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The Ice Storm

Ice Storm 2008-Photo 2 (Hickoff) The wild turkeys could wait. The phrase “widespread power outages” has dominated news talk on my battery-operated radio. The storm made us native and transplanted New Englanders national news last weekend and well into this one. It ended today, Tuesday, December 16. Unless you count the clean-up to follow: ancient trees split in half, heavy branches all over the landscape, wet basements and the like.

I can hear a neighbor and his trusty chainsaw right now . . .

Yeah, I've stoked the woodstove fire continuously (it got down to 10 degrees one night over the weekend), but the weather eased considerably yesterday (December 15, the last day of the New Hampshire bow turkey season, and I'll eat that tag with some good memories on file). My English setters enjoyed my company during the recent stretch (I think!?), sleeping downstairs with me near the fire while my wife and daughter stayed on the warmer upper level at night.

Hunting camp without the hunting . . .

Just like the outset of Jack London’s classic 1910 story “To Build a Fire,” today also broke cold and gray. Would the power come back on? Or not? That’s been the operative of late: to build a fire. It could be 3 p.m. or 3 a.m. as the great heating unit, like a newborn infant, must be fed. Like you Strut Zoners, I choose skinny logs to provide air around them, and thicker ones to sustain the burn longer into the night, offering more rest for my vigil of warming the house. Sixty degrees is as low as it got while I fed the fire.

Once I stopped, it dropped like a stone in a lake.

But then it warmed to unseasonable temperatures again as if nature were giving us just one more break. And then I heard that sucking sound, and my home office printer purred like a turkey hen and kicked on. Here in southern Maine, the power in our modest little log cabin fired up this afternoon after five days without it. Yep, you heard right: five days. No typo. The moment of truth arrived to the sweet sounds of two sump pumps sucking swamp water out of my basement. You gotta love it.

Ice Storm 2008 (Hickoff) Before the electricity kicked in, some of my mallard decoys floated around in the several inches of water down there as if in some winter outdoor-industry show demonstration. As clean-up goes, I've a museum of old (wet) basement gear and classic (read retired) camouflage that needs tossed, so that's a good thing! And no I didn't have a generator on hand. It's on my Christmas list though.

Back on the grid never felt better.—Steve Hickoff



Glad you made it through! My dad is an insurance adjuster, they tried to deploy him out there Saturday.
We had an ice storm back in 02 that left us stranded and without power for a week. I remember I went outside the first morning and all you could hear was the sound of continuos tree's cracking, breaking, and the loud thunder of them thumping the ground, for day's. No work that week. Glad to have you back, I thought you were never gonna post a new topic.

Steve Hickoff

Hey Dirty,

Yep, much the same deal here: tree limbs popping and snapping all night. Bull white pines snapping in half. Power lines down on the roads. Debris all over. Wild stuff.

Then the power went . . . some folks are still without it entering Day Six tomorrow. Others got it back only a couple days into it.

Thanks for checking in. What are you huntin' these days?



Well, deer season ended here Sunday. We have a three day modern gun hunt the 26-28th, then muzzeloader 29-31st. I killed some tree rat's today. This weekend I'll be in the duck blind. Turk's have been hitting my corn feeder's, but you can't hunt in the area if there is bait. I want one with my bow, BAD, but every time I attempt it I fail. Don't know if I just suck or if the terrain is to tough here in AR.

Gerry Bethge

Hey Guys....Here's my tale of whoa-----Was about headed up to my camp in New England on Thursday night when the forecast scared me off. On Friday morning, one of my hunting buddies called to tell me to go to Plan B.

"The towns closed....you'll never get here...it's sheer devastation."

He wasn't wrong. I've NEVER seen such ice damage in my life. My hunting property is pretty much destroyed. It will take months to clean it up and generations to get it back to a wildlife-attracting spot.

What do I do? Frankly, I don't know. I'm still sizing up the situation and will post some pics tomorrow. Doesn't get much worse than this.—Gerry Bethge


I got lucky and missed this one. To the west of me people are just getting power back and schools are closed til the new year. To the east of me the national guard has been deployed to help restore roads and power in Worcester.


Hey all you guys up there in NE...hope your holding on!!! We had the remnence (sp?) of one of the hurricanes come through here in KY back in September. I know what you're going through. We had over 250K homes w/o power for almost two weeks. @ Dirty: Are you using a ground blind? I'm sure you are, but it's tough enough to take a bird w/ gun, much less a bow. Good luck to you...I missed a hen w/ my bow from about 30yrds out a month ago...dumb bird!!!

Steve Hickoff

Hangin' in there BigBuck Joe, thanks. Snow today in southern Maine, but they let us keep the power now that it's back on . . . Folks elsewhere still without.

Dirty: Good luck with those Arkansas greenheads. Flooded timber?


Flooded timber & beaver pond's.
Have'nt been in a blind, would'nt do to good here, it's thiiiick.

Jim Nichols

Enjoyed the "fire comments"...I'm always amazed, puzzled, when I talk with someone who has NEVER READ "To Build a Fire", by Jack London, in 1908. Published in more languages over the century, than the Bible. London was the first person ever to become a millionaire by writing. Grat read, takes maybe 20 minutes. You'll want a fire and hot chocolate, before you're done with it.