Hunter’s Corner: Wildlife watching in the Capital City
Concord is 64 square miles, about the same size as Washington, DC. Our major advantage over DC is that we enjoy many thousands of acres of land that will never be developed. Those acres serve as home to numerous animals.
Currently catching the public attention are several moose. First it was a pair of teenage moose who got disorientated enjoying a night on the town and had to be carefully relocated to suitable moose habitat. Next, it was a cow moose and her calf that showed up, also in the South End. Finally, it was another young moose that showed up in West Concord. For some reason, moose have been providing “OH WOW” moments for several lucky Concord residents, many of whom have never had the opportunity to observe a moose.
They really are gentle giants whose only problem is a parasite that is transmitted from whitetail deer. Once they have the parasite, it will eventually destroy a moose’s brain, leaving the only option to have the moose euthanized.
While Concord will never come close to the problems experienced by the town of Warren with black bears, we do have a noticeable black bear population. This is why it is important to observe when it is time to take down your bird feeders and when it is safe to put them back up.
Whitetail deer will always capture the fascination of wildlife viewers. Three dusk and dawn viewing sites that offer good viewing chances are the fields surrounding Iron Works Road, Potter’s fields on Oak Hill and the hillside on 393. Time of year and food offerings will determine whether or not deer will be there to view.
Another favorite to watch are the wild turkeys. Currently, the poults are softball-sized transitioning into football-sized. Their singular mission is feeding with an eye for avoiding predators. I’m not sure when they can take to flight to roost at night, but this is an important milestone in their life cycle. In the greater Concord area, it was a good nesting time for turkeys. Lots of poults have been spotted, so it bodes well for fall turkey season.
In East Concord, someone has spotted what they think is a lynx. If this were true, it would be the farthest south lynx have traveled. It was far bigger than a bobcat and didn’t have the coloration of a bobcat. Just over the line in Bow, another friend spotted a cougar. The size and coloration and size of the footprint suggest that it just might have been a cougar.
For a capital city, we are blessed to have the wildlife that thrives around us. When taking one of the many hiking trails that dot the city, stay alert and you, too, may have an “OH WOW” moment.
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Wildlife Management Unit M antlerless deer permits are now for sale. Up to 4,000 permits will be sold on a first-come first-served basis. At the time of purchase, hunters may opt for a permit with one ($13) or two ($26) deer tags. Applicants must hold a current New Hampshire hunting or archery license.
Special Unit M permits have been issued in New Hampshire since 1997. They reflect a long-term objective in the state’s big game management plan to reduce deer numbers in southeastern New Hampshire in order to sustain regional herd health and to minimize deer-human conflicts, such as vehicle collisions and destructive browsing of agricultural and ornamental plants. High human densities and associated levels of development in southeastern New Hampshire result in greater potential for deer-human conflicts and complicate deer population control efforts.
Interested hunters can purchase permits over the counter at Fish and Game headquarter, online at nhfishandgame.com, by printing a mail-in application fromhuntnh.com, or by calling 271-3422 to request a permit application by mail.
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Land owners surrounding Hot Hole Pond have a problem with shore bank erosion. To assist in alleviating the problem, it has been posted as a no-wake pond. Unfortunately, not everybody can read and the no-wake restriction is not being uniformly complied with. To make matters worse, there is no enforcement of the restriction by Fish and Game or Marine Patrol. My suggestion would be to form a neighborhood watch and put Fish and Game on speed dial. I don’t think Marine Patrol has that many officers to begin with.
(Bob Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)