Wednesday, October 31, 2012

 The last weekend before deer season opened up, found me deep in the 3.5 million acres that is called the North Maine Woods.  A group of us had decided to try our hand at shooting some "big woods" birds.  We ventured into the Ramsay Brook and Big Brook country just to the East of the famed Allagash River.  The birds have been plentiful this year, but that day the weather was just not conducive to our hunting efforts with most of the day being filled with pouring rain.  We did still manage to shoot a few of the hunkered down birds, with a group total of 9.  Even though when you go hunting there is no way to control how the hunting is going to be, one thing you can control is how well you eat.  The Coleman stoves cooked up some delicious beans and hotdogs.  Isn't it amazing how much better food can taste when eaten off a tailgate in the middle of the woods?  The battle of the day was between Mossberg and Remington, as I shoot partridge with a Remington 870 and my Father shoots a Mossberg.  At the end of the day, we ended with the same number of birds so it was deemed a tie.

Trapping season is now well under way and the traps are all ready to go, so stay tuned for some upcoming fur reports!

Deer season is officially underway as well and some stories of deer have been drifting around.  I will try to get some more stories and pictures to everyone soon.  As for my season, on Saturday I did not see any of the whitetail species, but did see a few moose and several grouse.  Monday was also uneventful.  I had hopes of big moves by the deer right before Hurricane Sandy hit, but it was rather quiet on the deer end.  Tuesday put me in the North Maine Woods again, this time closer to the confluence of the St. John and Allagash Rivers and put a deer in front of me.  As my eyes strained to see antlers between the ears, I was elated when a set of spikes appeared out of the brush.  Not quite the deer I am looking to shoot, but exciting all in all.  Unlike many places where hunters pursue whitetail, the sighting of a legal buck in Northern Maine is not very frequent, so it must be relished.  Make sure to check back often, as it is an eventful time of year and there will be lots more coming soon!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Deer Season 2012

This past Saturday was "youth day" which marks the start of the 2012 Maine Deer Season. On "youth day"  hunters who hold a junior license (10-16 years of age) have an exclusive chance to harvest a whitetail.  On Monday morning, the first buck pictures of 2012 found their way into my inbox, courtesy of a friend of mine Bryce Coffin.  He was out on Saturday, hunting with his father Ked, when Bryce pulled off some fine shooting on a nice buck.  The details on location are being kept under wraps, but as the story unfolded, Bryce's quick thinking and shooting skills were the recurring theme that allowed his outing to be successful.  According to second hand reports, Bryce spends a lot of time practicing his shooting and it definitely has paid off.  This is the third year in a row Bryce has produced a buck, firing the same number of shells, 3 shots equaling 3 deer.  The shot opportunity on this year's buck was far from perfect with only the neck and head visible, but he wasted no time in settling his nerves and squeezing off the 75 yard free hand shot to anchor the buck in his tracks.  Congratulations to Bryce and keep up the good work!  Stay tuned for lots more articles soon to come.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I know I haven't been around much lately and I know I am full of excuses, but this time of year the project list seems dauntingly long and takes much of my time that I would have had to keep everyone here up to date.  I thought I would put up a couple pictures to keep everyone interested.  I do still have some moose and bear hunting stories on the go, not to mention the long awaited canoe article.  Also trapping season is getting under way and deer season is right around the corner!

A quick note about the 2012 moose hunting season:
I checked in faithfully at the Quigley's Outdoors tagging station during the first two weeks of the season and admired the moose as they came in.  The tagging station was well set up and efficient, which proved to be crucial to the large numbers of moose as they came in.  The bulls were impressive to say the least and the weights were even higher than I expected.  I am guessing that maybe the rut was a little further behind than in years past and the bulls hadn't lost their weight yet.  Check out some of the nice bulls that came in!

I have also been working on couple of European mounts for some friends.  One was a mule deer and the other a whitetail.  The mule deer came out very nice, but the whitetail was more of a learning project.  I have learned a lot since then though!

The skinning shed is filling up as well and keeping me occupied!  Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Limited Out!

Today was the second day of "bird season" when everyone targets Ruffed Grouse, locally called partridge or "thunder chickens".  I managed to make it into the woods for a brief time and was fortunate enough to bag my limit rather quickly.  The birds were tough to see as the leaf and grass cover is still quite thick and hasn't been knocked down by frost yet, but I employed an old standby technique to produce the results.  Hunting involves all of your senses and when the visibility is limited due to vegetation, sometimes listening is your best offensive tactic.  Driving slowly and listening for the distinct leaf rustling that the birds make during their attempt at a Houdini act can be extremely productive for locating them in cover that makes them all but invisible.  It certainly paid off today!  Stay tuned for several upcoming stories.

Monday, October 1, 2012

End of One Season - Begins Another

The firewood is done!  With many thanks to all those who have helped me this year, my mother and father in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, my parents and my grandmother, the last piece of wood was placed on the top of the stack that fills the room in my basement.  

Last week found me in the Allagash River country and with the foliage around it's peak the views were amazing.  Below is a shot of the valley that contains the famed Round Pond.  The water isn't visible from this vantage point, but the contrast of the leaves with the stark green of the softwood really looked nice.

Last week was also the end of the fishing for most species and in typical fall fashion, I was down on the Fish River casting at my familiar haunts.  While I was not able to land any fish for pictures, I did see several nice fish, with a couple being over a foot long and a nice salmon that I lost which was over two pounds.  The location is beautiful and also attracted several other anglers, which meant pressured fish for an added challenge.  I had the privilege of fishing with my grandfathers favorite fly rod, stirring many emotions and raising lots of memories, as my finger slid into the worn groove in the cork handle formed from hundreds of hours of casting.

The foggiest of mornings last week found me rising well before the sunrise to navigate the twisting road west along the St. John River until I reached a predetermined meeting location with Peter Gagne.  He generously offered to allow me to tag along on his outing for ducks.  He had an empty blind and I had a shotgun, so it worked out perfectly.  I think the fog caused the ducks to sleep in and the sightings were down.  We did have three ducks decoy in perfectly, but while their decoying was perfect, my shooting was far from perfect and they continued on their merry way.  It was an enjoyable morning and we even had a bald eagle fooled as it swept in to grab a "duck", only to realize at the last minute, we were watching and the decoys would make a tough meal!  Stay tuned as I have some moose hunt updates and a bear on the horizon and "bird season" opened today, so there should be more of our feathered friends in the future!