Addressing some odds and ends

JOHN HARRIGAN February 04. 2012 11:27PM

ITEMS FROM the spiked spindle:

-- A recent column on how much 'localvores' and hunters have in common drew a nice note and some neat bumper stickers from longtime Plymouth reader Mike Clark that conveyed the column's tagline, 'Localvores & Hunters, Unite!' Top among hunters' reasons for hunting is wonderful, locally grown food - the epitome of the Localvore movement.

-- I knew when I wrote about the often-unpronounced 'r' in 'February' that I'd hear from a word expert or two, and I did. They had fun with it, and so did I. My subsequent search found only one word that has a truly silent 'r' - Myrrh, which has Latin, Greek and Arabic roots and is part of a very famous book.

-- A story on an attempted home invasion in Wakefield should be read by anyone involved in the gun controversy. A man knocked at the door and said his vehicle was disabled. The homeowner armed himself and walked out with the 'visitor' to check, at which the man sped off. Neighbors spotted three people walking away. Police later found three sets of tracks behind the house. It's this kind of gun-prevented incident that rarely make the media.

-- A New Hampshire Union Leader editorial hit one gun issue right on the mark. It is illegal to carry firearms in fish and wildlife refuges, on the presumption that all firearms are for killing wildlife. But what about people carrying firearms for self-protection? The law should be changed.

-- A New Hampshire hunter was penalized for a freak accident in which his shotgun pellet ricocheted off a frozen tree and struck a nearby hunter. He was forthright about the incident, but did he deserve a penalty? Such outcomes can have a chilling effect on other incidents in which people would otherwise come forward. This very thing once happened to our hunting group. A pellet glanced off a frozen tree and struck a fellow hunter on the wrist. It was just one of those things that can happen in a thick stand of trees and brush. Almost nothing we could have done differently could have prevented it. (We all wore hunter orange and were doing our best to maintain a straight line).

-- Oh, all right, once again: Porcupine and hedgehog are interchangeable in the vernacular, but I well know they are not the same. Ditto with grouse and partridge, not to mention rabbit and hare.

-- In the same vein, one devoted reader called to say that the above was all well and good, but he could not cave in on fisher cat vs. fisher. 'They do not catch fish,' he remonstrated.

Well, they can and do, albeit rarely. The term comes from settlement times. But down deep, I think the first Colonists were confusing fisher (cats) with mink and perhaps otters, both of which are similar in appearance, and definitely catch fish.

John Harrigan's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. His address is Box 39, Colebrook 03576. E-mail him at

John Harrigan

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