Monday, September 15, 2014

Antler growth

It is pretty cool to be able to see a buck on the trail camera.  This guy was caught on the camera on three different dates but almost at the same spot.  It gives us a cool chance to see how his antlers are growing this season.  This is the first time that we have been able to see the growth, to this extent over a one month period.  I love deer season!!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The bucks have arrived

Last fall, we had somewhere between 7 and 10 bucks of all sizes around the treestands.  The biggest bucks we have ever seen showed up a few years ago in mid-August.  This year, we had only does on the cameras.  Sometimes two, three or four but never any antlers.  A few weeks ago, we finally saw some velvet.  But this, is more like it! And check out the time of these pictures. I just hope that we start seeing these types of pictures more often now.

I dont know if this is the same spike horn as the first picture or not.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Highlights from the bear debate

I was able to be in the audience during last Thursday's Town Hall debate about bear baiting.  The panelists were James Cote, Campaign Manager of NO on 1!/Save Maine's Bear Hunt; Judy Camuso, Wildlife Division Director of the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife; Daryl DeJoy, Executive Director of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine; and Anita Coupe, Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting.
The lies being told by the people working for the Yes campaign are mindblowing.  Here is the link for you to watch.

Here are my highlights and my commentary from the 90 minute event:

* Anita Coupe- "I have been a Mainers for 15 years"  (Mainer's take: you are an out-of-stater who lives in Southern Maine and think that's what Maine is. CLEARLY not a hunter and would rather not question where her meat comes from when she buys it at the store.)

* Judy Camuso - "We have 1 bear for every 8 deer" (It is easy to see all of these deer while in the woods, driving back roads etc.  Not so for our 32,000 bears in Maine.)

* Daryl DeJoy - "You can not trust Maine biologist" (FACT: Maine has THE longest running bear management and research program with THE BEST, MOST TRUSTED bear biologists.  States seek out MAINE for advice on their bears.)

* Judy Camuso - (to Daryl "I don't care what you say about me, but don't you ever, EVER question the knowledge, integrity or dedication of Randy and our biologists." (At this point, I decided that I really want to be her friend)

* Judy Camuso - "The proponents of this referendum are not going to be there when bear populations and nuisance complaints skyrocket.  Inland Fisheries & Wildlife department will be."  (FACT)

Overall, Anita and Daryl could not break away from their talking points.  They made blatant lies about the types of traps that are used (Anita told a story about a dog getting trapped in a bear trap.  The trapper was IN the audience and corrected her that it was a coyote trap and the dog and it's owner did not have permission to be on the land, but he did) and basically said that they preferred the bears to suffer of disease and starvation.  A woman in the audience was making snarky comments throughout the whole debate and when people referenced Randy Cross' name (one of our excellent bear biologist), she commented that if he was so great where was he?  She shut up really quick when the audience, almost in unison, told her to turn around because he was sitting behind her.  The Yes side was clearly uneducated on the issue and were trying to play off of emotion and not fact.

Seeing and hearing Judy's comments, information and expertise was incredible.  Maine is LUCKY to have her and I think she does not get nearly enough kudos for what she does.  Anyone who listens to her can tell that she is passionate about what she is doing.

This is a heated election issue and I am proud to be helping to get the word out about the impact that this referendum will have on our bear population.  If you live in Maine or know people who do, please, PLEASE VOTE NO!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Let's get a bear

After we struck out on the first night, we planned to go out again and get us a bear.  The photos that were were seeing showed incredible bears coming in all the time.  It was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

The day before I was going to drive up to meet with Steve and Lorri, I got a text from Steve: "GET MORE BULLETS."  We had a behemoth bear coming in on a regular basis and when he compared it to his 420lb bear, he figured it was 500-600lbs.
This bear is huge! 500-600lbs probably. Maybe an old Sow by the look of the back stomach area that could be worn out from nursing cubs?
Big head, nice barrel like frame.  This is an incredible, healthy Maine black bear.

I was more comfortable now since I knew where we would be, what the light was like and where I'd be sitting.  This time, I would be sitting with Lorri and Steve would go to site 2. It was a beautiful day with sun, a light breeze and 68 degrees.  Cool and ideal for a bear to come hit the bait. 

We pulled up to the parking spot at Site 1 and there were no hippies!  We were already better off than the last time.  We headed into the site and got set up.  Steve decided that I should sit on the left this time to get a better range.  Lorri and I were ready and excited. Bears had been coming in almost daily and the bait site was ripped apart and every bit of bait was gone.  Lorri and I got into the blind and watched Steve leave more bait.  As per the norm, he checked the camera before leaving fresh bait.  His hand signals said it all: lots of bears including the big one were coming in during hunting hours and staying for 30+ minutes.  Their clock was starting to change and they were getting more hungry and competitive.

It was quiet and I kept visualizing that bear walking in.  Four hours into our hunt, we thought we heard steps coming in.  These were not squirrel steps but something bigger.  This was it! A bear was coming in.  I slowly raising my gun onto my steady stick and waited.  And waited.  And waited. If it was a bear, he never came in.

As the light started to drop, we kept watch and listened for movement or noise of any sort. There was a gun shot in the distance and we saw the minutes and light slip away.  In what seemed like an hour, was really five and we had to call it.  No bears and no more days scheduled to hunt.  A little more than 10 hours in the woods, over bait, surrounded by many bears and not a glimpse of one while I was in the woods. I have said it before - this is NOT easy.