December 9, 2012

Allen Afield: It's a great time for tracking, before the heavy snows

By Ken Allen

(Continued from page 1)

In New England, a year may pass when no hunter dies from a gunshot. Period. And in years when hunter deaths occur in this six-state region, they often result from self-inflicted wounds or falls from tree stands.

Forty years ago, who would have thought tree stands would cause fatalities? Few hunters used them back then, so in my youth a hunter dying from a fall from a tree proved mighty rare.

This week, December hunters target small game, like upland birds, waterfowl, bobcats and coyotes, but that's a small hunting population scattered statewide. In short, hunters may wander the woods, but hikers and trackers may never bump into them.

December solitude makes the month perfect for walking, and at this time of year, I seldom run into another hunter -- or hiker for that matter. The rare times when I do, we usually have a long, friendly conversation.

That's December all right, a month that quickly changes from late fall to winter by the 31st.

In the bottom part of the state, we have over three weeks to enjoy shallow snow cover before snowshoes, cross-country skis and, of course, snowmobiles feel essential for woodland travel.

Ken Allen of Belgrade Lakes is a writer, editor and photographer. He can be contacted at:


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