill but rarely is it really quantified. Reading a dog is simply (in my opinion) knowing what the dog is thinking and feeling. Simply, as in not much more than that but most definitely not simple to do. Endlessly I see people applying our human thought processing and reasoning to dogs but not ‘walking a mile’ in the dogs shoes. Approach every dog as a being unto itself. Don’t expect it to respond like your last one, your buddy’s dog, the one you saw on that TV show, or the one you wish your dog was. He may respond the way you want but DON”T expect it. Be ready to alter your program or approach the moment you feel it

may be beneficial. Don’t get mired down in training doctrine and pay attention to how your dog is responding every second of training. See if you can anticipate correctly how your dog is going to respond to each aspect of its training. When you’re incorrect, try to figure out why you were wrong and learn from it. Reading a dog is knowing what it will do before it does it. Reading a dog is knowing what you can and cannot do in your training approach because you know how he’ll react. When you’re surprised or caught flat footed by your dog’s response, you’re not reading the dog well. The ability to read is crucial in avoiding creating those behaviors you’ll want to avoid. You’ll have a much better idea of how your training is affecting your dog and when you’ll need to change your approach and what an individual dog may perceive as ‘pressure’. Pressure, while it may seem as nothing to you, may be the cause

of a behavior you want to avoid. Avoiding problems isn’t as easy as just not doing something, it’s knowing how to do that something in a way that does what you want and not what you don’t. To train optimally you need to start paying much more attention to your dog during training and in all aspects of its life until you know how something will work out before he does. Yes, you’ll still be surprised from time to time but you’ll be far ahead of those that just follow what the training recipe says. Alec Sparks has been training hunting dogs since he got his first retriever when he was 13 years old and has been training professionally for over 19 years. He operates Snowbound Kennels in Addison VT training retrievers, pointing and flushing dog from around the country and Canada and travels south each winter for uninterrupted training. www.snowboundkennelsvt.com (802) 759 2965

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June 2012

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The Trap Line By Randy Barrows

Trapping Equipment - Part 1

Now that you are licensed, you need to decide what equipment you will need for your trap line. If you are going to trap only water you will need certain items, and the same goes for land trapping. You should have in your mind what your plans are. Most trappers I know bought a few traps to get started, and slowly added to their arsenal until they owned enough to do it all. The most popular traps of today are the body grip traps, which dispatch the catch for you, to the old time favorite single long spring, double long spring, or coil spring traps. Cable snares are illegal to use in Vermont. For water trapping, body grip traps are light to carry, easy to set, and wicked efficient. These traps come in sizes from #110 to #330. For land trapping, you will need to purchase foot hold

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traps. These traps work as well as body grips, but require a little more work to set and anchor.

Once you receive your traps, you will need to prepare them. Traps should be hung outside in the elements so they will develop a coat of rust. This process should take no more

than a month depending on the weather. After the traps are rusted, they will hold their treatment much better and longer. Once the rust has

developed, you will need to clean the traps with a weak mix of lye water, usually a can of lye to four to five gallons of water will do the job. This process removes all oils and grease that are on the traps when shipped and will help them to take color better. Ashes from the woodstove boiled for ten minutes with the traps submerged will have the same effect. Once the traps are, clean, rinse them thoroughly in clear water. Next you will need to mix a pound of logwood chips per gallon of water used. It’s best to do this all outside over a fire pit. Let this mixture boil for ten to fifteen minutes and let the fire die out. Place your traps in this simmering mix and let them soak until the water cools.

June 2012

When you remove them, they should have a black color. Try not to touch the traps until they are waxed. Waxing is the next step. Place nails or small bolts between the jaws of your traps using cloth gloves. This stops the jaws from being waxed together. I use a combination of paraffin wax, beeswax and pine essence. You will need to heat the wax until it smokes and dip traps one at a time. Leave the traps in the wax a minute or two, until a nice coating is achieved. Traps should then be hung in a clean, dry, airy space, away from any smelly situation. If you don’t have time for all of this, buy preprepared trap at the trappers rendezvous. There are many variations to this process. A stroll thru internet land or many of the how to books will help you preserve your traps so they will last for year to come. Until next time keep your waders patched and your lures in the shed...see ya on the trap line. Stay tuned for part 2 next month… Randy lives in Milton, Vermont, has trapped in Vermont for 43 years, is a hunter Ed Instructor and an Advanced Trapper Instructor for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Randy and wife, Diane & their family, own and operate Arrowhead Trapping Supply. Randy is also a Vermont State Licensed Fur Dealer. They can be reached at Critrgitr@msn.com or 802-3557496, on facebook or at www.arrowheadtrappingsupply.com.

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was devastated. I had ruined one of my father’s most prized possessions. A few hours later he came home from work. It was difficult to face him and explain what had happened. When I was done telling the story he explained to me that sometimes accidents happen and we have to do our best to learn from them. The next day we went shopping for a new bow. My dad bought me a new compound and I haven’t looked back. After a few years I started shooting 2-D targets at different clubs. I enjoyed competing with other archers and it quickly became an arena to learn from many different people who had a lot more experience than I did. Eventually 3-D targets were invented and tournaments started popping up all over the place. I began competing in all of the tournaments within a few hours of my house. As I gained confidence I decided to participate in state and regional tournaments. I had my breakout season in 1995 when I placed third overall in the IBO Northeast Triple Crown. In 1997 I was the runner-up and in 1998 all of my hard work paid off

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when I was crowned the Triple Crown Champion. From there I went on to place in the top 10 three times in three different classes in the IBO National Triple Crown. I was also fortunate

enough to win 15 state titles in five different states. While most of the titles were for 3-D shooting some of them were for indoor target archery as well.

Anchor Points continued from page 17

I’ve also traveled all over the United States to hunt with a bow. There’s something about taking an animal with a bow that excites me. I’m not sure if it’s because I get to see all of my practice pay

ences while hunting elk in the Rocky Mountains. I’m sure I’ll share a few of those experiences with you as time moves forward. I’ve also been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to hunt some giant Midwestern whitetails. There’s something about it that I wish every serious bow hunter could experience. One of my favorite pastimes is helping people shoot better. I like to focus on kids. Kids are our future, so I believe it’s essential to help them with things like this. If I can make it more enjoyable for them it might increase the odds that they continue shooting archery as they get older. I’ve gained a lot of valuable insight through my interaction with them. We can always learn from others no matter how young or old they may be. As we go from one issue to the next please feel free to send me emails. I would like to do my best to give you want you want. If you like stories I’ll focus on them. If you want tips on tuning and techoff when I get an opportunity to nique I’ll give you that. I like my release an arrow or if it’s just readers to be involved so I look because I get so close to the ani- forward to hearing from a few of mals. you. You can email me through I’ve had a few incredible experi- my website, www.toddmead.com

June 2012

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On and Off the Trail By Ken Monte

Long Trail Travels - Part 1

I’ve always liked to hike. Sometimes I would go on blazed trails, sometimes I would just pick a spot on the map and try to figure out how to get there. Either way I always had fun. As most of you know we are blessed with many trails in the Northeast. There are some that people come from all over the world to hike on. The two that come to mind first are Vermont’s Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail which starts in Georgia and ends in Maine. I’ve always wanted to hike both of them but never really had a chance until last summer. I figured that if I took every time I had 2 days off in a row and hopefully a few 3 day blocks I would be able to section hike the trail over the summer. At least that was the plan. Over the course of my next few columns I’ll be talking about my little adventure and what I learned along the way. First let’s talk a little about the history of the Long Trail and why it’s

so special. The Long Trail was conceived by James P. Taylor as he waited for the mist to clear on

with the idea for the Appalachian Trail. On March 11, 1910 23 people met in Burlington and formed the Green Mountain Club. By the end of its first decade the club had

Sign at the Vermont Massachusetts border marking the beginning of the Long Trail and the start of my adventure.

Stratton Mountain in southern Vermont. Coincidently, this is also where Benton MacKaye came up

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cut 209 miles of trail and provided 44 overnight facilities. On its 21st birthday the trail was complete from the Massachusetts border all the way to the Canadian border. Now the Green Mountain Club not only maintains the entire Long Trail but also a constantly growing number of side trails. From the Massachusetts border to Maine Junction (just north of Route 4) the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail follow the same route. At this point the AT turns east and the LT keeps heading north. The whole LT is 272.7 miles long according to the guide book I used when I started. I started my LT adventure in mid-May. I planned on doing from the Massachusetts border to the Stratton/Arlington road. At right

around 37 miles I figured it would be easy to hike around 20 miles a day to finish this part in 2 days. Boy was I wrong. To start off with you need to hike 2 miles in Massachusetts just to reach the Vermont border. Then I started to notice that some of my equipment might not be up to the challenge. Too late to turn back now plus how could you quit on the very first day. The next problem was the bugs. I don’t know what it was like where you live last spring but in southern Vermont, all that snow we got that winter made for a really wet spring and a horrendous blackfly season. The only other time I have ever seen that many bugs was on a spring bear hunt in Quebec. I couldn’t even bring myself to stop to eat and I definitely wasn’t drinking enough water. Next came the first blister. My gear really wasn’t well thought out and I definitely didn’t take the weight of the pack (or the fit) into account when I planned out my mileage. I knew from past experience that I could definitely hike 20 miles or more in a day but I had always done it with a small day pack not a poorly fitting, overly stuffed multi-day pack. The next problem was of a more delicate nature. All that sweating had me chaffed anywhere the pack hit my front or back and in a few other places as well. Then just as I reached the top of Harmon Hill it started to rain. That was when I knew that I would make it through the day but I would never make it through the next one. I was carrying a cell phone in case of an emergency and found that I could get a signal so I called my parents at the chocolate shop and arranged for Continued next page

