Friday, January 28, 2022

Trail Blazers’ hockey turns up defense to tie Knighthawks in OT

Trail Blazers' senior Cole Washburn of Windham High School
is first to the puck at the University of Southern Maine in 
Gorham during an ice hockey game against Marshwood/
Traip/Sanford/Noble on Saturday, Jan. 22.
By Matt Pascarella

In February 2020, the Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle Trail Blazers faced off against the Marshwood/Noble/Sanford/Traip Knighthawks with the game going scoreless for two periods and ended up with a 1-0 win for the Knighthawks. Flash forward two years and the same two teams faced each other again in yet another hard-fought contest at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham on Jan. 22.

This game was almost identical except for the final result, which ended in a 1-1 tie after three periods and an overtime.

Trail Blazers’ defense, coupled with the quick hands of junior Bonny Eagle goalie Porter Krause who helped keep the Knighthawks scoreless for two periods.

Trail Blazers senior Aiden Hartwell of Windham scored with the clock winding down in the third period.

The Knighthawks answered to tie up the game. After a defensive overtime period where the Trail Blazers worked hard to get the win, this one ended in a tie.

According to Krause, going into overtime, he wanted to hold down the net. If he could keep the Knighthawks from scoring, the Trail Blazers had an advantage. Although the result wasn’t what Krause may have wanted, he said he played like he wanted to in overtime.

The Trail Blazers intensity really picked up in the second period. They passed the puck and pressured the Knighthawks right in front of the net, with several substantial shots at goal early on in the second period. The Trail Blazers kept shots coming at the Knighthawks’ goalie.

Hartwell fired the puck between the posts in the third period. A short time later the Knighthawks answered to send the game into overtime.

Hartwell said their defense was solid and their goalie played phenomenal in overtime. They got pucks out and did what they were supposed to do, holding the Knighthawks back.

Trail Blazers Windham senior Cole Washburn said positivity on the bench was part of what helped hold off the Knighthawks in overtime.

“Marshwood always plays hard, and we struggle to match that,” said Trail Blazers coach Bobby Fothergill. “As the game went on, I thought we matched Knighthawks’ physicality and their intensity a little more. [The Trail Blazers] are a young team; we’re learning and growing. We’re trying to build a program that’s going to be competitive in the next few years.”

Fothergill said the seniors really wanted this game and power play possession was really good. The Trail Blazers got the puck to the middle and got good chances. He added they competed for 53 minutes and did not want to lose this one. Fothergill was proud of how they played. <

Windham’s fifth-grade basketball upsets Gray New-Gloucester

Windham fifth-grader Riley Gallagher moves quickly around
Gray New Gloucester  as he heads toward the basket in the
fifth-grade travel Windham Youth Basketball Association's
game on Saturday, Jan. 22 at the Maine Sports Arena  in Saco.
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Youth Basketball Association’s fifth-grade travel team sponsored by Wildwood Properties overwhelmed Gray New-Gloucester during a travel basketball game at the Maine Sports Arena in Saco on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Windham was first to put points on the scoreboard and from there this fifth-grade travel team showed their strengths and just ran away with the game. They ended strong posting a 37-12 victory over Gray New-Gloucester.

Windham passed and was quick to grab rebounds which led them to gain the lead and hold onto it for two halves.

“We had really good teamwork and good passing; good defense,” said Windham fifth-grader Troy Cunningham.

Windham took multiple shots at the basket with a majority of the shots falling. Everyone on the team moved the ball well and put in an excellent effort for each of the halves.

Windham fifth-grader David Foster said they were able to win the game because what they learned in practice was finally clicking with everyone on the team. As a team they were getting better at executing plays. Foster said it was a very good win.

Before the end of the first half, Windham had skyrocketed ahead by more than 20 points. It was 26-4 at halftime.

In the second half, Windham came out just as strong as they were in the first half and continued to dominate on the court.

