Hunters Corner: Fishing derby not just for trout anymore
It is game on for the 34th annual Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby, to be held Feb. 9-10, and the Derby has undergone a major change for 2013: It is no longer a tagged rainbow trout derby. There have always been other species eligible for prizes, but the top prize always went to the heaviest tagged rainbow. Not anymore, and this is a good change.
The fishing pressure on Lake Winnipesaukee was intense, since this is where a majority of the tagged rainbows were released, along with other lakes. Fish and Game will no longer be stocking tagged rainbows. All fish caught must be legally and freshly caught in any fresh New Hampshire public waters by a registered derby participant on Saturday and Sunday on derby weekend. Weight at the time of entry determines winners. In case of a tie, length shall be the determining factor. Earliest entry will be the final tiebreaker. Fish entered must be dead. Any live fish attempted to be entered will be immediately disqualified.
The following fish are legal entries: rainbow trout 17-inch minimum, lake trout 22-inch minimum, cusk 22-inch minimum, pickerel 22-inch minimum, white perch 14-inch minimum, yellow perch 12-inch minimum, black crappie 13-inch minimum. No bass, brown trout or salmon may be entered. The three top prizes – $15,000, $5,000 and $3,000 – will be drawn from a group of 14 potential top prize winners. An angler’s name will be entered into the grand prize drawing only once, no matter how many fish that person has entered.
You can obtain an entry form from meredithrotary.org or by calling 279-7600. Ice conditions will be the final determining factor if the derby will be held.
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A friend of mine lent me a copy of the January 1930 Hunting and Fishing Magazine, newsstand price 5¢, 10¢ in Canada. This was a Boston-based publication with 390,000 readers. On the back page, Remington advertised a Model 11 (retail price $56.75), Model 29 (retail price $49.30) and Model 17 (retail price $49.30). The Model 11 was Remington’s version of the Browning Auto 5 humpback. Both Models 29 and 17 were bottom-ejecting pump shotguns and appear to be modeled after the Ithaca Model 37. Given the stock market crash a few months earlier and the advancing depression, although the quality was there, the prices seem to me to be a bit pricey.
What captured my interest was an article about Willet Randall, a North Creek, N.Y., resident who has made his lifetime work restoring game animals, especially those animals native to this section of the Adirondacks. This included deer, turkeys and fur-bearing animals. He also raised pheasants for sale and restocking efforts. As a teen, I spent some fun-filled weeks in North Creek and have nothing but fond memories of the area.
What struck me as odd was a photo of E. Nash, assistant superintendent, and Ohio State Game Farm suggesting the necessity of vermin control, showing five hawks he had shot. Now if this happened today, the fine for shooting protected hawks would be as high as $100,000 per hawk. How times have changed.
Other products advertised in this issue still sold today were: Pflueger, South Bend, Heddon, LL Bean, Bass Moccasins, Filson, and Hoppe’s #9 Oil. Some of the lures and reels that sold for modest amounts in 1930 are now highly valuable collectable antiques.
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The bear season statistics are in and they are nothing short of spectacular. Bear hunters took a record-breaking 806 bears, besting the previous record of 803 set in 2003. The five-year average bear kill is 588, so this puts in perspective just how good a year it was for bear hunters. The number breakdown: 373 sows were taken and 433 boars. In terms of hunting methods, 426 were taken by using bait, 98 using hounds and 282 by still hunters.
A comparison of the top bear regions demonstrates the strengths of the 2012 bear season. In the North Region, 180 bears were taken compared to the five-year average of 145. In the White Mountains Region, 229 bears were taken compared to a five-year average of 189. The Central Region produced 263 bears compared to a five-year average of 184. If you plan on bear hunting in 2013, these three regions should be on the top of your must-hunt list.
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According to the latest weather report, we have a 75 percent chance of having a white Christmas. Nutmeg is hoping for higher odds. He loves the snow. He has grown into his blaze orange camouflage fleece vest and looks pretty striking in it.
If you are looking for a last-chance Christmas gift, Fish and Game sells gift certificates for fishing, hunting and combination licenses. If there is a hunter or angler in your family, this may be the perfect gift.
(Bob Washburn can be reached at email@example.com.)