×

Hunter’s Corner: Partridge search and ‘Salmon Sunday’



For the Monitor
Sunday, October 22, 2017

A recent chat with Brad Marshal about his recent trip up North to get in some bird hunting revealed some disappointments and some surprises.

Marshal has a springer that loves to go bird hunting. Springers are incredible flushers. Bird dogs fall into two different categories, flushers and pointers. Flushers will aggressively pursue upland game birds until they get a chance to flush the bird. Pointers will aggressively pursue a bird until they have it in a position to point on the bird.

Ostensibly, this was a hunt for partridge but not a partridge was flushed. It would appear that the partridge chick crop in this part of the north country was decimated by a cold, wet spring.

So much for the disappointment.

However, the pleasant surprise was an abundance of woodcock. These are not flight birds, these are woodcock that nest in the area and it apparently was a great breeding cycle for them. Both birds need young hard wood forests. In the southern part of the state, there is not enough timber harvesting to generate young forests. In the northern part of the state there has been sufficient cutting but even that is tapering off.

Friends of mine made their annual trek to northern Maine and succeeded in bagging a bragging level of partridge. The area did not experience the same spring and as a result, the partridge chick crop prospered well. This has proven to be great area for partridge production over the years and with continued timber harvesting should continue. It is also great whitetail country.

This past weekend, I attended a high school reunion and met up with a former classmate who was an active hunter back in the day, and still is. This was a time when shotguns were kept in the back of autos so we could go pheasant hunting right after school. This was also a time when we would go hunting with teachers who were also hunters.

Boy, have times changed and not for the better.

Frank is still an active hunter but now the joy of this life is to take his grandson deer hunting. New York has some arcane deer hunting laws when it comes to underage hunters but Frank still manages to have a good shared time with his grandson.

Other restrictions on using rifles where it was previously shotgun only and areas where Sunday hunting was restricted are gone. Memories of deer hunting in New York are fading but it was an incredible growing up period for me and when I returned from the West Coast and hunted in Delaware County with my brother it was an off day when you didn’t see more than 100 deer a day. These were not deer you could get a shot at but it was great just to see them.

Sunday was the last day of the shotgun turkey season. The weather has been great with temperatures exceeding seasonal averages. This is a great way to head into fall with no fuel being expended to keep the house warm. I feel that will change soon. I hear different tales on turkeys. Non-hunters are seeing lots of turkeys. Hunters are not so lucky.

The warm weather has lulled me into a false sense of security with October flying by at a speed of supersonic. Saturday is the opening day of the muzzleloader whitetail deer season. Where has the year gone? I anticipate connecting this year as my best spot has been unchanged. Other spots I have been hunting have not been producing so I still need to develop alternative sites with greater chances of success.

I am a ground stand hunter and will stay put until midday and then become a still hunter. This is a very slow process as you are trying to minimize noise and I hunt into the wind to reduce my scent effect. If you are hunting with the wind behind you, your scent will arrive before you and reduce your opportunity to see and have a shot at deer. The muzzleloader season will run from Saturday to Nov. 7 when the regular firearms season opens up. Hopefully, cooler temperatures will prevail resulting in greater deer movement.

The latest hunting report has been issued by Fish and Game. Through Oct. 15, 1,577 deer have been registered. This represents a seven percent decline for the 2016 season at the same point. The harvest remains up significantly from 2010 when the archery season was bucks only.

New Hampshire’s moose season opened Saturday and will last through Oct. 29. It is sad that the moose road kill is more than double the number of moose permits issued this year. We could use some cooler temperatures to make it a successful moose season.

Put November 12 on your calendar as “Salmon Sunday” to be held at Pope Dam in Melvin Village from noon to 2 p.m. Pope Dam is none miles north of Wolfeboro on Route 109 in the town of Tuftonboro.

“Salmon Sunday is a great chance for everyone to get a close-up look at landlocked salmon from Lake Winnipesaukee in their fall spawning colors,” Fisheries Biologist John Viar said. “Kids love to see the big salmon, averaging about three pounds each, and watch biologists collect the eggs.”

Salmon used for the stripping demonstration are netted from Lake Winnipesaukee during October and early November. They are returned to the lake after their eggs and milt has been collected. The fertilized eggs are taken to the Power Mill Hatchery in New Durham, where they will hatch in three to four months. The salmon are raised in the hatchery for about 18 months, and then stocked into Lake Winnipesaukee and other New Hampshire lakes.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at hunterscorner@aol.com.)