Windham’s offense and defense remained strong as many players on the Windham team put more and
more points on the scoreboard and kept GNG from putting any points on their scoreboard for most of the half.

Windham was first to the ball and grabbed rebounds. Windham seized every opportunity to get in front and grab the ball.

GNG made a small comeback toward the end of the game, but it was too late for them; Windham had run away with this one.

“Defensively, we played pretty well, we play hard,” said Windham fifth-grade grade boys’ basketball travel coach, Trent Cunningham. “We really focus on that ... we rebounded well, so I think that’s a big part of [our win]. Windham did a good job passing the ball and getting good shots. We got a lot of layups; Windham did a good job of moving the ball and getting some easy looks which was nice.”   <

Third- and fourth-grade teams love learning basketball skills

Windham second-grader Colby Sargent of the Delta
Properties team works on her dribbling skills as she moves closer
to the basket during Windham Youth Basketball Association's
third and fourth-grade in-house game against A-Team Realty on
Saturday, Jan. 22 at Windham Primary School.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham Youth Basketball Association’s junior league third- and fourth-grade in-house girls’ basketball teams, A Team Realty and Delta Properties, went head-to-head at Windham Primary School on Saturday, Jan. 22 and demonstrated how quickly they are learning the sport.

Both teams showed they have learned a lot about the game and have made massive improvements. Each team will continue to make improvements as they progress through the season.

After an action-packed 32 minutes, A Team Realty edged out ahead 6-4 and got the win for this game.

Both teams began the game with stellar passing as they moved the ball nicely. 

However, some of the passes resulted in turnovers for both Delta Properties and A Team Realty.

A Team Realty scored, then Delta Properties did. Both teams had a lot of energy and took multiple shots on basket. 

At the half, the game was tied at four.

Everyone on both teams put in a lot of effort during the game. A Team Realty and Delta Properties are getting better dribbling and took more shots on basket. There was a lot of teamwork from each team as well.

Windham in-house third and fourth grade girls’ Delta Properties coach Chris Sargent said the girls had great defense against A Team Realty.

“The kids played their hearts out. Going forward we need to really work hard on their spacing on the court and making the easy pass,” said Sargent.

Delta Properties player and second-grader Colby Sargent said her team passed really well and she had fun during the game.

Third-grader Emily Kaffel of A Team Realty said passing, dribbling and defense went really well during this game.

“The girls are working good together,” said third and fourth grade girls’ basketball in house A Team Realty coach Aaron Abrams. “They beat a team today that they lost to last time. We had a good turnout, plenty of subs ... they all did a great job.”

Abrams added passing and working together as a team were a couple things that went really well during this game along with good old-fashioned hustle.<

Friday, January 21, 2022

Windham girls’ basketball shows improvement against Bangor

Varsity senior Sarah Talon heads to the hoop mid-air
during Windham's girls' prep basketball game against Bangor
at home on Jan. 14. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA 
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham girls’ varsity and junior varsity basketball teams played two great games against Bangor at home where they fought until the end on Jan. 14.

After Bangor beat the varsity team by almost 30 points at Bangor in a year-end game, the Lady Eagles showed the Rams that would not happen again. In a very close game, Bangor tried but Windham held them off and won 46-40.

The JV team wanted to take home a win too and worked hard to do so. Bangor jumped to an early lead and could not be caught. Windham did not get down on themselves and stuck with it until the end. Bangor got a 50-22 win.


Windham senior Kayla Flanders got the game going with a three-pointer. This was followed up quickly by junior Elizabeth Levesque who sunk another three-pointer.

Windham was quick to grab rebounds and jumped out to an early lead.

The game turned close when Bangor pulled ahead by one. After Windham senior Carly Morey and Flanders each hit three-pointers, Windham pulled away again. Windham led 29-20 at the half.

Windham sophomore Brooke Gerry sunk a three. Bangor was grabbing rebounds and catching up.

