Turkey Hunters Urged To Think Safety And Ethics

The region has a rapidly expanding wild turkey population and a raft of first time turkey hunters. The result has been conflicts and dangerous situations that mostly result from inexperience.

One hunter was wounded opening weekend in Waterford and there have been other close calls. Hunters need to be sure of their target, aware of what is behind it and not take shots that are out of range.

When a hunter is working a bird others should stay clear and not try to stalk another hunter's tom.

I have had many calls and been stopped on the street several times in the past week by turkey hunters angry and frustrated that their hunt was spoiled by some person who either didn't know what he was doing or didn't care. I hope it was inexperience.

Chip Spear of West Newbury told me about a hunter who stopped his truck next to Chip's and shot at a bird he was calling in across a field. The hunter was way out of range and had to know Chip was working the bird.

Tim Corey of Wells River had a hunter shoot a turkey from behind him that Tim was calling in. The unethical intruder ran to the turkey, grabbed it and ran to his vehicle. Does that sound like a sportsman?

Another time Tim and his father-in-law were calling a tom which was coming to them across a field when a vehicle stopped and a person shot at the turkey from a distance of 90 yards, way out of range.

Rocky Bunnell of Monroe was hunting with a friend opening morning. They had their decoys set up in front of them and were calling. A truck drove down the logging road and out into the field where the decoys were set. Were Rocky and his friend happy hunters?

Waterford resident Roger Leroux and Dale Morse of St. Johnsbury met up with Clint Gray of Sutton and Rick Gorham of East Burke opening morning in Waterford. They were discussing where to set up when a shot rang out at 4:30, way before the legal time. At about 6 they heard three more shots.

Around 8, Roger and Dale encountered two hunters who lacked much in the way of camo and no face masks or gloves. When asked if they had been the ones to fire three shots earlier, the younger of the two replied, "yes, I missed him." He went on to say he was hunting from a tree.

Further discussion found that the same person had shot at 4:30 when he couldn't remember if he had put a shell in the chamber so he pointed the gun in a safe direction and fired. Guess he had put one in the chamber.

The individual was carrying a 20 gauge he had been loaned that was missing the front sight.

The two hunters obviously did not know how to hunt turkeys or what gauge they needed as a minimum. You can bet they had not patterned their guns.

Not long after they departed, Leroux and Morse heard sirens. They learned that emergency vehicles were responding to a turkey hunter who had been shot by his friend in another part of Waterford.

The North Country Long Spurs is the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. They work hard to teach turkey hunting safety and ethics. It is their recommendation that anyone going turkey hunting for the first time seek out a responsible and knowledgeable turkey hunter who can help them learn safe and ethical techniques. Any member of the Long Spurs mentioned in the above account would be a good contact person.

Learn To Fish, It's Fun

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The UNH Cooperative Extension and the NH Fish & amp; Game Department are teaming up to offer a "Let's Go Fishing" workshop that is designed to help all beginning anglers. Participants will learn about knot tying, basic equipment, casting, safety, fish identification, laws and ethics, baits and lures and much more.

The class will meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (4 sessions) starting on May 25. Classes will be held at the Twin Mountain Hatchery starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending around 8:00 p.m. On the morning of Saturday, June 5, participants will travel to a "secret" location to practice what they have learned. Extension Educator, Larry Barker says the day will provide, "some guaranteed serious pole bending."

The course is free and available to all youth age 8 and older. Each child must bring along an appetite to learn and an adult with the same desire. Class size is limited and pre-registration is required. Call the Coos County Extension 4-H Office at 603-788-4961 to sign up.

Bits and Pieces

Volunteers are needed this weekend to help out at the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department's Green Mountain Conservation Camps. All sorts of help is needed with general repairs, painting, landscaping, electrical work, firewood and raking. A day or a few hours will help get the camps ready for the summer season. Help Vermont's youth by getting the camps in top shape. Lunch, dinner, coffee and donuts will be provided and personal satisfaction from knowing you helped is guaranteed. To help out at the Buck Lake facility in Woodbury, call Kevin Waldie at 802-229-5106 evenings or 802-241-3191 days. Anyone wishing to work at the Bomoseen facility can call Bob Ronner at 802-773-4496. Help is needed with a project to locate bluebirds. Researchers at Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the North American Bluebird Society are asking for the public to participate in the Great North American Bluebird Count May 14-17. Contact the lab by calling 800-843-2473 or by e-mail at Those with bluebird boxes can help by logging onto The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has received a federal permit to spray oil on cormorant eggs to help stem the rapid increase in the number of cormorants which have been devastating the vegetation on several Lake Champlain islands. Oiling prevents the eggs from hatching. Youngs Island was the first to be sprayed. The birds have completely defoliated the island. Anglers blame the big fish eating birds for the decline in certain species in the lake. The double crested cormorant is protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and thus the need for the federal permit. St. Albans native Mark Sweeny has returned home as manager of the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Swanton. He comes to Vermont from Maine where he was manager of Moosehorn NWR. The Vermont Fish & amp; Wildlife Department will hold a public meeting to present the results of a recently completed study of trout populations in the Batten Kill and the affects of the special fishing regulation on a two mile section of the river in Arlington. The meeting will begin at 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, May 12 in The Commons at Arlington High School. On March 24, 1999 the New Hampshire House Wildlife and Marine Committee amended and passed HB 704-FN-A, the wildlife damage program, and sent it to the floor of the House of Representatives for a full House vote. On April 1, 1999, the full House voted 207 to 145 to pass HB 704-FN-A and sent it to the Finance Committee. On April 28, 1999, the Finance Committee voted Inexpedient to Legislate. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says House Bill 704 as now amended is fair to both Fish and Game and agricultural interests and would help New Hampshire's farmers and fruit growers with a crop fencing program. The Fish and Game Department wants HB 704-FN-A, as amended, to pass and is asking that you contact your State Representatives and ask them to vote NO on the Inexpedient to Legislate HB 704-FN-A.

