the predation is not enough to affect the overall
herd. Deer harvest data, which is available for
everyone to see in the Vermont Fish and Wildlife
Department’s online library, clearly show that
the herd is remarkably stable, and when it does
swing, it correlates with harsh winters. I can’t
imagine that this would be any different in the
Adirondacks – especially in the snowbelt areas.
Having said this, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to
think that there could be microhabitats that are
inordinately affected by coyote predation, which
is why we’ll keep having this argument.
I’d like to introduce a theory of mine that puts
a slightly different spin on things. I think that
coyotes have made deer hunting in the Northeast
much more difficult than it was in the good old
days, not because they’re killing too many deer,
but because their mere presence has forced deer
to become a more elusive animal. In the hundred-year window between wolves and coyotes, deer
had no natural predators for 49 weeks out of the
year. Today, deer are hunted 52 weeks out of the
year by coyotes, and have evolved hair-trigger
nerves. I think this constant hunting pressure
by coyotes has made deer more wary, and thus
harder to find and shoot.
J;;;;; A;;;;, R;;;;;, V;;;;;;
Makes No Dam Sense
To the Editors:
I saw the piece about dam removals in the
Discoveries column [Winter 2016]. Growing up,
I saw many shows and articles on the many
benefits of beaver dams and ponds – retaining
water, and creating wetlands and wildlife habitat.
I have kayaked on both beaver ponds and behind
manmade dams and have noticed that small
and medium-sized manmade dams provide the
same benefits as beaver dams. In addition, these
dams provide or could provide locally generated
renewable energy. A U.S. Department of Energy
report identifies 4. 8 GW of growth potential on
One has to wonder about the dam removal
craze when a beaver dam is a wonder of all that
is good in nature, but an identical hydro dam is
practically evil incarnate and must be removed
(even when mitigation measures, such as the
installation of fish ladders, could be taken). Is it to
help wildlife (by destroying wetlands and renew-
able energy sources) or is it an extreme attempt
to get rid of the working landscape (loggers and
hunters take note) and anything manmade?
As one book on renewable power has noted,
in the post-carbon world, we may come to regret
the current dam removal craze.
W;;;;; J;;;;;;, R;;;;;;; P;;;, N;; Y;;;
To the Editors:
I’d like to add my two cents to the excellent
“Tricks of the Trade” article on wood-splitting
in the Winter issue. I’m 84 and do up about 12
cords a year and have been doing it for a long,
A few more tricks that I’ve found: Try to place
your block on a solid surface, the harder the better.
Most blocks will have cracks, strike for the biggest.
A little chainsaw is handy to cut through knots
prior to splitting. Also, you’ll find frozen wood to
split much easier.
My weapon is a modified Chopper1 brand of
axe. The Chopper1 worked fine but I found the
flippers sent the wood to the neighbors and I’m
too old to gather it up. I removed the flippers
and installed a fiberglass handle out to 26 inches
wrapped with rubber tape. I keep it semi-sharp,
to cut stringers – it will rarely hang up. This is the
best outfit I’ve ever used, I’ve had many.
J;;; D;;;;;, N;;;;;;;;, N;; Y;;;
Wide-spread Ice Storms
To the Editors:
I was surprised to read in your article about ice
storm research [Winter 2016] the statement that
ice storms in North America “typically wreak
havoc in a belt stretching from Texas to southern
I live in the Province of Quebec, Canada,
some considerable distance north of the zone
delineated in the article. I can assure you that
ice storms are and have been for many years a
part of virtually every winter at this latitude. My
first memory of one was in 1960 when Bishop’s
University, situated in Lennoxville, just north of
the Vermont border, needed to be vacated for a
period of days until electricity could be restored.
Annually, we have ice storms that disrupt
electrical service and road travel for a matter of
hours, as well as some that disrupt any normal
pattern of life for days or even weeks. My most
recent experience was in February of 2016 when
my wife and I were marooned for a period of 10
days at our camp northeast of La Tuque, Quebec,
some 360 miles north of southern New England.
D;;;; M;;;;;, B;;;;, Q;;;;;
We love to hear from our readers. Letters intended for
publication in the Summer 2017 issue should be sent in
by April 1. Please limit letters to 400 words. Letters may
be edited for length and clarity.