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Hunter’s Corner: A full day of fun at the Sportsmen’s Banquet

The Trinity Baptist Church at 80 Clinton St. in Concord will be holding its ninth annual Sportsmen’s Banquet on Saturday. Over the years this has evolved into an all-afternoon event.

At noon, Bob Wyatt will be teaching a course in room 215 called Fly Tying for Beginners. The Wyatts run a charter service on the big lakes. If you attend this session, make sure Bob shows you his perch fly patterns – they are absolutely killers on salmon.

From 1-5 p.m., John Charpentier will be showing Hunting and Fishing in New Hampshire Videos in room 115.

At 1, Lew Marston will be demonstrating Horn Rattling in room 213.

Also at 1, Scott Jackson will have a session called Becoming a Licensed New Hampshire Guide in room 114.

At 2, Craig Rennie and Wade Reed will be providing an overview of methods, techniques, habitat and biology of bear hunting in New Hampshire.

Also at 2, Brandon Reed and Bill Wilson will be hosting a session on food plots to freezer, trail cameras and deer hunting tips in room 213.

At 3, Steve Rothdiener, Randy Reed and Tim Wilson will be Turkey Talking in room 213.

Also at 3, Scott Jackson will be leading a session on trapping in room 114.

At a time to be determined, in room 114, Ed Kunelius will be giving a live demonstration called Butchering and Processing Venison.

The afternoon culminates with a buffet dinner, which includes wild game dishes.

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We are about a month and a half away from one of New Hampshire’s most challenging hunting seasons – spring turkey. Don’t be left out because you have not completed a hunter or bowhunter education course. To accommodate the increasing number of people taking the online Hunter Education course, more than a thousand people completed the online course in 2012; the program will be offering additional field days this year. Those taking Hunter Education on line must complete their testing and hands-on requirements at a structured field day event.

Last year, trained volunteer Hunter Education instructors presented: 65 traditional Hunter Education courses, with 1,886 students certified; 37 Bowhunter Education courses, with 1,084 students certified; and 26 online Hunter Education course field days, with 723 students certified. Overall, the program certified 3,935 new hunters in 2012.

“We urge people to try to get your course in early in the year, especially if you want to go turkey hunting in May,” said Hunter Education Coordinator Josh Mackay. “Don’t delay, because spring classes and online field days are filing up fast.”

For more information, go to or call 271-3214.

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The 2012 NH Trophy Fish Winners were announced, and not surprisingly Robb and I didn’t make the cut. The Trophy Fish Program was created in the 1970s, although the state’s record fish information dates back to 1911.

“Over the years the Trophy Fish Program provides us valuable data on fish populations not normally reported to us,” Fisheries Biologist and Trophy Fish Program Coordinator Don Miller noted. “And almost every year, a new state record is reported, which says a lot about New Hampshire’s fisheries.”

Three state records were documented in 2012. Andrew White of Vernon, Vt., caught a 30-inch long, 11-pound, 6.88 channel catfish out of the Connecticut River in Hinsdale. Earlier in the same month, White had caught a 10-pound, 3.52-ounce channel catfish in the same waters. Timothy Moore Jr. of Portsmouth caught a record grey triggerfish weighing 2 pounds, 1.12 ounces and measuring an impressive 15.5 inches in length. Marc Schloss of Northboro, Mass., caught a 9-pound, .06-ounce, 21.25-inch long tautog (or Blackfish) in Hampton Harbor. That is an amazing new state record. I never knew New Hampshire had tautog. Known elsewhere as tog, they are a great eating fish.

There are 14 categories of “catch and release” species and 11 categories of “kept” fish registered in the 2012 Trophy Fish Program. Of the 83 entrants, 11 anglers – or 13 percent – were under 15 years old. Samuel Bennett, age 15, of New Boston caught and released a 15-inch black crappie. That is definitely worthy of a “Trophy Fish” shoulder patch.

This year is off to a great start, with the verified new record northern pike caught on Feb. 16 this year. Kevin Phelps of Monroe caught a 24-pound, 9.44-ounce at the Moore Reservoir on the Connecticut River. This was definitely a “we’re going to need a bigger boat” fish. Another wow factor is the fact that three lake trout were entered that weighed 20 pounds plus.

The simple bottom line for New Hampshire fishing is the fisheries are in great shape and you need to get out there and take a chance at landing a big one.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at

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