Parting Shots

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Larry Bandolin, the moving force behind the creation of the Conte National Wildlife Refuge, is leaving his job to go to Washington.

I received a call from Larry on Thursday. He was back in his Turners Falls office after house hunting in Washington with his wife and wanted me to know that he would be accepting a promotion and new opportunities.

Larry has been the point man for the Conte Refuge all during its inception and implementation and has also performed the same functions during the current efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire the Nulhegan basin lands owned by Champion. During all the many heated debates and fiery meetings where he has represented the Service in the past several years, Larry has shown his professionalism and dedication to doing what is right. Despite being the target of much abuse, he has remained calm and polite.

Larry is a fisheries biologist who worked for the State of Connecticut for many years before transferring the to the U.S. Fish & amp; Wildlife Service. He is now nearing retirement age and will serve his last four years in the new position that has responsibility for fish passages nationwide.

Although leaving the region he loves dearly, he is looking forward to getting back into fisheries.

Larry is an avid hunter who clearly understands the concerns many of us have about possible res


Cold, steep mountain streams, are usually a sure bet for wild brook trout. Although the harsh environment of these streams often limits the size these fish can attain the native brook trout is the most popular trout sought by Vermont anglers.

Larger Vermont streams which support a mixture of excellent wild trout populations and are presently managed without stocking include the Batten Kill, Castleton River from Ira to Fairhaven, Dog River, Furnace Brook, Poultney River, and the Mettawee River.

The future of Vermont's wild trout populations depends greatly on the quality of their habitat. Landowners can help protect wild trout streams by maintaining buffer strips of trees and shrubs along stream corridors.

Big Squam and Winnipesaukee Producing Nice Fish

The word I get from New Hampshire friends is that anglers have been catching four and five pound salmon from Big Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee as well as some big lake trout.

Fisheries Biologist Don Miller said big brood stock rainbow trout released last fall are also providing lively activity for some fishermen.

Bits and Pieces

This is the weekend of the big Winni Derby held on Lake Winnipesaukee. It is the 18th annual derby and it drew about 3,400 anglers last year.


Fairbanks Museum and Northeast Kingdom Audubon are sponsoring their annual bird walks May 16 through May 22. Five bird walks will be held around the North Country beginning Sunday and continuing through Saturday.

The walks are free and no preregistration is required. Birders of all ages and experience are welcome. Call Charlie Browne at the museum, 802-748-2372, for information.


If you haven't entered the New Hampshire moose hunt lottery yet, you'd better hurry. The deadline is midnight, May 28.

For the third consecutive year, 570 permits will be issued. In 1998, 407 moose were taken: 253 bulls and 154 cows, a 72 percent success rate.

The computer generated drawing will be held June 18 at 9 a.m. The odds for getting a permit are about one in 25 for a resident and one in 50 for a nonresident.


Approximately 955,395 catchable size trout and salmon will be stocked in the Granite State during 1999. That includes 456,750 yearling brook trout, plus 16,265 2 year olds and 1,910 3 year olds; 274,970 yearling rainbow trout; 136,500 yearling brown trout; 5,000 tiger trout (a brown and brook trout cross), and 42,000 yearling salmon earmarked for the state's cold water lakes. Also this spring, more than 177,000 fingerling brook trout will be released into New Hampshire waters to grow and provide future good fishing.


Low water concerns anglers and biologists alike. Before the recent rains, streams and rivers were very low.

Scott Decker, a fisheries biologist working out of the Lancaster office, said stream flow on the Connecticut River was below its 41 year average (based on readings on April 27). The U.S. Geological Survey stream gauging station in Pittsburg recorded stream flows of 306 cubic feet per second in the river that day. The average for this time of year is 750 cubic feet per second.

Gary W. Moore may be reached by e-mail at or at Box 454, Bradford, VT 05033.

Copyright 1999

The Caledonian-Record


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