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Monday, January 17, 2011

Post Holiday Hunting Lull !

It is 12 degrees below zero as I start this post, and like the rest of the world we have a good 24 inches of snow on the ground. It will be here until May, because the snows started late this year and the frost is 18 inches deep. Before the snow came it was actually dangerous to walk on a lot of our trails. Huge chunks of frozen frost and ice had heaved the ground, and when the ground looked OK, you could still find yourself plunging fifteen inches down. I fell several times, and stayed off those trails unless on an ATV.
Below you see several pictures of a great buck, taken by rifle about 10 miles north of here. A real keeper, and good for that New Hampshire hunter!

Mid December is the time to get out and take down the deer stand foam seats/slings and what have you, because the squirrels get right to them for nest material and ruin them. The two I did leave up because I wanted to hunt coyotes from them have already been destroyed! This is the only way to easily traverse the trail just before snow.
This is the trail leading out of LRDC to the Christmas tree plantation and hunting trail network. As you can clearly see, snowmobile is the best way to break and maintain the trails in the winter. With below zero temps the trails harden up like cement and make great walking or skiing trails. It also benfits wildlife, and we see many tracks following our network. We look forward to, and love the blizzards. We are equipped and prepared for them, both relative to vehicles, and to clothing and tools. I know that unexpected snow in a lot of the country has severely impacted the lives of folks who do not normally get harsh winters, and we hate to hear that. The only downside to tough winters here, can be the impact on wildlife. If it stays as cold as it has for the past month, the deer herd will be noticeably impacted. And at -10 degrees, farm chores always take twice as long.
Before I forget it, here is the bulletin board in deer camp. The eight deer pictures are the deer we took this year. Not pictured are the four deer taken in West Virginia. These pictures stay up until next season. If it looks warm and cozy in camp, don't be fooled. It was 10 degrees in there. My Scent Killer sprayer is frozen hard enough to use as a club.
When not on snowmobile I use these Sherpas to get around the woods. In several feet of powder it is slow and hard going when you are alone, because there is no trading off the trailbreaking. But I am seldom in a hurry in the woods anyway, and snowshoeing is a great way (and healthful) way to spend a winter's afternoon. It is also the only way to get out far enough for good coyote hunting.
Winter mode of transportation in New Hampshire. For those of you in the southern climes, these Polaris Classics can forge through three feet of powder, cruise at 85 miles per hour, and can go all day long on a tank of gas. We put saddlebags on them, and can take groomed trails all the way from our barn yard to the Canadian border about 200 miles by trail away. (allow two overnights to do the trip in comfort!) The best way in the world to see moose, coyotes, and deer yards up to a 1/2 mile across. You will never see more wild game in the North Country, than you will cruising along at 20 mph on a snowmobile. Guaranteed!

Now that the twelve days of Christmas are past, I will begin taking up coyote hunting again. Actually I have been out twice this month, but could call in nothing except a fisher, which was kind of cool! It would not come closer than about forty yards from my remote. Below is the camouflage I wear while hunting 'yotes' in the snow. Because I am hunting in heavily wooded areas, and shots rarely are afforded past 50 yards, I use my 11-87 with a red dot sight on it. For ammunition I am using 3 inch magnum # 6's. I prefer the Hevi-Shot, but they are ridiculously expensive. With an extended xtra full choke the sixes work fine out to 50-60 yards.
This is the last coyote I got on cameras before taking them down for the winter.
The last picture shows a post season doe standing below the Far Stand. She is exactly where the doe I took with bow was this fall. Just behind the beech tree leaves to her right you can see the ladder going up to my stand.
As I finish this post it has gone up to seven drees F. above zero. Like summer, and time to hit the trails!

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