With 1:44 left on the clock Windham led by five. With 5.7 seconds left they led by six and stayed ahead until the buzzer.

“I think we knew what happened last game and we wanted to ... move on,” said senior Sarah Talon. “We had all this week to make adjustments and learn from our mistakes last game. It was a really good team win.”

Windham girls’ basketball coach Brody Artes said going into this game they knew they needed to be tougher physically and mentally. Artes said Windham executed, defended, and rebounded better this game. He was very happy with the team for the turnaround and said a lot of kids stepped up and made big plays.

Junior Varsity

Bangor took an early lead. Windham worked well as they passed, but this led to turnovers as Bangor was quick to interfere.

Windham freshman Dakota Small added points to the scoreboard. So did freshman Chloe Edwards. Windham defense was better in the second quarter, as they allowed Bangor fewer scoring opportunities. At halftime Bangor was ahead 23-11.

“We moved the ball really well and did a good job working as a team,” said sophomore Alyssa Conley. “We talked a lot on defense and were a cohesive unit; never getting down on one another, always picking each other up.”

Windham made a bit of a comeback in the second half as they slowly gained; the effort was there, but not all shots were falling. Windham stayed positive but couldn’t catch Bangor.

“We really have been focusing on rebounding in that getting second chance opportunities on offense and limiting their chances on defense,” said Windham JV coach Gretchen Anderson. “Bangor’s press caused us a little bit of trouble, but again, we are learning and adjusting. I’m really proud of how ... they played, they kept their heads up and played really hard.” <

Windham High indoor track team excels in first meet of year

Windham High freshman Ava Gerrity gets some serious
distance in the long jump before her first-place finish at
the University of Southern Maine in Gorham during Windham's
indoor track meet with Thornton Academy and South Portland
on Thursday, Jan. 13. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s boys’ and girls’ indoor track team showed they are just getting started as several athletes qualified for states and many had new personal records in their meet against Thornton Academy and South Portland on Thursday, Jan. 13 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

The Windham girls team finished first with a score of 75 narrowly beating South Portland who scored 75 and TA who scored 74.

The Windham boys had many athletes establish new records. Junior Connor Langstaff qualified for states in the high jump, long jump and hurdles. He also won honors as top senior athlete of the meet.

The Windham boys came in third with a score of 37; South Portland scored 161.5 and TA scored 69.5 during their meet.


Langstaff finished first in the high jump with a height of 6-01.00 feet. He also finished first in the long jump with a distance leap of 19-09.75 feet. He finished fourth in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 9.22 seconds.

Windham junior Scott Ingalls finished second overall in the shot put with a distance of 34-07.00.

Windham senior Will Stewart finished second in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.17. Stewart also finished second in the 200 with a time of 25.26.

Stewart said overall it was a good meet. He’s been putting in a lot of work and everything is coming together. He said he’s seen a lot of times dropping and athletes improving in just the third meet of the season.

In the 400, Windham sophomore Jinqu Li finished second with a time of 1:03.95. 

“We were missing seven athletes due to sickness/quarantine, so we were lacking depth and weren't able to field all the relay teams,” said Windham boys’ coach Paula Pock. “Our goal for today's meet was to improve our performances and qualify some individuals for the championship meets. Almost all our athletes had personal bests, so we were pleased to see that.” 


Windham freshman Ava Gerrity finished first in the 200 with a time of 29.21. Gerrity also crushed it in the high jump, with a first-place finish and a height of 4-10.00. She also finished first in the long jump with a distance leap of 14-08.50. She was honored as the top junior athlete of the meet.

Gerrity said she set a personal record in the long jump and high jump which was pretty cool. She thought the team did amazing; everyone on the team is more comfortable and getting better.

Windham sophomore Khalysia Hammith finished first in the 55 with a time of 7.91. She set a personal record and qualified for the state meet.

