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Hunter’s Corner: Viewing Concord’s exceptional wildlife



For the Monitor
Sunday, February 18, 2018

The city of Concord is approximately 64 square miles. Washington, D.C. is approximately 64 square miles. While Washington can safely boast of having a wonderful night life, Concord on the other hand can proudly boast of having an exceptional wildlife.

When the Merrimack River isn’t frozen over, how exciting can it get to view a perched bald eagle? Moose and black bear have been frequent visitors to many Concord neighborhoods. White tail deer are also frequent visitors, too, in search of feasting on tempting shrubberies. Many pictures have been posted on the internet that looked like the deer were looking into a house.

And then there is the wild turkey. I think that of all the wildlife species available for viewing, the wild turkey brings the most smiles to faces as any other game animal.

Depending upon the winter’s severity, it can be a challenge to the wild turkey. Turkeys group up by age. This years poults crop is probably the biggest grouping. Next would be the 2 ½ to 3 age grouping followed by the 3 - plus crowed.

The Monitor was visited by a 3 ½ group of mature toms in search of food. Their food of choice would be acorns, beechnuts, corn silage, undigested corn in manure, and most especially, back yard birdfeeders. They will search oak lined rural roads as snow plows will reveal much sought after acorns.

Fish and Game is currently asking wildlife watchers to report turkey sightings to its website. The survey is open through March 31. The survey is designed to fill gaps in Fish and Game’s existing winter flock data collection efforts, adding to the department’s understanding of the abundance and distribution of turkeys during the winter months. Participants are asked to report the number of turkeys in the flock, where they were seen, the type of habitat the birds were observed in and what they were feeding on. Please do not report multiple sightings of the same flock.

I live in the center city and really don’t have too many wildlife viewing moments. Recently however, Mother Nature provided a viewing treat when a red-tailed hawk perched on the roof railings of my neighbor’s car and proceeded to eat a winter song bird.

I was initially confused as to why the hawk would go after a small bird forging the chance at a corpulent grey squirrel, given the squirrel probably would feed the hawk for a week or more. It was a great chance at an unexpected view. The neighbors weren’t too happy with the mess on the roof of their care.

The moose lotteries in Maine and New Hampshire are now open for business for the moose hunt. New Hampshire offers two options to apply. You can mail in an application or apply online. The deadline for submission is May 25 for a June 15 drawing. The moose permit numbers will be determined at a later date. This has been a colder than normal winter and I can’t help but wonder what effect it will have on the tick population. Also, the tri-state moose study will once again yield some interesting information but it’s a helicopter-based study and can only track moose that are helicopter accessible.

Maine is strictly an online application process. There will be 2080 moose permits issued with 208 going to non-residents. The deadline for submitting an application is May 15 for a June drawing. Apply here.

Sign-ups for Berry Conservation Camp started Feb. 15. The camp offers weekly, overnight summer camp programs for boys and girls ages 8-17. Barry Camp is operated by UNH Cooperative Extension 4-H in partnership with New Hampshire Fish and Game. To learn more about this year’s summer offerings go to Fish and Game’s website and then to newsroom for a complete list of sessions and costs. Or contact Larry Barker at 788-4961 or Mark Beauchesne at 271-9211. I will highlight two courses that should prove to be popular:

Hunter Education Week

July 22-17. Ages: 12-16. Cost: $510

Learn and practice safe, responsible and ethical hunting. If a camper wishes to be eligible for Hunter Education certification at the end of the week, some homework must be completed prior to coming to camp.

Junior Conservation Officer Camp

August 5-8. Ages: 4-17. Cost: $315

This session is for older teen campers who are interested in exploring outdoor careers. New Hampshire conservation officers will be at the camp all week teaching a host of fun, exciting and interesting sessions. In addition to traditional camp activities, campers will learn about search and rescue, crime scene investigation, firearms safety, tracking, surveillance, night vision technology, wildlife laws, arrest procedures, techniques for working with conservation dogs and much more.

February is the perfect month to hunt for shed antlers and conditions have never been better. The winter and fall travel ways are clearly marked. There is even a growing number of shed hunters that are training their dogs to retrieve shed antlers. These dogs will not chase deer and are active ground scenters. The biggest advantage to this part of the sport is determining what you have for bucks in the area that you hunt; found antlers make for an interesting trophy.

Deer have been spotted actively feeding at dusk and nighttime. A doe was spotted with two fawns that looked in great shape. These two fawns had to be late born and it’s surprising that they have wintered as well as they did.

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