On The Trail
Archer Steve Roy of Turners Falls displays his tropy, 9-point, 215-pound whitetail buck shot Monday morning in Northfield.
Submitted photo

On The Trail: Death rut

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A trophy buck has fallen in Northfield — one the hunter will likely never top, or forget. The archer who slew the 9-point, 215-pound racker Monday morning is Steve Roy, a GCC strength and conditioning instructor who grew up in South Deerfield, attended Frontier Regional School, graduated from Franklin Tech in 1978 and has lived most of his adulthood in Northfield, now Turners Falls. And, oh, what an interesting tale he had to tell about tree-stand observations from nature’s classroom during the breeding season or rut, when big bucks like the one he killed can get all jacked up and downright goofy when confronted by … 0

On The Trail: Indian bummer

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bittersweet has pushed its yellow skin aside, adding a softer shade of red to the abundant Christmas berries populating our local wetlands. Both wild ornamental berries will, over time, be snipped here and there by human gatherers seeking materials for holiday wreaths to hang on front doors, and fall floral arrangements to place in vases, stoneware crocks or old, scarred walnut trenchers centered … 0

On The Trail: Swamp busters

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bird season in the Happy Valley is glorious yet short for those who love it. With it comes cold mornings — windshield scrapers always at the ready — and crisp, cool afternoons; sometimes sunny, sometimes gray, some wet and soggy days, others dry and crunchy, some windy and blustery, others still as a walk-in freezer locker. An early-season bonus is the brilliant backdrop … 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

On The Trail: One of the guys

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A gray, rainy afternoon brought news of the same somber hue to my Recorder desk late Monday afternoon: old friend Walter T. Kostanski Jr., known playfully to me as Honorable Walter T., was dead and gone at 91. I had just put to bed the first draft of … 0

On the Trail: Hidden wonders

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gray, damp, windy. Storm brewing. Wild-rose buds bursting into fragrant white blossoms emitting that sweet, unmistakable scent that money can’t buy. I look forward to the two weeks it annually lingers, making our daily rambles all the more pleasant. I should have known what was coming next. So … 0

On the Trail: Beaver dynamics

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

If you keep plugging at subjects of personal interest like I do, moving from one source to another — focused always on this place called home, its history, deep and shallow — you’re bound to stumble across something that instantly brings a big blurry picture into bright, stunning … 0

On The Trail: Worthwhile walk

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The tomatoes are in the ground, the rhubarb is tall, ripe and a tad tart, asparagus reaches to the heavens, robin-egg shells are underfoot, the smell of red clover is a sweet reminder of the summer to come, and things are starting to happen in the wild kingdom. … 0

On The Trail: The season of the fish

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fish are on the platter this week. And why not? This is, after all, the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend, thus the week that annually signals the end of MassWildlife’s spring trout-stocking program, which, quite by chance, I innocently happened upon while on my daily routine … 0

On The Trail: Turkeys silent as spring brightens

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Before eight chimes on the Monday-morning tall clock — gray sky, heavy air, cup of coffee in hand and headed for my customary parlor reading station by the window — it walloped me like an open, clammy palm across the puss. Ah yes, that first overpowering fragrance of … 0