Hunter’s Corner: Watch out for bad news bears

For the Monitor
Monday, June 12, 2017

Bad news bears will always be with us because of bad news humans. There are two important dates that many choose to ignore; Nov. 1 and April 1. Those are the dates you can put up a bird feeder and take down a bird feeder. Black bears have a prodigious snout which affords them a keen sense of smell. They are omnivores. Fermenting birdseed, non-bear proof trash containers, pet food left overnight, and putting meat in compost piles will all emit an odor that will attract bears as will barbecue grills that haven’t been cleaned. The odor will also attract other unwelcome nighttime visitors.

Fish and Games policies have been well researched. The governor did not make a shoot from the hip decision but after a discussion with New Hampshire’s preeminent bear rehabilitator concluded that the bears should be trapped and relocated. What are the potential outcome from the relocation? The bears will lead a normal life in the wilderness, the bears will return to their bad behavior in a new neighborhood and, least likely, the bears will return to Hanover. The bears have been fitted with collars so their movements can be tracked. I think the record for a mature sow returning to the scene of the crime was a four-month journey.

I suspect future bad news bears will be cautiously treated to the existing Fish and Game policy unless there is a compelling argument against it.

Bill Carney recently wrote to the state Senate seeking to undo a wrong that was perpetrated by then Gov. John Lynch in transferring $500,000 from the Public Access Fund to the general fund to balance his budget in 2010. I am still haunted by the lack of protest from the Fish and Game Department. These funds are paid by sportsmen and boaters and are used to match on a 3x1 basis with federal funds. This means that Fish and Game lost the opportunity to invest $2,000,000 in lake access.

Bill went on to remind senators that proposed public water access ramp on Lake Sunapee started in 1990. The process included litigation that has been adjudicated in favor of Fish and Game. The state’s budget is in the committee of conference. Stranger things have happened in this committee in the past, but if the $500,000 were to be replaced in the Public Access Fund, the much-needed Lake Sunapee boat launch could be finally completed. Time will tell if the committee steps up to the plate, transfer the funds and hastens to complete a 27-year-old project.

Sign up time for Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOM) fall workshop has arrived. The weekend workshop will take place on Sept. 8-10 at Rockywold/Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake in Holderness. The workshop fee of $335 includes two nights of lodging plus all meals, instruction and equipment use. Participants must be age 18 or older.

Participants select four sessions from more than 30 different outdoor skills workshops, including archery, fishing, fly fishing, camping, field dressing game, hiking, kayaking, rifle, shotgun, nature photography, outdoor survival, campfire cooking, mountain biking, map and compass and more.

To register, visit nhbow.com and download the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman fall workshop print-and-mail registration form. You can also request a registration form at aquatic-ed@wildlife.nh.gov or by calling 271-3212. Registration forms will be accepted by regular mail only. No walk-in, e-mails, or faxes will be accepted.

The importance of early registration is to get the workshop sessions you want. You can also see a short video about the BOW experience by going to https://youtu.be/K6tFoRSON50.

If you are in need of completing a hunter safety course to enjoy New Hampshire’s fall hunting opportunities, now is the best time to complete the course. The easiest way to complete the course is online and then sign up for field day. Or you can choose the traditional session. While walk-ins are acceptable on a space availability basis, your best bet is to register for the session you want. For more information visit huntnh.com/ hunting/hunter-ed.html. Participants must be at least 12 years old by the last day of the course to achieve certification in basic Hunter Education.

Have you noticed the latest iteration of ATV’s? These are street legal, but there is a rub. If you register it as a regular vehicle you can’t use OHRV trails. If you register as an OHRV you can’t ride on the highways. I am sure there is some compelling logic behind this anomaly, but I fail to see it.

This has been a challenging spring for wildlife. The only species to be unaffected by the rain is wood ducks. This is because wood ducks nest in duck boxes or hollowed out trees. The rest of the duck and goose population may have had their nesting activities altered by higher water levels. The partridge population has taken some severe hits as partridge chicks do not fare well in cold wet conditions. The same may be said for turkey poults. Every spring wildlife biologists go on a listening tour to gauge the strength of mating partridge and woodcock. Every spring biologists survey nesting areas to determine the health and numbers of ducks and geese. I look forward to learning the results of their efforts.