F&W proposes increase in doe permits

Jensen Afield

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department wants to slightly increase the number of antlerless deer permits for the December muzzleloader season in a proposal that was brought before a public hearing held last week at Rutland High School. Under the proposal, Fish & Wildlife would issue 27,000 antlerless permits, an increase of 10 percent over the number of permits issued […]

Our new threat: Emerald ash borer


Jim Fuller, a former park ranger at Vermont’s Grand Isle State Park, described this interaction with a tourist from New Jersey, when he confiscated their out-of-state firewood. Ranger Jim: “We are trying to keep the forests clear of invasive insects.” Tourist, as beetle fell from firewood: “you mean like that one there?” In this instance, the hitchhiking insect proved to […]

BIG BIRD comes to the calls

Jensen Afield

It’s an overcast morning. With a slate-gray sky, the morning comes slowly. I cut loose with a fly-down cackle. Two minutes later, I offer another. No response. I am seated behind camouflage netting with two decoys out in front and my best turkey hunting pal to my left. It’s the fourth morning of the spring turkey season. Dan and I […]

A web of mystery


Janet Hayward Burnham, of Bethel, was driving to the bank one day, when she saw a tree on the side of the road that looked like it was covered in decorative webbing, “cans and cans” of it, as if for Halloween. However, it was June. Burnham is an illustrator, children’s book author, and writer of sweet (as opposed to sexy) […]

A great gobbling morning

Jensen Afield

I have been blessed by the outdoors. I have seen things that border on the religious. But, for me, there is nothing in nature that can match the prehistoric sound of a gobbling tom turkey on a spring morning. Add to that a mature, tom turkey gobbling and strutting in front of you, the colors of his head turning red, […]

Mute swans


The big white birds paddling gracefully across a Massachusetts pond last November surprised me. I’d grown up in the town I was visiting and had never seen swans there, although my friend assured me they were resident birds. The only mute swans I’d seen before, years ago, were floating along the River Thames between Eton College and Windsor Castle. Swans […]

Thinking back on Mexico

Yankee Notebook

Phil and I crossed into Mexico somewhere between Yuma and Mexicali. I wasn’t driving, and he was using the GPS, so I wasn’t paying attention. The customs agent on the American side, a very friendly guy, took a look at our equipment, asked about our intentions and sent us into a bleak, concrete-block office to wait for our papers. We […]

Reading dinosaur tracks


Imagine taking a walk through a part of New England you’ve never seen — how it was 190 million years ago. This New England is hot, and the infrequently replenished lakes are surrounded by drying mudflats. As you squelch across the mud, you cross other footprints — three-toed tracks. A squall of rain passes through, coming and going so quickly […]


Jensen Afield

“As scientific understanding has grown, so our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos, because he is no longer involved in nature and has lost his ‘unconscious identity’ with natural phenomena. These have slowly lost their symbolic implications. Thunder is no longer the voice of an angry god, nor is lightning his avenging missile. No river […]

April showers


In the pre-dawn hours of April 22, the Lyrid meteor shower will peak. About 15 to 20 meteors will be visible each hour, which really is not very many. By comparison, the Perseid meteor shower in August averages about 60 to 70 an hour, and the Geminid in December can top 120. But I am most fascinated by the Lyrid. […]

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