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June 2012

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them to pick me up after work where the trail crosses Route 9. I figured if I felt better that I could always keep going but the descent down the rock staircases all slick from the rain was the last straw. Stick a fork in me, I was done for the day and for the week. While I waited for my ride I started a mental list of what I was going to need to change in order to continue. I figured new boots and something to combat the chaffing were a good place to start. At this point I still felt that I could do big miles each day since I was only going to be out for 2 or 3 days at a time and would have plenty of time to recover kin between. The following week found me back at Route 9 with new boots, something I got at Eastern Mountain Sports called Glide for the chaffing and a new plan on how to stay better hydrated. My plan was to go from Route 9 all the way to where the trail crosses Routes 11 and 30 on Bromely Mountain. This would be about 46 miles and once again I figured it would take 2 days. The new boots were great and I was stopping more often to fill up on water but my pack really didn’t fit me right. It was rubbing my hips raw and causing me more

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and more pain as the day progressed. Even with these problems though I was still having fun. The view from the lookout tower on Glastenbury Mountain was great and the view from the Kid Gore shelter where I stopped for lunch was amazing. I definitely plan on going back to spend the night there just to see the view at sunrise. The next mistake I made was bypassing the Storey Springs Shelter. At the time I was all about solitude and since there were 2 others spending the night there already, I decided to keep going to the tenting area at Black Brook. I got there after dark and barely had the energy to set up my tent and cook my dinner after I washed up a bit in the brook. The next morning I woke up late and didn’t really get on the trail until around 10am. I wasn’t too worried about this late start because this was a section I had done before so I figured I would finish in plenty of time to get home in time for dinner. I got off to a good start on the basically flat trail from there to the Stratton/Arlington Road but then the trail started to climb Stratton Mountain and my energy really started to drain. I made it to the lookout tower at about 1 but still had over 10 miles

to go to finish the day. At this point my pack was starting to draw blood so I knew that I definitely was going to have to replace it before the next trip. I kept moving slower and slower as the day progressed and was starting to think that I was going to be doing some night hiking to finish. Finally I broke out of the trees onto a Forest Service Road that was mainly downhill to Prospect Rock and figured I would make up some time. I stopped at the rock to eat a snack and to enjoy the view and then got a shock when I realized I still had right around 5 miles to go. Out came the cellphone again. I made a call to my sister Sherry and arranged for her to meet me at the bottom of the hill where the Forest Service Road turns into Rootville Road. You have to love family. She dropped what she was doing and drove a half hour to pick me up. On the way up to my car the clouds opened up. It started pouring with thunder and lightning. I was definitely glad I had once again cut the hike short. The only problem was I was going to have to hike back up that road to continue my hike the next time out. Work commitments kept me indoors the following week but with

June 2012

from previous page the beginning of June came my next chance to get back on the trail. I was definitely going to have to change my plan to do big miles each day and I definitely had to get a better pack. The first pack was a Christmas gift that I was very grateful to have but it was killing me so it had to go. Once again off to Eastern Mountain Sports where I bought a pack with a gift card my sisters gave me for my birthday. It fit great and had plenty of space for my gear. I bought a liner and a cover which is a little overkill but my gear was also going to stay nice and dry. Of course it didn’t rain on me again for quite a few miles more. If your keeping track; so far I learned that clothes, boots and proper fitting packs definitely mater. Stay tuned for next month. I definitely learned more along the way. Ken Monte lives in Arlington, VT. He works with his whole family at the Village Chocolate Shoppe in Bennington, VT and The Chocolatorium in East Arlington, VT. Any time not spent at work is spent somewhere in the woods, usually with his longbow and a quiver full of arrows close at hand. Ken can be reached at ken@theoutdoorgazette.com.

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Forest Forward By Chris Mazzarella

Ghost Moose of The Great North Woods I spent the last weekend in April hiking and kayaking in northern New Hampshire and experienced some unforgettable wildlife moments.

Among them were over a dozen moose sightings during the dawn and dusk hours. I saw a few in the afternoon as well, but the early morning proved to be the best time for photo ops. Some of the bulls were just beginning to show signs of new antler growth, and the cows still had another month or so left of pregnancy. Neither of them seemed the least bit interested in me as they gorged on salt licks and waded through the marshes of the Great North Woods Region. By the time this goes

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to print the calves will be born and the bulls will be adding up to a half inch of new antler growth each day. Moose antlers are one of the

fastest growing animal organs, reaching up to five feet across at their height. Hopefully I’ll find some time to check up on the progress and photograph them throughout the summer months. One of the more alarming sights of the weekend was the number of moose I saw that were heavily infested with winter ticks. These parasites can wreak havoc on moose, and are proving to be quite prolific as both temperatures and moose populations rise. While the two have co-exist-

ed for thousands of years, a warming climate is giving the ticks a leg up. Severe cases of winter tick infestation can lead to anemia and may even result in death. A single moose can be infected with as many as 100,000 winter ticks feeding on a blood meal. Blood loss is not the only consequence though. Infected moose spend their time itching, scratching, and rubbing when they should be feeding and resting. With dietary demands approaching 10,000 calories a day, efficient time management is essential for a moose’s survival. The incessant scratching that the moose endure can be very damaging to their winter coat. Ecologist Susan Morse recently wrote in

100% of their insulating hair by April. This awful condition makes them highly susceptible to

Northern Woodlands that moose may lose between 40%-

given rise to the nickname “ghost moose” in Canada To see high definition photos of these moose and all kinds of wildlife from the region you can visit my blog www.forestforward.com. You’ll also find interviews with naturalists, conservationists, and some the world’s most renowned wildlife photographers.

June 2012

hypothermia. The loss of hair and emaciation leaves them pale in color and looking quite mangy. This condition has

Forest Forward is an online wildlife photo digest focusing on northern New England. Check us out at www.forestforward.com to view our latest wildlife sightings and informative commentary. You’ll also find our new interview series, featuring guests such as environmentalist Bill McKibben, worldrenowned photographer Scott Bourne, and Vermont Edition’s Jane Lindholm, just to name a few. The Outdoor Gazette


Fish & Wildlife Management By Wayne A. Laroche

Lake Champlain Salmon & Lake Trout Fishing

Salmon returned to tributaries of Lake Champlain in record numbers last fall thanks to the reestablishment of a successful sea lamprey control program. Nice clean fish, free of ugly sea lamprey wounds, were the norm. Biologists confirmed that wounding rates had fallen to 19 wounds per 100 salmon in the main lake and only 14 wounds per 100 salmon in the Inland Sea and Mallets Bay. The target wounding rate for salmon is 15 wounds per 100 fish. The target wounding rate for lake trout set at 25 wounds per 100 fish was also nearly achieved with biologists finding 30 wounds per 100 fish. Great News! The size and number of both salmon and lake trout being taken from Lake Champlain has been steadily on the upswing since the sea lamprey control program was re-established in 2003. Survival has improved; fish are living longer, getting bigger, and have fewer lamprey wounds. Results from the annual Father’s Day Fishing Derby put on by Lake Champlain International (LCI) (http://www.mychamplain.net/) tell the tale. An experimental sea lamprey control program was put in place during the 1990’s. During this period, the median weight of the top ten Father’s Day Derby entries was 6.53 pounds. With biologists ham-strung by a lawsuit aiming to stop the use of chemicals to control sea lamprey, the median weight of salmon dropped to 5.92 pounds between 2001 and 2007. With re-establishment of the sea lamprey control program, the tide began to turn with the median weight of the top ten LCI

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Derby salmon surging back to 6.63 pounds during the period 2008-2011. Last year’s results were striking with the median weight of the top ten fish jumping

determine the “scent” of a river might be used as a tool to attract salmon to potential spawning tributaries. They are also attempting to find out why lake

Table 1. Sea Lamprey Wounding Rate Landlocked Atlantic Salmon. to 8.13 pounds including a new record fish for the derby weighing in at 11.42 pounds. Lake trout have responded in kind. The top ten fish in the last couple of years have all been over 13 pounds with top fish pushing 17 pounds. The fish are not just bigger. Better survival means there are more of them. These things point to a bright future for Lake Champlain salmon and lake trout anglers. Anglers have already taken ten pound salmon in 2012. With the return of the fish, there are new hopes. Some hope that the tributaries to Lake Champlain might one day develop substantial river run fisheries. Others hope that both of these cold water species, historically native to Lake Champlain, might some day again sustain naturally reproducing populations. These hopes are invigorating new efforts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and university workers now have ongoing projects attempting to determine whether free amino acids that

on Lake Champlain Lake Trout and trout that produce an abundance of viable eggs fail to recruit as “wild trout” into Lake Champlain’s fishery. They are looking at the impacts that alewives and associated thiamine deficiency might have on viability of salmon eggs. Many challenges do remain in the path towards true recovery of these species having “native/wild” populations in

June 2012

Lake Champlain. Dams on spawning tributaries, such as the Swanton Dam on the Missisquoi River, and poorly designed road crossings continue to block upstream migration of fish. Erosion of sediments from corn fields and roads continues to pour sand, silt, and pollutants over spawning gravels. Still, the successes that we now see resulting from positive actions that we have taken to control sea lamprey provide good reason on which we can base hope that more can be done and greater success is achievable in the future. As I can testify, the gains achieved thus far did not come easily. The support of anglers has been crucial. The efforts of the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative are laudable. Without the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the states of Vermont and New York pulling together many a fun filled fishing day would have never happened. If you haven’t visited Lake Champlain, now is a good time to plan a fishing trip.

