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Hunter’s Corner: The dog days of summer came early this year



For the Monitor
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It would appear that the dog days of August started in June this year and continued into July. Baseball caps just don’t provide enough protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

I have been a happy user of Canadian hat maker Tilley. That was the case until my brother gave me a Simms Solar Sombrero. The Simms has a wide brim and is as light as a feather. Simms is a Montana-based company and given the altitude and angle of the sun they’ve created the Solar Sombrero to shield you from those harmful rays.

The summer drought may have some interesting consequences. First, most of the small impoundments are bone dry. In their place has sprouted green lush vegetation. Deer are creatively adaptive. They will change their summer routes to give access to their daily water requirements. They will enjoy they newly found vegetation.

In other parts of the country, a drought will bring on stress to whitetails due to a lack of normal food. New Hampshire is a different story being approximately 84 percent forested and possessing a considerable amount of edge habitat.

The forested areas provide protection for our aquifers. Although old growth forests afford little sustenance to wildlife, there are still alternative food sources available until the fall rains come in September. In the meantime, the periodic storms we have been receiving have been helpful in relieving some of the drought issues.

A real concern is the stress droughts place on oak trees and the acorn crop. Acorns are a prime fall food source for deer, turkeys and other animals. Both deer and turkey population numbers have never been higher. An acorn shortage would make for a challenging winter survival for both.

The 2018 New Hampshire Moose Permit Auction is on. The auction is the Wildlife Heritage Foundation’s primary fundraiser to support programs of Fish and Game. Official bid guideline can be downloaded from the Foundations website at nhwildlifeheritage.org or by calling 496-2778. Sealed bids are due by Aug. 10.

This year marks the 10th annual auction run by the Foundation, which is authorized to auction one permit this year. The highest bidder in the auction will receive a free 2018 moose hunt permit as well as a 2018 general hunting license. Lat year, the auction garnered bids from three states, with the winning bid from a Massachusetts resident of $20,999.99.

“The Foundation relies on the moose permit auction to provide funding to support programs at Fish and Game. Programs such as wildlife conservation and education are essential for the education of our youngsters, who are the future stewards of the natural environment in our great state,” Foundation chair Deborah Coffin said.

Proceeds from the auction help support critical fish and wildlife conservation initiatives, along with education programs of the Department, such as freshwater angler surveys, fish hatchery improvements, deer decoy replacements, lynx camera studies, boardwalk replacement at Great Bay Discovery Center and landowner access programs.

Since its establishment in 2006, the Foundation has awarded over 100 grants to Fish and Game projects, as well as sponsoring multiple years of “Discover Wild NH Day.”

There seems to be a lot of wildlife happenings in the beau colic community of Hillsborough. There have been some black bears on the prowl for some easy meals only to leave disappointed. It would appear that the residents have paid heed to Fish and Game advisories and are not tempting fate with bird feeders, pet food and grills that have not been cleaned.

The other anomaly that is happening this summer is an expansion of the red fox population – so much so that they are being seen during daylight hours.

Normally foxes are nocturnal feeders, however, they’ve been known to be out during daylight hours when they have rabies. Such is not the case here. I suspect the population of voles, field mice and chipmunks may be at risk which is not a bad thing.

So as we enter August, what is a hunter to do?

Well if the hunter utilizes a tree stand this is the perfect time to place your stand on the fall runways, and with landowner permission, trim branches away and establish shooting lanes. The deer are on their summer runways and will not notice the addition of the stands. When they do revert to their fall runways, the stands will appear to be part of the natural surroundings. When hunting season finally arrives, the stand hunter can safely access their stand.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at wfgria@aol.com.)