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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

Thursday 06/12/2008 More moose than antlers, a fishing streak and a heat wave breaks today.

My pace has picked up with that of nature the last couple of weeks for sure. I'm just doing and doing this time of year.

First at the beginning of last week I was back down to DC for one last try of getting our two NH Senators to vote for the Climate Security Act, or in this case the vote to continue debate. Neither Senator made the appointments I had made so the meetings were covered by staff as has been the case on most of my visits. Tow fellow NH sportsmen joined me in DC including Jim Kennedy and Burr Tupper. We did arrive very early for our appointment with Sununu and asked about a capitol tour. Interns Shawn from Derry and BJ quickly had us headed over to the capitol building. We had a grand tour very well led by these two and we had snagged passes from the Senator for a stop in the Senate gallary. We arrived there about 2:30 on June 3rd to discover nearly all the Senators in their seats as it was picture taking day. It's a very rare thing to have most of the Senators in the meeting room at once I'm told. But there they were. Once the picture taking was done the room nearly emptied in seconds if some giant vacuum had swept by and devoured them. But several Senators including Boxer, Lieberman, Warner and Kerry preceded to debate the Climate Security Act before my very eyes and ears.

Saturday I joined my son-in-law Derek to take my two grand daughters Katie and Erin to a fishing derby here in Epsom. I just presented Erin with her first fishing pole at her second birthday a week ago. She really held on to it much longer than I thought although it was her sister Katie who masterfully reeled in the first fish on Erin's pole soon after we arrived. Just helping her little sister a bit until she gets the hang of it. Katie dutifully landed her own trout thank you. It was hot and steamy by 11 am. The heat wave was on.

My son Adam arrived home Friday and we had made plans to head to Pittsberg for a moose antler hunt. We headed up to Pittsberg Sunday afternoon staying at the Spruce Cone cabins leaving near 100 degree temperatures at home. We took and afternoon tour of "moose alley" and spotted one cow. After dinner at the Buck Rub we headed over to First Conn. Lake for an hours worth of fishing from shore waiting for dusk. Geese with gosslings, an osprey sweeping by, a flock of mallards and loons calling in the distance with a loud chorus of peepers and toads surrounding us were enjoyed as we waited for our appointment with moose.

It was quit hot even in Pittsberg but they soon changed as a thunder storm swept in right at dark. And the moose and everything else seemed to love it.

Moose unlike Senators do keep appointments even when they don't know they had one. Moose were on the move in the pouring rain. We started raking up the moose with a tally of 9 by the time we ended our tour about 10 pm. Plus 5 deer and I'm pretty sure a pine marten, which was my first live on in the wild as well as plenty of frogs, toads and 2 garter snakes crossing route 3. It was a grand evening of wildlife watching.

We headed out into the deep forest the next morning to a moose wintering area to search for moose antlers. Our quest for the trip. This was a well used wintering area with us stepping from one pile of moose droppings to the next. And the fir trees were no more than bare poles from 4 or 5 feet up. The lower branches clearly were protected under the snow. This was moose city last winter. But despite our nearly 3 hours of searching we came up empty handed. I did find a deer skull and in another spot a couple of deer leg bones but nary an antler was found. By 1:30 we were drenched with sweat and I was beat from bush wacking.

So we headed into the local trout streams to wade and cool off and catch a few native brook trout. What a great time we had stopping to discover each brook on our way out of the big woods. Names I had head of for so many years of working at Fish and Game but none I had ever fished before. We all caught and released many gorgeous brookies.

To top the trip off we saw a couple of bears in the middle of a just planted corn field on our way back down Monday afternoon as well as more deer and a hen turkey at roadside back here in Epsom. So we had quite a wildlife adventure.

Wednesday Adam and I headed to Hampton at 6 am for a half day of Cod fishing with Al Gauron's boat. We paid our $41 each and headed to the docks. Kind of bare docks as few other fishermen were there. Sure enough the trip was canceled as on 7 of us were paid. Even the half day mackerel boat only had 13 people on board a boat that would take 40 people. These gas prices are impacting our businesses terribly. In past years when I have done this same trip mid week the boats were crowded. These skippers just can't take a boat out to burn a 100 gallons of fuel at $4.28 a gallon when they are a quarter full. Our head boats are hurting this summer.

On the way home and down on our luck I called my friend Jean to see if he still needed help launching his boat in Portsmouth. Well he got it in the water over the weekend and said "Why don't you meet me there?" We beat him to the dock by 8:45. He had a friend Bill meeting him. Since Adam and I were planning on using the rods on the head boat we had nothing to fish with. But Bill had 3 rods when he arrived and was quick to share them. We headed out to 2KR to catch some mackerel and hopefully load a cooler with them for the season. We did just that catching rod full by rod full for an hour of fishing and had the cooler brimming with bait plus our live well full when we headed towards shore for some striper fishing. And the stripers were hungry. Adam landed the biggest of the day at 32 inches which we brought home to eat. We stayed on the water until after 5 and had one of the grandest days of fishing. It sure pays to have good friends like Jean and now Bill, who I had not met before but now am I gratitude of for sharing all his fishing equipment. What a way to turn a hard luck day around. Thanks guys.


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