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The age of my 2021 Maine bull moose

One of the most interesting things that happens after you shoot a bear or moose, is that you are asked to remove a tooth so that the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife can age the moose shot and collect age and health data. It is a part of a decades long effort to better understand the overall health of wildlife in Maine.  For hunters, it is always interesting to find out how old the animal was.  When I knew it was available, I immediately looked up the age of my 2021 Maine bull moose. 2021's data shows moose shot between the ages of 2.5 years old to 20.5 years old. It is fascinating to think that there are moose in this state that are twenty years old. Any guesses on how old our 2021 Maine bull moose was?  Remember, he had...

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Reflecting on my 2021 grand slam

When I was drawn for my moose tag, I set the goal of going for my grand slam. I needed a bear, moose, turkey and deer between September and November.  Now, the hunting season is over and I find myself reflecting on my 2021 grand slam and the people who helped to make it happen. Mom and Hubs managed childcare/school pick ups and drop offs and sometimes full days of babysitting so that I could be in the woods. Jeremy at Fit To Hunt went to work and helped me customize a training program that would get me into shape for walking through the Maine woods to get my moose.  I would load weights into my backpack and walk for miles.  Sometimes with the kids and sometimes alone. When it came time to hike those choppin's looking for a moose, I was...

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The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund board

Last week, I went in front of the joint committee of the Environment and Natural Resources to provide testimony for my nomination to the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund board.  The only other time I had done this was when I testified in favor of Judy becoming Commissioner. This time, the Governor was nominating me. One of her representatives introduced me and then I had the opportunity to say a little about me. You can watch the hearing by clicking here. Joe's introduction of me begins around the 7 minute marker.  My testimony is below. My Testimony Senator Brenner, Representative Tucker and members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  My name is Erin Merrill and I am here to say a few words about my nomination to the Maine...

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Redemption during our 2021 Moose Hunt

It had been an emotional start for our 2021 Maine moose hunt.  But we pushed on and had three more days before the season ended.  Wayne was determined to find us a moose somewhere in Zone 2.   Thursday It was rainy and cold when we headed out.  The two bulls from the day before had not been shot so we planned to head back to that area. We met a red truck parked where we had seen the small spike bull.  We drove on to where we had seen the bigger bull.  There was a cow in the clear-cut to our right.  We parked the truck and Pat and I started walking into the woods. Dad and Wayne walked parallel to us in the road.  Moose sign was everywhere.  But the moose were not.  We left and checked multiple roads where we had previously called...

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My 2021 Maine Moose Hunt

Antlered. September. Zone 2. That is what popped up with my name as I watched the 2021 Moose Lottery.  The excitement was accompanied with an urgency to begin planning.  We would need a guide and possibly more gear. I wanted to plan to go for my grand slam and try for all of Maine's big game animals - a bear, moose, turkey and deer. The following three months flew by and before we knew it, Dad and I were making the 5 hour drive up to the Allagash, Zone 2 and Allagash Adventures to meet our guide Wayne Bernier, for our 2021 Maine moose hunt.   Monday We left at daybreak to begin searching for moose.  As we crested one hill, Wayne stopped the truck and lifted the binoculars.  There were two moose on the edge of the road ahead of...

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Bear hunting can be exhausting

I need to start by thanking my friend Staci and her husband for making this happen. They helped to get the bait site up and running.  Staci was as determined as I was to get me a bear. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a hunting partner like her!   The 2021 Bear Hunting Season kicks off! My limited view of the bait site Bear hunting season opened on Monday, August 30th, and trapping season opening on Wednesday, September 1st.  With my trapping license and Staci and John’s help, I planned to initially hunt over bait and try trapping.  The first night with the traps out, we watched as a bear tripped my trap, looked at the cable and walked away. The next afternoon, Staci and I headed out to reset the trap and sit.  We adjusted...

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Getting Fit to Hunt

If you follow me on social, then you know I have been training with Jeremy Koerber at Fit to Hunt to ensure I am ready to hike into a choppin' miles from a dirt road in search of a moose.  I know that I don't need to do that. I know that there are people who are overweight that get out of the truck and shoot.  That's not the hunt I want - although if the opportunity arises, I will shoot.  A moose is a moose and meat fills the freezer.  But, I don't want to be physically exhausted and sore after one day of carrying a pack and hunting the North Maine Woods. Jeremy created a program specifically for me that involves rucking (hiking with weights), cardio and free weights. Tim Kjellesvik is coaching me with the nutritional piece of it and...

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Spring Turkey Hunting in Maine

I sprayed my clothes with permethrin and packed my bag.  Staci and I planned a day in the fields hoping to get a shot at a tom or two.  We hadn't been out on an adventures in a while and we needed it. I had turkeys on my trail cameras coming through a certain trail every morning. Staci's husband had seen a flock of them in a field near her home.  We made a plan to start there and then head over to the Sky Condo. For May, it was hot and buggy.  Temps were going to be in the upper 70s.  I had to think about what was worst; sweating while walking, scouting and wearing all of my hunting clothes or black fly bites, ticks and any other crawly critter.  I drank a lot of water and looked like a camo-clad Marshmallow Man.   In the woods...

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No Change to Sunday Hunting in Maine

Sunday hunting in Maine is probably the single most debated topic for hunters and nonhunters. During the Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Committee meeting last week, there was a lot of discussion around why Maine needs to join the growing number of states reversing these old blue laws.  It was clear that Sunday hunting (in the Committee's minds) is really deer hunting in November and that is what they focused on as they discussed the proposed bills.   The Proposed Bills There are three Sunday hunting bills; LD1212, LD1054 and LD1033 currently being discussed in Committee.  LD1212 sets geographical boundaries for where Sunday hunting can occur (north of Route 2/Route 9) while LD1054 and LD1033 set the requirement for written...

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