Page 27


Tails from the Trail By Allan Tschorn

The “Off-Season”

Memorial Day has passed, and the official start to the summer season is now behind us. To many people, the thoughts of skiing, mushing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and all the other activities with the winter are the furthest from our consciousness. To those in the mushing community who have committed to the lifestyle, there is no “off-season”, just a change in temperature, foliage and ground cover. The machinery of outdoor recreation, be it snowmobiles and trailers, skis, motorcycles and ATV’s, boats, or even our guns and fishing poles never mind the solitude of the off season stowed in the garage or shed, even tucked away in the attic or closet. Unlike the inanimate paraphernalia of other outdoor recreational ventures, our dogs are living breathing companions of our addiction,

and as such, still require daily maintenance. Try stashing your team of sled dogs in the garage until fall

Above is the result of just one evening of training and see how that strategy plays out – I won’t guarantee any integrity in your team, and promise a visit from your town animal control officer in very short order. That reminds me of a demonstration to prove that a dog truly is man’s best

friend: Lock your wife, girlfriend or significant other and your dog in the trunk of your car for a few hours. When you open the truck, notice who is happiest to see you.

boredom digging. So what do mushers do in the “not actively running” season? There are some who will continue to dry land train with carts, ATV’s, bicycles and specially made scooters. The warm weather musher must pay very close attention to the team, and take all precautions necessary to prevent over heating a dog, and keep your team properly hydrated at all times. It has been our experience that sled dogs have very little in the way of self governance when it come to running, and when training puppies or running in warm weather, you have to be a strict parent – these dogs will run until they drop. Then what you may be left with is a puppy with a sour taste for running, a sick, or even worse, a dead dog from overheating. The magic number is 50. We look for temperatures to approach the 50 degree mark to consider run-

ning, and one rule of thumb, taking into account the humidity, says the temperature plus relative humidity added together should not exceed an index of 100. Every dog is different, every team is different, and mushers and their strategy for training and their goals are all different. Believe it or not, there is actually a sled dog club in Tampa, Florida called “Sandy Paws Sled Dog Club”, and they do run Siberians. Not as far, and not as intensely as a North East team training for a race schedule, but important thing to note – they are out exercising their dogs, and having fun. Bottom line is, you need to pay attention to your dogs and exercise with a larger margin of tolerable exercise in the warmer weather. Besides the daily feeding, watering and scooping in the kennel, there is much to do to get ready for fall training, and the abundance (hopefully) of snow we are due next winter. As I contemplate our “off-the-runners” activities with our kennel, it occurred to me that much of what we do is based on who the Siberian Husky is characteristically. Siberian Huskys are diggers – energetic and unrelenting diggers. They dig to expose fresh dirt to lie in to be cool. They dig out of boredom, and they dig to release energy not focused on a nice long trail run. We spend time in our kennel filling holes. The Siberian Huskys are escape artists. They will dig out of, pry upon, chew through, Continued next page

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June 2012

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climb over, push and distort fencing. We spend our time securing the fence perimeter, inspecting lashing of the fence to the support posts, looking over doorway latches, replacing rusted out or worn out parts. We spend time, again, filling holes in the perimeter of the fence that are destine to be an escape route. WE dig (because they dogs can’t have all the fun) trenches, bury railroad ties and cinder blocks, and lay patio pavers along the boundaries to further dampen their desire to escape. As an aside here, we take very seriously our commitment to keeping our dogs safely secured – The Siberian has a strong prey drive and will not be a welcome partner in the neighborhood to folks who have smaller animals; the Siberians are not car savvy and they look strikingly like a coyote. We do not want our dogs off leash, off lead or out of a secure fenced in yard. EVER. The Siberian Huskys are voracious chewers. If they aren’t running, digging or sleeping – you’ll probably find a Siberian chewing on something. For us, in the kennel, that amounts to roots they are able to dig up, or their dog houses. We will be spending time this summer replacing chewed out door holes and roof lids. Additionally, time will be spent cleaning out old straw, pressure washing and recoating the dog huts with a protective sealant. The Siberians are a very social creature and crave your attention. Though we have established a pack, and there is a built in social structure, there really is no substitute for attention from their human alpha in the pack, and we do try to socialize and spend time with them each day. I actually, on

The Outdoor Gazette

most days, will choose two dogs to spend the entire day with me

from previous page

ing food, nutrition and supple- we are in chaos. We have nearly mental components to their doubled the size of the kennel from our travels last year. We need to get more drop lines made for the dogs. We need to get the recently acquired dog trailer registered and legal. And the list seems endless of thing to do. Very early on as we were just getting into mushing, a good friend and mentor leaned over the handles bars of the sled as the dogs mushed on, and she said “This is the top 1% of owning a kennel. Enjoy.” And now it is all but common knowledge in the circles of dog mushers, that running sled dogs is 99 Kaleb in a dirty hut with a well chewed perimeter % kennel and dog maintenance, at work. It is a great relationship diet. Main lines are being made, and 1 % on the sled. When you building time, and great at as well as tug lines and necklines are committed to a lifestyle, building and reinforcing public to replace the previous seasons there is no “Off-Season”. socialization skills. chewing casualties. Sled mainThe Siberians are incredible tenance and repairs are on the Allan & Suzanne Tschorn live in at shedding their winter coats to-do list, and we hope to get a Sandgate, Vt with their pack of pureand depositing it about your fresh coat of finish on the sleds bred Siberian Huskys. What started yard and home. Though clean- before snow falls again. We are out as a quest for a family pet quickly ing the house it mostly my wife’s working on planning a camping became a transformation of lifestyle. domain, an incredible amount trip with the dogs in the very Mostly recreational mushers, the of time is spent picking up (yes, near future. This is our dry run Tschorn's have supported a touring picking up) the immense dust for hopefully what will be a rou- company in their operation and hope to dinosaurs that visit us in the tine venture and will provide to continue and expand that venue in the spring. Vacuuming is futile and be a useful tool to have estab- next season. Not competitive in focus, a sucking up those masses of dis- lished this skill in the dogs come race is being considered to frame our carded fur will surely plug and fall training time. Logistically, training routine for next year as well. burn out the best vacuum machine out there. Cleaning, laundering and shaking out of the bed covers and throws over the couches is also a frequent springtime activity. Without at least attempting to minimize the fuzz, with the windows in the house open and a stiff breeze, you will think you are living in a winter wonderland snow globe. The fore mentioned activities are just the minimum for maintaining the kennel. We are also busy updating health records, vaccination and worming schedules are planned, training puppies, reviewing and evaluat-

June 2012

Page 29


Southern Side Up By Alex Cote

My dream of dreams...

It began some thirty plus years ago, in the spring. I got the word that I was going to be a Daddy! I was over joyed to say the least. I wanted to run right out and get everything my son (or daughter) could possibly need for the outdoors! You know how it is guys, every man wants a son. I couldn’t wait for the little cuss to come into the world, girl or boy didn’t really matter as time drew closer. As fate would have it, due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, my son was lost at the end of the pregnancy. As they say, time heals all wounds but some do linger on forever. I was beginning to feel that I was just not destined to be a father. That changed in June of 1989. My daughter, Lisa Jean Cote came kicking and screaming her way into the world, my world. Fact of the matter is, she was damn near born on my fishing boat on Lake Winnipesaukee, on the backside of Rattlesnake Island! We were trolling for salmon. I was standing over Lisa���s mother in the cabin of the boat. I realized that there was a problem when she was gripping the steering wheel of the boat and her knuckles were white! I figured out what the problem was when these white-knuckle bouts were happening 5 or 6 minutes apart! Hell, this was her first day out on maternity leave, we were supposed to have at least several weeks before the babe came into the world, and her hospital bag wasn’t even packed yet! It was at this point that I was informed

that her water had broken and we probably should head in. My father’s day present that year was handed off to me at 2:15 am on

ing is probably the last thing she would want to do! We were faring pretty well on our own for the most part as father and daughters do. Our relationship was definitely and

The author with his 2012 Granite State Gobbler. June 8th, 1989! A couple of days still is a very special one. In 1997, early but it has yet to be topped I met a wonderful lady and fell for a father’s day gift. head over heels in love! She had Once again, struck by fate, I two great boys without a father was raising a three year old! She figure in their lives, desperately lived with me full time. I dragged wanting one, and they liked the her everywhere. Let me rephrase outdoors. I thought that I was up that , I took her everywhere, there for the challenge so, I asked the was no dragging, she willingly boys if I could marry their mothtagged along. Seems like just yes- er. terday she was catching her first I had talked it over with Lisa of trout. I hooked the fish and hand- course. They all thought that I ed her the rod, she giggled all the was a grand Idea! Some 13 years time playing the fish. That was later I not to sure that wouldn’t until she slipped off the banking rethink their thoughts but oh and into the brook, then it was all well, too late now kids! On out laughter! She would grab me December 28th 1999, my dream a worm and not being the least of dreams was fulfilled. Alex E bit squeamish about, the largest Cote II was born! one that she could find in the This was the Christmas present container! She is now 23 and fish- of all Christmas presents, late but

WHO CARED at that point! He already had it all, rifle, shotgun, fishing rods and even a little camo sleeper given to him by a special couple, long time friends Dick and Jane Pinney! The Dickster is a well-known writer and probably one of the best stripper captains out of great bay! Laura had told me that the baby was a boy, although she didn’t want to know officially, an ultra sound too had confirmed it. The technician had asked if we wanted to know. Laura said no, I stood there with sad puppy dog eyes begging to find out. When I was told it was a boy, I cried like a baby! I was the happiest guy on earth! Not being a real good secret keeper with some things, Laura knew just by my mannerisms that we were having a son! Anyway, he has been hunting with me since he could walk on his own without tripping and falling on his backside! His first word was deer, his second was SHOOT! Now with that, has come the urge to do anything outdoors period. If we could only channel his energy in is passion for the outdoors into his schoolwork! He would be a straight “A “student all the way! Anyway, he has become well versed in game care and cleaning as well. I can only take partial credit for that. That feather is attributed to Karla Hatem. Karla and her husband Rick live in our town. They both took a liking to Alex when he was quite young. He is one of those kids beyond his time. Karla promised him that when he took his first bird, she would show him Continued next page