Windham senior Monica Agneta finished first in the 200 with a time of 28.72. She set a personal record and qualified for states.

Windham senior Estella Inman finished first in the shot put with a distance of 33-07.50.

Windham girls coach Denise Curry said the girls hard work during practices contributed to so many personal records as well as their win. <

Windham/Westbrook/Gray New-Gloucester wrestling finds success at Zeb Leavitt Memorial Tournament

The Windham/Westbrook, Gray New Gloucester
prep wrestling team finished in second place with
a score of 136 just behind Sanford at the Zeb
Leavitt Memorial Tournament at Cheverus High
School on Saturday, Jan. 15.
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Westbrook/Gray New-Gloucester wrestling team turned in an amazing showing in their first tournament of the season at the Zeb Leavitt Memorial Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 15 at Cheverus High School.

The team was more than ready for this tournament, and it felt great to return to the mat after Covid took a year from them last season. This was the first time the program placed in a tournament when they finished second with a score of 136.

Windham/Westbrook/Gray-New Gloucester put six wrestlers in the finals and had two individual champions: Windham junior Scott Ingalls who won the 170-pound final and Windham freshman Ayden Cofone who won the 113-pound final.

“Everyone on the team chipped in during the day,” said Windham/Westbrook/Gray-New Gloucester coach John Nicholas. “We talked about what it takes to win a tournament and for most of the day we were in first place before slipping a bit in the late rounds. However, we were very competitive all day and pulled off a few upsets along the way.”

Cofone was expecting some hard matches for himself and the whole team and said it felt good to have upperclassman cheering him on as he wrestled. 

According to Cofone, tt meant a lot for him to be on a team that took second place and this win will definitely be motivation for the team, as well as him, in future meets and tournaments.

“This whole season the whole team has been going hard in practice, really preparing us for any competition we face,” said Ingalls. “Getting into the final felt great, as during freshman year I never qualified to wrestle for first or second. It really gave me a confidence boost going into my final match. This top two finish really shows that if we work hard in practice and deliver on the mat in competition, we can really be a top contender.”<

Friday, January 14, 2022

Windham Middle School boys’ basketball a challenge for Scarborough

Windham eighth-grader AJ Moody shoots above a Scarborough
defender during a boys basketball game at Windham Middle 
By Matt Pascarella

Windham Middle School’s seventh and eighth grade boys’ basketball teams were solid competitors against Scarborough on Jan. 10.

Windham’s eighth grade team found their momentum in the second quarter to make a comeback. They gave Scarborough solid competition but lost 43-34 at the final; only their second loss of the season.

Windham’s seventh grade team was down at the half but pressured in the second half. As the clock ran out, Windham had pulled ahead, and the Eagles got a 34-31 victory.

Eighth Grade

Windham was scoreless in the first quarter. In the second quarter Windham turned up their intensity. Their offense picked up and their defense slowed Scarborough as Windham made a comeback. Scarborough led 23-11 at halftime.

Windham eighth grade boys’ basketball coach Adam Manzo said Scarborough is a really good team and Windham played well defensively. Manzo said the offense struggled a bit. Windham had good looks, but shots weren’t falling.

“We’ve been able to put the ball in the hoop quite a bit but haven’t been able to stop the other team,” said Manzo. “Holding Scarborough to 43 points was pretty good.”

In the second half, Windham kept their energy up and pressured. Windham trailed by eight going into the fourth quarter.

Windham’s AJ Moody hit a three-pointer. Windham fought hard to make up their deficit but came up short.

“We did great,” said Moody. “We pushed the ball better in the second half.”

Moody said they found their groove in the second half but got into it a little too late.

Windham’s Tyrie James said they did good but started slow. If they had come out stronger, they could have won the game.

Seventh Grade

Windham was aggressive from minute one. The game was close. Their intensity was high as they showed Scarborough, they had brought their ‘A’ game.

