Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goals for 2012

I am so grateful for all of your taking the time out in your day to read, post and follow my blog. Big thanks to Rabid Outdoorsman for helping to get me reinvested by interviewing me and helping to introducing me to all of you!

One of my goals for this blog in 2012 is to get (and publish) an interview with the Commish of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Maine, Chandler Woodcock. I had Mr. Woodcock as my English teacher freshman year of high school and we usually run into each other every couple of years and catch up. So - I would LOVE to know what questions you think I should ask him! Im making a list but I want you to have buy in as well.

And what are your goals for 2012?

I wish you all a very happy and safe New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where do I get wool pants


Ok all - I need a new pair of wool pants. The pair I have now are my dad's old ones, gray and wonderful but a little short (and as you can see, I like to play in the snow). Where should I look to get myself a new pair?? Ideally, another pair of gray pants.

Thanks!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A seat with a view

Since starting my hunting career, I have built 2 tree houses (the most recent one dubbed the Sky Condo), sat in a sketchy tree seat and had Dad pimp out a tree seat, from which I shot my doe and my 10 pointer this year.

This is the first place I ever sat alone in the woods. Its off the corner of our property. I was terrified and prayed that no deer would walk by. It is someone's stand that has been there for 4+ years. Its a little wobbly, has that one bar that goes in front of you, and the ladder is about 7 inches wide. Dad would leave me here for just a couple of hours while he walked around. I would wish the time away because I had no idea what I would really do if I saw a deer, or if this thing would collapse on me. From this seat, I could see one path that is frequently traveled by deer.

This. This wonderful thing is my Sky Condo. It can fit my husband (who is not allowed to intrude on father-daughter hunting tradition, but can see our cool hang out), my dad and me comfortably. We have 2 seats, 1 heater, the antlers that we rattle and our guns hanging out with us up there. The roof has shingles on it and I am pretty sure Dad is going to canvas the entire thing to that no breezes can come through (Dad's gone soft, what can I say). From when this photo was taken until now, Dad has added some canvas to the opening on the right that helps to block the wind from the southwest. Its really warm, dry and its been fun to sit in there with Dad and hear his stories about growing up and hunting in the same area we are now. Dad and I have enjoyed sitting in the sun, rain and even a snow squall from the safety and comfort of the Condo.
From the Condo, this is our view:
To the right, along the woods, is a main highway for deer that travel from the corn fields to check the 5 apple trees. Right straight ahead is where we got the 6 pointer last year. I spotted it in the brush and couldnt get a shot because I had a tree in the way. Dad shot the deer and the next day, cut the tree down. LOVE HIM!


This is my new seat. I take a lot of pictures from it, but not of it. Sorry! But let me try to explain the sweet set up I have. The top bar that you can see has had rip ties added to it and a nail put into the tree behind me, so I can hook it when I get up and down from the seat. Then, I don't have to worry about lifting it while I climb into the seat (and if you read my blog about my fantastic hunter safety, you know I climb up and down with a loaded gun).

The end/bottom of this bar, has a piece of metal that came from a lawn chair. Dad added screws and duct taped to it and attached it to the original bar to the perfect height so that my gun, when resting on this, fits perfectly against my body and under my right arm. Basically, I can cuddle with the my gun while waiting for the deer. The seat is suspended so that I can adjust it and not feel like I am tilting. It also has a padded backrest and padded arm rests. Basically, I fit perfectly in here. Which is good, because you see what I started off with. I couldnt sit there for 5 hours and be comfortable. But in this seat, I am comfy, warm and able to shoot a 10 pointer when he walks out in from of me.

So - now, what do you hunt in? Or are you on the ground? In a blind? Many of you are from other States - I deal with cold temps and snow... what about you? and does it impact where you sit and for how long? We figured I put in 76 hours in the woods before I got my deer. I am sure glad that I have places to sit and be comfortable while I put in my time.

Is it October yet???

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy holiday!

I thank you all very much for reading my blog and joining in on the conversation. I enjoy every comment and having our fun conversations about hunting.

Enjoy the holiday and all the best

~E

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Just the antlers - really??

I recently discovered this wonderful blog by Willard. His post today made my stomach turn. Not because of the photos - those are amazing - but because of what the photos are of; deer killed for their antlers and tenderloins. Here is the actual blog post.

The whole idea of people killing deer for their antlers blows my mind. I have heard of Rhios and elephants being killed for their horns and tusks but a whitetail deer... killing any animal just for sport, I think it wrong. Keeping the population in check - yes. If the hunters in Willard's post didnt want the meat, why not donate it to food pantries?!?! I did a quick Google search for donating deer to pantries and came up with this nation-wide list of organized groups that help. I would like to think that there are butchers out there that would also donate their time and talent in helping out with the process.

