Hunter’s corner: Warm temperatures meaning early green-up

For the Monitor
Published: 4/2/2016 11:55:39 PM

Wow! It is April already. I guess time flies when you’re having a good time (not really). The rain we experienced in the first part of the week was a blessing. The pre-green-up period is always a delicate transition for wildlife and possible grass fires. In a normal winter season, deer would be in tenuous condition being on the verge of starvation; however, the winter of 2015-16 couldn’t have been a better winter. They went into winter in fine shape. The winter index of days below zero and snow in excess of 18 inches held to a record low. As a result, deer are not stressed out, and should easily make it to green-up.

As should the turkey population. The bear population, as they emerge from their semi-hibernation, are justifiably hungry and looking for a quick bird seed fix, but they too should make it to green-up. Bears are omnivores, and although fresh spring grass will not be very satisfying, it will get them through until they can get more sustainable subsistence.

The real problem we have right now is grass fires. The projected precipitation for this weekend is the perfect prescription to lower the fire risk and facilitate green-up.

Fish and Game will be holding some interesting seminars this month.

On April 6, according to the N.H. Fish and Game website, Dave Priebe will “discover the time-honored tradition of spring turkey hunting in New Hampshire.” Priebe is a certified N.H. Hunter Education Instructor and Quaker Boy Game Calls Pro staff member. The ad continues: “Priebe draws on countless hours of experience to present the fundamentals of hunting spring gobblers. You will learn the basics of turkey hunting, turkey calling and turkey hunting safety.”

On April 20, Scott Jackson will lead a seminar on trolling including trolling speeds, depths and bait used by expert fishing guides. Scott Jackson is with The Great North Woods Guide Service. Both seminars are being held at Fish and Game headquarters and begin at 7 p.m.

At 7 p.m. on April 13, the Reel Paddling Film Festival will be held at the Red River Theatres. Sit back and enjoy adventure travel and documentary films with, as the website called it, “amazing outdoor scenery from around the world.” The films show vantages as seen by canoe, kayak and stand-up paddle board, plus kayak fishing adventures. By visiting, the ticket price is $12 or $15 at the door.

Spring fishing conditions are more advanced this year then I can ever remember. Maine advanced their opening by two weeks. I don’t think New Hampshire has that flexibility. It you pay attention, you will observe New Hampshire hatchery trucks delivering 1 million catchable-size trout ready for this season.

Conservation officers are doing temperature checks to determine if the lakes, ponds, rivers and streams are suitable for stocking. To appreciate the massive effort required, you need to understand the hatchery system. The Berlin Fish hatchery provides the three primary trout species to the North Country, including the northern reaches of Grafton and Carroll counties. The Twin Mountain and Warren hatcheries provide trout to the White Mountain Region.

Powder Mill Hatchery also provides rainbow trout and land-locked salmon for New Hampshire’s large lakes program.

The Milford Fish Hatchery has a distinct advantage of well water, which provides favorable growing temperatures year-round. The New Hampton Hatchery accommodates central New Hampshire all the way to the White Mountains.

Hatchery operations are funded by license sales and federal Sport Fish Restoration funds. The Restoration funds are excise taxes levied on fishing gear that go back to the states to support fishing programs.

Please note that Discover Wild New Hampshire Day is set for April 16 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Fish and Game headquarters. There will be over 60 outdoor and conservation organizations from throughout the state. This is a rain or shine event, and food concessions will be available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Please note that no dogs, except service dogs and working animals, will be permitted at the event. This rule will be strictly enforced.

Bob Washburn can be reached at


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