Every Fall I like to augment my hunting around the Dover, NH area with a hunt at Wild Hill Hunting Preserve in Fairlee, Vt. Bill Ritcher, a seasoned guide and world wide guide for such men as Fred Bear in Alaska and other famous hunters, from The Amazon River in South America to various parts of the Globe. Bill has been a hunter, trapper and as I mentioned a guide just about everywhere in the Western hemisphere. Well Bill owns Wild Hill Hunting preserve.
The spacious 4,000 acre hunting preserve puts you in swamps, also high on ridges and in the forest of the Vermont area. This area is rich in the history of Vermont.
This well wooded area has relics of old log cabins that date from the 1700 and 1800 hundreds. At spaces in the woods you can actually see the remmants of this long ago area. But Bill has a history of having this place operating for about 50 years. As A hunter, trapper and outdoors man for all of his life Bill knows what you want and how to help you achieve your goal. If you want TVs, radios and luxuries do not come here. It is rustic. And really what a hunting camp should be. His staff cooks all the meals. From the hot food of breakfast to the succulent meals at night, you are going to have a meal that is fit for a king. Most of the suppers are of the animals that are harvested right here on this hunting property. Here you talk hunting and live in a warm atmosphere that is relaxing and comfortable. Yes there is showers and fire places and tables where one can share tales of years ago or the ones that occur while you are there.
Wild Hills guides are some real veterans who know these hills, swamps and areas to get you an opportunity to harvest some game.
I have sat in a lot of places on stand waiting for game to appear. Some times they do some times they do not. Nothing plastic about this place. The first morning I sat there for 4 hours and saw no game animals. The Ravens over my head were my company. The chipmunks ran over my boots and the colors of the hills around me were awe inspiring!!!!! I have seen turkeys there which are not legal to shoot but to watch turkeys strut at 20 yards in front of you is FUN. Or the coyote that tried to stalk me until I waved my hat at him and off he went.
This is a huge, wild area where you must ‘hunt’ to be successful. Hunting here is the full experience from finding the animal, taking in the sights, sounds and remembering the creator who made this place. The sights and smells of fall are all around you. It is a place of peace that puts you in an attitude of relaxation and anticipation of an animal coming out when you least expect it. It is great!
I wanted a fallow buck or a Sitka buck but Bill said it would be very difficult for a bow shot as they spook so easy. So I told him another ram was fine with me. On the evening of the first day I did see some Fallow does but I really did not entertain the thought. But as the light was dimming and the day winding down I was asked if I wanted to hunt the edges of a field where boar and rams do come out to feed on the grasses and other feed that grows natural. So just before sunset I sat in the edge of the fields. There was my adventure.
As the sun dipped itself low on the top of one of the many hills the rams started to arrive. Three of them were there. One was a black Hawaiian ram, one was a white Dall ram and another was a tan Corsican. I had one problem though. They were in open territory. I had to figure out how to get a shot!
There was a small hedge row about two and a half feet high. So I decided to get on the ground and crawl across the grass on my side of the hedge row to get a 20-30 yard shot. As I pushed the bow in front of me I waited until the head went down to feed until I moved again. Inching closer I stopped and waited until its head went back to feed, then again I inched closer for a lung shot. As I did the ram decided to turn with his back side to me. No shot! I got on my knees and waited. As the ram turned I raised my PSE Bruin bow and put my Montana Black Gold sight on the nice size Black Ram. With these sights you can practically see in the dark! So my 20 yard pin on his high lung hoping it would drop in. But to my horror my Easton XX75 2114 it sailed under! I loaded another arrow and raised so one of my knees were on the ground as the other one was bent to make me some what stable. This time I put my 30 yard pin high just under his back. My finger tab rolled off the string as the arrow flew to my spot where my pin hitting the animal in back of the heart about 5 inched higher then the belly.
The ram ran off and as we watched it go about 50 yards before laying down. A half hour later in the now darkening field we quietly approached where the ram lay dead. My Muzzy 100 grain MX broadheads did the job. They loaded it on the ATV and brought it back to the camp.
The estimated weight field dressed was about 150-175. But a lot of that weight was in the head and the rack. I was pleased with the animal and every body shook my hand as I did what many thousands of years Indians and settlers of this area did. Take an animal with a bow. The bow has been around for several thousand years( about 50,000 years they believe) but the anticipation of the shot, the stealth to get close and the attitude of the hunt remains today as it did in the beginning.
As I said my silent prayer to the Great Spirit I thanked Him for the day and the animal He provided for my hunt. God tells us He put them here for us to eat! Lev 11 verses2-3 “Of all the animals living on land these are the creatures you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a cloven foot, divided into two parts and that eats the grasses of the land you may eat.”