Sunday, March 29, 2009
Hunting Seasons at Long Ridge Camp
The pictures are taken by a gamecam at one of our honey spots, located up on a far ridge about a mile from camp. It is possible to take turkey, deer and bear from this area, from the same stands. The stand in this spot is a twenty footer, just to the left and behind the camera. The picture of a cub (there are two cubs and a Mom,) was taken and seconds later the camera with attacked by Mom. She didn't totally destroy it, but it was out of service for a few days.
Here in New Hampshire, we have, compared the rest of the country, few deer per square mile..The Eastern more suburban part of the state has about 19 to 30 per square mile. In our county in the West it is estimated that there are 8 to 12 per square mile. That comports with my experience in our woods. This means that many hunters never do see a deer. You do it right, or you'll likely spend a lot more on beef throughout the year. Our season for deer lasts about 90 days, and starts on September 15th with an archery season going through December 15th. You may take one either sex deer with bow, but if you buy an extra tag for 16 dollars you may take a second. With 90 days to bowhunt, I cannot imagine not getting a couple, but there are hunters that don't. October 31st sees muzzle loader season open for nine days. The first three are either sex, then buck only until November 10th.
November 11th opens regular firearms season with three either sex days, and then buck only until Dec 6th. Back to bow til the 15th of December. So, at best, you may harvest three deer per season. Two with bow, and one with either rifle or muzzle loader. A lot of us tag out with bow and muzzleoader. I haven't shot a deer with my 30-06 for 5 years.
In addition, while you are bow hunting you may take a turkey, and a bear. Our bear season varies throughout the state, but ours is from September 1st through September 21st. We cannot hunt with hounds in our unit, but we may bait. Bear may be taken by bow or firearm, including larger pistol calibers.
If this isn't enough, we may hunt moose by lottery. It is seldom that you get a tag more than once every few years, but it's great to put in for one. I've gone twice and I'll post those hunts another time.
Our deer are decently sized, as Northern animals generally are. Our does dress out around 130 lbs average, and our bucks about 170. The biggest buck I ever got weighed 310 lbs on the hoof and dressed out at 240. A big dude, I couldn't get him into my F-150 without help. As far as antlers go, we can't touch the scorecards of Kansas, and Illinoise, Texas or the other Southern States. We have 8-18 pointers, but their mass does not lend to many Pope and Young or other record books. Mostly big bodied to survive our winters.
So, how do we handle our seasons relative to camp? I used to hold a three day camp for muzzleloader, then two firearms camps. Couldn't get enough interest in muzzle loading, so I switched to three rifle camps. As I have developed the property for deer, I am moving closer to quality deer management standards. This year I am going to hold two rifle camps only. Another big change is that I will not allow our camp members to hunt on the property other than camp weekends. I may make an exception for the bow hunters, but I find that hunters tag out in between camps, and then there is less interest. In additon, in between camp hunting puts the deer on high alert come weekends. This may bring howls from some camp members, but they'll get used to it...also I am contemplating restricting the taking of immature bucks. Not sure on this one though. I do encourage the taking of mature does.