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Not what you want to see on the trail cameras

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We need to stop feeding deer

I just hit a deer, do you want it? My neighbor sent me this text during her morning commute to work.  Had there been room in my freezer, I might have taken her up on it. I had done it before when I watched another driver hit another doe within 50 feet of where my neighbor was. It was the third deer hit that week in the same stretch of road. Why? A landowner is feeding them. A few years ago, I spoke with Maine IF&W’s then deer biologist about the impacts of feeding deer.  We talked about the risk of diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease getting into the herd and spreading so rapidly, because of the unnaturally large population being pulled into a small area.  We talked about the biological make up of a deer’s stomach and how the food they are being fed (grain) is not a natural food for them, especially during the winter months. We talked about the increase in predators in those areas because of the increase populations and of course, we talked about more deer being hit. Maine

Conservation organizations need your help NOW

As we plan for 2021, we know that we will not be attending sportsman’s shows.  We won’t be able to catch up with fellow hunters, trappers and anglers and we won’t be spending money on all of those raffle tickets.  And that is hurting hunting organizations – a lot. Many outfitters and organizations rely on the foot traffic that these shows provide to help get reach more people which helps to draw more donations.  Businesses rely on shoppers to buy the cast iron, jackets, wooden carvings, jerky and more but we will not there to make those purchases next year.  And while everyone is still feeling the pinch of the pandemic and a changing world, we need to make sure that these organizations have what they need to continue with their mission because it is so important to the hunting and outdoor world.   Some of the organizations that could use your support: I would be remiss if I didn't start off with my organization. A couple of friends and I started  Women of the Maine Outdoors

From the heart

The emotions that go along with this are hard for any non hunter to understand. There is a literal weight of an organ that earlier in the day, beat inside an animal and the figurative weight of choosing to kill an animal to fill your freezer. There is a dedication of always wanting to be better, to be ready for the right shot at the right moment. It’s spending money on gear, clothing and licenses every year. It’s packing up and heading into the woods, when it’s dark and coming out when it’s dark, day after day, hoping to get your chance. It’s appreciating the animal’s sacrifice and having a moment to give thanks before the work begins. Knowing that this animal will feed your family and friends for the year ahead. It’s not something a hunter takes lightly.

Nurturing a love of nature

In the past twelve months, I've been a homeschooling teacher (temporarily), figured out how to work from home full-time and maintained a stable supply of toilet paper. We went from being out and about in the community to everyone at home. It was a lot! But one of the things we did from the start was get outside more.  I asked people on my Facebook page for a list of items that we could search for in the woods. We had everything from birch bark and 3 types of moss to bones, different shapes of pinecones, mushrooms and beechnuts on our list. We eagerly searched the woods around our house and crossed off items. It was good for everyone’s mental health to be outside and exploring. It made me think back to my own childhood and walking through the woods with my Grammie.  Along with my sister, we would walk the woods behind her house for hours. We searched the trails that my Grandpa had made to exercise his pulling ponies. We walked the snowmobile trails. We found trees growing para

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 initial thought was deer, there were no additional steps. As the sky lightened, I heard something walking towards me on my right side.  It had to be a deer. It was still dark enough in the woods to not have 100% visibility. But, I saw a body. It's either a buck or the lone doe I thought.  Both would be potential shooters. Then, a second body and m

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 my gun into a position to get a deer.  I was stuck and they were coming closer.  When they got bored there, they moved across three more shooting lanes and I counted them as they passed... 42. I was hearing leaves crunch everywhere around me.  But something sounded too close to be a rogue turkey.  I slowly turned to my right and saw a spike horn walki