Scarborough had a narrow lead for most of the first half and led 24-17 going into the second half. However, this game was far from over.

Windham hit a three-pointer early on in the second half. They were quick to grab rebounds; Windham’s Sage Foss sunk a three-pointer. Soon, the game was tied at 25.

In the third quarter Windham defense only allowed Scarborough to score three points.

There was less than six minutes left in the game and it was tied at 27. Windham’s momentum continued as they took a three-point lead. Windham defense held off Scarborough and with 27 seconds left, Windham remained up by three. The clock ran out and Windham earned a well-deserved victory.

“They put in their effort,” said Windham seventh grade boys’ basketball coach Craig Dickson.

Dickson said he talked to the team at halftime about increasing aggressiveness and he thought they did that well. He said Windham got the win through grinding away; the game was so close, but the Eagles had a little bit more heart.

Windham’s Landon Wyman said the team had good hustle toward the end of the game. Windham turned up the intensity in order to win.

“The entire team was playing at their best” said Windham’s Boston Krainis.

Krainis said everybody wanted this win and knew they had to play tough in order to get it. <

WMS seventh-grade girls’ basketball cruises past King

By Matt Pascarella

The seventh-grade Windham Middle School girls’ basketball team could not be stopped in their game against King Middle School. Once Windham’s Mackenzie Delewski scored the team’s first couple points, there was no stopping the Lady Eagles who put up 14 points in just the first quarter.

From then until the final buzzer Windham would not be surpassed. Their teamwork gave them a significant lead which they held onto for four quarters.

Windham's Lily Gallagher moves toward the basket as the ball
leaves her hand during a game against King on Jan. 6 at 
Despite Windham’s strong lead for the entire game, their intensity never dipped. As the clock ticked away its final seconds, Windham won by an impressive 45-12 score on Thursday, Jan. 6 at Windham Middle School.

“I think they are a very unselfish team; they look for the open player,” said Windham seventh grade girls’ basketball coach Katie Franzoni. “We were able to work on some of the things that in tighter games were not able to work on, like an out-of-bounds play we had practiced before. We were able to do a little more of our offense which sometimes we’re not able to run.”

This helped Windham gain confidence in areas they may not have been confident in before.

The Lady Eagles won the tip off and immediately began moving the ball between teammates. Windham stayed with the ball and communicated throughout the game. Windham snagged rebounds and turnovers.

The Lady Eagles pulled away from King quickly and kept a big distance between the teams. They dominated after one half and led 30-4.

Windham hustled from the start of the second half and prevented many scoring opportunities for King. Windham continued to add points to the scoreboard and gave 100 percent for the rest of the game.

Windham’s Grayson Cornish, who scored her first basket of the season during this game, said it was teamwork that gave the team such a big win; everyone worked together for the entire game.

“We ran our plays really well today,” said Delewski. “We were passing and did really good. We made the shots; they were falling. We were talking a lot more on defense.”

Delewski said they had a lot of energy. They really got into the flow of things; they were making good cuts which helped.

Franzoni said defense did not give up easy baskets. Windham moved their feet more and had minimal fouls during the game.

“Our passing [went really well],” said Coach Franzoni. “Looking for the open player and not forcing shots; we did a good job at trying to get lots of people involved in scoring.” <


Friday, January 7, 2022

Windham/Westbrook/Gray New Gloucester wrestling shows improvement in final meet of 2021

Windham junior Scott Ingalls holds his opponent to the mat
during the Windham/Westbrook/Gray New Gloucester prep
wrestling home meet against Kennebunk and Deering on
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Westbrook/Gray New Gloucester wrestling team showed marked improvement last week in their first home meet of the season against Kennebunk and Deering. It was the first time local wrestlers hit the mat at a home gym since 2019.

Windham/Westbrook/GNG was persistent and fought until the end. They lost to Kennebunk 55-18 but came back to beat Deering 60-6.

