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Hunter’s Corner: Outdoor adventure lessons, for free

First day of spring, check. Mud season, check. Cabin fever, double check. Fear not, the chemists at Fish and Game have come up with an elixir to cure the current doldrums. On Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. at Fish and Game headquarters, free outdoor adventure talks will be given through May 8 with no registration required.

Here’s the lineup:

∎ Wednesday: Beginner’s Guide to Turkey Hunting

New Hampshire hunting guide and experienced turkey hunter John Asseng will focus on the beginning turkey hunter, covering hunting gear, turkey ID and basic calls needed to take your first bird. This is a must for the first-time turkey hunter.

∎ April 3: Restoring New Hampshire’s Brook Trout Habitat

Eastern brook trout are a prized native fish, but they are threatened by disappearing habitat, rising temperatures, changing water quality and disconnection from spawning habitat. Fisheries Habitat biologist John Magee will lead the session about what the work of Fish and Game biologists, volunteers and concerned anglers is doing to improve habitat for brook trout that will benefit all anglers and anyone that cares about clean water.

∎ April 10: Selecting a Kayak or Canoe

Learn how to choose the right canoe or kayak for your next adventure. There are many choices of paddle-craft available today, suited for every kind of use. This talk will assist in narrowing the selection down to what will be best for your usage, expectations and budget.

∎ April 17: Kayak Camping

Learn how to properly pack a kayak, and what food to bring along. Hear about exciting kayaking destinations close to home. This talk will cover coastal, inland and river kayak camping. Presenter Chuck Joy is the New England representative for several kayak brands including Astral Buoyancy, Liquidlogic, Native Watercraft and Hurricane Kayaks. In his free time you will find Chuck on the water or in the woods of New Hampshire.

∎ April 24: Black Racers and Blandings

If turtles and snakes fascinate you, join non-game biologists Mike Marchand, Brendan Clifford and Loren Vailliere to learn about the amazing diversity of reptiles and amphibians in New Hampshire. This is the time of the year when many reptiles and amphibians are emerging from their winter slumber and traveling to breeding grounds or simply basking in the warming sun.

∎ May 1: Road to Recovery – New England Cottontails/Karner Blue Butterflies.

Non-game biologists Heidi Holman and Brett Ferry will discuss what it takes to ensure rare species remain a part of New Hampshire’s wildlife diversity. This is a first-hand opportunity to learn of the efforts taken to restore these two populations.

∎ May 8: Mosquito Eaters – Bats and Dragonflies

New Hampshire has eight different species of bats, and you will learn which species are most at risk of disappearing because of White Nose Syndrome and how you can help. You will also learn about a statewide effort to document New Hampshire’s diverse dragonfly population. Non-game biologist Emily Preston Brunkhurst and NH Audubon biologist Pam Hunt team up to give you a fascinating look at bats and dazzling dragonflies.

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Shikar-Safari Club International is a much-renowned organization whose mission is to fund education projects relating to wildlife management, hunting and shooting. Annually, they recognize a “Wildlife Officer of the Year” for each state. The 2013 recipient of the award is Conservation Officer Sergeant Wayne T. Saunders, a 17-year veteran of New Hampshire, all of it patrolling northern New Hampshire.

During this past year Sergeant Saunders has taken on many additional responsibilities, primarily by spearheading several public/private partnerships that directly impact and benefit the New Hampshire Fish and Game. Sergeant Saunders’s fund-raising efforts have led to several significant pieces of major equipment being obtained at no additional cost to our sportsmen.

The most significant piece of equipment obtained by the Saunders includes a $40,000 package consisting of a track-driven UTV, an accompanying rescue sled and a fully enclosed heated trailer. This rescue apparatus will be used throughout the northern county of New Hampshire to assist in the care and extraction of injured persons in remote locations.

In the previous year Saunders obtained a grant from a private non-profit group, the Tillotson Fund, to acquire a 20-foot aluminum boat and matching trailer designed to be operated in shallow water for traditional Fish and Game operations, as well as shallow and moving water rescues. This effort raised approximately $100,000 in private funds.

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On April 2, Fish and Game will be holding a public hearing on proposed rules regarding wildlife and hunting, and fishing guides. The hearing is at its Hazen Drive headquarters at 6:30 p.m.

The proposed changes to the Fish and Game wildlife rules would affect information reported by moose hunters, certain trapping requirements, deer pre-damage and depredation permits, baiting permits issuance on the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest, and youth pheasant hunting events at sporting clubs. Complete rule-making notices with original and proposed changes can be viewed at wildnh.com.

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

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