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Hunter’s Corner: Plenty of deer activity

The regular deer firearms season ends next Sunday. The regular deer firearms season in WMU A ends today. Right now, the deer kill is running about 10 percent greater than last year.

Hunting with Scott and Brett has meant that we are seeing more deer. Scott jumped two exceptionally large deer that had to be bucks on Nov. 22, the last either-sex deer day in WMU L. Brett pushed a doe into me. I had decided that although the town I was hunting in allows for the use of rifles, the piece looked too tight and I opted to use my shotgun – big mistake. My Mossberg has a fiber-optic front sight and a partridge rear sight. In reconstructing my miss, I calculated I overshot the running doe. It was not a particularly large doe, but it had one of the darkest gray coats I have seen recently. This tells me that the doe spent most of its time in the swamps.

When the season is over, it will be up to Marshall’s for a Williams peep site with a low light aperture. I know the current state of the art is a red dot, but peep sites do not require batteries.

We left WMU L and headed over to WMU I-1. I-1 has many hunters totally confused as to why there are no antlerless deer days in this WMU. The section of 89 that passes through Hopkinton has a very high deer-auto accident rate. Driving in to where we wanted to hunt, we watched as three does crossed in front of us, staring back on someone’s front lawn.

The next day it was back to J-1. We hit several patches and on the final drive of the day Scott jumped a monster buck. The three bucks Scott jumped had one thing in common: they were all bedded down in front of a stone wall with their nose to the wind. And they were all light colored gray, which suggests that they were ridge runners and spent little time in the swamps.

Check on bears

The 2013 black bear season ended Nov. 26 in selected WMUs in the White Mountain region (Units C-1, D-2, E and F). It looks like 2013 will turn out to be a so-so year, with the interim report showing a total of 524 bears (322 males and 202 females) taken. Bait hunters had harvested 306 bears, still hunters took 133 bears and hound hunters registered 85. The five-year harvest average is 626 bears. Access to food is always the key factor to a successful bear hunt. When food is plentiful, the bear kill is low. When the bears have to scramble for food, the kill is up.

December 1 is the normal day to go ahead and put up your bird feeders. I wouldn’t be so quick this year. The weather has been relatively mild with ample bear forage. Bears normally den up when they are expending more energy to locate food than they are taken in. A week to 10-day delay might be a good call.

Snowmobile time

Snowmobiling is an exciting winter recreational opportunity in New Hampshire and snowmobile education classes are under way across the state. To operate a snowmobile in New Hampshire, any person age 12 or older must have either a valid motor vehicle driver’s license or have successfully completed an approved off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) safety education class taught by volunteer instructors trained by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Additionally, all children younger than 14 must be accompanied by a licensed adult when operating a snowmobile, unless they are on property belonging to their parents, grandparents or guardians.

Sign up soon if you or someone you know needs a class. There is no charge for the classes, which are usually completed in a single day. Parents are encouraged to attend along with their children. For a current class schedule, visit wildnh.com/OHRV/schedule.html. New classes are added as they become available, so if at first you don’t find one that fits your schedule, keep trying until you get one that fits.

“Snowmobiling is a great way for families to have fun exploring the great outdoors, but riders have a responsibility to obey the rules of the trails, to be courteous and – most of all – to ride safely,” said Captain John Wimsatt, who coordinates Fish and Game’s OHRV education program.

Many of the trained volunteer instructors teaching the safety classes are affiliated with one of the more than 100 snowmobile clubs in New Hampshire. “Joining a snowmobile club is a great way to learn about safe riding, help support local landowners and help maintain trails for your own and others’ enjoyment,” Wimsatt said.

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

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