On The Trail

On The Trail: Harvest time

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The preliminary 2015 Massachusetts deer harvest of 9,910, released late last week by MassWildlife, was mediocre compared to recent harvests but not surprising from a western Massachusetts perspective. Gone are the days when Franklin County woods most favorable to deer hunting were patrolled annually by eastern Massachusetts visitors hunting where their chance of success was greatest. Who would have ever dreamed that just the opposite would occur a generation or … 0

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 … 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: 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

On the Trail: Guinea Gulch is Calling

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An interesting crosstown trip to the feed store after my morning walk, a behemoth faraway bear, many familiar people, my ears buzzing with swarms of feedback about this and that, all of it pertaining to recent topics aired out right here in this space. Why not a little … 0