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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Tuesday 09/26/2006 Yee ha, I'm on a wonderful roll going into fall.

Sometimes I have good luck, and work to get it. And sometimes great things just come my way. Today was a gift from work.

But I'll back up to last Saturday. Saturday was a time for reflection on an old and deceased friend who died in 1999. Jim Cates was a member of the Londonderry Fish and Game Club and was the chief Hunter Safety Instructor in 1964 when I took the class. My older brother, Alan, was going and I begged him to take me along. Probably lots of begging at that.

And that began my 35 year friendship with Jim and numbers of other club members, only a few are still living today. The Londonderry Fish and Game Club honored Jim last Saturday by naming the fishing pond he accidentally dug at the club's land in Londonderry. Yes, accidentally. He brought his D-8 bulldozer into the club, for free as always, to dig a well. Jim got stuck, really stuck, so hence the pond. Not feet away from where this granite marker stands, next to the newly erected flag pole, I described to those in attendance Jim's effort to get rid of a big pine stump with...Oh no, not his D-9. but dynamite. Yes lots of dynamite. Well actually just a stick or two at first, which just made a divot in the dirt. But then an arm full of sticks that as I remember nearly leveled our new club house nearby that we had just erected and took shelter in.

Jim did a great job at the Hunter Safety thing, but seemed to live a life of abandonment most of the time. I went on Jim's trapping line early on too. And hunted with Jim, and ran several field trials with Jim. and coon hunted with Jim, and spent most of the night pulling porcupine quills out of his dogs, with Jim. Yes, life with Jim was bound to be exciting for a young teen boy thrilled with the woods. And I survived despite Jim. I miss Jim.

So his widow Shirley, fellow long-time club member Don Lindh and wife Lois, and current Chief Hunter Safety instructor Dick Tracey, who orchestrated this whole event, remembered Jim well, and his pond/well that now bares his name.

I spent the whole day at a workshop in Bear Brook State Park with volunteers for the County Extension Offices. Actually I led a couple of groups on the Suncook River Avulsion Tour. Seeing is believing in this case. No matter how you explain it, even with maps and posters, most can't full fathom this change in the river's channel until they witness it.

Which brings me to today, well actually, Wednesday, as Tuesday has somehow slipped into Wednesday, as it is 1:56 am. Where does time go. But I have been pretty psyched about today and not ready to sleep yet. For today I got to see (and handle some) all kinds of snakes, turtles, lizards, toads and things like tarantulas, scorpions and millipedes. It was an exciting day for me.

The Fish and Game Department had an all-day training course for our law enforcement staff presented by the Rainforest Reptile Show folks from Mass. This course was to show us what types of legal and illegal animals are in the exotic pet trade in NH. It was breath taking for me. I had a 8 foot long python strike at me as I bent down to take a picture. Gee they have a big jaw full of teeth! And a very rare Chinese alligator (only 100 left in the wild). Plus we got to handle a whole host of turtles, and a huge poisonous toad the size of a cat from South America. Then there were the venomous snakes. Oh ya, heart pounding sized snakes, like the deadly puff adder from Asia that I handled with a snake pole. Ten foot long cobras topped off the day. I did notice when they brought the venomous cages out near days end that plenty of folks had pushed their chairs back a bit from the demonstration area. It was that kind of a day. Absolutely awesome.


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2006-10-04 Of migrating monarchs, gaggling geese and getting the best out of the last summer's day.

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