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Page 30

June 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


how to clean it and give up her recipe for her famous turkey pie. So, some years ago when he took bird one, he made me take him to Karla and Rick’s house for turkey dressing 101 classes! He dove right in with out hesitation. In no time, he had it down pat. Now, dressing out the birds has become his job in life. He even did the last one this spring, with out to much mess on Mom’s kitchen floor! He is known now as the “Turkey Master”! Youth weekend found us in a woodlot belonging to a family friend a town away. It was cold and windy. Somehow, ace managed to nod off in the blind. I was calling softly, not realizing he was sleeping and three Jakes came in with out a sound. I threw him an elbow but the birds fed no closer than 35 yards and I made him hold off. With a few more soft putts and a gobbler answered from out in front of our blind. I kept on calling and the bird made his way gobbling every so often. All at once, there he was, he stepped out from the tree line into the edge of the food plot not 15 paces

from the blind, and as luck would have it, completely out of Alex’s

you ask him, it is 21 ?, not 21. That was taken last fall, when he

Like father, like son....Alex Jr. is that you? The author’s son poses with his bird too.

view. Two more steps and several shots, “Little A” had his bird. What a rush hearing his excitement! He starts breathing uncontrollably and the whole nine yards. When the bird was down, he sported a grin from ear to ear. That’s what it’s all about, man it doesn’t get any better. So, 18 pounds and a 9-? inch beard was a pretty good bird. His best to date is 21 pounds. Although if

and I doubled that day, cool in itself. As I recall, both birds tipped the scale at 21 pounds! Opening day found me having only limited hunt time due to an annual meeting than needed me to attend. Plus, I was just coming off knee surgery and my mobility was very limited. I went close by the house to a spot that I could drive almost to. It had been raining but the rain was reduced to a

May Hunting and Fishing Solunar Tables

from previous page mist. Birds were gobbling all around me. There was a group of what I would assume to be Jakes behind me trying to out do each other in the gobble department. They were all answering together at times! Then the rain picked up and the birds shut up! I mean just like that, NOTHING! Out of the rain, he just materialized. And just like that, he was on the ground! I stopped at the house on my way to the checking station to show “The Boy”, and rub it in a little. When he came in from checking out my prize he calmly said, “Well Dad, you beat me, that bird weighed pretty close to 25 pounds”! HE must have a built in scale, the bird was a tad over 24 pounds with a 10 inch beard! I now have family bragging rights and “The Boy” knows it! By the way, he dressed this bird out too! 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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Page 31


From the back of a canoe Androscoggin Watershed

In the April column I wrote the fly supply was in great shape as a result of skiing ten days, it was ten less days; I skied twenty days. There are two fictional stories in my book Granite Lines; both were submitted to the Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award, neither won; along with another story which is on our web site www.nhriversguide.com In the news. The stories were based on a fictional area of northern NH along the Maine border. I’ve had a few people say they can’t find the locations on a map. I’m trying to get another story written for the contest but with procrastination and fishing it may not make the June 1st deadline. The story setting is the Androscoggin where I spend a lot of time. We have a tendency to think of things as we know them; not as they were or may be in the future. An example is Lower Dam on the Rapid River. The dam was in place for about 100 years. It was an icon for anglers and others canoeing, kayaking or rafting the river. Anglers fishing the river for the first time will remember the river without the dam. The Androscoggin River Basin comprises 3,500 square miles in Maine and New Hampshire. The source originates in the Rangeley Lakes; the largest being Mooselookmeguntic at 25.5 square miles. Other major lakes include Aziscohos, Rangeley, Kennebago, Upper and Lower Richardson, Cupsuptic and Umbagog. There are a lot of rivers and tributaries into the

northern section above Berlin including the Rapid, Cupsuptic, Kennebago, Magalloway, Diamond Rivers and Clear Stream.

By Jim Norton

built in 1909. It required 250 tons of material hauled 40 miles by horse and mules from Colebrook over Dixville Notch; round trip was four days. When completed in 1911 was the largest dam in the world. Built on the

Lower Dam on the Rapid River before it was removed. Dams have had a major impact Magalloway River it increased on the Androscoggin watershed. the flow on the Androscoggin by The Androscoggin is Maine’s twenty percent. That was about third largest river and has the the midpoint of centuries of mislargest vertical drop of any river use harnessing the Androscoggin in Maine. A good portion of the for driving logs, pulp mills, manudrop occurs as the river flows facturing and power generation. through New Hampshire. Dams There are over 100 dams in the to drive logs were constructed in watershed; thirty-two for recrethe Rangeley Lakes area of ation, nine for flood control, sixteen for hydro and others for storMaine starting in the 1830’s. The Rangeley Dam was built in age for hydro. The average annual precipita1836 raising the lake level 18 feet and expanded the shoreline up to tion in the watershed is forty a mile. The Errol Dam in 1853 inches. The heaviest rain months raised the level 15 feet and for Errol are Oct 4.04 inches, expanded five miles. June 4.01, Aug 3.94 and July Mooselookmeguntic Dam 1853, 3.38; if your fishing it can seem 20 feet and half a mile; Middle like a lot more. The lighter Dam 20 feet and half a mile. The months are Jan 2.38, Feb 2.22, original Aziscohos Dam was built March 2.76 and Dec 2.81. The in 1881, the current dam was most severe flooding I’ve seen on

the water shed was in 2007 when the Swift River went from 50 cubic feet per second to 10,000 as a result of a localized thunderstorm dumping 4-7 inches in a few hours. The bridges on Route 113 and route 2 washed out and the Sunday River Ski area had a lot of damage. I would not have wanted to be on the Androscoggin below the Swift River that day. There are a lot of good books on the area including Glimpses of Maine’s Angling Past. Travel in the 1800’s was by Maine Central Railroad to Farmington and then by stage. In 1879 a narrow gauge railroad was completed from Phillips to Rangeley. Transportation to lodges on the lakes was by steamboat. In 1895 the Rangeley House could accommodate 250 guests with a cost of $4.50 per day; other hotels were $2-3 Brook trout ranged between 6-10 pounds. Carrie Stevens fish that took 2nd place in the Field & Stream fishing contest and launched her successful career as the worlds most renowned streamer tier weighted 6 pounds 13 ounces. Other books on the area include Northwoods Echoes & Northwoods Heritage by Richard Pinette, We took to the woods by Louis Dickerson Rich, Spiked Boots and Tall Trees and Tough Men by Robert Pike, Carrie Stevens maker of Trout and Salmon Flies by Graydon & Leslie Hilyeard and Errol on the Androscoggin 1774-1999. My first trip to the watershed was camping at Dolly Copp campground in the 50’s. I can Continued next page

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June 2012

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early. After setting the canoe and gear into the water at the shoreline I will set on the tailgate and look over the entire pond watching for the first scattered , heavy rises that tell me that the trout are there and the real action will begin in a little while. Tonight I’ve decided to drive a few miles west to Streeter Pond, in Lisbon. Streeter Pond used to be Lisbon’s water supply. Back then there was no fishing allowed. I used to set along the west shoreline and watch 4 and 5 lb. smallmouth cruise along in the shallows. Now its stocked with some nice rainbow trout but it still holds a large number of hefty bass. In the spring its also a great place to cast gaudy streamers along the weedy south shore for an unlimited supply of pickerel. But tonight I plan to start with rainbow trout and hope for some big bass before 9:00PM. The canoe launch is at the north end of the pond so I have to paddle a quarter mile to the shallow south shore where the best Hex hatch seems to take place. Its always hard to make progress because I will pass big rising fish along the way. But my plan is made and I don’t intend to drown my first wulff casting randomly to the scattered rises. There is a high hill to the south side of the pond so dusk comes earlier to that shoreline. Although these are feeding trout they are

also nervous when they come into the shallow water. I always drift a short distance away from the rising fish feeling the direction of the breeze and looking for the big mayflies that will pop to the surface looking like tiny sail boats. If there are enough flies on the surface the trout will look like small sharks finning from one morsel to the other. They don’t make splashy rises but simply slurp the big flies from the surface. It’s great fun to sneak up on a feeding rainbow , determine his direction and carefully place the big fly a few feet ahead and give it a tiny twitch. Patience is important and you just can’t quickly paddle from one rising fish to another. Remember, these fish have a lateral line that can sense the tiny commotion created by a one inch mayfly. The waves created by an oncoming canoe probably feel like a great white shark. If there is a light breeze you might just let it drift you through the rising fish looking for the one that offers an obvious feeding pattern. If you fish out of a small boat you might be best to anchor and wait for the feeding fish to come to you. On this night I had hooked and released a half dozen 12 -14 “ trout by the time the pink sky had darkened. I like the big white wulff because it floats well and I can see it even in the dark. But after being masticated by a few trout it will begin to sink. That’s why I have

remember fishing for trout in the Rangeley area. In the 60’s I used Peabody River as well as ice in to fish and hunt at a friends camp the river at the swimming pool in on C pond; it was five miles in.

