Whitetail Deer

Chronic Wasting Disease in Maine

If you had asked everyone in the room to vote right then and there, I would bet that supplemental feeding of deer would have been made illegal. The room was packed with people at the Augusta Civic Center, listening to a presentation by Dr. Krysten L. Schuler, Wildlife Disease Ecologist at Cornell Wildlife Health Lab about her research on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and what is being done in the 26 states currently impacted. CWD is caused by a mutated protein that are found in prions. Deer shed prions through bodily fluids and once in the soil, CWD can stay there for months if not years.  The worst spreaders of the prions are those...

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Adventures in the Woods

Eagles on the trail

Reason number 3,657,935 why my Dad is the best: As we were snowmobiling, we approached a bog and three eagles with about 20 crows took off.  It could only mean one thing in my book - something was dead.  We circled back and walked around in the snow but the birds had left and we couldnt find anything that would resemble a meal.  A part of me thinks that we were in the wrong piece of land and should have been on the other side of the bog but in our snowmobile gear, we were not going to cover a lot of ground.  I was disappointed that we couldn't find what the birds were eating but I was able to get some good pictures of...

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Trail Camera Views

Healthy Coyote coming through

I still have a few trail cameras out to see what the deer are up to.  I have gotten pictures of the big buck that is around and most recently, I got these pictures.  Normally, I wouldn't be too freaked out but now that we have a dog, it is a little unnerving.  Add that this camera is about 50 feet from our lawn and less than 100 feet from our front door... I hope that this one is just passing through. (Sidenote: I put new batteries in this camera so the date and time are wrong BUT  I walked in front of it so it would take my picture and I could figure out what the actual time and date were: 7am Saturday...

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Whitetail Deer

Dropping antlers

The plan was to shoot does from the property.  The only out was the big buck that we had been tracking.  Hubs was the first who successfully shot a doe in the afternoon of opening day of rifle season.  Having sat through almost all types of weather conditions and some single digit temps, I shot a doe minutes before legal time at the end of the season. Dad decided to muzzle hunt since the woods would be quieter and maybe that buck would be lulled into a false sense of security.  For two weeks, Dad walked through the woods and finally, in the same the spot that I had shot my deer, he saw a big, healthy looking...

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Whitetail Deer

Wrapping up my big buck hunt

The 4th weekend of deer season was a bust as I had to take my kiddo to a birthday party for a classmate.  I (half) jokingly told him that from now on, when he meets a new friend, he needs to ask them when their birthday is and if it is during hunting season, he can't be friends with them. Week 5 had me in the woods for up to 5 days.  I headed in on Tuesday afternoon and sat but nothing was moving. The big buck had started showing up only at 10:30pm or 3am on the cameras.  He had not been seen during the day since the third week of the season. On Wednesday, Dad and I planned to be in the woods for the full day.  We...

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Hunting in MaineWhitetail Deer

Opening day in the woods

Welcome back! Saturday kicked off Maine's rifle season for deer hunting and I made a point of sitting in my stand for the whole day.  I packed a lunch, some water and snacks and climbed up at 6am.  It was a perfect day to be in the woods.  The sun was warm, the breeze was at a minim About an hour after legal time, this spike horn walked down the path that I had walked down.  He smelled the wind but either couldn't smell me or couldn't figure out what I was.  He wasn't spooked and he stayed around for a few minutes before continuing on his way. I basked in the sun and kept my eyes peeled for any mid-day movement....

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Maine Black Bear

Another bear, another amazing experience

I watched the crack in my windshield grow slightly as the heater kicked on.  It was still dark and the temperature gauge read 27 degrees.  I took a sip of coffee and exhaled; it was a perfect September morning to go bear hunting. I met Bill Dereszewski, owner of Hollaback Guide Service at the gas station in Princeton.  We drank coffee and planned out the day as we waited for more people to join us.  Bernie was the first to arrive.  A local retired hunter who assisted Bill, his truck was filled with shortbreads and coffee to keep us filled as we chased bears.  Bill Gillespie and his pup Tawny joined the group...

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Whitetail Deer

Aging a buck

I am beginning to learn how to age a buck on the hoof.  It can be hard in the woods with branches and bushes blocking pieces of the animals but I want to work on it and see if it will help my patience as I wait for the bigger bucks.   I have gotten pretty good at aging does based on their face structure and the size of their features.  I have not had the opportunity to harvest a doe, so I can't say for sure if my calculations match the actual age of the deer but I am working on it.  I have a nice, healthy heard of deer living around my house and it’s not uncommon to see an older doe with some yearlings or even fawns...

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Wildlife Conservation

Nate Webb takes over as Director of Wildlife

Nate Webb has researched and hunted animals I can only dream about; wolves, cougars, grizzlies and even Big Horn sheep. I first met Nate when we worked on Maine’s bear management plan for MDIFW. An avid outdoorsman, Nate is incredibly knowledgeable about all things wildlife in Maine and beyond. So, I was not surprised when I saw the notification that he had been named the new wildlife director of the department. I sat down with Nate to go over some of his goals and reflect on all of the impressive animals he has studied so far in his career. I asked him the question “Now that you are the wildlife director, what’s on your priority list?”...

