During the fall I spend a lot of time in the woods. Most people in the woods this time of year, are hikers, photographers and hunters. The hunters and photographers because this is the time of year when animal activity is at its highest. I will say that my time is spent hunting, although I won’t make this a whole spiel about hunting and why it is good. I will touch on the fact that hunting controls the size of a “herd” or amount of species in an area. When herd sizes are controlled, the animals share the limited resources they need to survive. If the herd is too large, they will utilize those resources in excess and not have enough to survive, thus resulting in a loss of an entire herd. I should mention, for all of the readers that are not fans of hunting, that out of 78,000 hunters in NH the success rate is at 12%, so most animals die of natural causes, or cars, not a gun. That’s all I have to say about the good that hunting does for population control.
What I will say about hunting is that it provides me another opportunity to be outside. I usually either sit in a tree stand and keep watch, or walk through the woods, treading very carefully to be quiet and not disturb the woods. From a vantage point of 20 feet in a tree, I can see quite a bit of the forest. I take in all the sights and sounds of the time of day. In the morning the woods come to life. Birds start chirping and flying, small mammals come out of their holes and scamper around waking up from a long night’s sleep. This activity is amazing and provides me with ample possibilities to view some of New Hampshire’s other residents, the wildlife.
Some animals are more mysterious, majestic and much harder to see. The two most popular animals, in New Hampshire, of hunters and spectators alike are the Moose and the Whitetail Deer. With all the room to roam (remember, NH forests, also home to these animals, covers more than 80% of the state) these creatures are hard to see unless they let you see them. There are only 6 deer per square mile in NH and even less for Moose. Bears are much more abundant, but most people would choose to keep a safe distance from these fellas. Turkey are also a commonality in the state, and let’s not forget coyotes, rabbits, lynx, and bobcats. I can’t help but mention that I am speaking mostly of my favorites.
Let’s not forget the rest though. New Hampshire has 64 mammal species and 500 vertebrate animals. 75% of these animals are non-game species and that is why you see them a lot more often. Squirrels, snakes, birds of prey, among others, make quite themselves right at home here in our state. 27% of New Hampshire’s other residents are endangered, while 13% are threatened. The state is teeming with wildlife and tourists don’t just come for the lakes and mountains, but also to be outside with the animals. Wildlife viewing is a popular hobby and everyone has his or her favorite types.
With so many animals in the granite state, we have to remember that we share this space with them. Sometimes they encroach on our properties, often times unexpectedly, and we do the same to them when we walk in the woods. We have pushed many from their homes when we clear cut some land to build, but they never return the deed, instead having to find a new home, in a smaller area. While I mentioned I am a hunter, that doesn’t mean I dislike animals. My heart always sinks when I see one dead, or running away scared because they think we are trying to hurt them. We must live with them in a non-traditional symbiotic relationship. We need them, but they don’t need us so to speak. Respect the wildlife, don’t poach, and enjoy the sights and sounds of them waking up in the morning, just like us. Take a picture, you may capture an amazing shot.