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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: Devil’s dance

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Here I sit, dry-docked, sparse snow waltzing through gray peaceful sky peering down. The dogs are disappointed, our daily walks temporarily on hold because of deep snow and a base too icy to get even a four-wheel drive with aggressive tires off-road to park. I’ve heard more analysis … 0

On the Trail: Humdinger

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I remember well the wry grin worn by last week’s new crescent moon slouching east and facing west in the southern sky. I now know that sly, waxing sliver of amber energy building toward next week’s full Snow-Moon climax brought with it winter fury … and local suspense. … 0

On the Trail: Cougar Spatz

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh no. Not again. Of course, I should have known better. Doesn’t cougar chatter always draw feedback? Sometimes from faraway places you’d never imagine? Although, really, I can’t claim this one came out of the clear blue. No. In fact, I had given thought of hitting this man … 0

On The Trail: No way?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how, whenever I write about cougars, emails come flying at me, reporting local sightings or curious discoveries that could be the work of cougars. Last week was no different: first, a deer hunter who explores Mt. Toby’s deepest reaches, then a woman … 1

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