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Monday, March 26, 2012

Early Spring Game Pictures from Long Ridge

Here are some early wildlife pictures...As I said, with the temps above freezing the cameras are out early this spring, and some interesting takes...

I always love the Snowshoe Hare...

Below is the first photo ever of two hare in the same picture...must be mating season! Looks like a pretty contented guy in the foreground..
Handsome spots---all about to go!

And tons of deer...
If you closely at this little guy you can see he just shed his spikes...Following, you see another spike horn who has not yet given them up!

The sign of a fantastically easy winter...
These deer are sleek, and in great health...

Hey you! Yeah, you! You lookin' at me? I call her 'Scarface" Check the healed scar tissue and injury out on the left cheek of this doe. Wonder what grabbed her!
Ever seen a bigger rump on a rabbit?
Greening up nicely, and this plot is covered with tracks.
Early mineral licks make a big difference.
With no snow, and early frost thaws, we will start having camp work days in April...What else to do!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Late March at Long Ridge

Quiet here in New Hampshire. March is usually such a nasty month, but it has been like May or June. The snow you see in the few wildlife pictures below left about four days ago. It is all gone now, and nearly all the frost is out of the ground. Maple syrup season ended abruptly because of the warmth.
Raccoon with a purpose!

Fuzzy little guy on the Far Ridge.

The next two pictures are in the Near Field, in sight of camp. This particular spot lost it's last snow yesterday. Here are two scenes of fox after mice. I suspect the fox won.

Below you see a Savage model 11 FHNS (floorplate mag) in .223. I know I have been saying that I love to carry my Colt M4 and I do. But I wanted to scope it for better accuracy, as it now is equipped with an Armco red dot combat sight. Perfect for operator work, but not so good for 200 yard coyotes. Then, I thought it ought to remain dedicated to it's original purpose - protection. So I'll leave it be. I had read all kinds of things about the out of the box accuracy from Savage, so picked this up to try it. I will wring it out, see what it does, and then sell it at my cost (I am an FFL) .
Scoped it with a Leupold 3.5x10, my go to scope for accuracy. Burris mounts and rings are excellent buys, and bring the eye piece right where it should be...
Fist time at range with the Savage. 60 degrees, sunny, no wind factor...

I always seem to end up with so much gear at the range. I even had cleaning stuff with me which I did not use. (the break in the barrel stuff, you know, fire one shot, clean, fire another, clean, for ten shots etc is bunk in my opinion)
Can't find where I measured this group, but it was not bad, definitely moa!
Five shots to sight in scope at 100 yards, and we are off.

The group below was fired using Hornady's 60 grain TAP (tactical action police) rounds. This was the second day at the range and it was in the 70's but with an 8mph cross wind.
This rifle, with a 1 in 9 twist seems to shoot the 55 grain reloaded Ultramax rounds as accurately as the TAP rounds.
Looking at the TAP group below however, I like to think I threw the third shot! Remember, this is a 6 1/2 pound rifle with a whippy little barrel you can carry all day!
The tightest group I have shot with this gun was with Federal 55 grain FMJ cheap stuff. Half inch groups are nothing to complain about. If I reloaded for this caliber and let the barrel cool between groups, this little gun would be a less than 1/2 inch shooter every time!
I'll continue to shoot this rifle for a hundred rounds, really dial it in, and let you know!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Bit Later in March at LRDC

It has been a bit muddy here down in the barn yards, so I could not help but put out my game cameras again. Warm enough that the batteries will last at least a month or so.  Looking for different scenes, so below you see a doe beneath an absolutely giant white oak I freed up last summer. It is 40 inches through at DBH! And the doe does not look too bad either!
Same scene, but with some snow and this time a wise guy Fisher, headed for where I wonder?
Same scene x 3 but this time with a raccoon. There are still a ton of acorns about, and this has brought bears, racs and others out of hibernation early! Watch your bird feeders...
What is HE after! I ask that, because they don't run away from ANYTHING!
View out the kitchen window. Throw this in here just to emphasize that one day 50, next, -5 degrees. Go figure!
Even with the warm weather, we still have ten inches of snow in the Far Field. it is a North facing slope, and is always this way.
Yikes, up on the Far Ridge plot another Fisher, most likely the same one. Always hungry, always hunting, always moving. Nature.
Fisher was a day late for this snowshoe hare, already turning brown in spots to keep up with the changing seasons. A handsome fellow, he makes me wish I had a beagle! 
That's it for pictures this week. Stay tuned and let me know what YOU have seen!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

March Comes to Long Ridge Deer Camp, or, What's New?

Now that we are in our fifth month of March, the snow comes...not much, a heavy 10 inches, a trifle to us...but ironic. I have said in previous blogs that I LOVE March! It is the only honest month. Always nasty. Snow, then 50 degrees, then -5 degrees, then all around the weather map. Cool! In any case below you see the Spruces at the top of the Near Field in all their winter splendor, draped in new snow.

and pups one and two calling me to head out on the trail. Normally this time of year I would be packing snow trails with a snowmobile, nearly until April. But this year, I just run the John Deere around the fields, and make a path to walk. C'mon they bark! Let's go!

OK, and we're off to the Far Field!
We finally made it! They love this field because it is far enough from home that there are always whiffs of coyote, and fox, and deer, and fisher and neat stuff like that!

It is sugaring season now, and you can see a two inch branch I cut off this rock maple has bled the sweet sap we all yearn for.

Here is a decent sized maple icicle that is as sweet as a popsicle!
Meanwhile, back at camp, the frost has heaved so far, and so many times, that the beautiful granite outside of the camp fireplace was flipped over and broke into three pieces...This just means one more summer project I hadn't counted on...

Another view. I suppose it is time after all these years to line this thing with firebricks...
Just before the snow I was taking the pups for a road trip around town and saw this 60+ bird flock of turkeys. I am zoomed in on them from quite a distance, but they are still headed. I will forward this to NHF&G as they want sightings. I have seen other flocks in this exact spot  that numbered over 125. This winter didn't hurt turkeys one bit.

As you know, I cruise my perimeter trails quite often, and after hearing lots of chain saw noise and chipper work coming from the west side, I jumped on an ATV and headed out to see what was going on. Up along my western border, a neighbor is heavily logging an eighteen acre piece. This is wonderful news, as the forest was far too mature with little understory. With these openings, the deer will be hitting this area heavily within a year or two. These shots are just below where one of our hunters took a fine nine pointer a few years ago.

I did note that there are a fair amount of white oaks that the logger left and that is additional good news. Here is a new typical west view from our western trail now.Perfect!
Seeing all this logging got me all fired up, so I headed back to the machinery barn where I fired up my ATV loaded with two chainsaws and headed back. I decided to cut a new western perimeter trail below the present one to more closely follow the boundaries there. I cut about 300 yards of trail before quitting. One more grunt session will bring me right out to the upper log landing, right where I want to be! Another five year plan finally hatched!
So, let me know what you will be doing to quell the angst of March! If I can ever leave the chainsaw alone for long enough, I'll be coyote hunting. Next week I pull the camera cards to see what winter brought. Standby!
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