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On The Trail

On The Trail: Rattlers revisited

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The deluge of timber rattlesnake comments continues following two weeks of discussion here about the state’s plan to establish a population of the venomous snakes on Mt. Zion, the large, isolated Quabbin Reservoir island and no-man’s land that’s off limits to humans. MassWildlife’s justification for the proposal is that no reptile is slipping faster toward extinction than the timber rattler, and thus it’s high time to reverse that troubling trend. … 0

On The Trail: Rattler feedback

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lots of feedback here and there about last week’s column confirming a MassWildlife proposal to establish a population of endangered Timber Rattlesnakes on a secluded, unspecified Quabbin Reservoir island since dubbed “Rattlesnake Island” by the Boston Globe. “What are they, nuts?” were the most common words uttered. Followed by, “Why would anyone do that? I don’t like snakes.” Well, the decision likely wasn’t … 0

On The Trail: Rattler flap

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It’s true that the bright waxing moon in the cold winter sky shouldn’t evoke visions of vipers. Yet, go figure, a long persecuted New England snake is indeed this week’s unseasonable topic. “Snakes, in January?” you ask, bemusedly scratching at your temple with your index finger.” Yeah, snakes in January. Better still, Timber … 0

On The Trail: Buzzing bushes

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When you’re born into a place, stay and have deep roots there, then explore it for more than a half-century and write about it from many perspectives over nearly 40 years in the public sphere, you’re bound to gather an insightful local corps of loyal readers who understand … 0

On The Trail: Foreign vipers, wild foods

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! But jungle snakes as well? Hmmm? We’ll see. As the Sturgeon Moon wanes toward the fall equinox and the hard- and soft-mast crops mature, I’m still in my summer mode when the first quarter-mile of the last leg of my daily … 0

On The Trail: The bear situation

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Sturgeon Moon is building toward its Saturday climax in the deep midnight sky, with the smell of cow corn in the air. Bear season is upon us. For the first time in recent memory this year it will be extended 12 days by adding a third segment, … 0

On The Trail: Cougar comments

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cougars and catfish derbies, a book recently finished, and a troubling climate-change piece in last week’s Rolling Stone magazine. Hmmmm? Where to start? OK, cougars. Yes, cougars, despite that recent call from a woman I’ve known for some time pleading that I cease and desist writing about them. … 0

On The Trail: Shelled mystery

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A gray, wet Tuesday morning, rain pelting down, backyard brook up a little and running muddy as the dogs crunch dry nuggets from rusty, cast-iron Wagner skillets on the concrete floor just inside the cook-shed stoop. It’s looking more and more like this morning we’ll just walk the … 0

On The Trail: Harbingers of fall

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Maybe I’m getting old and that’s why time flies as it does, but it’s hard to believe that summer has already faded to its stretch run. Signs abound in the fields, the woods, the ornamental bushes gracing tidy country lawns. The first hint for me that fall was … 0

On The Trail: Roadside rambler

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Two phone calls, a month apart, reporting separate sightings of a New England phantom, added perspective gleaned from a morning trip to my old stomping grounds, and here I sit, molding it into an outdoors tale for the sports page. So let’s begin with the apparition, otherwise known … 0

On The Trail: Wild apples, bees and stuff

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Good news for deer hunters: From what I’ve encountered, there’s a bumper crop of wild apples. I guess it all starts for me in the front yard, where, just off the road at the driveway outflow, stands an old, tired, scabby, partially hollow apple tree I cannot identify. … 0

On The Trail: Cream-caddis delights

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I see this as a dredging chore. That is, write in detail about a skill I honed years ago, have not used in many years but am confident I could master quickly if I decided on a whim to dig out stored equipment and head to my old … 0

On The Trail: Rainy-day fishing

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I guess it was the two galvanized tubs hanging among cobwebs high along the carriage-shed’s north wall that stirred uplifting memories on a gray, still Tuesday morning — air heavy, storm brewing — on my way out back to the kennel. The smaller, round tub is familiar to … 0

On The Trail: Shad, salmon and cougars

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Although a few stragglers may yet appear here and there in different watersheds, it’s July and the 2015 Connecticut River anadromous-fish-migration season is, for all intents and purposes, over as usual. A rule of thumb is that once the river temperature stabilizes around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, American shad … 1

On The Trail: Tick talk

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yes, it came out of the blue a couple of weeks ago by email from someone I did not know. No, her question was not unique. In fact, it seems I am asked the same question on every visit to my longtime vet’s office, and often in the … 0