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Hunter

Hunter’s Corner: Time to get your ‘Hunting and Trapping Digest’

The 2014-15 New Hampshire Hunting and Trapping Digest is now available. The cover is graced with a black lab-retrieved woodcock. It is quite a cover. All of the new law changes are listed in the digest.

It is interesting to note that 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the founding of Fish and Game. Executive Director Glenn Normandeau notes that in 1870, New Hampshire was 50 percent forested with a population of 320,000. Fast forward to 2010 and New Hampshire was 82 percent forested with a population of 1.3 million. Many changes to our game population have taken place during this time. Today we have more black bears than ever before. Wild turkeys have been restored to levels never anticipated when the restoration process began. White tail population ebbs and flows owing to winter conditions and food availability. Partridge are at the mercy of spring weather conditions and habitat. The only sad note in the wildlife population is the effect ticks are having on the moose population. The current weather cycle is not providing the type of winter that would kill off the ticks, but that cycle will change hopefully in enough time to reverse the trend.

Two changes to the bear season are owing to their expanded population. Still hunting/stalking season for bear in WMUs H2, K, L and M has been lengthened by seven days to run Sept. 1-28. The still hunting/stalking season for bear in WMUs G, I1, J1 and J2 has been lengthened by 14 days to run Sept. 1-Nov. 28. Until now, the bear season would close before the regular firearms deer season opened. This change will afford deer hunters the opportunity to tag a bear if they choose. I distinctly remember a few seasons back hunting in WMU G when a bear with two adult cubs came within spitball distance of me on a ground stand.

I have always admired Hornady and the ammunition it designs and engineers. One of its latest additions is Custom Lite reduced recoil ammunition. Custom Lite is designed to reduce recoil by 25 to 40 percent. The rifle cartridges come in 243 Win, 270 Win, 7mm-08, 30-30 Win, 30-06, 7mm Rem Mag, and 300 Win Mag. The bullet choices are Hornady SST or InterLock RN.

Custom Lites are designed for youth hunters, women, those with health issues and those who have a problem with recoil. They also come in 20- and 12-gauge. The 20-gauge comes with a 250-grain FTX slug. The 12-gauge comes with a 30-grain SST slug. Both are effective out to 150 yards.

New for the deer season are Honady’s 12-gauge American Whitetail 325-grain Interlock slugs. The velocity (feet per second)/energy (foot pounds) virtually lights up the charts at the muzzle (1825/2403) and at 200 yards (1227/1086). Trajectory (inches) at the muzzle is -1.50, at 150 yards 0.00 and at 200 yards -7.90. The slug has many interesting features, including an interlock ring that locks the core and jacket together to deliver controlled expansion combined with excellent weight retention, energy and accuracy. The hollow point design initiates rapid expansion upon impact. The serrated lead core and jacket allow for even expansion at low velocities. The rigid polycarbonate sabot with exclusive buffer combines to open uniformly, according to Hornady.

So why would Hornady design a slug to be dead-on at 150 yards as most all Hornady slug offerings do? Over the years, the greatest distance I have shot deer has been 35 yards. The answer is that midwestern hunters shooting over cut over corn, soybean and sorghum fields are by in large required to use shotguns. Who hasn’t seen pictures of 200-pound monster bucks with massive head gear from Illinois and Ohio? When they arrive for the fall deer season, I plan on sighting them in at 100 yards. The only chance for a long-distance shot would be if you hunted near power lines. The American Whitetail is designed for fully rifled barreled shotguns.

This year’s duck stamp is artist Adam Grimm’s rendition of the canvasback duck. From what I can determine, the canvasback got its name from the canvas bags in which market hunters shipped the killed ducks to restaurants and subsequently instructed the recipient to send the canvas back. Common names for this duck are bullneck, can, canard, cheval, canny, canvas, gray duck, hickory-quacker, horse-duck, sheldrake and whiteback, to name a few. Both male and female ducks weigh about three pounds and are considered to be one of the largest and heaviest ducks in North America. At one time, upwards of 50 percent of North America’s canvasbacks wintered in the Chesapeake Bay’s Susquehanna Flats area. Market hunters decimated numbers of canvasbacks and the degradation of Chesapeake Bay in terms of water quality and availability of lush beds of wild celery have led to an 80-percent decline in numbers, according to National Geographic.

Canvasbacks are omnivores feeding on aquatic plants and mollusks. When the waterfowl season opens in October, daily limit on canvasbacks is one, with a possession limit of three. This is a much sought-after duck owing to its excellent table quality.

Awards were given out at Fish and Game recognizing three outstanding individuals. CO Matthew W. Holmes of Whitefield is the 2013 Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chief’s Association Officer of the Year.

“In 2013, Officer Holmes once again demonstrated an outstanding work ethic and enthusiastic attitude toward his profession that has remained consistent throughout his career,” Law Enforcement Chief Col. Martin Garabedian said. A member of the specialized search and rescue team and a field training officer, Holmes excels at promoting positive relations and is a top-notch field investigator.

Conservation Officer Gregory Jellison of Bath was honored as the 2013 Shikar-Safari International Wildlife Officer of the Year. “Officer Jellison has earned the respect of his fellow officers as a tough investigator, a mentor and team player,” Garabedian said.

During the past year, Jellison resolved a number of significant big game cases, obtaining convictions in three separate night hunting incidents. He also investigated the illegal taking of two moose and a black bear. A confession was obtained from the perpetrator, leading to several high-profile convictions.

Ron Shaw of New Hampton was honored as the 2013 OHRV Safety Instructor of the Year. “Shaw is a great advocate of getting youngsters and their parents involved in local clubs,” said Captain John Wimsatt, OHRV education and enforcement coordinator. “He knows it is not all about the hard work, but also about camaraderie and helping your community.”

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

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