Local Hunters Anxious for Upcoming Moose Hunt
October 13, 2010
COÖS COUNTY — Several local hunters are counting down the days until the start of the 2010 New Hampshire Moose Hunt on Saturday, October 16. The nine-day season continues through Sunday, October 24
Over 350 names were "pulled from the hat" at the annual computer-generated random drawing held at the Fish & Game Headquarters in Concord this past June. Lucky recipients of these tags are assigned a moose hunting permit that is valid in a specific Wildlife Management Unit for taking either an "antlerless only (AO)" moose or a moose of "either sex (ES)". Each permit recipient (permittee) is allowed to have a hunting partner (sub-permittee) go along and hunt with them.
Wallace "Red" Skinner, who lives 'Out East' in Lancaster, has mixed feelings about his moose hunting opportunity this year. Red, admittedly, was excited when he first learned that he had finally drawn a tag, after many years of applying. "My tag is for the moose zone right here by my house. As far as I'm concerned, I couldn't have drawn a better area. I just wish I had drawn this tag a few years ago, before I contracted this damn disease" he said. Red suffers from Pulmonary Fibrosis, which causes him great discomfort and severely hampers his mobility. "Not only that, Fish & Game, of course, has more damn rules and regulations that go along this moose hunting, I'm afraid of making a mistake or accidently doing something wrong. I'm awful glad that Steve (Red's son, who lives in East Colebrook) is going to be there with me as my helper (sub-permittee) to make sure we do everything right" said Mr. Skinner. When asked about how they planned to extricate their moose, should they get one, Red said, "I know most of the folks who own land around where we will be hunting so I think they'll let us do what we need to do, like a 4-wheeler or draft horses or something."
In an unlikely twist-of-fate, both Mark and Sarah Desrochers, husband and wife from Lancaster, drew moose permits. Unfortunately for them, they were assigned different hunting units that are almost 100 miles apart! In a telephone interview with Sarah, she said, "I am taking that first Monday off from work. Mark is going to be my sub-permittee, so he and I are going to hunt my unit (Unit G – west-central NH) for the first three days of the season,then he is coming back up north to hunt his unit (C2 – Success Pond area) with his long-time hunting partner, and sub-permittee, Marty Noble, from Benton, NH." "I just finished my Hunter's Safety class and got my card two weeks ago. Pat Kelly and Jim Szurley were my instructors and they did a great job. I was really nervous about going hunting and handling a gun before taking the class. They made me feel much more knowledgeable, relaxed and comfortable about handling a firearm. I am still a little apprehensive about all of the other hunters out there. You don't know what kind of experience or training they have had" said Ms. Desrochers. She and her husband both have either-sex permits, which allow them to take either a bull or a cow. She said that Mark has done some scouting recently for her and has seen a couple of moose in her area.
Joan Cormier, an antlerless-only permit holder from Milan, was not available for an interview but her husband (and sub-permittee) John commented, "I have been on several moose hunts over the past 20 years but I expect this one will be a bit different because both me and my wife have some physical limitations that will not allow us to roam too far from the road. Joan is still suffering with her eye problems and I just can't hump it up over the ridges like I used to." (John fell while shoveling off a roof two winters ago and suffered a broken back) I've been up scouting in our zone (Unit A1 – Pittsburg) about a half-dozen times and I've seen eight moose, so far" said John. "We don't have a 4-wheeler so we will probably end up skinning, quartering and packing the meat out on our backs" he added.
Groveton resident, Beau Caron, was drawn for his second moose hunt. He shot a 500 pound cow moose back in 1998 but is hoping he can find a decent-sized bull this time around. "We'd like to get a bull with at least a 45" spread. We'd like to get one the first weekend so we don't have to take any time off from work" said Caron. Both he and his sub-permittee, Josh Stone, currently work as loggers for Hicks Logging, from Jefferson. "We went scouting the past two weekends and we saw some moose in one of the areas we went to in our zone" (Unit B, Groveton, Colebrook, Errol) Beau added. When asked about getting their moose out of the woods, he said with a chuckle, "It would be nice if we can get one near a logging operation. Loggers have just the right tools to get one out!"
Other local permit-holders, who were not reachable for comment, include: Kevin Ainsworth from Whitefield; Leo Rideout, Sr. and William Perkins, Jr. from Lancaster; Douglas Hamilton from Groveton and Dana Helms of Jefferson.
Moose hunting has been described by many as "the hunt of a lifetime". Some hunters just can't get enough of it (just ask Jon Parks), while others are satisfied to have done it once, but have no desire to do it again. Anyone who has been on a successful moose hunt can tell you that, once the moose is down, the hard, yet rewarding work begins. Adult moose will typically have a dressed weight between 500 and 900 pounds and will render 250 to 400 pounds of meat. Getting one out and to the butcher is definitely a worthwhile effort. Obviously, some people do not have a use for that much meat, so there is a very good option for their excess meat: Hunt for the Hungry. This is a cooperative program created by the New Hampshire Food Bank and Gun Owners of New Hampshire. The meat is processed and then distributed throughout the state to soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, elderly services and group homes. For more information about donating to this program, contact Michele Garron at the NH Food Bank (603) 669-9725.
Be sure to watch for the follow-up article, after the moose season, to see how the local moose hunters made out and to see their comments on their moose hunting experiences.