Thoughts On The Out-Of-Doors: Bradford Youth Bags Trophy Buck

Twelve-year-old Griffin Pike with his trophy buck. (Courtesy photo)

Twelve-year-old Griffin Pike’s accomplishment is the envy of many hunters. The Bradford youth bagged a 12-point, 190-pound buck with a wide rack and high tines.

I contacted the Oxbow High School seventh-grader and asked him to describe his hunt to which he replied, “I shot the buck with my grandpa’s Raven Crossbow on my family’s land in Fairlee. My dad was hunting with my sister because it was her first year out, so it was just me and my mom sitting together.

“We had sat for a few days with no luck. That day we had been sitting for about three hours and all we had seen was a bobcat so we figured tonight was going to be a bust too. Then all of a sudden I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and when I turned my head slowly all I could see was horns.

“He stayed out at about 40 yards away the whole time grazing. Mom ranged him for me and made sure I waited for a good shot. When he turned broadside I knew I had to take my shot.”

Griffin added, “My mom and I were so excited we called my dad right away. We waited a few hours before looking for him so we didn’t bump him. When we went back to look for him my grandpa found him first and he only went about 30 yards and was laying there. My dad and I ran over and he started hugging me. It was the big buck that we had pictures of on camera over the past five years. We were so excited, I just knew it was a buck of a lifetime!”

His mom Katelynn told me Griffin has been tagging along with his dad and grandfather since he could walk. He was able to pass the Hunter Education course in 2016 and that was the first year he was able to hunt.

The 12 pointer was not his first deer. It’s the first one with a crossbow. His very first deer was a beautiful 8 point buck.

His family told him the 8 pointer he shot would be hard to beat any time soon. I suspect the 12 point buck he took this year will stand as his most memorable deer for a long time.

If you see Griffin ask him for any tips you can use in the November deer season. He may be young but he knows how to hunt deer.

Youth And Novice Deer Hunters Urged To Report Deer to Biological Check Stations

Hunters who harvest a deer during Vermont’s October 24 and 25 youth and novice deer weekend are encouraged to bring their deer to one of 17 biological reporting stations to help state wildlife biologists gather data on the health of Vermont’s deer population.

“We encourage hunters to bring their deer to one of these biological reporting stations so they can directly contribute to deer management in Vermont,” said Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s deer project leader Nick Fortin. “Examining deer during this weekend is our best opportunity to assess the deer herd because hunters are allowed to harvest any deer, including spike bucks. Biologists will be able to collect data on age, weight and antler development to help guide future deer management decisions.”

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will have personnel at the 17 biological reporting stations listed below between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. (unless the store closes earlier) for youth and novice weekend, October 24 and 25.

A resident or nonresident 15 years old or younger on the weekend of the hunt and who has successfully completed a hunter education course must purchase a hunting license and obtain a free youth weekend deer tag. The requirements apply to all interested young hunters, including the children of landowners.

A resident or nonresident 16 years old or older on the weekend of the hunt who previously completed a hunter education course and who has purchased their first ever hunting license within the 12 months prior to the novice weekend must obtain a free novice weekend deer tag. The requirements apply to all participating novice hunters, including novice hunters who are also landowners.

In both cases, the hunter must be accompanied by an unarmed adult over 18 years of age who holds a Vermont hunting license. The adult may accompany up to two youth or novice hunters. The law requires the accompanying adult to have direct control and supervision of the hunters, including the ability to see and communicate without the aid of artificial devices such as radios or binoculars.

Landowner permission is required to hunt on private land during the youth and novice deer hunt weekend, and the hunters are encouraged to secure permission well in advance.

A youth or novice hunter may take one deer of either sex on the October 24 and 25 weekend, and the antler restriction that applies in other deer seasons does not apply.

Violation of the youth and novice deer hunting rules can result in a doubled fine that is assessed against the accompanying adult.

The biological reporting stations below will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on October 24 and 25: Riteway Sports in Hardwick, Bob’s Quick Stop in Iraqsburg and Lead & Tackle in Lyndonville.

Granite State Youth Deer Hunt Is This Weekend.

New Hampshire’s youth deer weekend, Saturday and Sunday, October 24-25 is the perfect time to take a young person hunting. This special weekend gives young people age 15 and younger the opportunity to go deer hunting with an adult mentor, without the pressure of competing with thousands of adult hunters.

Accompanying adults must be licensed hunters and are not allowed to carry a firearm, the idea being to concentrate your time and attention on coaching your young companion.

Vermont Part Of Woodcock Migration Study

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has joined the Eastern Woodcock Migration Research Cooperative, an international research collaboration developed to better understand the migratory ecology of the American woodcock along the Eastern Seaboard through the use of Global Positioning Systems technology.

There is much that is not know about those tiny birds whose mating ritual enthralls us during the relatively short time they reside here.

A total of 18 woodcock were captured and outfitted with GPS units in three locations across Vermont in September with field work led by PhD students from the University of Maine with support from members of Vermont Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, The Vermont Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and Audubon Vermont.

Directed by the University of Maine, this study is designed to provide precise and timely GPS data to track the seasonal movement and habitat selection of American woodcock during pre-migration periods in the Northeast and southern Canadian provinces, southerly migration paths and stopovers, wintering periods in Southeastern states, and reverse migration routes to northern breeding grounds. The goals of the program include identifying when woodcock initiate migration, migrational stopover sites, duration of migration for individuals, and survival during migration.