To hunt a whitetail and have the fortune to bag one is an incredible experience. For me and my family, I hunt for the freezer and am grateful if that meat comes along with an impressive rack. But, I would have been just as excited if I shot a 4 or 6 pointer (ok, not as excited, but still pretty happy). If there was a way for these people to just drop off their kill at a butcher and get what they want, do you think they would do it? Am I being way too hopeful? With so many people who are hungry and just trying to make it, the idea of leaving 50, 60, 70+ pounds of meat on the ground to rot makes me sick. But can we do anything about it? What do you guys think??

Thanks Willard for your post (and I give you total photo credits for the photo I used here)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Coyote stuff

As a funny follow up to Steve's blog about coyots, I was going through photos for my Dad's album (every year that we get a deer, I add more pictures) and found these.

Dad found this deer last year when he was out walking around and I was in my seat. It was, as you can see, a nice 8-pointer that had been taken down by the coyots. When Dad told me about it, I asked to go see it (Im weird). The deer was in a grouping of trees. Its nose was gone, as was the lower half of the body. A beautiful deer that would have been a nice tag - taken down by coyotes.

After lunch, we took the saw back into the woods with us and cut off the antlers. One, because they are impressive - 17 inches in the inside and two, because it is a reminder that coyots are getting more brazen and less choosy about which deer they are picking. I highly doubt this deer was sick or wounded.

Just one more example of why it is so important that Maine works to get the coyote population back in check.



And yes, that is the deer's ear attached to the rack. It was frozen and Dad wasnt going to worry about it. =)

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Maine Outdoorsman: Why You Shoot Coyotes!

I would like to thank Steve for helping to feed my fear of these coyotes. *shutters* the photos in his blog are of coyotes taking down a deer - an FYI to those of you out there who are squeamish.

The Maine Outdoorsman: Why You Shoot Coyotes!

Gun safety suggestions... I fail

Again, thanks to Twitter, I came upon a blog post in which the author talks about a boy getting shot in Tennessee. He gives some tips for hunter safety that had me thinking. Here are the tips:

1. Never walk in heavy brush with your gun loaded.
2. Never fire unless you are sure of your target and there is no chance of someone being beyond your target.
3. Never climb into your stand with a loaded firearm or hoist up one that is loaded.
4. Always carry your firearm muzzle upward especially when hunting with a friend. Muzzle down is never a good idea even though it’s pointed away from people you may accidentally get dirt in the barrel and clog it causing a potentially deadly accident.

I only do 1 of these. Thoughts? Am I the worst hunter out there? What about you guys? what else could you add?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Accessible Hunting

While paroozing my Twitter feed, I came across this little article posted by the Huffington Post. Here are the opening few lines: Montana wildlife regulators suspect more and more people are faking disabilities to take advantage of privileges granted to disabled hunters, so they want to remove one of those perks in hopes of curbing abuse. Permits to hunt from a vehicle, called PTHV permits, are given to Montana hunters with certain disabilities certified by a doctor, chiropractor, nurse or physician's assistant. The permit allows a disabled person who can't get around without assistance to hunt from a self-propelled or drawn vehicle. In some prime hunting areas, those permit holders are allowed to drive along roadways normally gated and closed to all other vehicles. They are also allowed to shoot cow elk without buying an additional antlerless elk license, even in some areas where licenses aren't available to the general public.

I did a quick Google search and found this pic in this article about hunting. There were tons of photos to pick from that featured folks in wheelchairs with nice looking bucks in front of them.

First, let me give you some back ground on me before I parse this article. I have been involved with Maine Handicapped Skiing and studied accessibility issues in my undergrad program. I worked with a girl, now *gulp* almost 20, who is visually impaired and does more stuff then I would dare to do - my Mini rock climbs, runs track and field, takes dance classes, volunteers at a local animal shelter, is in college studying to be a drug and alcohol councilor, she finished a triathlon last summer and, oh yea, is going to the OLYMPICS in Russia to compete in downhill skiing. Really, she is untra-abled and not disabled by any means. Mini opened my eyes to how normal folks with a disability are. There is really nothing that they can not do, with just a little accommodation.
When I started my new job in August, there was a film festival near by and someone sent me the link to one of the movies called The Harvest. Click here and then watch the trailer. If you dont tear up, you are not human.

My take: anyone who wants to hunt, should be allowed to (assuming they are qualified, have their license etc.). I know how excited I was (and still am) about my hunt this season. That is a thrill everyone should be able to experience. I did a quick search of the Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife website and didnt see anything for a disability permit - Rabid Outdoorman: Do you know of anything????

Montana's issue is that people are abusing the law and ruin it for the rest. That could be the case for able body people too though. Poachers, idiots shooting dogs... all of these things ruin or tarnish the act of hunting and the tradition of it. While I am not 100% ok with letting the folks who are hunting from their truck get special access to land and roads that other hunters don't, I think they have every right to hunt.

