Transitioning from fishing season to hunting season
Normally, the transition from fishing to hunting season is met by fond anticipation of another year of hunting. This year was a little different because of the purchase of a Lund Fury in April. Never did I anticipate the performance of this well-designed fishing boat would exceed my expectations in every way.
My first step in preparing it for winter was to take it to Green’s Marine for fall service. Many do this themselves but, not being mechanically inclined, I opted for Green’s. Essentially this means all the filters and lubricants are changed and come spring with a turn of the ignition key, it is ready to go for another fun season.
The next challenge was to locate storage. Ranee was quite specific that she wants the garage back so she can get her car out of the winter elements. Basically you have two choices. Have it plastic wrapped and store it outside or store it inside. With a heavy snow predicted, winter storing outside was not really an option.
NH Motor Speedway stores boats and cars in the bays that are normally used to repair racing cars. These are great storage bays fully secure from the elements and interlopers. If you want some information on the storage availability, give Debra a call at 783-4744 and tell her Ray suggested you call (it is an inside joke).
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The muzzleloading deer season opened Saturday. It was one of the quietest openings I can remember. The only discharges I heard were those from waterfowl hunters shooting at ducks and geese.
Normally I would be hearing a muzzleloader discharge coming from a variety of locations. Hunting conditions were pretty good for an opening day.
I hunted toward the low area (swamps) in the morning and ridge lines in the afternoon. I bumped into another hunter in the afternoon who was a familiar face over the years. He had spotted two deer, one of which he watched for a considerable time.
He is a buck-only hunter and did not take the shot because no matter how long he looked at the deer, he could not see the head.
While traveling home, I noticed an impressive buck in the back of truck in the driveway of my friend Howie. I stopped immediately to take a look. It turned out to be an eight-point buck that hit the field-dressed scales at 182 pounds. But there were other anomalies about this buck.
It had broken its right leg just above the hoof and had re-grown a patch of about four inches of bone. This particular buck had the longest legs I have ever observed. The distance between the belly and the ground was an amazing 26-plus inches. The final amazing thing about this buck was that it was totally infested with ticks.
So what do you do with a deer with ticks? I checked in with my brother Ted, who is a retired New York conservation officer who retired several years ago to Bozeman, Mont.
All I know is that every time I return from a visit from Montana, Ranee just looks at me and says, ‘don’t even think of it.’ Ted caught a recent snowfall at the right time and easily filled his elk cow permit.
On the tick issue, he offered the following advice. With a tick-infested deer, hang it up for a few days until the host achieves ambient temperature and the ticks will die and fall off the host. As long as the temperatures remain in the 40s, this is a good plan of action and no problem. If the temperatures drift into the 50s, there may be a problem with potential meat spoilage.
I called down to Lemay’s in Goffstown to see if they were experiencing any deer processing problems as a result of ticks. The answer was no.
When you leave a deer at Lemay’s for processing, it is skinned and the resulting carcass is treated for any remaining hair and other items are removed. If you are pressed for time with changing temperature problems, Lemay’s is a good option at 622-0022. If the temperatures are on your side, you can easily process your own deer.
On Sunday, Robb and I were hunting on some higher ground than I was hunting on Saturday. At about 8:30, I heard a shot that I thought may have come from Robb. It didn’t.
It did come from a hunter I had met several times over the years. He shot the six-point buck on a ridge line. My sense is the acorn crop has dispersed the deer herd, so until the more severe weather comes in, they will be spread out. When the weather comes, on the bad days they will concentrate near the swamps and on the good days will be on the ridge lines.
The rut will dominate buck and doe activity.
I have been hunting what used to be a deer honey hole in years past, but not this year. For some odd reason, there are no acorns in this area and, as a result, no deer. The deer and turkeys are feeding on acorns with abandon as they bulk up for winter. No matter where I have been, hunting pressure has been light.
A friend who is an avid hiker recently found a shed antler. I now have an interesting five-point antler that will make a great paper weight. The matching missing antler would have made this a dandy 10-pointer. The buck was probably at least 5½ years old and the type of mature buck that all deer hunters seek.
(Bob Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)