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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Almost....that is, Almost, May at LRDC

We keep hoping...this morning on April 23, I walked the pups in a raging blizzard. It didn't last long, but while it did visibility was about 100 feet...flurries like that all day long. At noon I had range training, and it snowed there too! But back to deer Camp...below is a picture that is almost haunting to me. It is 5 PM and I was walking the pups across the Near Field. At the top, a hundred yards away, these deer stared at us but never ran away. The Shelties were barking and running in large circles, but the deer never moved. Cool.
Here is the first coyote I have on camera in five months, and it is a very large and nasty looking one.
 Up in the fields behind the farm, about eight to twelve deer come out in the evenings and mornings to feed.
 Below is a different herd, feeding across the road up behind the Christmas tree plantation
 Well hello! Face on!
 Plenty of turkeys did survive this nasty winter. We were worried, and there were reports of them falling from the trees, dead of starvation, onto the snowmobile trails. Apparently many of them were able to tree bud through the winter, as they certainly could not walk at all through 20-30 inches of powder. Just around the farm we have at least six large toms, and a dozen hens/jakes.
 Our pals, just fifty feet from our kitchen window, in the garden of course.
 This is the Far Ridge Plot, the farthest from LRDC, and the snow and ice is nearly gone!

 
 What is spring in America without the raucous call of the crow!
We are looking forward to the greening of the Connecticut Valley and the attendant babes that emerge.
Keep us posted on your areas!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Last Hurrah for March @ LRDC

 
          This morning it was 30 degrees and snowing like crazy, so I decided to haul out some trees I had previously cut. These are trees around the Tall Stand food plot, in hopes that I can get a little more fall sun on the plot to give better growth. To say nothing of the four cords we burn over the winter.                           

 
Of course after all that work, I decided to treat myself to a two hour hike on snowshoes again. Once up in the woods I found plenty of places with 20+ inches still on the ground. North slopes mostly. These are the best snowshoes I have ever owned, they are Sherpas. I have only owned three pairs in my lifetime, the first being a set of bear paws, which were always a bit difficult for me to maneuver in tight spots. They got stolen when I was in college, so my next pair was an authentic indian made pair of real moose hide snowshoes. Pretty, expensive, and useless. Great in powder, but wet snow, ice, and water would stick to them until I didn't have the strength to lift them. Yard saled. These Sherpas are perfect, but just discovered that the company no longer exists. Not sure what happened...
Got into a pretty heavy deer yard on my land, and found hundreds of hemlocks stripped like this one for winter food. I found about twenty beds of varying ages and sizes, mostly on ridge tops and southern exposure. I did find a few in thick hemlocks on the steep northern side of hills though. That was a surprise.
Back at deer camp, it was cozy at 35 degrees, and perfect for a late afternoon snack!
There were several inches of snow on all the hemlock branches and this constantly cascaded down on my rifle. Bolt pulled, waiting to dry and then we'll clean and lube once again!
Below are some of the deer that have been making the beds I found. Most groups have been in fine shape through the winter but a few of this group are absolutely gaunt. Hope this little guy makes it...
 Mr. gray, back again.
 Mr. and Mrs. I am sure. Babes in one of these.
 Mom and spring babes. Looking in good shape.
 
These guys could use some green food!
A shot of the deep woods deer yard I was in today...

 
 Hope you are all able to get outside some, the weather is great!
 

 

Friday, March 20, 2015

March at It's Worst at Long Ridge

Entering the last week of March here in New Hampshire, and it is snowing like mad, 18 degrees and beautiful. The beauty of course is only that those nasty winds from the hinterlands have gone away. It is calm out, and I just stood in the woods and listened to it snow. With the pups. Cool.
I took a snow shoe hike yesterday, and lugged my venture predator in case a stray Coyote heaved into sight (none did). I saw only deer and fox tracks. No coyote, fisher, squirrel, raccoon, grouse.
 
