Hunter’s corner: A near perfect opening to the deer season

For the Monitor
Published: 12/3/2018 9:25:44 PM

Well, it’s been an interesting deer season so far. It started out when Scott was supposed to buy a new scoped rifled barreled slug gun that didn’t come through as ordered.

So a week before, he picked up my Eastfield and he and his son Bret took them out to sight them in. Both guns were spot on at 50 yards and had a reasonable grouping at 80 yards.

On opening day there were five of us, My son Robb, and his friend Mel, Scott, his son Bret and me.

You need to understand that there are three areas where deer are at during the season: The feeding area, the bedding area and the breeding area. Because there are no acorns this year, the feeding area has changed, but the breeding areas and the bedding areas have not.

It was a near-perfect opening, a light dusting of snow on the ground, cold temperatures, with the only remaining leaves on beach and oak trees. We couldn’t be happier with the opening. Robb slipped on some ice and promptly broke the forearm on my Mossberg slug gun.

We picked an area that we know deer would be present, and they were. Scott, Robb and Mel were positioned to move into me and Bret. Robb and Mel jumped a big wide-bodied deer with no shot to be taken. Bret and me moved into our stands. Bret jumped five does, and although it wasn’t buck fever, I have a strong belief it might have been doe fever.

Bret took the shot and missed. I phoned Scott as I though the shot must have come from Bret. Scott conformed that Bret had missed. It turned out to be the most fortuitous miss Bret ever made.

Later on, Bret watched a big buck move along a stone wall. He shot and the deer dumped in its tracks. Bret called his dad to tell him that he had just dumped a big buck. Scott answered back that he had watched the whole event and that if he would look over his back shoulder, he could see him.

While Scott, Robb and Mel worked a new patch, I took Bret to Brad Marshall’s to check in his deer. It turned out the field dressed buck hit the scale at 155 pounds and had a perfect eight-point rack.

Later on, we went to another spot where we had always seen deer. We were not disappointed. Scott jumped three deer and they promptly pushed off into the swamp. The wind was swirling. No deer came my way. It was a good start but no deer for either Scott and me.

The nest day we were back in the same area. Once again, Scott jumped three deer and once again they bolted to the swamp. I moved to get a stand in another area and jumped two does with no shot to be had. Rats! But we were still seeing deer.

That afternoon we had decided to take stands with the knowledge that a weather front was coming through which should have caused movement. I had a perfect stand, it was a circular patch with a sage ring around it with some kind of vegetation that the deer wee munching on in the middle.

The deer were moving through it and around it. Nothing happened that afternoon. With darkness moving in I headed back to my truck. When I got back to the truck and took my hunting clothes off, I discovered that I had lost the keys to my truck.

When the mild panic subsided, I attempted to reconstructed what had happened. I figured instead that instead of putting my keys in my pocket I had put them between by insulated bib overalls and my hunting pants. I retraced my steps and there they were in my ground stand. Phew! Had I not found them they would be there until spring.

I went to Brad’s to order a replacement forearm for the Mossberg and my timing was perfect. While there, a hunter from Loudon brought in a beautiful buck to be weighed in as when he registered the buck, they did not have a scale. Oh my.

The buck hit the scale at 215 pounds and it was a perfect 3x3 with a 1-inch kicker making it a seven-point buck. Brad filled out the paper work for the luck hunter to claim his trophy deer patch as it hit the scales at over 200 pounds. Had he been able to hit the scales on the day he registered it would had been between 220 and 225 pounds. He shot it with a muzzleloader.

The deer numbers are in and it has been a great or near great deer season so far with a reported harvest as of Nov. 25 of 11,648. This represents a five percent increase over 2017 and the highest in the last nine years. With snow on the ground, deer hunting couldn’t get any better. The snow enhances visibility and facilitates tracking a wounded deer. The final days of the deer season are the best of all opportunities.

The Wildlife Heritage Foundation has awarded eight grants totaling $50,728 providing support to help keep New Hampshire’s wild things and wild places wild. “It’s always a challenge to narrow down the incredibly important proposals in such a way that we can make both a lasting impact on New Hampshire’s great outdoors, while sustaining future efforts, including funding that will help us make these enhancements last as long as possible for the benefit of our great state,” said Deborah L. Coffin, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Throughout the year, the Foundation has raised charitable contributions to fund these and other projects, activities and events. These recent grants were largely funded through the annual auction of a moose permit hunting license and generous support from Engel Entertainment, producers of North Woods Law New Hampshire.

The Foundation funded dive team replacement gear, including face masks with updated underwater communication devices and 20 new SCUBA tanks. Coffin explained, “We are fortunate to have such a great service in New Hampshire, even though most of our dive team missions are for search and recovery operations. It’s one of those Fish and Game Department services that we don’t often like to think about, but we all know is vital and necessary. I’m always amazed at the heroic nature of our dive team and am happy that the Foundation can once again provide this critical funding need for the safety of our Conservation Officers.”

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