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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!
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