the second fly rod. I simply pick it up and begin to cast with a high riding new fly. On this evening that new fly was taken by a trophy size small mouth that broke the leader at the side of the canoe. But that’s ok because this fishing will continue until well after the 4th of July. There are a number of Hexagenia immitations but I prefer the #6 white wulff (named after Lee Wulff) because it floats high and long and is easy to see in low light. The most perfect imitation that I ever used was the Monty’s Hex, created by Monty Monplasier a north country fishing guide and fly tier. Monty invented the Hex for catching 4 and 5 lb. brook trout from the Connecticut River just north of his home in Colebrook. He gave me a half dozen of the flies and they fooled many of my biggest rainbow trout. The only trouble with Monty’s Hex was they had a single , upright wing and would spin and twist the leader badly after a half hour of casting. I’ve found that the big white wulff seems to fool most trout even though the live Hexagenia dun is more yellow and brown than white. There are also quite a few nymph and emerger immitations for fishermen who get bored watching the scattered early portion of the Hex hatch. I’ve found it better to be patient and wait for the real hatch

Continued from page 11

to take place rather than using the emerger drop and lift technique which is more like jigging than dry fly fishing. Streeter Pond is only one of a few north country waters providing a Hex hatch. The few big brook trout that I’ve taken out of Franconia’s Profile pond have come during an evening Hex hatch. Martin Meadow Pond , in Lancaster has some really big rainbow trout that will rise to Hexegenia in July. Many sections of the Connecticut River and the Androscoggin provide brown, rainbow and brook trout that come out at night to feed on these giant mayflies. For those who like to fly fish for bass there is a terrific July Hex hatch at the east end of Moore Reservoir as the river cascades into the big pond below the dam at Gilman , Vt. And Dalton, N.H. Last year this spot even provided me with my only dry fly northern pike. So it seems that every fish wants to eat the giant summer mayfly!! Dick Baker is a forester working in northern NH and Vt with an office in Littleton, NH. Writing for several New England sporting magazines is just an excuse to get his wife, Mary, to let him go fishing or hunting. At the Baker house the lawn grows tall and the house needs painting. Dick can be reached at bigfishrcb@yahoo.com

from previous page

In 1980 we started canoeing Now that I’m guiding it’s been across Umbagog and up the years since I’ve had a Maine Rapid to Cedar Stump and fish- license. I’m just as satisfied on the ing the Rapid River to Middle Androscoggin. Dam. Also in the 80’s we started going to Bosebuck Camps and Jim a native of New Hampshire enjoys fishing the Magalloway River and fly-fishing & tying, bird hunting and a Aziscohos Lake. Somewhere variety of other outdoor activities and is along the way we canoed and a registered NH fishing Guide fished the Kennebago and www.nhriversguide.com and author of Cupsuptic Rivers. the book Granite Lines.

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The Alligator - remnants of a tug used to winch logs across Pond in the River August. We also used to fish what There were three camps on the I think was Cascade Alpine brook pond and the Appalachian Trail in Success. In the 60’s my broth- went by the pond. The old loger’s mother in law had a camp on ging road which was gated Mooselookmeguntic; that was my required a 4WD and I could walk introduction to fishing the faster that the Jeep could make it. The Outdoor Gazette

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Page 33


A Waterfowler's Perspective Decoys, how many is too many?

If you have been waterfowl hunting for many years I would guess your garage looks similar to mine. It’s full of decoys. My wife has come to terms with my addiction, has even accepted it, and at

times has somewhat helped fuel it. I admit I have lots of duck & goose decoys. My storage unit is filled with all sorts of makes & models. Yes I wrote “storage unit” because I have out- grown my garage. Not to mention it’s

Page 34

easier to hide the true amount from my wife. This column is not about how many decoys to put in your set up. It’s about one man’s obsession with how many decoys can one man own. The majority of my goose decoys are of the full body flocked head variety. Although I have a few dozen of the shell & silhouette style, I prefer the full body ones. I am not partial to one brand; it’s solely based on looks and price. The ducks are mostly puddle ducks set up on Texas riggings or strung up with longer stings on anchors to allow for deeper water. I also have stringers of Golden Eye & Bluebill for late season diver duck hunting. Very easy to deploy and retrieve in cold weather. My mother & Aunt are on the never ending search at garage sales to buy up any duck decoys they think are good deals. I have them well trained. At this point

By Brian Bouchard

every stash they have returned with has been well worth the investment, even if some come back with a few holes and sometime prefer to float on their side.

ing from 3.5 inch # 2’s, they are keepers. I have personally inflicted Leo’s decoys with multiple flurries of steel shot. They literally roll with the punches. One nice thing about hunting over handmade decoys is the nostalgia that comes from it. Although I have hundreds of decoys its hunting over Leo’s decoys that I truly love. When you look out into the water and see Leo’s decoys floating there, knowing the time and effort that was put into each one, it almost makes me feel bad when I roll one over trying to place the finishing shot on a diver duck. Leo, Leo LaBonte Whistler diver duck work- being the good sport, says this ing decoy. gives them character. I have Those we refer to as “resters”. If noticed that neither he nor I have the decoys sound like maracas yet to sink one. rattling from being filled with I truly feel there is no such thing steel shot, we try to repair, but as too many decoys. Each one more often we recycle those in the plastic recycle bin. I have found that ducks will decoy to most any decoy and are more excited about seeing movement versus the look of the decoy. We will use motion decoys whenever possible. Having water rippling in your decoy spread is always a good thing. Whether it’s from a jerk string, a mojo or, this might sound crazy, but you can keep a few rocks in your blind for when the birds are in the air, a precision toss can give the splash & lasting Leo LaBonte award winning Wood ripple that might do the trick to Duck working decoy. lure in the wary duck. As for tells a story as it carries along the goose decoys, as mentioned battle scars of previous hunts. If I above, I prefer full body decoys had to choose my favorite type of with flocked heads. These look decoy it would be the Leo great and give the geese a sense of LaBonte hand carved decoy security. every time. One thing that I have had the It’s hard to describe in words luxury of is hunting with award how it feels to hunt over hand winning decoy carver Leo carved working decoys that will LaBonte. Leo has been carving follow you back into the house his own decoys for over 10 years. where they sit quietly on the shelf These decoys are for the puddles waiting until the next time they or lake mostly, but could be used are called upon to decoy in that in the field if needed. They float next raft of ducks or geese. perfect and look amazing from As you pass by them on the the hours of precise details Leo shelf, pause to examine them, puts into each one. The neat they remind you of past hunts thing about Leo’s decoys is these without actually saying a word. don’t winter in the storage unit. They go from the water to the I have been hunting deer and predators shelf. I have a dozen or so I scat- for over 30 years. Turkey for 15 years. ter around the house as art work. Waterfowl for the past 10 years. Owner I write on the bottom of each the of Fields Bay Outfitters. I Live in St date we hunted over them. The Albans VT with my wife Michele and standing joke is that if these our 2 sons Dillon & Kyle and our 2 decoys can stand up to a pound- labs Tyson & Remi.

June 2012

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The Outdoor Gazette

June 2012

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Marty Wall - Randol ph, Vermont June 2012

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Twin State Bassin’ By Danny Webster

The Spawn

This has been a strange spawning season for me. I almost always use bottom baits like shaky heads and Texas rigs to catch them. This year for what ever reason I’ve had to dig deep into the arsenal and try some new things. Primarily I’ve been fishing 3 lakes, Lake Morey, Lake Groton and Halls pond. The differences in these bodies of water are like night and day. From the surface temp to the water clarity they’re worlds apart. I fished Lake Morey during early spawn. Not all beds were being guarded and some didn’t have a bass on it that I could see. I boated 15 smallmouth and 6 largemouth off their beds that day. All of them were caught on either a shaky head jig with a zoom finesse worm or a Texas rigged yum wooly bug. The bass weren’t locked on tight but they were catchable with a little patience. It was pretty typical for this time of year and the early bedding season. The fallowing weekend I fished Halls pond. The surface temp was about 6 degrees warmer and the water was dirty. Almost all the small mouth beds on the lake were empty. It was a frustrating day, I couldn’t see the beds all that well, say nothing about the bass. I boated 9 bass total 2 smallmouth and 7 largemouth. Nothing big and I had to spend a lot of time on the bass. I tried about everything I could think of, the best presentation that day was a drop shot with a tiny fluke. It seemed to trigger a more aggressive strike and it didn’t nearly take as long as the other baits I was trying. I also tried a swim bait that day and had some awesome blow ups on it. It’s a big bait and it takes a good size bass to eat it so it’s not a bait to use if you want a lot of bass. I throw this when I am trying to find better than average size bass. This past weekend I went back to Lake Groton. Bass were guarding high in the beds. I boated 30 + smallmouth and only 2 were on a shaky head. All the others were either on a drop shot or a medium size swim bait. This was the warmest water I had fished, surface temps of 75 degree’s. I think most of the bass were guarding fry because when I swam that blue The Outdoor Gazette

gill swim bait around it got punished. There were times I wouldn’t be within 5 feet of the bed and

I would see them run the bait down. Again I didn’t catch anything big but there is something about a swim bait bite that’s very hard to shake. Once you catch one on it, it’s hard to put it down. This bait targets the biggest fish swimming in any given body of water but when bass are super aggressive like they were on this day they will attack anything posing a threat. I caught a smallmouth that was maybe 6 inches long. Impressive, that I could hook such a small fish through the mouth I know, but what was more impressive is that the bass was smaller than my swim bait! I’m still puzzled by the catch, either this was one hungry and aggressive little guy or he was looking for a girl friend! This is the way the spawn has been for me, one day I really do well and the next I cant seem to find a bass. It’s all part of it and each lake has its own little challenges. For some it might be ultra clear water, cool water, dark and stained water or just the timing is off. That’s the fun part though, trying to put the puzzle together and figure it out week to week. There are a few rules for bass fishing, there not set it stone and all techniques and presentations should be experimented with. The first is color, for clear water generally you want natural colors. Green pumpkin, pumpkin, watermelon, just to name a few. For dark or stained water you want dark colors, black/blue and June bug are my favorites. White or pearl is probably the most popular

bed bait because it stands out well in almost all water making it easy for the angler to watch it. Another rule is size, in clear water most people scale their size down. The

reason for this is to make your presentation look as natural as possible. In dark water you want a bigger profile, something that stands out and is easy for the bass to find. If I were going to offer any tip for this time of year its to be

June 2012

patient. The bass are not all super aggressive on a bed, but most are catchable. Try different things, different sizes and colors. You never know what it will take to trigger a strike. In a few weeks it should be coming to an end for most lakes, some may be a bit behind if there is cooler water. Personally I can’t wait! I would rather fish for them deep. Have fun with the spawn, it can be great for numbers and if your timing is right the biggest bass of the year. It’s also a great time to introduce someone to the sport, its visual and exciting! Handle the bass with care and return them as quick as you can so they can continue there spawning cycle. Good luck and I will see some of you at Moore damn! Danny Webster of Groton, Vermont You won’t find a guys who loves to bass fish more than he does. Look for the Outdoor Gazette shirts on the bass waters of the twin states and when you see him , stop and swap a few fishing stories.

