2010 Comes To an End

Frank Nardello with his 2010 NH 10 point.


On December 15 I opened the back door at 0500 and was blasted by a gust of 19 degree North wind. It didn’t take long for me to make up my mind to crawl back into bed and throw in the towel to the 2010 bow season. For the first time in 14 years I have gone deerless this season, no firearm or archery venison for the freezer this year. There were chances and one missed shot, but in the end it was deer 1 and Captain Don 0. I am disappointed, but not discouraged, I saw plenty of deer and I love to hunt New Hampshire so I’m looking forward to next year, in fact there are already plans of new tree stand locations in motion. Many of the old spots went under changes from logging and development so I spent a good portion of the season exploring new areas and I’m pretty excited for the September 2011. It was also a good year to share time with family and friends in the field so I’ll mark it down as a winner.

There are some that fared a little better in the filling the freezer department, in fact it was a banner year for My friends the Nardellos with Louie, brother Frank, and Louie’s son Jeff all filling tags with bucks, two of them notable. Frank nailed a once in a lifetime monster10 point that green scored 165 Boon and Crocket points, Louie a beautiful basket rack 6 point, and Jeff rounded out the family circle with a nice 135 pound spike horn, all from New Hampshire woods. My hunting “buddy” Karen, while not scoring a kill had the pleasure of 32 deer sightings, many of them does during the first week of archery. She also reported many visits while in a tree stand from her favorite woodland critter the Barn Owl. Another friend Dan Clancy from up in Warren, NH. got lucky in the moose lottery. Dan took 13 year old Christopher Comeau as his subpermittee and the young man bagged a beauty 552 pound bull on opening day.

January is coming and smelt fishing should be getting underway as well. There are plenty of good spots here in Southern NH. Great Bay is accessible from the Newington Road in back of the airport, and the Exeter River up by Newfields is always a good bet. If you don’t mind the drive Dresden Maine has multiple smelt camps scattered about the bays that a group can rent shacks for a few bucks and spend some time fishing for these tasty little fish. Granite State Bow Hunters 3-D shoots will be underway and to find the times and dates of the shoots look no farther than the pages of the Hawkeye and you’ll find them listed. Last summer I got a new bow, a Hoyt Maxxis 31, set up by my friends up at Brians Archery in Rochester. This new compound bow is a joy to shoot and I can’t wait to put it to some good use at the Sunday tournaments around the southern part of the state.

Last week there was an article run in the sporting section of the Portsmouth Herald that I found disturbing. It was about the declining numbers of hunters nation wide and went in depth of some of the reasons as to why. To no surprise the Soviet Republic of Massachusetts led all 50 states with a decline of 50 % in the past two decades according to a national survey. While much of that statistic most likely comes from Beacon Hill’s restrictive gun laws, even states such as Michigan, Iowa, and many other strongholds are seeing alarming drops in sportsmen and women going afield. One good point in the article points to the older generation dying off and the lack of younger hunters following to keep the way of life alive. In this computer age many many more kids are finding it more attractive to sit in front of a monitor and play in cyberspace than hiking through the woods with Dad who in many cases is likely working overtime to try and make the mortgage payment in these hard times… Another factor is the present day school systems and their politically correct attitudes against shooting guns, hunting, and all the rest of what for generations was a cleaner way of life. If you get the chance take a kid hunting or fishing to expose them to the sport in hope of it taking hold and building a foundation for the future of our way of living free in the outdoors as many generations before have done.

On a departing and lighter side to my rambling, my friend Louie called me the other day to inform me that Fish and Game would be offering a 2011 license discount to those of us that failed to fill our tags this past year. I let him know him that the state would be looking for a surcharge from him for killing a deer within 500 feet of his front door.

Tight Lines,

Captain Don