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Hunters Corner: Culling crows and other tidbits

I suffered a senior moment in last week’s column when I wrote about the dates of the March crow season. The actual March crow season runs March 16-31. My apologies to the crows (not really).

Crows are incredible scavengers that have no natural enemies. As a result, they have become a certified nuisance. If you put your trash out in those purple bags too early, I guarantee that before the bags get picked up, the crows will peck their way in for a snack or two. With the snow cap receding, this is a perfect opportunity to hunt crows and hunt sheds.

Last night, the clocks were advancing one hour to signify the return of daylight saving time. On March 20, we celebrate the vernal equinox, marking the first day of spring. Perhaps, just perhaps, the woodchuck got it right. The bottom line is while there may be a few storms that come our way, from my way of thinking winter is history. As the sun azimuth continues to increase and the number hours of daylight increases on a minute-by-minute basis, winter will quickly become a fading memory.

The big lakes are posing a problem for ice fisherman. There is currently a snow cap and under the snow cap is water and under the water is poor quality ice. The ice is slowly receding from the shoreline. The bottom line is that if you wait until the April 1 deadline for removing your bobhouse, you are not going to make it. Better to err on the side of caution and remove it now.

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After decades of absorbing the costs of search and rescue operations and other increasing costs, the Fish and Game fund is projected to be fully depleted by the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. Included in HB 2 is the proposal to support Fish and Game with $550,000 in FY 2014 and $745,000 in FY 2015 in general funds; this includes $200,000 per year for the search and rescue fund. Search and rescue operations are funded by a $1 fee on every boat, snowmobile, OHRV and ATV registration. The typical annual deficit exceeds $200,000 and is drawn down from the Fish and Game fund, which is funded by hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, which in turn is used to match Dingle-Johnson and Pittman-Robinson federal dollars.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s most recent survey reports anglers, hunters and wildlife watchers spent $112 million on food and lodging. Wildlife-associated recreation contributed $556 million in expenditures to this state’s economy, of which hunters and anglers spent $275 million and wildlife watchers spent $281 million. By the numbers in 2011, counting people age 16 and older, there were 56,000 hunters, 228,000 anglers and 630,000 who watched wildlife.

Fish and Game programs support clean water, clean air and a healthy environment for wildlife (game and non-game) and the people who enjoy the wonders of outdoor New Hampshire and they deserve your financial support.

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There are two workshops taking place in April at the Owl Brook Hunter Center in Holderness. The reason for the heads-up is that space is limited and, as a consequence, pre-registration is required.

The first session will be a big game processing workshop on April 6 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (lunch is not included). At the workshop, Rick Warbin, owner of Baker River Deer Farm in Wentworth, will give a basic overview of the steps involved in processing your own big game animal. The session will cover basic field dressing, tips to avoid meat spoilage, skinning and capeing, equipment needs, determining cuts of meat, boning the meat, and packaging tips. Warbin has many years of experience in the butchering business, so bring all your questions.

The second workshop covers turkey hunting and takes place on April 13 from 9 a.m.-noon. “Whether you’re a beginner turkey hunter or a veteran looking for some new techniques, this course is for you,” Owl Brook manager Tom Flynn said.

At the workshop, Dave Priebe, a hunter education instructor and Quaker Boy Turkey Calls pro staff member, will cover the basics of turkey hunting, turkey calling, turkey hunting safety and patterning your shotgun. Wildlife Division Chief Mark Ellingwood will talk about the natural history and behavior of wild turkeys.

Tom Flynn can be reached at 536-3954 to pre-register.

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There was a glimmer of good news this past week with the announcement that Bass Pro Shops is coming to Hooksett. This is going to be a very convenient location and I can’t wait for the grand opening.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at

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