Page 37


The Maine Hunter By Steve Beckwith

Respect Landowners Even When The Answer is NO!

It’s that time of year when Maine Bear hunters start locating bait sites and gathering gear, scents, and bait for the fall bear season! In Maine the baiting starts 30 days prior to opening day, giving Maine hunters an edge on making the bears more at ease for the opening day of hunting. Law in Maine requires that bear and coyote baiters obtain written or verbal landowner permission before placement of any bait on privately owned land. Fees are generally charged on Paper Company lands in the northern sections of Maine with outfitters and guides making baiting up north almost impossible by sewing up most bait sites. Since the new law went into effect, I have had a fifty-fifty response in Southern Maine when asking landowners for permission to bait on their land. Some have no issues at all and understand baiting in Maine is normal, legal, and guides are a landowner’s best friends! While others met me with fierce words blazing of antisentiments towards using bait and access to their land. One couple I spoke with had moved to Maine about six years ago from Massachusetts and had two brand new full size Hummers in the yard, a new house that was bigger then the Blaine House in Augusta, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and over 800 acres of wooded land they stripped for timber money, non of which was posted. When I asked for permission, the wife ripped me to shreds because she was convinced “baiting” was against

Page 38

the law in Maine! When I nicely tried to explain the actual laws about baiting, that Maine allows hunting of bear and coyotes over

only for his family and friends and the rest can keep the “**** OFF” and that included me! That conversation ended at that

see the value of granting me permission to access his property! A third landowner had 80 acres and a nice rustic camp he no longer

bait, and other wildlife such as deer, turkeys, moose etc. you could not, I was interrupted and told that Maine may have laws that allow it but it will never be allowed on her property! She then asked me to leave and said she did not want anyone hunting on her property. I told her I was sorry she felt that way and hoped that she would research more about lawful harvest. I thanked her for her time and walked to my car. The next encounter was a little different. This person owned about 400 acres and had lived in Maine all his life, inherited the land from his ancestors and was a typical old Mainer with an attitude! By attitude, when I asked permission to hunt and guide on his property, I mentioned I had hunted his land for years with my family growing up and because I was a guide he told me that his land was not for “Flat Landers”, Blacks, Jews, Germans, Chinese, Japanese or any one with funny colored skin or eyes! His land was

and I thanked him for his time and drove away! Both circumstances aforementioned, their properties abut one another! I can only imagine what would happen if the Mrs. Hummer pulled over for coffee at Mr. Attitudes house! Not every landowner treats hunters with this type of disrespect. Some are civil and polite and simply say thanks for asking, but they prefer no hunting. One can understand politeness even if the answer is no! I have met some remarkable landowners too. One was a guide himself for fifty years and welcomed a Maine guide on his 370-acre property! Another I met was grateful when I told him I would watch over his 900 acres and inform him or authorities of any illegal activities on his land, such as litter, four wheelers, kids partying and land damage. This person was not physically fit enough to watch over any of his land himself, and when I told him I was a Maine guide, his eyes lit up and he could immediately

had time for himself and asked me to rent it to clients and shoot him some cash for his taxes. As hard as it is to take the rejection from some landowners, there are others that will welcome you on their land. Maine has ample public land that is open to all for hunting. Do a search online for the Maine DIF&W website and the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands for more information on open to public hunting lands in Maine!

June 2012

Steve Beckwith is a Registered Maine Guide, ThermaCELL Pro Staff, and owns these owns these websites: • MaineGuideCourse.com • MaineHunters.com • CoyoteCrosshairs.com • MoosePermit.com • MaineGuidedHunts.com He is a life member, editor and webmaster of the North Berwick Rod and Gun Club. A videographer, website designer and internet entrepreneur with his online portfolio located at MultitaskWebsites.com, Steve can be reached through any of his websites.

The Outdoor Gazette


The Coastal Zone Captian John Curry By Captain

Species Spotlight: Black Sea Bass

In last month’s column we learned more about the range, habits and techniques to catch the popular striped bass of the Northeast Coast. This month’s species spotlight is on the black sea bass. While often times both species are referred to as “sea bass,” they are as different as deer and moose when it comes to many factors. Let’s first learn about their size and shape characteristics. The black sea bass is a true bass therefore its shape and size are more like our large and smallmouth bass of lakes and rivers. It does not grow to the proportion of a 50+ lb striper; a trophy black sea bass weighs in around 6 lbs. The current Massachusetts state record is 8lbs. The average size fish caught in our waters range from 2-3 lbs. While the striped bass spawns in our larger river systems, the black sea bass never moves close to any freshwater and prefers a mix of rocks, reefs, and wrecks often a mile from shore. Like most species, water temperature is the main factor for their spawning to begin with 48-55 degrees being the optimum temperature. Black sea bass have a peculiar life cycle, the majority being born as females and then morphing into males around 3 years of age. During the spawn, the larger males possess a distinct hump that is lit up with purple and blue hues. Many anglers aboard my boat are very surprised by the vibrant colors that these fish have when rising from the depths of Buzzards Bay. The black sea bass is a migratory species visiting our coast from late April to October. They range from the Gulf of Mexico to Maine with the heaviest concentration off the Carolina Coasts year round. Black sea bass are (in my opinion) one the best tasting white meat fish species in our

The Outdoor Gazette

waters. They’re often called “poor man’s lobster” for the firmness and taste of their fillets.

catch fish. Whenever I have clients who are experienced walleye or perch fishermen they normally catch on quickly and fill their limits. While

Dan Courchaine of Hardwick, VT with a nice male Black Sea Bass

I recently h ad a charter with two gentlemen who had never seen nor fished for black sea bass and they were excited to give it a try. After we caught the early morning outgoing tide in Buzzards Bay we headed to Cleveland Ledge for some bottom bouncing action. I like to use heavier jigs like the 3ounce Spro in pink and blue colors. I rig these as the bottom dropper on a J&J tackle pre-rigged black sea bass rig that has a top swivel and two plastic skirt teasers that represent small squid. The jig is tipped with either squid or mackerel strips (I have found that mackerel strips will produce larger fish) and dropped to the bottom on stiff yet light weight conventional outfits. The technique is rather simple. You drop to the bottom, give it a few cranks up and start to raise and lower your offering in a jigging fashion. Now it’s not as easy as it sounds to fill the cooler with your 10 fish limit, but if you can develop the “touch,” as most often the bait is taken on the drop, you will

black sea bass are normally thought of as bottom feeders they do chase baits in mid-column and

June 2012

on top. During the fall months they will chase the juvenile menhaden (peanut bunker) that are washed out with strong tides as they start their migration south. I have caught them while chasing false albacore with small flies and surface poppers. Many anglers like the sport of fishing as well as the enjoyment of a freshly cooked fish dinner. The black sea bass may not rival a striper in size and fighting power, but it is an enjoyable fish to target and the family will want you to go fishing more often if you treat them to some fish and chips with this tasty New England summer visitor. Capt. John Curry grew up in Rehobeth, MA and summered on the Cape mainly in the Bass River area. He has over 30 years of fishing and boating on Cape Cod and Rhode Island waters. Currently living in W. Yarmouth and summers in Bourne. He runs a sportfishing business on tha Cape, visit his website www.capefishing.net.

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Behind the Sights By Charlie Chalk

Preparing to Compete

With the warm weather come many opportunities to take your muzzleloader out to the range for a great day of shooting. Muzzleloaders are capable of great accuracy, so don't be content with mediocre groups when with just a little time you can do as well or better than most center fire rifles. Many new rifles have come on the market over the past year so if you are new to the sport, take time to talk to other shooters and your local gun store owner to see what they suggest. I prefer the traditional arms and shoot only flintlocks, but style is less important than quality. Most popular are the inlines. Many consider them just hunting guns, but not so. There are bullet options, and powder choices. I have seen inlines go from 4” groups to 1” with some experimentation. So, why not get to know your muzzleloader and

get into competition? Now, you are about to enter a new phase of shooting that will require a lot of shooting and the potential for problems.

