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On The Trail
Two mature, longbeard gobblers are caught on camera doing battle at a secluded Montville, Maine, farm. Such battles are now common here in Franklin County, too. It's that time of year when toms are jockying for dominace and gathering springtime harems. The above battle was robust, covering more than 100 yards, matching opponents the photographer has known and named over the past three or four years. Within minutes of the spirited bout's conclusion, the two birds rejoined the single hens they had seperately arrived with, then stayed in the same field not far apart ignoring each other. Call it a rite of spring.
Submitted photo

On The Trail: Turkey talk and housecleaning

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Full Corn-Planting Moon is building as the landscape greens, turkeys gobble and shotguns roar from distant hills. Yes, it’s spring turkey season, a fine time of year for a man so inclined. And, word out of Montville, Maine, indicates the time is ripe. But first a brief diversion — the first of two little housecleaning chores from last week, … 0

On The Trail: Splashback

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do rivers speak? Well, if you listen. Cool, sunny Sunday morning, 10-ish, variable wind gusting to stir small, random oak-leave tornados out in the open along the north wood line of a closed, two-acre meadow. A splendid day for a walk with the dogs — nose-dominant beasts that rely on winds to deliver information that can quickly accelerate their pace. Descending the earthen … 0

On The Trail: Springtime buzz

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Illuminated in a high, bright morning sun, it and a refreshing south breeze in my face, there it lay, clear as day: my trodden trail carved into a short March-brown hayfield, the thin, angled depression still easily discernible after a long, cold, snowy winter freeze, no foot-traffic I’m aware of in quite a while. I myself hadn’t taken that familiar route for months, … 0

On the Trail: Toby travelers?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The full Wolf Moon curls its lip, displays a stained ivory canine and snarls from high in the cold midnight sky. Uh-oh! Here we go again. Cougars. Yeah, you know — tawny, four legs, long, thick tail, square-ish face with black features along the nose and ears. Everyone … 0

On The Trail: Ace

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tuesday morning, sun bright, wind cold, up early to say farewell to an old friend and loyal colleague who lost a valiant battle to a heartless scourge. Complicating matters on this winter morn was a visit from grandsons Jordan and Arie, prepubescent Vermonters in town for school vacation. … 0

On The Trail: Trigger happy

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Not complaining, just one of those weeks, I guess. Yes, one of those stretches when weird stuff requiring immediate attention comes at you like bugs at a hot muggy windshield. It all started with irritating gun woes late last week. First, while pursuing a wild flush — it … 0

On the Trail: Blind faith

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

He was out for an afternoon walk on a sunny fall Friday, I on my way home from hunting, a fun day behind two seasoned gun dogs through thick thorny cover. I pulled over, stopped, slid down my passenger’s window and said hello, he having just crossed to … 0

On the trail: Branching out

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Saturday morning, after 10, gray, damp, rain holding off, me reading, phone rings. My buddy Cooker’s calling from the field on his cell, hunting over young male springer spaniel, Gizmo. “Hey, I’m hunting down by Duncan’s and, trust me, it’s your kinda covert. You ought to head down. … 0

On the Trail: Myth mayhem

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

As the Beaver Moon builds in the midnight sky, I’ve been stuck on the ancient beaver myth, my meandering thoughts briefly disrupted by backyard leave-removal chores and a fresh cordwood load dumped out back Wednesday morning by Blue Sky, a good man who left a tidy mound in … 0

On The Trail: Weirdness

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weird: that’s how I’d characterize what’s been happening in my travels since we last met. Then, at other times, same-old, same-old, nothing at all peculiar. Oh well. That’s life. The weirdness started on my ride home from work through The Meadows before midnight a week ago. In a … 0

On The Trail: Sweet 16

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I returned from my daily walk with the dogs Tuesday morning, taunting firewood load piled on the lawn in front of the backyard woodshed, and was greeted by a long, narrow, triangular package leaning upright against the iron vice attached to the carriage-shed work bench by the side … 0

On the Trail: Hunters moon

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The equinox has passed and the Hunter’s Moon is big and bright. The time’s right to write about the new bear-harvest record. But, no, even though I probably should begin with that tidbit, it happened in September and the press release arrived last week at deadline so, in … 0

On the Trail: Feeding, reading

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Raw and rainy, ripe for a soggy Wednesday walk, the backdrop bursting with flashy splashes of new fall color each day as drab, premature yellow maple leaves with dirty brown stains fall like feathers to the turf, never to attain their flame-orange splendor. I trust enough leaves will … 0

On the Trail: Nut job

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Harvest Moon has passed, wild asters smile and Henry Ford was a fascist. If you don’t believe it, look it up. It’s true. I don’t know where that came from but must admit I’m under the gun. Off to a late start. Where does the time go? … 0

On the Trail: Animal instinct

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A strange, busy week it’s been, spiced by interesting visits, some physical, others mental, maybe even a tad esoteric. We’ll begin with a light little deer caper anyone can get their head around — an unusual encounter that, due to its rarity, will not be soon forgotten — … 0