But - there are enough of you that read this little blog, and cover a variety of States... do you guys have anything like this? Do you have issues like Montana? Im curious now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mourning Mr 8-Pointer

Backstory:
There is a house that sits on about 30 acres that borders our property with the Sky Condo on it. The house was abandoned and bought by a family in town that hunts. With the purchase of the house, they now border 3 sides of our hunting grounds. They are kinda obnoxious in that they have a generator that is so loud, we can hear it as soon as we step out of the truck. They come and go at all hours, which keeps the deer from moving near the camproad and they have a four-wheeler which they start up, rev up and drive down to their tree stand with. Basically, they make a crazy amount of noise and hunt for the trophy, not the meat. Basically, they are the opposite type of hunter that we are. ##

So, this past weekend, I ran into one of the family members at their shop. I asked him what the final number was and he said they got one 8-pointer. Now, up until the last weekend, Dad and I had been told that they had let a 6 and 8 pointer go by. Dad and I called BS on that, especially since I heard their shot when I was in my condo the 2nd weekend. And I know the difference between a close shot (snap, crack) and a long distance shot (boom). It was loud enough to make me jump. And I heard them come and get the four wheeler. The fact that they said they didnt get anything seemed just silly. Why lie? Be proud of the deer you shot.

When we tagged my deer, we saw that they had tagged an 8 pointer and that it was over 200. With the confirmation this weekend that it was a 210, nice 8-pointer, it ended the hope for me and Dad that the beautiful 8-pointer we had seen on the camera and the one he wanted, (knowing it was over 200lbs and thinking he would be his biggest rack over 20inches), had survived the season. Assuming it was the shot I heard, they shot it around 1:30 in the afternoon, near the snowmobile trail where Dad usually walks when he leaves me in my tree seat. It sucks. I really wish Dad could have gotten that deer. He would have appreciated it more.

But, maybe next year. Maybe it was a different buck, like the deer I shot. Mine was not a deer from the camera but still a nice 10 pointer. I will cling to some small hope that Dad's big buck is still out there. Next year will be a big year for us - 10 years since I started hunting with Dad and I am having a big birthday. So, we deserve a couple big bucks to celebrate. =)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One of each, please!

One of the unnews, news articles that has been on the TV is that of a 10 year old kid from Action who got an outdoor grandslam - one of each, if you will, for deer, bear, moose and turkey. Here is the link.
Many hunters goes years or even lifetimes without reaching this accomplishment. I got drawn for a moose permit last year and we didnt get a moose. But, I also have no desire to bear hunt or really, turkey. I am happy with my whitetails.
So, what about all of you - want the grand slam? have you already accomplished it?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hardwater - a film


Friends of mine from high school put together a film about fishing in northern Maine and following one man in particular. Check out the trailer here. Or, it might be easier to go to their blog at http://hardwaterdocumentary.blogspot.com/ and check them out. Really great guys!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shooting dogs - I mean, coyotes

This hunting season, Maine saw 3 incidents where dogs where shot and hunters claimed they were coyotes. So, lets take a closer look, shall we?

All kinda look this same; in that 'I-am-from-the-dog-family' sort of way. The coloring is maybe, kinda close. More so with the shepard and the coyote. Their faces all resemble dogs and have pointy noses but you can tell the difference. The ears are clearly difference and just the posture of the animals are different. But still, three dogs this year were killed. 3!! Two were German Shepards and one was a Siberian Huskey. You can check out the stories about each shooting here, here and here.
I have never seen a coyote in the woods when I have been out hunting. Honestly, I am a little terrified of them, their group mentality and the way they sneak around. I also have a ridiculous imagination that allows me to make thing way more scary than they really are... but, anyways...
All of the hunters involved claimed that they thought the dogs were coyotes running around in the woods. All three hunters were decent enough shots to kill the animals and yet none of them were smart enough to make sure that what they were killing was a wild animal and not someone's pet. It is hunters like this that give our sport a bad name with people who don't like or under stand hunting.
I understand the excitement of having something coming through the woods, but you NEED to know what you are shooting at. As I have said before, I sit in my Sky Condo or tree seat. Dad walks. There have been 2 or 3 times that my Dad has snapped a branch that had me on alert and thinking "It's either Dad or a deer" I would never shoot in the direction of the sound though because I could have shot Dad.

The comments posted with these articles blame both sides, the hunters and the owners. I do agree that is it the responsibility of the pet owners to ensure their pets are as safe as can be during the month of November and everyone in Maine should be aware of the huge hunting culture we have here and do their part. Know what you are shooting at and know that there are idiots in the woods with guns that will shoot at anything that moves.