“The information obtained from this study will answer questions about habitat use during various seasons and life stages, as well as migration mortality that will help us to fine tune our hunting season dates and work with habitat management partners to provide critical habitat needs during all stages of the woodcock lifespan here in Vermont.” said Migratory Game Bird Biologist David Sausville. “We know very little about their migration patterns and habitat utilization relative to spring breeding and pre-migration periods in the fall.”

Vermont Fish and Wildlife purchased five GPS units, with funding from state and federally matched funds. Vermont cooperative partners providing additional financial contributions for the remaining units came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S Forest Service, Wildlife Management Institute, and Vermont Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

“We look forward to learning valuable information obtained from these 18 individuals and we plan to return with another round of deployments next year as we continue to refine and improve our woodcock management and habitat programs,” added Sausville.

For information on becoming a Vermont cooperative partner, email David Sausville at david.sausville@vermont.gov

To learn more about the Eastern Woodcock Migration Research Cooperative, visit www.woodcockmigration.org and click on the “Migration” tab to follow Vermont’s study birds as they migrate to southern wintering grounds.

Bits and Pieces

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department recently certified a record fish entry for a 19.36-pound lake trout caught in Lake Champlain in August. Jeffery Sanford, of South Burlington was fishing alone the day he jigged up the 36.5-inch lake trout from over 100-feet of water.

According to department fisheries biologist Shawn Good, who oversees the Vermont State Record Fish Program, Sanford’s catch is a reason for celebration.

“Jeff’s fish is the largest lake trout from Lake Champlain entered in the Record Fish Program since the department started keeping fish records in 1969,” said Good. “There have been much larger lake trout caught in other Vermont waters, but this Champlain fish is a big deal.”

According to Good, it is a direct result of good lake trout habitat in Lake Champlain and ongoing sea lamprey control efforts.

***

All successful hunters during Vermont’s fall turkey hunting seasons must, by law, report their turkey within 48 hours to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Effective October 24, the start of the fall shotgun turkey hunting season, hunters will also have the option to report their harvested turkeys online through the department’s website, www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

Hunters who prefer to report their turkeys in-person to a check station can continue doing so, but those who prefer the convenience of online reporting will now have that option.

***

Winter is on its way, but in-person off-highway recreational vehicle and snowmobile education classes will not be offered throughout New Hampshire as in previous years because of COVID-19. As an alternative to these traditional courses, participants may complete their safety training online for a fee of $29.50.

To register for an online safety class visit http://www.wildnh.com/ohrv/education.html.

Many of the trained volunteer instructors who would traditionally facilitate in-person classes are affiliated with one of the more than 100 snowmobile and 26 OHRV clubs in New Hampshire. “Joining a club is a great way to learn about safe riding, help support local landowners, and help maintain trails for your own and others’ enjoyment,” Captain Michael Eastman, OHRV/Snowmobile Education and Law Enforcement Coordinator said. For more information on how to become involved with a snowmobile club, visit www.nhsa.com. For OHRV club information, visit www.nhohva.org.

***

Mark Breen reports in the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium’s Skywatch Almanac that on October 23, 1783: “Third coastal storm of the month changed to rain, melting the snow of the previous storm, producing the “greatest flood ever known since the settlement of this country.” – Vermont Journal.”

He also reminds us that on October 25, 2005, “An early snowstorm downed thousands of trees; up to 100,000 customers without power. Snowfall totals included 16.5” in Barton, VT, 14.3 “ in Underhill, VT, and 9” in Sutton, VT.”

Parting Shots

The last two weeks I wrote about the Public Meetings on Simplifying VT Fishing Regulations to be held October 13 & 14. Well they didn’t happen thanks to someone hacking the event.

I joined via Zoom Tuesday evening and listened to a few minutes before it was abruptly ended after a couple of glitches loading the desired parts of the presentation.

I tried again Wednesday only to give up after a fifteen minute wait to be allowed to join.

When I emailed Commissioner Louis Porter to ask what happened he responded, “We experienced a “zoom bombing” in which someone was able to post swear words and other garbage on the meeting. After trying a couple times to resolve it, we were unable to. We therefore cancelled both meetings and are going to reschedule when we can figure out the security.”

I learned from a F&W staff member that the cancellation of the second night was announced on the department website and on Facebook.

I am not on Facebook so I didn’t get the word and thus tried to connect to the second session. Perhaps others had a similar experience.

***

I awoke Saturday morning to see heavy wet snow flakes falling and the ground white. What a shock, two inches of snow! Just a couple of days ago it was in the mid 70s. Saturday it was 32 at daylight but rose to the mid 50s in the afternoon.

I like snow and enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing but not this early. I haven’t even finished raking the lawns. Alas, as I write this Sunday evening, the snow is now gone and warm temperatures returned.

However the snow was a harbinger of what will come. Time to make an appointment to get the winter tires on the vehicles before the first plowable storm resulting in the November rush.

Syndicated columnist Gary W. Moore may be reached by email at gwmoore1946@icloud.com or at Box 454, Bradford, VT 05033.

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