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: Dry run

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

High enthusiasm and low expectations hovered over the dense, thorny, tangled, frost-browned wetland below. Opening day of pheasant season? No. Too busy. Too crowded. It was, instead, late morning on the first Monday, Day 2, when the prospect of a random flush is possible but not particularly likely … 0

On The Trail: Pheasant fever

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cornfields have mellowed from green to tan, swamps are brightened by yellows and purples, acorns and apples are underfoot, a few still clicking and clacking through leaves and limbs, and those long, brown, white-pine needles are piling up fast to collect for blueberry-patch mulch — all unmistakable signs … 0

On The Trail: Report from the Northwoods

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

As our own archery deer season approaches (Oct. 19), hints of what to expect from a northern border state. Bowhunters’ take thus far, after the first New Hampshire Fish & Game polling of checking stations, shows a 10 … 0

On The Trail: Squirrel pie

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It’s October and the surreal blood moon has passed, signaling fall’s hunts and harvests. But first, fishing, a harvest of sorts, and specifically trout fishing, which should improve dramatically on selected local waters this week and next. Why, you ask? Oh, that’s easy. The annual fall-stocking program is … 0

On The Trail: Spurred down Memory Lane

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The fall equinox has passed, oaks are raining acorns, which can be heard knocking and banging through the branches even on still days, and the tall, dignified pignut hickory I pass daily is balding fast, its round, green-husked nuts spread liberally underneath. Apparently there’s critter trouble in my … 0

On The Trail: Feed & feedback

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A little of this, a little of that is what I have this week — starting with email Japanese-Knotweed feedback from local hill and dale, then traipsing off to the bountiful apple crop my dogs are capitalizing on. For any who missed it last week, I addressed non-native, … 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