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Friday, September 23, 2011

Killing Time At Long Ridge

Soon after my last post I decided to put off hunting for a week or two past the opening day of the 15th. The first two weeks of archery in this unit are bucks only. Since I have not one picture of a mature buck on my three cameras yet, I decided to hold off for cooler weather. No point in heating up those stands early in the season when nothing is moving. In addition it was quite warm for a bit and I do not care much for hunting whitetails in 70 degree heat. It is now much cooler, 40's at night and 60's during the day. Getting nice, but then this week it has rained on and off all week. Anytime during the next week during good weather I'll head out to to take a stand. In the kill time, I headed over to Epsom NH to take in the first annual  banquet put on by the NH Chapter of Quality Deer Management Association. I was not even aware we had a state affiliated chapter until I cruised our woodlands with a UNH wildlife biologist who turned out to be an avid deer hunter. He told me about it, I joined and voila! For a fledgling chapter, I thought 150 people made for a very good banquet. The food was delicious, there was a wonderful silent auction and tons of great guns and hunting equipment raffled off. As usual I bought fifty raffle tickets, and won not a thing.  I did not realize it, but if I had brought a deer head with me, I'd have been given a free years membership! Below are some pictures from the event

These are some of the finer specimens..Most of the deer were New Hampshire deer, but I did see a few from Ohio and the upper end places.

Meanwhile, back at Long Ridge, I have been gathering up pictures from the cameras. This is a nice bearded turkey on the Far Field clover. Couldn't find him this spring, but I have a fall turkey tag which is valid October 10-14.

If you enlarge this picture you can really see how fat and well conditioned this mom and her babe really are. It looks like a bumper acorn and apple crop too, so winter conditioning should be excellent.
See what I mean? This camera is actually on an apple tree!
This guy was born this spring, and he has knobs 4-5 months later. Lots of high quality forage does this.
Just one more alert doe.
A fisher at a mineral lick...
This guy needs two years to be a real taker...
Better way up here on the Far Ridge, than back at the farm chicken coop!
This little buck below is on the East Ridge plot. For some reason, not many hunters care to hunt up there, but I think it's a great place to take a stand especially if you want to take a doe for the pot.
Same place, but this time a doe!
Below looks like the same buck as the one shown on the mineral lick above. Still in velvet as of the 20th...
And to round out the wildlife species near the mineral lick, here is a nice looking hen.

This doe, if taken, will field dress well above 130!

Below you see mom and babe stuffing on apples. My last post she was fully spotted. Now the spots are clearly going fast. A very robust fawn this one is...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bear Season Open, Archery Closing in Fast

Here it is, September, and things have quieted down here at LRDC. The birds are quiet, no geese coming through yet, and the little guys in the woods just beginning to start the frantic fat-on frenzy for winter survival.  Check out this honey of a fawn below. I was on my ATV headed up to the Far Ridge, when thought I saw a deer's ears and head about 25 yards to my right. As I kept going, this little guy popped into sight. This fawn was about 50 feet from the trail, and I stopped to take a picture, which is a bit fuzzy, because I left the motor running - shut it off, and they are GONE! The other must have been it's Mom..when I came back down about 30 minutes later, they were gone.   
This guy below gets a reprieve until he is at least eight points.
We have a wonderful apple and acorn crop this year, This apple tree is in the Far Field, and many fall pictures will be taken at this spot.

Not sure if this is the same doe or not, but plenty healthy looking.
Mom and babe below. I love these...
As usual, the youngsters have the greater curiosity...

And a fat healthy little thing she is. In about two more weeks the spots will begin to fade away.

Yesterday I spent the day in the Far Field working in the rain. I put up a twenty foot ladder, and hanger stand. Since I do most of these projects myself, I use a pulley system like the one below. I (finally) get the ladder up and secured, and then go up above it and hang this pulley. Run a rope through it, shinny back down, tie on the hanger stand, hoist it up and tie the rope to the bottom of the ladder. Then, up the ladder, strap the hanger to the tree, and voila! Sounds easy, but when I do this alone, it can take hours...trimming branches, making endless runs back to deer camp for things I forget, assembling the ladders, etc.

The turnip plot you see below is one I just planted on August 16th, and it is growing gangbusters. About twenty yards into the woods to the left is where I put the new hanger stand. This will be a late season, as in mid November, bow stand.
And last, below is the East plot where I have clear-cut fifteen yards of open on the South side. It is fairly barren right now, but at this time next year will be green. I did this to afford archers a better chance to assess the deer that wander in here. Remember, we are involved in QDMA!

OK, so if that is not enough, I took the kitchen sharpener to deer camp this afternoon, and ground and sharpened my field dressing knives. They always need it because I believe in carbon steel rather than stainless for knives. They rust, and get rough compared to stainless, but you can sharpen them a hundred times sharper, and a hundred times easier than you can stainless. These are Swedish Mora knives, and are the sweetest deer skinning knives out there. The first one I ever bought I got mail order for a single dollar from a classified ad in Esquire magazine on my father's coffee table. That would have been in the late fifties. The knives haven't changed and today they are about ten bucks each. If you don't lose them, they are good forever...
Last, just before archery opens in nine days, I got out the fanny pack essentials that I carry with me on morning or afternoon early season hunts. A couple of head lamps for dim light field dressing, field dressing gloves (that come up to the shoulder) range finder, deer drag, GPS, utility tool, compass (that's right, GPS notwithstanding, ALWAYS carry an independent compass and know how to use it. It works when nothing else will). Also, centered above are waterproof matches and firestarter. I don't go anywhere without these few essentials. There is not cell service in parts of my hunting country, and a few survival tools are good to have. I also carry a Thermocell mosquito repeller. While not a survival tool, it is the only bug repellant I have ever found that actually works. Turn it on, and in five minutes you have a mosquito free area around you!

While all time passes at the speed of light, the next several weeks will drag. I can hardly wait. What are your plans? Jack

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