G. Sam Piatt
PDT Outdoors Writer
I love snow.
I’ve told my wife Bonnie numerous times of my serious desire to move to somewhere like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or perhaps to northern Minnesota. That’s because all the snows of the long winter seem to go either north or south of the South Shore Peninsula.
Once it starts snowing I hate to see it stop. And while it’s falling I want to be out there in knee boots in those snowy woods, looking for the stories of animals and birds unfolding in the tracks they leave behind.
Loving snow doesn’t make good sense, I suppose, looking at it from a practical standpoint. Like others, I should fear snow and some of the hardships it brings.
Driving the highways is not a good situation to be in during or after a heavy snow. The one that fell pretty good here about a month ago before tracking off to the north or south caught me inside Wal Mart in New Boston when it started falling. By the time I reached downtown Portsmouth, there was about two inches on the ground.
I was driving west on Third Street preparing to make a left turn on Chillicothe Street when the traffic light turned red and stopped the car in front of me.
I was 20 yards behind him when I hit the brakes. I didn’t slow down, but went sliding toward his rear. I cut sharply on the steering wheel to go left, but I kept going straight ahead. I braced myself for the impact and started thinking about my insurance coverage.
But at the last second Big Red the Pontiac Grand Prix veered left, missed the car, crossed the eastbound lane of Third Street, went up over the low curb and onto the sidewalk and stopped inches from the light pole in front of the old Hurth Hotel building.
EAST COAST SNOW
This weekend the place to be for snow lovers like me was between Boston and lower east Maine. At this writing (late Friday evening) the snow was coming down heavy all along the same coast that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy just over three months ago.
By Saturday night it was expected to reach depths of nearly three feet. Steady winds of 35 miles per hour, gusting up to 60 mph, would pile it up even deeper (not to mention possibly bringing another horrible storm surge).
Perhaps that’s a little too much, even for a snow lover. The downside of such a snowstorm is that they usually bring power outages. It’s difficult to enjoy watching the snow fall outside your window when you’re freezing.
Perhaps I should be thankful for the mysterious snow-repelling powers of the South Shore Peninsula?
MAINE BEAR HUNT
In 2011, Jim Ward made the 20-hour drive from Ashland to the North Woods of Maine with hopes of killing a bear. Such hunts are planned months in advance so there’s no way of telling what kind of weather you’ll have. He went in on the heels of a hurricane and had five days of rain.
He didn’t even see a bear.
So he saved up some more money and went back this past September for another try. His wife wasn’t too happy about this. Their wedding anniversary was Sept. 14. So he didn’t leave for the bear hunt until Sept. 15.
His uncle, Steve, went with him. They hunted with the same outfitter Jim had hunted with in 2011 – Wayne of Foggy Mountain Guide Service.
“We got there on Sunday, got settled in, and the guide took us out to show us our stands,” Jim said. “On the way we saw a sow and two cubs. So it’s already better than last year.”
They stopped at Steve’s stand first, then Jim’s.
“As me and the guide, Jeremy, went in to bait, he said we had jumped a big bear out ahead of us,” Jim said. “So my hopes are flying.
“On Monday, I’m sitting in the stand and at the same time the big bear comes in and sees me, or hears me. My heart is racing and I’m shaking and all, for it WAS a big bear!
“Tuesday it rains and I don’t see anything. But among those in the camp there have been a few taken, and some misses, and my uncle saw a small bear.
“Wednesday comes in the stand and at 5:45 the bear shows up like clockwork. The bear is not around for long. He goes to the barrel and grabs some food and starts to move out so I get a shot!
“I sit for a few minutes, all excited, I get down and find no blood and make a small pass around the area but its getting dark. So I get out and go pick up my uncle Steve, who has killed a nice bear, a 150-pound male, and has it by the road waiting on me.
“So back at the lodge I talk to the guide. He asks if I had a good shot and I say ‘yes.’ I overheard them talking about it. They said if I shot the one he’d seen than I had a good one!
“So now I have to sit all night with very little sleep, questioning my shot. There had been three there in camp who had shot a bear but never found it.
“So morning comes and at breakfast it was hard to eat. Then we’re off — the guide Jeremy, my uncle, and a couple of other hunters we met there. We get to the stand and the search begins. We find a hole in the tree where my bullet had hit and there was fur and a little blood, so it’s looking better.
“We start walking. Fifty yards out (I had gone only about 30 yards out the night before), my uncle found the bear!
“It was a 300-pound sow, the best in the camp!
“It was a hunt of a lifetime!”
Kentucky deer hunters will have lots of ground venison for chili this winter, roasts to bake with onions, celery and vegetables and back strap chops to grill during the summer.
That’s because a record deer harvest was posted for the 2012-13 deer season, which ended with the close of archery season on Jan. 21.
Hunters bagged 131,388 whitetails. The previous record harvest of 124,752 came during the 2004-05 season.
The breakdown for this season showed:
Firearms — 95,612.
Archery — 18,705
Muzzleloaders — 14,583
Crossbow — 2,488.
David Yancy, deer biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said the increase came because of good hunting weather, coupled with an average to below average acorn crop.
“Deer had to search for food and that made it more likely they would be seen by hunters,” he said.
Ohio’s 2012-13 white-tailed deer season came to a close with the end of the archery season Feb. 2.
The all-seasons, all-weapons total kill far exceeded Kentucky’s with 218,910 deer taken, down about a thousand from last year’s total kill of 219,748.
Scioto County’s total kill stood at 2,821, down slightly from the 2,887 taken during the 2011-12 seasons.
G. Sam Piatt can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or Gsamwriter@aol.com.