Muzzleloaders require some accessories to give them proper "care and feeding" and these accessories are easily left behind

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when you travel to the range. I remember many times trying to use a screwdriver that will not fit because the tools I needed were home on the bench. Pick up a toolbox at the local hardware store. This will be your new storage place for all things related to shooting your gun. Pick one large enough for powder cans and cleaning fluids. Now that you have the big, empty box you will want to fill it to capacity, so head off to your local gun shop. Here you will find you could actually spend more on accessories than you did on the gun! You need to think of loading, cleaning and fixing. In other words, buy the basics. Basic tools will allow you to load, clean, and do simple repairs. What you add beyond this is up to you. Often the small things will end the day long before you run out of lead. For all guns, keep the proper size screwdriver handy to turn out all screws. Better than anything, is to get a gunsmith driver set. Gun screws often get damage due to poor fitting drivers. Don’t do it and the next time you slip and damage your gun, you will remember this paragraph! If your box still looks empty, you still need a capper for percussion caps or 209 primers. These priming tools are invaluable, because trying to take caps out of little box or fumbling with a pocket full of 209’s is frustrating. Prior to priming, you will pour highly flammable and potentially explosive powder into the barrel just inches

from your face, so you better do it right! So, NEVER load directly from a powder container, flask or horn as a spark in the bore could end your shooting career and really mess up the range! An adjustable measure is perfect to work up a load for the range or field. Load experiments will always show one load that is the most accurate. If you use an adjustable measure often, remember to check it every now and then, as they can be knocked out of adjustment by setting them down too hard. Take care when you measure powder. Some always gets spilled but take time to wipe the bench because each shot provides a possible ignition. Take time to clean up before you leave to avoid problems for others. By now, you should have a few basics and a little room left for cleaning patches, short starters, waterless hand cleaner, shooting glasses, pliers and other tools. By all means, save room for a spotting scope and start dropping hints about how great a birthday gift it would be. When you have your box together, take it out and practice regularly. Next month, we will give you competitive guidelines and find some local shoots going on this summer. Will you be ready? Charlie Chalk is an outdoor writer and has a background as a professional Firefighter and is a member of the American Mountain Men, an organization that emulates the life of the fur trappers of the 1800's and their survival on the land.

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June 2012

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Tribute to Alan Briere

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June 2012

Page 41


Searching for Natures Treasures By David John

How can you get bored?

For me, the smelting season went good. Bryant Pond again this year had many nights of good runs, and Beaver Brook, which was at an all-time low water level, also gave up the smelt/ Those who stayed ‘til midnight got their limits. There was one night when everything came together. Friends Steve and Tracy were here for three days, right in the middle of the smelt run. This year we got to Beaver Brook early with our smelt nets and fishing gear. One day, we were at the brook and the only other ones were Allen Fleet and his nephew from Newry. When we got there at 5:30, Allen and his nephew were already bringing in the brook trout and salmon. Between the five of us, we hauled in brook trout between one and a half and three pounds and nice fat salmon. All of us were using dead smelt on the bottom and a gob of worms with a bobber. Either one was what they took. For

a while, Allen was casting the fly, which produced some nice fish. Just at dark, we switched over to

a lift net with a headlight and was doing well, I looked back up the brook and there was Tracy bent over with her net on the shore. She was filling up her container with

David John with a few of his scavanged antlers.

smelting. The water was so low that they didn’t come in in schools but one or two at a time, but at a very fast pace. After Allen and some others left, it was only Steve, Tracy left, and I. While I was using

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

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smelt; she was catching by hand. It was 10:00pm and the water in the brook at some places was only a couple of inches deep, and the little pools were filled with smelt with more coming in. Soon I put down my net and finished off my limit by hand. The second night we smelted, I called Tracy over to come and use the lift net with a light instead of the swing net. She loved catching them this way, as you can see the smelt over your net. I will order her a new lift net from Tony this year. We hit the weather just right, as our three nights at Beaver were warm and dry. The night after they went home, the weather turned cold and rainy, which lasted the next three nights, and then it was over. I didn’t go back after they left, as I have my smelt in the freez-

er. Steve baked the trout in his outside wood-fired oven ‘til the meat fell off the bones. I have a couple of good-sized brookies in the freezer and will bring them over to have Steve bake them in the oven. And then someone brought me a gallon plastic bag of large, cleaned fiddleheads they picked in Newry, the size of half-dollars. Life is good. Now it is time to brook fish. In one of my articles a while back, I had stated it would be a sad day when I brought out more moose skulls than antlers. Well that day has come. Now I bring home skulls daily. Tom Rideout told me of two dead moose, and I know of three others. These moose are bleached out white and are from the 2011 moose kill. Now, in coming years, even the skulls will be hard to find because of the low moose population. There are still plenty to find from last year’s kill. I took down my “Moose Antlers For Sale” sign. What ever I have left for antlers, I will keep. I enjoyed selling antlers and moose bones for the last 15 years from the house and at the Moose Festival in Canaan, where I met a lot of interesting people. I would think now that the moose population is low and will get lower, one could ask $20 per pound, and one really large antler could bring in between three and four hundred dollars. With the antlers hard to find and the smelting season only lasting a matter of days, I am going to have to change my activities while out wandering the woodlands. I will be into taking a lot more photos of animals and landscapes, and I will again start digging for old bottles. I

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Page 42

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June 2012

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did that for thirty years and had a couple of thousand that I sold at auction. I sold a lot of bottles at yard sales, too. Although a lot of the old dumps have been dug over, there are still some to be found. While brook fishing with Steve and Tracy, I crossed the brook and started poking around, and found an old logging camp dump. I came back with a nice amethyst bottle that was lying on top of the ground. I will go back and to find the main dump. A real old dump will hold no tin cans and no bottles with seams running right to the top of the bottle. These dumps would be from before 1903, when bottles were made with the tops put on separate from the body. Digging up the past is interesting but can be quite buggy in the summertime. Will it be more buggy this year because of the mild winter? When I left my house in Milan, I left behind a large raspberry patch along with a big stand of elderberries and eleven blueberry plants that gave up gallons of blueberries. So now I will go back to picking wild berries. I have put in four blueberry plants, but it will be two years before I can pick the berries.

So, with kayaking, berrying, brook fishing, gardening and bottle digging, I will have things to do. Once again, I will go visit in Vermont and have Tracy show me how to make piecrusts from scratch. I love berry pies. The tick population seems to be high, as the reports are not good. My grandson in Gorham went out to play around his house, and when he came in, my daughter picked five ticks off of him. And someone emailed me from down in southern NH and said that after he took his dog for a walk in a brushy area, he picked 22 ticks off of himself and a couple of dozen off the dog. Around our area in the North Country, it’s Shelburne and Gilead that hold large populations of ticks. Some areas of Shelburne by the power lines are bad. You can count on picking a couple of dozen ticks while pocking around there. According to folks who live in Wilsons Mills, there are no ticks yet. Yet! But with that said, what about all the moose around Wilsons Mills that are dying with thousands of ticks on them. Just a matter of time, before they get into the backyards? I was talking to some rabbit

hunters in Berlin, and between the high rabbit populations and near perfect ground conditions in March, they had no trouble limiting out every hunt. I hunted rabbits for many years with beagles, and it was a lot of fun. And this year, no matter where you went in the woodlands, you found the rabbit and partridge population to be high. We haven’t had a wetter than normal spring, so there should be a good hatching of partridge chicks, and baby rabbits should do fine. There is so much to seen in our woodlands when you go with a mindset to observe the wildlife, the brooks and the beaver ponds, and the trees and shrubs. I have said before, bring your camera, face into the wind, sit on the edge of a clear-cut with the woods at your back, and you will see a variety of wildlife and bird life start to move around. And although a lot of articles give you the idea that beavers only work at night, it isn’t so. Set by a beaver pond and be quiet, and you will get some nice shots of beavers on the move. And now it’s time to explore the backwaters and rivers with the kayak. Kayaking has to be one of

from previous page the better ways to get photos of wildlife. The kayak doesn’t weigh much and can be carried and pulled along the ground into most watery places. Even a small bog is worth putting the kayak in. Aquatic life, bird life and flowers and shrubs along with deer and small animals abound in wetlands. And the kayak, I feel, is much more stable than a canoe. I am not bragging because just doing that will cause me to flip over next time out, but I have never tipped over. My camera is always tethered around my neck or arm. Anything else I don’t want to lose is in waterproof bags made just for that. I bring a net on a long handle to pick up whatever to observe it. One thing to watch out for while poking around edges of backwaters is hornets’ nests. They like to build their nests on overhanging branches over water. Now, running into one of them would upset the kayak. June will bring us the Hot Moon and the strawberries, and gardening will be in full swing! 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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Page 43


Guided by the Light or is That a Train Coming? Night Fishing

“You expect me to believe you’re going fly fishing at midnight?” asked the Connecticut State Trooper. He had pulled up behind me, lights flashing, and was not convinced. Just then I saw headlights approaching so I said, “That driver will be Bill Strapko. He’ll have a 7-foot Fenwick rod and a broken down Medalist fly reel in the back of his truck. He’s here to join me.” After too many minutes of grilling Bill, the Trooper left. I asked Bill what had taken so long. Bill told the Trooper he thought I might be wanted for impersonating an angler. Thanks Bill. From time to time I see something about night fly fishing. Just yesterday, I saw a TV show about night fishing on the Arkansas River. The host “claimed” he lost a 30-inch brown trout. All I can say is the film was not conclusive. Oh sure, something big took his

fly and fought hard enough to break him off - but 30 inches? That would be in the neighborhood of 20 pounds. Given the fact that the host was also a fly

fishing guide, I’ll leave it to you to decide if he can be trusted. Being a guide and having spent too much time around others of similar ilk, I always make it a practice

