Washburn: September weather ideal to be out and about hunting

For the Monitor
Published: 8/26/2019 5:05:57 PM

I get tired of the insurance commercial featuring an emu pecking at his image in a window, but I’ve come across a more interesting local version. A friend of mine purchased a used 24-foot camper, stripped all of the contents out and uses it as a storage container. He noticed indentations in the aluminum siding exterior, and at first thought it had been shot with bird shot, until he noticed the dents were on all four sides.

The culprit it turns out were six tom turkeys. They would see their reflection in the aluminum siding and proceeded to peck at what was a perceived challenge.

Turkey tale No. 2: My daughter, her husband and their three kids were camping in Maine near the end of July. For two nights in a row, a hen turkey and her poults roosted in a tree near where they were camping. The poults pecked at each other to secure a more favorable spot on the branch. I had no idea this was part of their routine but it made for some interesting game watching.

The crow season opened Aug. 15 and will run through Nov. 30. The crow has no natural enemies so why hunt them? Because they have no natural enemies and they represent an excellent opportunity to improve your wing shooting skills. You have to be careful as they may be carriers of EEE or other mosquito-borne diseases.

Sunday marks the opening of the resident Canada goose season and runs until Sept. 25. The daily limit is five. The spring waterfowl survey has indicated poor nesting results for Canada geese and mallards, so when the regular waterfowl season opens, the daily limit on geese is two and the number of mallards is also reduced. They are called resident geese because they don’t migrate. Golf course superintendents refer to the resident geese as sky rodents for obvious reasons. If you have ever played on a course the has a goose problem you understand why.

Sunday also marks the opening of the black bear season. With an estimated bear population of 5,800 all indications suggest 2019 has the prospects of being a potential record breaker. Bear density has little to do with a heavy kill number. It is all about hard and soft mast. Fish and Game biologists have yet to complete their mast assessment however – initial observations suggest fall mast crops are spotty at best.

Beech, mountain ash and black cherry are cyclical in nature and are not expected to be a food factor this year. This means that the bears will have to travel greater distances to bulk up for winter. This affords greater hunter contacts with bears in search of food. Apple orchards and cornfields could be subject to bear feeding efforts. Hunters who connect the dots and find out where the bears are feeding will be rewarded. Hunters are encouraged not to shoot sows with cubs. 2017 was a good year for breeding for sows and they will have their cubs in tow. They haven’t been taught how to den up yet and their survival would be in doubt if the sow was taken.

The next season opening Sunday is the squirrel season. You cannot hunt squirrels in cemeteries, parks, or within the municipal compact. These birdfeeder burglars are a nemesis to many homeowners.

Most of the elements of deer hunting are found in squirrel hunting. It is an excellent opportunity to teach young hunters and the September weather couldn’t be better to be out and about. Where to go is simple, oak trees surrounding cornfields provide all of the basic food groups to keep a squirrel’s maximum attention.

The opening of the fall archery deer and turkey season lands on Sept. 15. With back-to-back animal friendly winters and the prospect of a decent white oak acorn crop in the greater Concord area, I suspect this could be a record-setting year for both deer and turkey this fall.

The acorns are already dropping. They seem smaller than in previous years and are dropping in bunches as opposed to one at a time. Friends of mine have observed fawns that have transitioned into their fall coats leaving behind their old camouflaged ones.

I was lucky to get a WMU L bonus tag so I will be spending a lot more time in L before the regular firearms season opens up. This is the second year in a row for the new system for assigning hunters bonus tags in L and it is working out quite well for those hunters interested in securing a permit.

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