As hunting seasons approach, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department alerts pheasant hunters that the southern portion of the Mascoma Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Canaan will not be accessible this year via the culvert and road that is typically used to cross the Mascoma River. The river bisects the 125-acre property.
Access to the southern part of the WMA is being restricted because a 15-foot culvert installed by a former landowner has been removed. The culvert was significantly undersized and couldn’t handle the volume of water that flowed through the river, which is 60-80 feet wide at this location. The constriction caused by the culvert led to significant riverbank erosion both up and downstream, forced the river to change course, and deterred passage of fish and other aquatic organisms, according to N.H. Fish and Game State Lands Habitat Biologist Jim Oehler.
Fish and Game WMA staff have a plan in place to address the situation and restore access, but it will take some time. The undersized culvert has already been removed and riverbank restoration will be completed within the next few weeks with funding provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Federal Aid in Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program.
Longer-range, the Fish and Game plans to restore public access with a bridge within the next two years, once the restored riverbank has stabilized and if additional funding for the project can be secured.
In the meantime, pheasant will continue to be stocked on the Mascoma WMA in the extensive old-field habitat on the north side of the river.
Hunters are encouraged to visit Fish and Game’s pheasant-hunting web page at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_pheasant.htm to find additional locations to hunt in the area.
Pheasant hunting in New Hampshire takes place from October 1 through December 31.