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to hold my hand on my wallet whenever a guide speaks. Night fishing was once more popular than it is these days. Maybe we’re all afraid of the dark? Nevertheless, it’s true that big fish feed after dark. And, since

really big fish feed on smaller fish, your selection of methods should reflect this. Most old timers, long since gone, favored big wet flies. Sizes 2 and 4 were preferred. These were heavily dressed to show a hefty, meaty profile. Black was the color of choice. “Dark fly for dark conditions,” they’d insist. Their habit, at that time, was to use a “brace” of flies – two, in tandem; one on the point and one on a dropper. Some preferred to have the point fly significantly larger than the dropper so it would appear, to the trout, that a fish was chasing smaller prey. They insisted this would trigger a sense of competition and lead to a strike. Leaders were short and heavy – up to eight or nine pounds. No need for finesse – they wanted to be able to turn the heavy fish before it could find something to get wrapped around. Floating lines were used rather than sinking ones because the trout would come into the shallows to feed and a sinking line would only be a hindrance. The roll cast, quartering across and downstream, was the only

delivery used. If you can’t see trees behind you, how else could you avoid them? And, they fished only on streams and rivers they knew very well. There’s nothing like a dunking, after dark, to bring on pneumonia – or worse. The biggest trout I ever caught was a 24-inch Beaverkill brown. It was an hour after dark and he was up in the riffle at the head of Cairn’s Pool, in less than 12 inches of water, gorging on sunken Coffin flies – the spinner form of the Green Drake. I never saw him until he came to the net. Of course, I had no camera so no one but I and some guy on the bank with a flashlight got a look at him. Flashlight guy was speechless – I told anyone who would listen. A few nights later, I hooked an even heavier fish in the same riffle. It calmly turned toward home and steadily took line. When I felt the backing knot leave the rod, I started to follow the fish lest I get spooled. One second I was tight to the fish and the next he was gone. My guess is he took me around a rock and broke off. It seemed so deliberate, without panic, that I’m sure he’d done it before. The night Bill and I fished in Connecticut, we caught nothing – we were too gun-shy to concentrate. First, something sounding like a magnum hippo splashed noisily ahead of us and crossed the Willimantic River. Shortly after, a pterodactyl flew upstream, narrowly clawing us as it passed. Despite the darkness, I could see the whites of Bill’s eyes just before he tried, unsuccessfully, to beat me back to the truck and the Newcastle Brown Ale. I was much faster back in 1972. Tony Lolli is from Cabot, VT. His book, Go-To Flies: 101 Pattern the Pros Use When All Else Fails is available online from Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

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By Tony Lolli

June 2012

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Justin Stedman is Vermont’s Warden of the Year

Justin Stedman of Pawlet is Vermont’s State Game Warden of the Year. A State Game Warden for nine years, Stedman was given the award by Governor Peter Shumlin in recognition of his excellent service on May 4, in Montpelier. “I want to thank you for your outstanding performance in protecting Vermont’s fish and wildlife resources and serving the people of Vermont,” said Governor Shumlin. “We all appreciate your professionalism, excellent law enforcement work, your training of other wardens and your outreach to the public.” Warden Stedman this year was recognized for his second “life saving” award. He saved an 8year-old boy who was swept downstream in the Mettawee River in Pawlet. The frantic mother approached a store where Stedman was visiting, explaining her child was washed away by high water. Stedman immediately checked the stream

banks and located the child 300 yards downstream, standing on a submerged island. He waded through the high, swift water and retrieved the child who could easily been washed away by the swift water. Lt. Paul Gaudreau, Stedman’s supervisor, commended him for his work ethic, his ability to conduct thorough investigations, providing training to other game wardens, and his dedication to the duties of a State Game Warden. Warden Stedman’s district includes the towns of Poultney, Ira, Middletown Springs, Wells, Tinmouth, Pawlet, Danby, Rupert, and Dorset. Shikar-Safari Club International, a private wildlife conservation group, sponsors a warden of the year award in each state and Canadian province. Stedman received a colorful framed certificate honoring his selection as Vermont’s State Game Warden of the Year, provided by Shikar-Safari Club International.

Take advantage of Vermont’s Free Fishing Day on Saturday, June 9th

If you’ve been looking for a good excuse to give fishing a try, here it is! Saturday, June 9, is Vermont’s Free Fishing Day — the one day in the year when residents and nonresidents may go fishing in the Green Mountain State without a fishing license. Fishing is a quiet, relaxing way to enjoy Vermont’s scenic outdoors with many accompanying benefits. There’s the opportunity to catch-and-release, or take home for dinner, a variety of fish, including trout, salmon, bass, perch, and northern pike as well as other species. Almost invariably you will see wildlife while fishing in Vermont. A bald eagle or osprey soaring overhead is an experience you will always remember. Whether you get out there alone or take friends or family, a good day of fishing makes memories that will last a lifetime. Vermont has 284 lakes and over 7,000 miles of clear streams offering the greatest variety of high quality fresh water fishing in the Northeast, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Finding The Outdoor Gazette

a place to fish in Vermont is easy, but the department also hosts a special event especially for kids on Free Fishing Day in Grand Isle. The “Grand Isle Fishing Festival” will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Free Fishing Day at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle. Designed for young anglers, this free event offers basic fishing instruction and the chance for kids to catch big trout in a pond next to the hatchery. To find out more about Vermont’s great fishing opportunities and to plan your fishing trip, contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (Tel. 802-241-3700) and ask for a copy of their “Hunting, Fishing & Trapping Laws and Guide. You can also email them at fwinformation@state.vt.us or discover more from their webs i t e (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). While there, check their new interactive page about Family Friendly Fishing spots: http://www.vtfishandwildlife.co m/fish_familyfishing.cfm

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The Gazette’s Book Review WHITE MOUNTAIN GUIDE, 29TH Edition Compiled and edited by Steven D. Smith and Mike Dickerman Appalachian Mountain Club Books, 2012 646 pages, with six maps ISBN: 978-1-934028-44-5 Just in time for another great summer season afield in New England, the Appalachian Mountain Club has released the latest revision of the revered White Mountain Guide. This edition, compiled by Steven D. Smith from Lincoln, NH and Mike Dickerman of Littleton, NH is the 29th, the latest in a line of guidebooks stretching back to the first edition of 1907. Throughout its long history, one word best describes the AMC White Mountain Guide – indispensable. For mountaineers, casual hikers, hunters, fisherman, bird watchers and nature fans, the White Mountain Guide

reigns as the supreme source of information about more than 500 trails, water sources, huts, campsites, vistas, and navigational assistance in this beautiful landscape. At almost 650 pages, this latest edition certainly lives up to the description on its front cover as the “comprehensive” guidebook covering the White Mountain National Forest and its environs. After more than a century in use, the White Mountain is the standard by which all other guide-

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books are judged. Published with six companion topographic maps, now in full color and GPS verified, the 29th edition comes packaged in a cardboard slipcase that keeps the book and map sheets together. Earlier editions kept the maps in pockets mounted inside the book’s covers. The 29th edition also incorporates instructions for accessing the White Mountain Guide online for 21st century backcountry navigation. Unique to the 29th edition is information on the lingering effects of Hurricane Irene in 2011. The destructive tropical rains associated with Irene will impact the trails and northern ecosystems for decades, as did the great ice storms of 1998 and 2008. Post-Irene trail conditions will undoubtedly influence mountain trip planning for the next several years and the AMC is wise in letting the authors include this information. With evolution, the White Mountain Guide has grown. This new edition weighs one-and-ahalf pounds, compared to nine ounces for the 1969, 19th edition, and 14 ounces for the 1992, 25th edition. The new guide is five inches wide by seven inches long, compared to three-and-a-half inches wide by six inches long of the same two earlier editions. Weight and bulk are serious considerations for the backpacker and others taking to the trail. At a pound and a half, and too wide for many pack pocket spaces, the guide may suddenly find itself left at home. Downloading information

from the online version is handy and a solution to the weight and bulk problem of the book, but over time, could be something of an environmental problem itself. Printing segments would be unnecessary were the book easier to tote. Also detrimental are the paper map sheets. Waterproof ‘Tyvek’ maps are available for separate purchase at $29.95 for a set that covers the same terrain as the guidebook’s maps. A package price of guide and waterproof maps would be a smarter offering. A final criticism would be the book’s paper pages. Many Appalachian Mountain enthusiasts would prefer to see their treasured guide printed on recycled paper. Using recycled paper would send a great message about White Mountain stewardship. However, the arrival of a new White Mountain Guide remains an exciting event. Both novices out for a day hike to one of the area’s numerous waterfalls and seasoned veterans out for strenuous multi-day backpacking treks depend on and enjoy the up-todate descriptions and advice offered. Thumbing through the pages and pouring over the maps brings on an anxious feeling to lace up the boots and get on the trail. This is the most important book that anyone who loves “The Whites” may own. 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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Page 46

Enclosed please find my check for $

Name:

Address: City:

State:

Telephone Number:

Zip:

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

June 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


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June 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


Pictures Gone Wild Our reader submitted photos “On April 12, 2012 on my way home from work, I saw this bob cat inside the covered bridge I use to go home. He turned and ran up the road for a ways and then went up on a side hill. It stopped and looked at me for a moment and then walked into the woods. It was the first bobcat I had ever seen and what a beautiful site.” Deb Metcalf - Chelsea, VT 13 pound rainbow! - Caught this spring by Max St.Pierre somewhere in the Rutland, Vermont area... holy cow! Below - Robert Drouin and daughter (Charley,) on opening day in MA. The Tom was shot at 6:20 am on opening day. He weighed 18.5 lbs with a 9.5 inch beard.

Kevin Skinner, Newport, New Hampshire has been enjoying the month of May. 20lb New Hampshire tom and a 20" brook trout caught from a fly fishing only pond in NH. “It’s great to be a sportman in NH”.

The Outdoor Gazette

June 2012

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June 2012 - The Outdoor Gazette