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Hunter’s Corner: Landing salmon in the rain

Tuesday found Robb and I, along with longtime hunting and fishing buddy Bill, on the big lake hoping to latch onto some salmon. Bill and I have fished Winni on many occasions and we certainly have a wealth of mishaps over the years, most of which involved adverse weather conditions.

I suffered from a senior moment and forgot to bring two rain suits that were available in my truck. We virtually had the Broads to ourselves at one time. The one item that proved its weight in gold was the Bimini top that shielded us from several downpours. Biminis afford protection from the sun and since mine is canvas, provides great protection from the elements, especially rain.

Smallmouth bass and rock bass were mostly what we were catching as we trolled the lake. Finally, I remember what that fishing sage, the Portuguese Fisherman, had told us. He advised that regardless of what you are trolling, one of the lures you should always use is a Sutton spoon. In this case, it was a #44. Five minutes after trolling with the spoon at seven colors of lead core, a chunky 16-inch salmon struck. Do you know how long it takes to reel in a fighting salmon on seven colors of lead core? It seemed like an eternity.

By the way, the missing ingredient from Ranee’s trout recipe was salt. It works well on salmon, as well. My preference is to grill salmon using Italian salad dressing as a marinade. Either way, fresh trout and salmon make for excellent summertime dining treats.

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The results of the Wildlife Heritage Foundation moose permit auction are in and it was another record-setting year for the foundation. A total of $44,377 was raised with five winning bids ranging from $8,375 to $10,000.

Nineteen bids were received this year from nine states – New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Washington. Eight of the bidders had bid in previous years, while 11 were new to the auction. “Receiving bids from nine states speaks to how hunters view the quality of the hunting experience here in New Hampshire,” said Steve White, Chairman of the foundation.

The annual auction is the primary fundraiser for the foundation, whose mission as the official non-profit partner of the Fish and Game Department is to support the wildlife, conservation, education and outdoor programs of the department. These programs are critical to preserving the outdoor way of life in New Hampshire so people can continue to enjoy family traditions such as hiking, hunting, fishing and watching wildlife.

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The summary of the 2013 spring gobbler season is in and the numbers were impressive. 4,522 turkeys were registered, an increase of 17.5 percent or 649 gobblers from the 3,850 of the 2012 season. Of the total, 24 bearded hens, 1,483 jakes and 3,039 toms were taken. To be a legal turkey in the spring season, the turkey must have a beard. Youth turkey weekend also met with success. 217 turkeys were taken on April 27 and 215 on April 28. This total was 110 more gobblers than the 480 total of 2012 or a 22.9-percent increase. Both days had good hunting weather, with sunny, dry conditions with temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees.

Of the 18 wildlife management units, all had some increase in gobbler harvest from 2012 to 2013. The majority of the state’s turkey population and turkey habitat, or 12 of the 18 WMU’s, had .50 gobbler kills per square mile. Unit K (1.00) and Unit L (1.10) reached 1.00 per square mile, while several units are close: Unit H-1 (.95) and Unit J-2 (0.92). It has taken years to reach this plateau, according to Ted Walski, turkey project biologist. The “average” for all units during the 2012 season was 0.53 and the “average” for 2013 went up to 0.62.

The northernmost units, A, B, C-1 and C-2 (Coos County) and E & F (White Mountains), retain relatively low turkey kill densities and will probably stay low for many years. Walski suggests a fall for these units would not be justifiable because they have harvests much lower than 0.50 gobbler kills per square mile. Walski also noted that some of the larger cities recorded good harvest: 36 Lebanon, 50 Rochester, 36 Concord and 45 Claremont.

Now, if we could only get Fish and Game to adjust the fall five-day turkey season to include a weekend, so more hunters who can’t take time off from work can have the opportunity to hunt our expanding turkey population.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at

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