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Sunday, March 30, 2014

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb at Long Ridge

March has been brutal, not unusual. A few days ago the temps were 0-3 degrees and tons of snow. Then wham, changeover, several inches of rain, and we are over the hump. Because of the deep snow, crust and so many days below zero degrees, I took special pains this winter to monitor the deer herd. I am concluding that they did just fine. So did the gray fox you see below.
These five deer stuck together all winter, bedding up in softwoods, and venturing out as long as there was no crust. About three weeks ago, they completely disappeared, and I feared coyotes hit their bedding area.
 This little coon was a constant also.
 Probably me and the pups putting these deer to flight.
 This is the other side of the road from the above pictures, and right in our back yard.
 Below there are three little guys bedded on the south facing bare slope.
 Below is the route I snow shoed to get into the deer yard that had been abandoned. I figured I would find multiple deer kills.
 I am right in the middle of the bedding area, and fifty percent of the young hemlocks are bark stripped by deer. But no fresh tracks, no beds newer than several weeks, and no found deer kills.
 Further hiking showed me that the entire group had moved in a large circle to southern slopes behind our house. They are regular visitors, have eaten back two brand new small apple trees I planted in the spring, but are nonetheless welcome.
 Here is a week old deer bed.
 So, now that the deer are fine, it's off to other things. Below we watch the guys who manage our sugar orchards boil the sap. We are hoping for at least another three or four day run, and then it will be over.
Let me know what you've all been up too!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Typical New Hampshire Winter

We're a week into March, and the severe cold just broke...not that it's getting warm, but the -10 degrees and such we have been having for the past six weeks is gone. While much of the U.S. has had a more severe winter than usual, N.H. has not. On our south slopes the snow is down to ten inches, and not much more then twenty on the north slopes. Typical. The Connecticut river is frozen solid, and there are 18-26 inches on ice on the lakes and ponds. Typical. Streams are frozen solid in place, no matter how wide or fast they flow. Typical. The deer herds in this part of the state are doing fine, but as you can see, they have been shoulder deep in snow for weeks. This wears them down.
This squirrel caused at least 50 pictures on my camera as he went back and forth between our Christmas tree plantation and the forest...
These little guys are struggling to move in this stuff, but still can out run predators as long as there is no crust.
Deeper still, the snow keeps coming. This deer is expending a LOT of energy just to move...
This camera is on a spruce just on the side of the snowmobile trail. The deer use these trails hard because they are packed so hard. I have been logging this area, and I like to drop a bunch of maples and leave them for several days before I limb them out. The deer come in and gorge on the buds. When done, I limb out and drag the to the barn yard where they are processed.
Below is Deer Camp about a week ago. Cold (15 degrees) lonely, and abandoned until spring!
The backside of these thirty foot Christmas trees is where the camera shots above are taken. The field below it is the Near Field, named that because it is closest to camp.
So, while the rest of the country may have excuses to complain about the winter, we here in New Hampshire do not. our sympathies to those that do! As for tomorrow, I am snowshoeing into our deer yard to take a survey of 'fur balls' i.e. to see how many deer the coyote and bob cat have taken. The real carnage will start this month as the dogs get ready to whelp out...
Let me know how your winter is going!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dead of Winter at LRDC

Like most of the country, we are in the dead of winter. Twenty inch packed snow and well below zero much of the time. I begin to worry for the deer during a winter like this. A little less snow and they can move around fine, and when the snow is soft, even leave the coyotes in the dust. But the incessant cold chews up their fat reserves in good order. Many will survive this winter - but many will perish. This grey fox below will do just fine. There are plenty of mice and vole tunnels to plow into.

These two bucks below are wandering in our Christmas tree lot. This is about 200 yards from camp.

Here is an earlier January picture of a buck having lost one antler. The other will snap soon. Maybe I can find it!

 Below is the pair I would REALLY like to find...
 Just a cheerful reminder of that beautiful season, Fall, when apples and does, and fawns are well fed, and happy...

 The dude I lusted for, and never got.
 And here he is, eating apples, and holding at bay some several coyotes..
 Back to nearer the present, though before the heavy snows. There is clover under these deer scrapes...
 Meanwhile, back at the house, the doves sit patiently in a maple tree waiting for me to walk away so that they may gorge on bird seed.

The next project is to put together a coyote hunt. Perfect weather to do it, and a hunting pal has ordered a new FoxPro. I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Perfect Season at Long Ridge

It's been several months since I have posted a blog. Deer season came and went so fast it was like a flash. I hunted more than I sat at a computer and love it so much more! On top of that, back to work at the Sheriff's Department and there goes extra time! In any case it was a perfect deer season. Some 13 hunters came to some or all of the three camps, and we did have some success. Nine hunters took some 14 deer. Two bucks were taken here as well, an eight pointer and I took a nice six pointer when I realized I was running out of time for the big boy seen in the first several pictures below. I have been monitoring him on camera all summer and fall, but I did not get him. On the last Saturday of firearms season, he did walk under me, clear shot, at 10 yards. I could see him  (and that rack) because we had snow on the ground, but it was so far past legal shooting light that I couldn't see through my peep sight. I was so stiff from waiting in the cold that when I struggled to draw, he heard or saw me, and was staring up at me. I am sure that I could have taken him, but am glad I did not. It would not have been right. There will be another year.

 This is such a cool picture and taken just before Halloween. A deer about to be eaten by a spider!

 Smarter than I am...
 This is a BIG fawn to be nursing so late in the year!!!
 2nd camp moon. Beautiful
 Saw this in the liquor store and just had to take to camp. No one opened it, so it cures for another year...
The doe below I spotted and took a picture of on an early bow stand. She never came in, and I would not have taken her in any case...
 Camp number one...
 Camp fires are always a requirement.
 Pups and hunters relaxing after the hunt.
 A hunter took this eight pointer from the East stand...

Thus we had a great season. The only downside is that on Thanksgiving I had a Cuddeback camera stolen from a food plot. It was a shock, and brought me the closest I have even been to posting my property. I was brought up against that, and still believe it, but I am close. We are stewards, not owners of land, and it breaks my heart that I even contemplate no trespassing. Maybe I'll wait. Wouldn't it be so much more rewarding to be out there, hiding, when some poor fool arrives to steal a camera? Let us see...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Opening at Long Ridge

This has been a beautiful fall...all the colors, the scents, the sights and the game, are unbelievable..
We have more bucks here than does, and that is a first! I would hazard to say three bucks for every doe on camera. And lots of bears...a few coyotes..I have not been able to post for some time due to time constraints because I have again taken up writing for New Hampshire Wildlife Federation. But, here we are... This black bear is a small guy, passing the 'Buck Stand".
A shootable buck for sure in NH, and while I cannot count his points in this picture, it is clear that there is a good spread.
We can never seem to get rid of these guys, unfortunately...
The two pictures below show a handsome fellow with a good wide spread...hope to see him during daylight hours.

Not sure if this is the same dude, about a mile away...
Nice shot...
Daytime shot of a little guy...worth saving for another year.
I love, love, this shot. Will the rut bring him out during season?
Same guy in velvet?
One of the last nursing this beautiful fawn will ever have...



We are bow hunting now and as of this point I have been out five times and seen three does. Chose not to take one (some out of range). As you know, I do not take does that have spring fawns with them. The reason should be obvious but if not, send me a note! Good luck to you all, and let me know how you make out this season!




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