Big Game Scouting Northern New Hampshire and Reminiscing

I have always been infatuated with Northern New Hampshire because much of it is still remote it draws me like a bee to nectar. The smell of Balsam Fir is addictive. Moose wood is a treat too see as it only grows in Mountain regions. The spruce and fir bogs and varieties of lichen are akin to the dark forest prime-evil and can only be seen in the North woods. I give a full measure of thanks to the bygone era lumber companies that created thousands of miles of dirt roads that allow us access to New Hampshire wilderness. I grew up watching giant work horses pull logs from the forest at the age of 12 but by 16 years old the horses were gone.

On my way north, I stopped in at  Pemi-Valley where I am a member,  to sight in my two rifles at 200 yards. My 6 mm is fine in the open but depend on my .375 Ruger hand-loaded for brush  Having completed my shooting I continued north through Franconia Notch and said hello to my favorite spot “The Basin”.  A five minute walk worth every step.  I forgot my Katadine water purifier and missed the chance to get some cold NH water. Continuing north, I   spied a great hunting camp from a by gone era of the 1950’s and early 1960’s. The stone chimney was listing badly. I dream of better days but this place was maybe too fancy for me. A pot belly stove for heat and sleep in the bottom bunk is my ticket. As a kid I got the top bunk at 90 degrees F. But I loved it, by midnight it was down to 70 degrees. The bottom bunk was 32 degrees by morning but with a good sleeping bag you were just dandy. Outdoors it was a scant 6 degrees.My father and his hunting friends were terrific role models for me. Respectful of each other more or less, they kidded around and understood the passion for deer hunting and eating venison they caught themselves. Cribbage was an evening pass time when dishes were done and we could tell stories of the big one that got away. Ayuh! We stoked the potbelly stove and off to bed. Up at 3:30 or so came fast.



The past few days in the North Woods I saw solid deer and Moose sign around Errol, NH. Spring was successful as I saw fawn tracks.  On Moose, there was a Mother and Calf in my area seen in tracks. No big bull tracks. You gotta do your own scouting my friend. What is clear is that if want a big buck then you must go deeper away from the normal hunting haunts. There is turkey sign too. I saw a small Sow Bear with tiny cubs cross a logging road. I had a camera but she was too fast. It will be a treat only I can enjoy as I have imprinted it mentally like a little movie. She stepped out on the road first and as she crossed she gave a head turn as if the coast was clear to follow momma and out came the tiny cubs scurrying to cross and keep up. I passed through Whitefield on rt 116 and Rt 2 and stopped for a minute at the local Gun store. They say sales are great! Retiring next year. Want a gun store?


From a hunting rifle standpoint the furthest shot in the woods would not exceed 50 yards in widest openings but more normal would be less than 40 yards in brush. You don’t need a .270 for that! A .308 or 30:06 would be fine or a new lever gun in your favorite flat nose caliber like the 308 and .338 Marlin Express. Or if your a mind, a big Ruger like mine with hand-loads that you create. © 2014



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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.