 I did come across these two very large deer beds. These are not in a yard, or in evergreens, but quite out in the open, a ridge behind, and a long sloping hill down on the other. A great vantage point, and I would guess these were two bucks bedding together.


 
 Gorgeous view from the Overlook, Monadnock is a bit to the right, and quite small from here. Just below me in the talus are some several dens. Raccoons, porcupine, bobcat and fisher use the rock slopes during the winter.
Meanwhile back near camp here is a healthy looking doe, quite pregnant. Hang in there mama!
 Mom and last spring's babe eating together (Mom won't tolerate any others this way, attesting to the large wads of hair I find quite often...)
 Not sure of this gray is chasing something or just running through.
 Second picture of a raccoon this spring.
 More of the herd.
 And here is a dual shot of a bluejay in flight, and the top of a rabbit raiding our bird feeder. Mr. Rabbit appears to be spending the winter across the road under the studio.
So while it is still winter here, with every stream and river frozen solid still, life is appearing, and the bird songs are changing. The sap should be running, but is not. It is very sporadic, and I am afraid this season will end before we get a decent amount of sugar! Let me know what you are up too!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Winter is Broken at Long Ridge Deer Camp!

 
 Winter's back is broken just this week. It has hit 40 degrees at times, and we only have about 14 inches of snow left in the front yard. To be sure, there is much more up on the North slopes in the woods, but spring is in the air! The first two pictures of deer are from back in January, when we had no idea how nasty a winter this would be...
 


 Below is the LRDC herd as of yesterday, and they all look fairly vigorous. I put out a bit of corn to take inventory. This group comes from the Southern tier where they yard up in thick hemlocks, about 2-3 hundred yards away.
 This Gray fox also seems to be OK. The 2-3 feet of constant and fluffy snow all winter made it nearly impossible for these guys and coyotes to move. Many starved. We had below zero temps for weeks at a time, and no let up in storms. Now crusts are forming in the warmer days, and these guys can travel at night to hunt now. They are whelping out this month.
 I went in camp today and found it to be forty degrees! A week ago, it was 8 degrees in here, and three weeks ago, -10 degrees! Anyway, the bags of seed are beginning to accumulate for spring plantings...
 

 While the snowmobiles are not quite done, the writing is on the wall, and pretty soon, these guys come out of hibernation and go to work (and pleasure).
 This is the near field, just South of camp. The plowed road across it is my logging road, and leads to where I clear a place for the deer above the Christmas tree plantation. In three weeks it will be too soft to travel on.
 This is lonely and forsaken LRDC today. Where I have cleared it is thawing out fast, and as soon as we have bare ground, campfire wood will begin to appear between these posts!
 
It may seem premature to be thinking of deer season this early, but in reality, there is so much to do, we'll hardly be ready for September. If you ever thought of starting your own deer camp, no matter where you live, or whatever your resources, now is the time to start planning. Not sure where to start?
Email me!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Long Ridge Deer Camp Catch UP Number Two

This early fall doe is very curious about this mock scrape near the East Plot. I had many different bucks and does visit this scrape. It is the first mock scrape I have EVER had decent results with, and I have learned the secret!
 Just another little guy on feed.
 This is the only picture I got this year of deer shedding velvet. This guy is almost done.
 The two little fellows we have been watching all summer made great growth by September!
 
 Dec-Jan Annual Long Ridge Deer Census. Plenty survived the season!
 Camp one, early November. Luna the Sheltie standing watch.
 Bruce's delicious sauces always make venison, moose etc. so much better!
 venison stir fries almost as good.
Camp two, and time to bunk in...Kalie, our other Sheltie loves to camp out too!
 
 
 Nasty looking coyote up behind the Christmas tree plantation.

 
 Adam's buck taken during Camp two
 Last camp below saw some snow. We had some great hunts, saw tons of deer and already planning next year.
Comments and questions welcome!

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