Windham/Westbrook/GNG is improving every meet. They knew their match against Kennebunk was going to be a challenge and the match against Deering would have contenders in it too.


Starting in the 113-weight class, Windham freshman Ayden Cofone got the pin against his opponent.

In the 160-weight class, GNG senior Owen McDuffie got control of a writhing opponent, took them to the mat with two forceful slams and pinned them after two periods.

McDuffie said he did okay and was hoping to pin a little quicker. He thought the team struggled in their meet against Kennebunk but had more energy against Deering which made a difference.

GNG junior Jason Hart had a powerful takedown against Kennebunk for the win in the 220-weight class.


In the 132-weight class, Westbrook sophomore Owen Pillsbury flipped over to avoid being pinned. A short time later, he pinned his challenger.

Windham sophomore Chris Harvey got the win and the pin in the 145-weight class.

Westbrook senior Zach Davis did the same in the 152-weight class. Davis went for his opponent’s legs, brought them to the mat and got the pin.

Windham junior Scott Ingalls held Deering to the mat in the 170-weight class, but they were able to get away. Ingalls then took them right to the mat with a stellar takedown and pinned them for the win.

“Every meet we got to think it’s going to be a dog fight,” said Ingalls.

He said that everybody fought hard, even in the tougher matches; they left nothing on the mat. Everybody wrestled their heart out.

In the 182-weight class, Windham senior Austin Goslant pinned his opponent.

Windham/Westbrook/GNG wrestling coach John Nicholas told the guys after a tough loss against Kennebunk to come out a little hungrier against Deering and they did just that. They got a lot of pins and a lot of takedowns, so he was happy they had a win to finish the day.

Nicholas was impressed with the intensity level of the team against Deering. In the match against Kennebunk, Nicholas said the team had a lot of fight; they battled right to the end and that’s all you can ask for. <

Windham swim team defeats Lincoln, falls to Bonny Eagle in tri-team meet

Windham sophomore Grace Theriault swims in the 100-yard
breatstroke event at St. Joseph's College during Windham
High's final home swim meet of 2021 against Lincoln Academy
and Bonny Eagle on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Windham defeated
Lincoln Academy 72-31, but fell to Bonny Eagle, 65-62
By Matt Pascarella

In their second home meet of the season and the final meet of 2021, the Windham swim team showed nothing but ambition and determination as they hit the water in a tri-team meet with Lincoln and Bonny Eagle.

Last year, the swim team graduated a lot of athletes, so while team numbers are lower than normal this year, they are a competitive squad who are having fun and pushing each other to compete.

That push to compete and swim faster was visible in the final scores of the meet held at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on Wednesday, Dec. 29. The Windham boys beat Lincoln Academy 26-10 and were defeated by Bonny Eagle 48-20.

Windham girls trounced Lincoln Academy 72-31 and narrowly lost to Bonny Eagle 65-62.

Windham senior Nate Fitzgerald came in first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:29.08 minutes. He also finished first in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:08.96.

“Today, I felt pretty good coming in, and I think I performed very well. I won both my races; they gave me some good competition,” said Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said a lot of the team has improved and dropped times since the start of the season. He said what’s great about the team is they are always very supportive of one another.

Windham freshman Morgan Farley finished first in the 200-yard Individual Medley with a time of 2:53.68.

Sophomore Grace Theriault finished first with a time of 1:27.88 in the 100-yard breaststroke. She also placed second in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:04.33.

In the boys 50-yard Freestyle, senior Shantanu Mayfield placed second with a time of 33.99 seconds. Senior Nour Humaid came in fourth with a time of 51.66.

In the 100-yard backstroke freshman Sarah Inman finished first with a time of 1:09.35.

Senior Chloe Desmond was close behind Inman and placed second with a time of 1:17.31.

Desmond said the start of the season has been a lot slower coming out of – and still dealing with – the obstacles of Covid, but it’s starting to pick up the pace and that’s exciting.

