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Hunter

Hunter’s Corner: Getting ready for waterfowl season

Fish and Game will be holding a public hearing on the proposed season dates and bag limits for the 2014 waterfowl hunting season on Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. at Fish and Game headquarters. Apparently, owing to the spring breeding waterfowl surveys, higher duck and goose populations as a result of snowmelt and spring precipitation improved breeding habitat conditions. The same is true for the Atlantic Flyway as a whole.

The proposed waterfowl season is similar to last year’s in that the overall duck season is 60 days with a daily bag limit of six. There are species restrictions, so when the regulations are finalized, it is a good choice to download the final regulation from Fish and Game’s website. The good news relative to the Canada goose season is that it has been increased from 60 to 70 days and the bag limit has been increased from two to three birds.

New Hampshire currently has three specific waterfowl zones: the Northern Zone, the Inland Zone and the Coastal Zone.

The proposed Northern Zone season for ducks, mergansers and coots would open Oct. 2 and run through Nov. 30. The Canada goose season also would open Oct. 2 but run through Dec. 10.

The proposed Inland Zone season for ducks, mergansers and coots would open Oct. 2 and run through Nov. 2, then reopen Nov. 16 through Dec. 13. The Canada goose season also would open Oct. 2 and run through Nov. 2, then reopen Nov. 16 through Dec. 23.

The proposed Coastal Zone season for ducks, mergansers and coots would open Oct. 3 and run through Oct. 13 (Columbus Day), then reopen Nov. 16 through Jan. 3. The Canada goose season would open Oct. 3 and run through Oct. 23, then reopen Nov. 16 through Jan. 3.

There are slightly fewer than 5,000 waterfowl hunters in New Hampshire. I sandwich duck and goose hunting in between upland bird and deer hunting. I hunt strictly for the table, so I haven’t figured out why anyone would waste expensive non-toxic ammunition on shooting mergansers and coots that are fish eaters. If anyone has a good reason for shooting these birds, I would like to hear from them.

The resident Canada goose season statewide runs Sept. 2-25. The daily limit is five birds.

Youth Waterfowl Weekend is Sept. 27-28. All the regular season waterfowl regulations, including bag limits, shooting hours, use of non-toxic shot, three-shot capacity limit in pumps and semi-autos, etc., apply on this weekend.

Woodcock season runs Oct. 1-Nov. 14 with a daily bag limit of three. The greater Concord area is home to nesting woodcock. The flight birds can produce exciting late-season shooting on their way south. The woodcock will migrate to the southern New Jersey shores and hold up until the right wind conditions appear so they can cross the Delaware Bay and continue south.

Snipe season runs September through Nov. 14 with a daily bag limit of eight birds.

The sea duck season runs Oct. 1-Jan. 15. Daily bag limit is seven birds with no more than four scooters, four eiders or four long-tailed ducks (aka Oldsquaw).

The crow season runs Aug. 15-Nov. 30. Crow season offers the opportunity to expend outdated ammunition and improve your wing shooting skills.

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Last year I was disappointed, to say the least, when I missed a running shot at a deer with the open sights on my shotgun. This summer I tried to have a peep sight mounted on my shotgun, but there were none that were available. I filled out a survey and for completing the survey they sent me a $150 gift card for Bass Pro Shops. Bingo, front row seats.

A friend of mine had experienced tack driving accuracy with a 1½x5 variable scope. The brand is Pursuit. Bass Pro Shops mounted the scope and bore sighted it for free. I can’t wait to sight it in at the range. Pursuit recommends zeroing in at 100 yards with a three-shot group. After firing the first group, adjust for elevation and windage until you are dead on. I was not surprised to see that Pursuit is headquartered in Springfield, Mo.

This Pursuit is also a multi-tasker in that where the scope reticles intersect, there is a circle that surrounds this point. This is for turkey hunters. The instruction for sighting shot shells is to place the target at 10 yards and then repeat the sighting process at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards.

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If you are a tree stand hunter, August is the time to set your stands. Get written landowner permission to make any adjustments to perfect shooting lanes, put out range markers and prune the tree on which your stand is located. Deer right now are feasting on green lush plants. They won’t change their feeding habits until acorns start to drop. Then they will concentrate on their favorite food source: white acorns. By setting up your stands now, deer will think the stands are part of the environment and not be alarmed.

One of the new products out this year is a grunter that has a tube that extends to the base of the tree you have your stand mounted on. I have a battery powered caller that has a 60-foot cable that causes the deer’s attention to be drawn away from me. The same principal is being applied here with the extended tube grunter. As I no longer use tree stands, I’ll stick with what I have.

A week back while heading toward Deerfield on Route 107, Robb spotted three deer feeding in an open field. Four hours later heading back to Concord, the three deer were bedded down in the middle of the field without a care in the world. If you are careful, you should start to see many deer.

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

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