Hunter’s Corner: Deer season coming to an end

Last modified: 12/18/2014 12:49:09 AM
Tomorrow ends the archery deer season and brings to a close another memorable deer hunting year. In checking in with Brad Marshall, he has checked in the second lowest number of deer ever – 54 as of Dec. 12. His lowest year for checking in deer was 1996, with 52. The heaviest doe hit the scales at 138 pounds and heaviest bucket at 204.

The Merrimack River bisects that part of WMU J2 where deer get checked in at Marshall’s. According to Brad, west of the Merrimack River holds bigger but fewer deer. Deer habitat in this part of J2 is in decline with the construction of more and more houses. East of the Merrimack River in J2 holds more but smaller deer. J2 runs from Concord to Moultonborough to the Maine border. Maybe, just maybe, Fish and Game should look at dividing J2 into two units to afford greater management potential.

The 30.06 continues to rank as No. 1 deer getter, followed by 12-gauge slug. Ranking third and fourth were the 308 and 270. This marks for the first time in modern history the 308, by one deer, outscored the 270. Brad noted that all of the successful cartridges were the ammunition he stocked.

Holiday shopping

Not including today, there are 10 shopping days until Christmas. The clock is ticking and there are still lots of temptations to be had that will please the hunter or angler in your family. The first stop on your shopping tour is at the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation (NHWF). They have two firearms raffles going on right now. The first is for a Savage Model 42 over/under .22 WMR/.410 3-inch chamber. This is a perfect plinking combination gun that is well suited for a whole bunch of hunting and shooting opportunities. The tickets for this drawing are $2 each or three for $5 and the drawing will be held Jan. 17 at the NHWF annual meeting.

The other raffle NHWF is holding is for a 12-gauge Beretta 1301 Competition with a 24-inch barrel. This shotgun has a MSRP of $1,240. There are only 100 tickets to be sold at $20 each. The drawing will take place at the 33rd annual conservation banquet April 12, or sooner if all the tickets are sold.

I was at Marshall’s recently when a woman came in looking to buy her boyfriend a shotgun for Christmas. She settled on a Remington Model 860 pump in 12 gauge. She wisely had a backup partner and discussed the potential purchase with him. On the phone he said the 860 was one of the best pumps made and the price being asked was reasonable. Somebody is going to have a very merry Christmas.

If you are thinking of surprising the hunter in your household with a new firearm, my top choice would be the Ithaca Deerslayer II or III. The Deerslayer III boasts of 200-yard accuracy and is designed to be scoped. The Deerslayer II comes with fixed sights and can be scoped. The sales currently ongoing for deer rifles are almost too tempting. All of your major retailers, Dick’s, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, as well as your local retailers, are wheeling and dealing to make room for the 2015 offerings.

From a caliber standpoint, my order of preference would be the .30-06, .270 and .308. If you get into more exotic calibers, you end up paying higher prices for ammunition. Over the years, manufacturers have developed more accurate ammunition, notably it is the bullet configuration that is making this contribution. Such is the case with HS Munitions, Inc. My brother put me onto this Stevensville, Mont., ammo maker. Normally HS Munitions uses Barnes, Speer, Hornady, Swift and others. Of late, it’s been promoting Berger Hunting VLD solid copper bullets and has developed extensive loads for a variety of calibers. The round my brother was using was the 30-06 168-grain Berger Hunting VLD for his one-shot kill. For a complete listing of loads, go to

Now is also the time to upgrade your hunting clothing. Both catalog sales and local retailers are giving significant discounts and you will need to take advantage of the discounts. Both catalogs and local retailers have been having sales on Muck boots. I was able to locate the Arctic version that should be just right for ice fishing when the ponds and lakes finally ice over.

No self-respecting shopping spree can end without a trip to Fish and Game. For the second year in a row, the Association for Conservation Information honored New Hampshire Fish and Game’s calendar as one of the top two wildlife calendars in the nation. Calendars are available for $9.95 and shipping is free for 1-5 calendars.

Starting Jan. 1, hike safe cards will be available. The cost is $25 per person and $35 per family. The cards will not overcome the annual deficit being face by Fish and Game, but could dent the annual cost of providing search and rescue operations. The search and rescue dedicated fund is supported by a $1 fee collected for each boat, snowmobile and OHRV registered in the state. This on average brings in revenue of $180,000 per year. Unfortunately, the annual expenses average in excess of $350,000.

Gift certificates for 2015 licenses are always welcomed and if you are not already subscribing to the New Hampshire Wildlife Journal, you are missing out on one of the best outdoor informational venues in the state, and the photography is exceptional.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at

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