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Whitetail Deer

I couldn’t wait for the big one

I threw the car into park and ran inside, peeling off layers as I went.  I traded my heels for wool pants, boots and blaze orange.  I grabbed the gun and left.  There was less than two hours of daylight remaining and a snow squall predicted for the next hour as a cold front moved in. It was 3pm when I walked into the woods and climbed into the Sky Condo.  The big buck's tracks ran along the ridge to my right, so I turned my body to face in that direction.  I was hoping that I would catch him as he did his loop.  It seemed like a perfect night to have deer move. I looked to my left, scanning in front of the...

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Tree Stand HuntingWomen Who Hunt

Lorri’s grand slam

Some women have the type of attitude that lets you know that they can and will accomplish anything that they set their mind to.  Lorri Nelson is one of those women... There is a shock factor that comes when you shoot the last animal needed for your grand slam. After years of hard work, learning to hunt each animal and a little luck, Lorri Nelson accomplished her grand slam when the cow moose dropped to the ground. “It was only four hours into the hunt,” Lorri said, “We didn’t bring the trailer or 4-wheeler because it was rattling so bad and we didn’t want to spook anything.” They had done some scouting ahead...

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Maine Fishing

How good is the fishing in Maine?

Good enough to host Major League Fishing’s Summit Cup twice in the past five years. “The fishing was just phenomenal. Outside of Florida or Minnesota, the sheer amount and access to water is incredible.” said Mike “Ike” Iaconelli,who finished 3rd the last time that the Summit Cup was held in Central Maine. In his fishing career, Mike is the only angler to have won the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year and B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. “We fish all over the U.S and for me, I fish all over the world and the quality of fish in Maine is incredible. It almost seems like the fish have never been caught before. The number of...

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Adventures in the WoodsWinters in Maine

Snowshowing in the sun

Have you ever looked up at the sky and marveled at how blue it was? There was not a cloud up there when Staci and I packed up our snowshoes and headed into the woods to look for sheds. The recent rain had made the snow unstable and we would break through the crust and sink with every step.  It wasn't the best option, but we ended up on the snowmobile trail looking for active deer crossings.   Wet holes had opened up and streams were roaring.  It was a perfect day to be out in the woods. The rain had made some spots icy and some soft and water logged.  We had to pick and chose where we walked and how fast we...

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Whitetail Deer

2018 recap

No doubt that I have dropped the ball on posting my adventures here, but I have had a lot of fun happenings this year!  Here is my quick recap: * Beaver trapping - with my uncle and friend Staci. * Honored as Sportsman of the Year from the New England Outdoor Writers Association. * Turkey hunting. * The Maine Moose lottery held in my hometown and my friend Bryan performed. * Mushroom foraging with Staci. * Going to the ribbon cutting of the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation area to honor my friend George. * Bear hunting with Staci and then going out with Bill Dereszewski and having Robin comes with us. * Deer hunting with Dad and...

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Whitetail Deer

Representing hunters on the side of the road

I didn’t see the fawn but I watched in slow motion as the doe hit the corner of the oncoming jeep and disappeared into the tall grass. I hoped that it was just a brush with the bumper and that she would be OK. The driver pulled over and began to walk along the edge of the road to see if the deer was OK. I pulled over on the opposite shoulder and asked if he was OK. We saw the doe struggling to get up and she made a horrific noise.  I assumed that she had a broken leg so I asked my mom to leave me on the side of the road with the driver and go to my house to get the gun. I placed a call to dispatch was put in touch with a warden. He...

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Maine Trapping

Learning to trap beaver

In an effort to learn how to trap, I asked my uncle to take me out when he set his traps last winter.  He agreed and we went out to set some beaver traps and learn how it’s done. My uncle has been trapping for most of his life, so he knew which areas to check for fresh sign and he had been asked by the landowners to come onto their property to take beaver out and keep the bog from flooding and eating up more land.  Unfortunately, that was the case for a section of our trail and we had to get out and walk. We loaded up an ax, the traps, lures, gloves, a shovel and started hiking, which in waders is no easy task!  We looked...

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Hunting in MaineWildlife Conservation

How do you remember your hunts?

A few years ago, I decided to collect skulls and furs from the animals that I killed or trapped. It was partly selfish to be able to highlight the hunts that I have been on but it was also in an attempt to educate my kids about the animals that we eat and interact with here in Maine. My first skull was my bear’s and even though there were a lot of issues with it (cut into pieces and put back together), it was great to see what was under the fur of the animal that I killed and ate. My son loved touching the teeth and seeing the ridge where the two halves of the skull were fused together. The bear rug is thick and soft and...

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Hunting Tips and Tricks

DeerCast is a must have hunting app

While I have been away, I have been busy advancing my hunting plans for this fall.  And joining new, exciting projects.  One of those is DeerCast, an app created by the folks at Drury Outdoors to give hunters the best tools available to identify peak times to be in the woods and when the deer will be moving.  I have had the chance to interview hunters who have used the app and have taken some impressive deer! There are a handful of us writing articles, the entire Drury family contributes and instead of waiting a year for footage to come out on television, you can see the videos almost as they happen.  Some impressive...

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Adventures in the Woods

New house, new wildlife part 2

I had just called in for a radio interview when I saw something land in a tree across the yard.  I could tell that it was larger and lighter than the birds that are usually around.  I held the phone to my ear and answered a few questions while getting my camera out, sliding the screen door open and frantically trying to snap a photo and then show it Hubs so that he could take more photos while I went back to my interview.  It was a beautiful Barred owl.  It flew away after sitting there for more than 30 minutes and I didn't get a chance to see where it went.  A few hours later as we were getting ready for bed, we...

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