“I think they did a great job today,” said Windham swim coach Peter Small. “We had kids doing best times, their technique is clicking in. We saw great strides from last week. If week to week you can just get that technique and hopefully things will click even more so come Southwesterns. While they said they were sluggish, their strokes didn’t show it and they were riding high in the water.” <

Tales from the outdoors: What’s up, Doc?

By Bob Chapin

Many of today’s hunters got their hunting careers started hunting rabbits, or more correctly cottontails.

The style of agriculture with family farms with wind rows and shelter belts created ideal habitat for the rabbits to proliferate, not to mention their procreative tendencies. It was a match made in heaven … little boys with single shot 22s or similar shotguns after school roaming the back 40 pursuing what for them must have seemed like big game. Much of their efforts ended up in the family stewpot.

As we grew up, larger more exotic game such as turkeys, doves, squirrels, ducks, and geese and eventually whitetails took over as the object of desire and the lowly rabbits took a back seat for a while. Growing up on the East Coast in Connecticut, I always wanted to pursue rabbits as I would see them frequently on neighbor’s lawns and unkempt wood lots. Other game was very thin and rarely seen, let alone harvested. 

Alas, my dad was not a hunter, well not a real hunter. He proudly showed us kids a 16mm film of his buddies hunting black bears in Maine, of all places, but what I took away was my dad was a “slob hunter,” too much adult beverages, shooting contests in camp that resulted in damage and debris, and the hides of cubs that he had salted and brought home for us to see.

Rabbits became a target species for me during my first operational assignment in the Air Force stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base Alaska. The guys in the fighter squadron I was assigned to were real hunters and we talked about flying and hunting almost exclusively. While I would eventually work my way around to most of the species discussed, initially the talk of rabbits and snowshoe hares really perked my interest and I listened intently to how and where they pursued them. It was not an accident that rabbits and snowshoe hares came into season when other species were not available. Big game hunters were not opposed to chasing the wily rabbit when other game was not on the menu.

Cottontail rabbits breed in yearly cycles. Some years you have very few, other years it seems as if the country is overrun with them. On the highway that ran down the Kenai Peninsula the rabbits would come out on the blacktop at night to take advantage of solar heating. If you drove down the highway in the summertime after dark, you could almost use their eyes, that would reflect your headlights, as road markers.

I made one of my biggest mistakes while hunting rabbits. My wife was never keen on my hunting, still isn’t, but she tolerates it. In the early days she would accompany me and follow around behind me as I coursed through the willow breaks and spruce thickets looking for rabbits.

Where we lived, we were blessed with both cottontails and snowshoe hares. We were hunting this day after a recent snowstorm and there was about six inches of new snow on the ground. We had been hunting for a couple of hours and I had managed to collect a couple.

We were in a horseshoe bend of a slough covered in ice when we entered into a willow thicket that had several trees that had blown down. I was looking pretty far ahead because you could sometimes see a rabbit before they jumped offering a decent shot, when she whispered to me, “What about that one?”

She pointed to a blow down about 10 yards away that bowed over and was covered in snow except for a shallow depression where the snow had been scoured out by the wind. Sitting in the depression, perfectly camouflaged in his white coat, was a cottontail. I would not have seen him without Sue’s help and without his coal black eye staring back at me.

I had been shooting a 12-gauge shotgun for the longer shots, but he was much too close to hazard a shotgun shot. I was carrying a larger caliber pistol as we all did, more for bear protection than actual hunting. With slow deliberation I drew my revolver and aimed at the quarry. I never for a minute considered what the aftermath of my shot would be, not once.

At the shot a huge puff of snow kicked up, the rabbit only went about 5 feet, but the snow behind where he sat turned a brilliant shade of red against the snow. As a hunter, I knew what to expect and was prepared for it as part of hunting. My wife was not. I looked at her and tears were running down her face. That was in 1975. She has not hunted with me since. <