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Hunter

Hunters Corner: Northern N.H. an outdoorsman’s playground

In Horace Greeley’s day, the word was: Go west, young man, go west. If there was a modern day Horace Greeley viewing recreational opportunities in New Hampshire, the operative advice would be: Go north, young man, go north.

First, Second and Third Connecticut Lakes along with Lake Francis and Back Lake afford some of the most exciting angling experiences New Hampshire can offer. The areas surrounding Pittsburg contain numerous small ponds that delight the fly fisherman. The Connecticut River offers outstanding rainbow and brown trout fishing opportunities. These are all exceptional cold water fisheries. If you want to get away from the maddening crowds for a little peace and quiet, north is the direction you want to travel.

Also home to Pittsburg during winter, when there is adequate snowfall, are some of the best groomed snowmobile trails in the state. There is another season that is advancing and that involves ATV trails. I would not be surprised in the next few years, owing to more months in use, if ATVs exceed snowmobiles.

The crown jewel of recreational opportunities north of the notch is hunting. Snowshoe hare, woodcock, partridge and several pheasant release sites fill up the small game menu. Deer, bear and moose complete the big game menu. While the southern part of New Hampshire has greater deer populations with a smattering of trophy class bucks, the northern part of the state has greater populations of trophy class bucks. A friend has a family owned deer camp in Stark. He doesn’t get a deer every year, but when he does, it is a brute. He has taken three bucks that could easily make the top 10 overall lists.

Be it a week or a weekend, heading north of the notch should be on your list. The best time for the hunter and angler who wants a surf-and-turf adventure is early October. Fall fishing is tops and the small game season is under way. Factor in our exceptional fall colors and you are in for a sweet time.

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed earlier this week to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species. The decision will once again return control of the species to state wildlife agencies. Several states in the Great Lakes – most notably Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan – and Northern Rocky Mountain regions have already regained management of the gray wolf as its population in these areas exceeded recovery goals by as much as 300 percent. The species was delisted in these areas in 2011 and 2012, and since then has set successful management hunts.

Protections offered by the endangered species list will still be in effect for the Mexican wolf, a threatened subspecies of the gray wolf in parts of the Southwest, principally New Mexico.

During the 1930s, the gray wolf was on the precipice of extinction. Conservationists began introducing wolves transported from Alaska and Canada to reclaim a part of their native habitat. Today there are an estimated 6,100 gray wolves in the lower 48 states, while 7,000 to 11,000 reside in Alaska.

Craig Kauffman, president of Safari Club International (SCI), supported the measure and applauded the service’s use of scientific analysis in coming to its decision. However, some animal rights groups believe the wolf population is still too vulnerable to be delisted, and immediately after the USFWS made the announcement, Defenders of Wildlife (DOW) released a statement that called the proposal “irresponsible” and began a petition demanding the wolves not be removed from the list. Following the proposal, the USFWS is holding a 90-day comment period and will review information submitted by the public.

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Our marine fisheries have been in decline for several years. Striper fishing is at the mercy of stocks of menhaden and mackerel. Ground fish have undergone length limits in order to maintain numbers. This is some of the background leading up to the training session to help improve marine fisheries by demonstrating the best handling practices when releasing fish. The meeting will provide methods and released devices being used on the west, south Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts.

You will view several videos on ways to reduce barotrauma (the effects on deep water-caught fish that, when raised to the surface, have extended surface, gas-filled eyes, bladder and esophagus). These effects will not let them swim back down when released at the surface and thus cause high release mortality.

The Angler Port meeting will be held Thursday from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Road in Portsmouth. If you are planning to do some deep sea fishing this summer, this is a must-attend event. For more information, you may call Kevin Sullivan at 868-1095 or Paul Perra at 978-281-9153.

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

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