In this week's edition of Traplines on Cypress Creek, George S. Roof corrects some information he gave out in last week's column and talks about a trip into the great outdoors.
Before I get into this week’s story, I have to correct some information that was in last week’s edition.
Rob Hosler, F&W Program Manager called to let me know my information on the new snow goose seasons was incorrect. I should have figured that if something can be screwed up, a one way ticket will go to the feds in making something simple very complex again.
The snow goose season in Delaware is being “extended” under the state’s parameters. That extended season will be from Feb. 2 through March 9 when all the current regulations apply to hunting snow geese except you may unplug your gun and use electronic calls. (Legal hunting days and hours will still apply along with bag limits).
The USFWS Conservation Order will take effect March 10 through April 18. Snow geese may be hunted every day except Sunday. There will be no bag limits, and the hours will be extended until one-half hour after sunset. Additionally, any hunters wishing to participate in these hunts must acquire a free permit from our DNR. The permit will consist of four alpha-numeric additions to your current Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. You will be asked to record your time in the field and number of birds taken. The permits can be obtained either on-line or at the Dover offices.
For all this information and more, go to www.fw.delaware.gov.
A couple of weeks back I was invited to go with John Mitchell of Milford, his son, John Jr. and grandson Hunter on a rabbit hunt. John had gotten permission from a landowner outside Greenwood and he wanted me to see just how small game can thrive and flourish if land is reclaimed as wildlife habitat. I had no idea what I was in for.
Winding through the backroads of Sussex County, we finally parked inside a gated entry to the Evergreen Nature Preserve and what looked like marsh. It was then that I met owner Latty Hoch and started recognizing what I was seeing.
An outdoorsman at heart, Latty had taken control of his dad’s sprawling farm some years back and decided to turn it back into natural habitat. I only can imagine the number of hours and money he had to spend to educate himself on recreating a thriving wildlife habitat area. Still a work in progress, Latty has the preserve locked into the Conservation Reserve Enhanced Program. Through that, he’s contracted Three Square Wildlife Services out of Cambridge, Md., to help him create a feathered edge that is the initial building block of any wildlife reclamation. The farm is covered in lespedeza, switch grass, sedge, seedling pines along with strips of clover, winter browse, honeysuckle and Delaware’s own multiflora rose. He intends to introduce blueberry, tall bush cranberries, huckleberries and honey locusts to the farm. Native persimmon trees are marked and protected. Wind rows and travel corridors will be made with cut old growth trees along the edges to enhance the “soft edge” required by game birds. He’s acquired “first generation” wild quail from Georgia to seed his preserve, but the rabbits and deer have long ago found their Utopia there.
Rabbits seemed to be underfoot everywhere, but the tall grasses made tough work for both the beagles and the old dogs whose eyes and reactions aren’t as great or as graceful as they once were. I bagged only one cottontail of the nine that were taken, but the experience was phenomenal. I haven’t seen a haven of wildlife like this since I was a very small boy on a country farm. The sights and smells were an easy pipeline of memory to a much simpler time.
We even found a sassafras tree that had to be more than 150 years old. It originally had been along an ancient field edge as the imbedded barbed wire told, but now grew majestically and clandestinely inside the old growth being cut down. Latty will insure it has an opportunity to see 100 more years if it can make it.
To say, “A good time was had by all” is simply an understatement. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Other news. The Delaware Chapter of the Quality Deer Management association is holding their Fourth QDMA REACH Banquet at the Felton Community Firehouse on February 21. Doors open at 5 p.m. with the sumptuous fried oysters and fixin’s being served promptly at 6:30. Tickets are $60 for singles, $80 for couples and $35 for juniors (16 or younger). No tickets will be sold at the door so you must get your reservations early. You can also buy a discounted ticket to the QDMA Spring Rendezvous on March 17 at the same time.
For tickets or additional information, call Mike Brown in Kent County at 302-492-8881, Neal Dukes in New Castle County at 302-740-5017, or in Sussex Country call Wade Whaley at 302-875-9876, Chip West at 302-238-0137, or Jay Klaverweiden at 443-614-6170.