Whitetail DeerWinters in Maine

Snow and deer hunting: like peanut butter and jelly

I am a sucker for the snow.  If there is a snow storm coming or even the threat of a snow squall, I am in the woods. Two years ago, I stood in a snow storm Dad shot a nice 8 pointer and later that season, I shot my own buck in such a heavy snow squall that we couldn't initially find the buck minutes after I shot him because his tracks were covered in snow. On Wednesday morning, the snow was predicted to arrive between 9am-1pm.  I was not moving from my stand.  Something would be coming out to eat before the storm.  I just had a feeling. The world was quiet when I settled into the Sky Condo. I heard a snap off to my left and while my...

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Whitetail Deer

I got buck blocked

About an hour into my sit, I heard steps coming towards my stand.  It was a beautiful morning and my heart skipped a beat with the idea that a deer might finally be headed my way.  Trail camera photos showed my last remaining target buck during daylight at that stand, so I was hopeful. But as it got closer, I heard purrs, clucks and chirps. The steps turned into one big mass of noise and soon, like a movie, the woods were nothing by black blobs moving towards me. They set up in a shooting lane, eating acorns and moving closer, essentially blocking me in my stand.  The flock would see me move and spook before I would have a chance to move...

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I got buck blocked by turkeys
Whitetail Deer

Nocturnal Northern Borealis

My trail camera sent me a picture of a big, wide 6 pointer that was in the area where I was headed.  I wondered how far he might have traveled between then and when I would be in the woods. It was an off morning.  My son wanted to hunt but was complaining about his extra layers of clothing and how tight it made his boots.  I had on 3 of my 5 layers (remember, I sit for hours and hours!) and was rushing to get him out of the door along with packing all of my stuff.  I knew as soon as I walked outside that I was in trouble.  I was sweaty. I walked to the same stand as I had sat in last week and again, I jumped a deer.  It was dark and I...

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Nocturnal Northern Borealis
Whitetail Deer

Was that a flag?

Week two of rifle season was completely different than week one.  I changed stands and jumped a deer as soon as I got into the woods.  I've been hunting for almost half of my life now and for the first time, as I walked into the woods alone, the sound of something so close that I could not see did not send my heart beating out of my chest.  Instead, I listened to see if I could keep it from running too far away by slowly continuing on to my stand. It was warmer than the week before which meant sitting for 12 hours would be much more bearable. I settled into the stand quieter than I normally do, knowing that the deer was not too far away....

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Wildlife Conservation

Some Shane Mahoney Inspiraton

Yes, this is an older video but the message still rings true; "...they have concluded, in agreement with us, that yes, sportsmen and women and the activity of hunting, done in a sustainable manner operates as a conservation mechanism the world over..."  On this polarizing election day, let's focus on what we can agree on.  Conservation efforts, traditions, and the importance of understanding and working for social and biological carrying capacities for all animals in an effort to maintain the resource for generations to...

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Maine Black Bear

The unlikely bear hunter

Jesse Phillips had no intention of bear hunting.  He was along for the ride with friend and host of Blood Origins, Robbie Kroger, who was on his annaul bear hunt with Grove Hill Outfitters. Being convinced that he should go hunt, Jesse grabbed the 45-10 and headed into a treestand.  He wore his cowboy boots, jeans and flannel, "the only thing I didn't do was put on deoterant" Jesse laughed.  Climbing up into the stand a little before 2pm, he held no expectations for seeing his first bear in the wild.  He was doing this just to apease the guys in camp. At 4:02, a bear appeared. "He was about 40 yards away,"...

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Hunting in MaineWhitetail DeerWinters in Maine

Grateful for the community

I am technically an adult-onset hunter. I started when I was twenty after watching Dad hunt every fall and deciding that I wanted to see what it was all about – and that killing your own meat was not a bad thing. If you had asked me (or dad) to imagine what the next decade and a half would be like, I guarantee you neither of us would have pictured this! As I write this, I have just hung up the phone with Taylor and Mark Drury. Throughout deer season, I will be writing up all of the Drury family hunts that will be featured on DeerCast (make sure you have the app or the website bookmarked!) I am also going to continue interviewing hunters...

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Wildlife Conservation

The Blood Origins Project

"I was looking for a narrative that described who we are as hunters,” my friend Robbie Kroger explained to me, “Essentially looking for an authentic truth about who we are. I couldn't find it. So we built it with Blood Origins.” If you have never heard of Blood Origins, set aside a solid hour and watch the videos on their website or YouTube, featuring some of the most influential people in the hunting world. People like Will Primos, Cuz Strickland and Jim Shockey all share a small piece of their story and the how and why hunting was so important. Robbie has more than 30 unique stories from hunters, nonhunters, men, women, veterans, young...

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Maine Moose

Maine’s Moose problem

Do we have too many moose?  too few? are hunters killing the correct number to ensure a healthy social and biological carrying capasity?  A young moose in spring (c) And A Strong Cup of Coffee These questions are asked every year around the time that hunters have to apply for a permit and when the drawing actually happens.  Maine's moose are iconic and hunters have gone decades applying for a permit without being drawn.  I am currently on year 18 of not being drawn. But the allure of walking through the crisp, fall air and seeing that bull moose step out into a clearing, keeps people applying year after year...

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Maine Moose

Millinocket Moose

I woke my son up at 1:40 in the morning so that we could be in Millinocket by 4 AM. I have made it a point this year to take advantage of local Maine guides who are struggling because of the cancellations from out-of-state hunters and anglers. Many guides and outfitters have great discounts on trips and as a local, I am happy to take advantage! We had been in quarantine for 12 weeks at that point and it was leading up to my son’s birthday. So at 4am, we met up with Paul Sannicandro ofMoose Woods Guide Serviceto go on a moose safari.  The weather called for rain but we were determined to find a few moose before the storms rolled...

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Wildlife Conservation

Front yard birding

We have known since we bought the house, that there were owls around. I frantically flagged down Hubs when I was on the phone being intereviewed and saw one land on a dead tree across the backyard, so that we could get some pictures. We hear them at night calling to one another and occasioanlly, we hear them in the morning when we take the dog out. There is two, maybe three nearby. Since we have been at home for weeks, I have found myself going for walks during the naptime. On this particular day, the sun was shining and I was headed towards the mailbox when I heard an owl hoot.  It was close. I spun on my heels, ran inside and...

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Maine Deer ShedsMaine Moose

Finding sheds in the Maine woods

I noticed the black against the white trees, "moose!" I called out to Lee.  Eating along the side of the logging road, she was spooked by our approaching truck and disappeared into thick sapplings before I could take a picture.  I took it as a good omen that today would be productive. Snow in May is not unheard of in Maine but the few inches that had fallen the night before, would not make shed hunting an easy task this morning.  I was still excited and the break from quarantine life was welcomed.  The fresh Maine air can reset anyone's state of mind. We walked down old skidder trails and split up to cover more...

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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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