And A Strong Cup of Coffee

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Erin M
Erin M

Choose Another Month & Year

The shot that will haunt me

In December 2021, my grandfather passed away. Weeks before, I jumped him when I came bursting into his house to tell him and my Grammie that I had shot a buck and had completed my Grand Slam. He laughed at my overzealousness but hugged me and told me how proud he was of me.  We made a deal hours before he passed away that he was going to deliver me an 8 point buck since I have yet to shoot one.  I held on to that belief all through the year. Dad and I obsessed over trail cam photos throughout the summer and fall, we had three really nice bucks showing up.  They all seemed to be nocturnal, but they were around.  Fast forward to the start of the season and my morning kicked off pretty well by taking a nice doe in the first hour. I had...

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I am done shooting small bucks

It was an emotional rollercoaster of a season.  All I wanted was an eight point buck.  I will save the story for another time, but it didn’t happen. But what did happen changed my whole perspective on deer hunting. After twenty years of hunting, I am done shooting small bucks. I shot my doe in the first hour of rifle season, so having the ability to shoot a doe AND a buck gave me the opportunity to keep hunting and looking for that big buck.  I could sit and watch more of the does and fawns at different spots on the property.  One morning, I watched a fisher running around my stand.  I enjoyed being in the woods, knowing that I had a specific buck that I was after and that I had already put meat in the freezer. This season was more of...

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This is why my land is posted

And will stay that way. Years ago, I had my first negative run in with another hunter. Since then, we have posted all of our land and we have added to the number of trail cameras that we have out in the woods. Sometimes we see vehicles driving into our food plot.  In that case, I send the photos to a local police officer who finds out who the license plates are registered to. We have seen random people show up on the trail cameras almost every year. This year, we had them again and it’s getting a little old.   Trespasser 2022 I sat in my stand at the end of deer season this year with my phone vibrating constantly in my pocket.  When I looked, I saw a number of photos of a random person on our property. This was the second time...

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Fastest deer tag ever

I was relieved to see my name on the list of people who had received doe tags in the lottery.  There were so many doe on our trail cameras that it seemed likely that we would be successful. But, as opening day got closer and closer, illness struck my household and I was the last person standing without a tissue or cough drops in my pocket. In my attempt to ‘quarantine’ myself, I packed up and headed north. My watch read 32 degrees when Dad and I snuck into the woods. At a fork in the trail, Dad paused and waited for me to get into the Sky Condo before he continued on. I flicked off my headlamp and watched his light disappear around the corner.  For all I know, the deer stood there and watched us split up because just when Dad started...

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A breakthrough in PFAS research?

Last fall, an email hit my inbox alerting me that I might be hunting deer in an area that Inland Fisheries & Wildlife had flagged as a ‘do not eat’ area because of the high levels of PFAS found in the several deer that biologist had killed in the area. I've written before about the severity of PFAS and how devastating it could be. We have not heard much follow up since that time. I wonder if the area that was closed off will continue to be.  Will there be more locations flagged as ‘do not eat’ areas?  I am surprised that there has not been anything published that would give hunters an idea about if they should stick to their home area or try to find a new area to hunt. Maybe the assumption is that they won’t plan to hunt anyway....

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The stories that stick

When I started writing for the Northwoods Sporting Journal, I had people reach out and share their stories and experiences in the woods. I would mark the emails and tuck them away to go back to every once in a while.  A couple of those stories have stuck with me since they first popped into my email years ago. Camp in Rangeley The first was following an article about fishing that I had written. I can’t remember if I commented about wanting to own a camp or not, but I received an email from a man who reached out on behalf of his grandfather. The family had a cabin outside of Rangeley.  They lived in Connecticut and were at a point where family members were busy with kid’s sports schedules and work and just did not have the time to come...

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PFAS vs CWD: which will be more devastating?

Social media erupted and my inbox was suddenly flooded with emails about PFAS (Poly-fluoroalkyl substances).  On Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 5:22 PM, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife issued a “DO NOT eat advisory” for deer shot in my wildlife management zone.  It was 2.5 weeks after I had shot my deer and about two weeks after I had gotten it back from the butcher and started eating it.   PFAS My actual hunting property was outside of the advisory area. However, as more fields are tested, there is an impending doom that I will be in a PFAS zone.  And other hunters will be in the same situation.  When and if I am told that we are in a high PFAS zone, what should we do? Stop hunting all together? Eat the...

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Remembering George Smith

I was trying to think about what to write about for my February article in the Northwoods Sporting Journal. Something that would be timely and start a conversation.  As the topics came and went, something made me think of George Smith.  It has been one year since he has passed and I starting thinking about the topics that would have him riled up and what I have accomplished in the past twelve months. There are two topics that I would love to have heard George’s take on. The first bring the Right to Food, which was passed into the Maine Constitution when we voted in November.  It is the first of its kind in the United States and reads “that all individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce...

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