I am so happy that I sit in a tree!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Season 9, episode 5: BBD (big buck down) part 2

With the deer down, I filled in Dad with what happened, how I didnt shoot when he was in the first shooting lane and all of the excitement that goes along with the hunt. Dad walked over to the deer before I did and counted the tines. He has never shot a 10 pointer (he has shot a lot of 8 and 9 pointers that were big deer, a few over 200lbs) so to get such a big deer was really great.
When we started to gut him, we smelled a horrible stench. This deer was very much in the rut and since they carry their sent in their lower legs, it was the strongest right near us, where we were holding his legs and gutting him. Whew! It was bad. Dad said he has never smelled a deer so stinky. And since he was heavy and we were a distance from the truck, Dad decided that he was going to get the tractor to get the deer out of the woods and back to the truck.
I led the parade out of the woods while the deer got a nice rid in the bucket. We loaded him into the truck, took him to get tagged and brought him home.
It was a great season, with wonderful weather and snow at the start and end. It was so much fun seeing the tracks around the house and in the woods; seeing the deer beds and then having my first big buck walk out in front of me and be able to take him down. Wonderful end to a great season.

Thanks for coming along during the season!

Season 9, episode 5: BBD (big buck down) part 1

What a weekend! I went home in a snowstorm on Wednesday. Dad and I hunted Thursday morning and with the fresh snow, we could see that the deer were right where we were. It was a little discouraging to have that confirmed for us, because we still had not seen a buck. We walked, tracked and walked some more. A cool thing that I had never seen before were deer beds.
We saw 3 in a row and you can tell how big the deer is because they leave a print in the bed when they get up. This one was the largest and Dad is pointing to the print. We called it a day mid-morning and spent the rest of the day with family.

The next day was warm, 37 degrees. Which is warm for the end of November. Dad made the call that, because the majority of the tracts were headed to my tree seat, we headed down there first instead of sitting in the sky condo. We headed down and I was sitting and ready by 6am. I sat and waited.
It was around 8am that I saw him. He stepped out in front of me. Right in my shooting lane. Right where the second tree is. I could see his antlers up over his ears, but I could not see how big they were beyond that.


He had his head down. I shifted to try and get my gun in position (I keep it across my body, resting on the bar of my seat). As I moved, he stopped and lifted his head and looked right at me. I froze. I think I stopped breathing too. I did not want to spook him or make him run. And, I had no idea where Dad was. He was walking around somewhere, so I couldnt bank on Dad getting the buck if I didnt. The deer put his head back down again. moved again. He stopped, then lowered his head, flicked his tail and kept walking... right into the trees. I was freaking out. How could I tell Dad that I let a good sized buck walk in front of me and I didnt take a shot. I had a bleet in my jacket and as I was reaching for it, I saw him move in the bushes (far left on photo). I put the bleet back, made sure my orange mittens were out of the way so I could see out of my scope and waited.


My heart was beating out of my chest. I got in position and set my scope on the opening where I prayed he stepped out of. It is right behind the small tree you can see in the back of my clear shooting lane. Anywhere near there and I could get him. I could see him walking in, walking in... I was breathing so hard, I think he heard me and looked. I lined the scope up, behind the shoulder and shot. He dropped. BBD. I have NEVER shot a buck and had him drop. Usually they run a little bit and fall. He went collapsed right there. His front left leg retreated back into his body and his head twitched and that was it. I sat there and called Dad. He was walking up from the bog (at the end of my first shooting lane). He had heard the shot and knew it was me. We greeted each other with a big smile and half hug.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful...for the tag!

This Thanksgiving, there are many things I am thankful for; my family, my friends, good job, good health... but I am thankful that I get to spend so much time with my dad in the fall as we hunt. As you can see, it paid off! I shot a 10 pointer this morning. I will give you the complete story in my next blog (and I will show you more pictures) but until then thank you to each and every one of you that reads my little blog and leaves me encouraging comments. Hope you are enjoying Thanksgiving weekend!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tracking big bucks

This is what is coming our way -
8-12 inches of snow. Tonight into tomorrow. I am trying to focus at work, but really, its not working. Dad and I have been doing snow dances all season to get some snow to fall so we can track this damn deer that keeps mocking us and refusing to show himself. Gimmie some snowshoes and my gun and lets go! We will be out Thurs, Fri and Sat this weekend. Hopefully the snow sticks around into the weekend and we can get some good tracking in!

Season 9: episode 4

I have learned 2 things this hunting season: 1. I can now wear enough gear (awesome wool jacket) to mimic an owl. I bundle up so much that all that is exposed are my eyes and nose. I move my head and that's really it when I am in my tree seat. 2. I need to sleep the night before. Thursday night, Dad told me about the huge tracks he saw around my seat. I went to bed at 10 and tossed and turned about the big buck. At 5:30am, I was in my seat waiting for the sun to come up. I sat and I sat. 5 hours later, dad came to get me. Nothing. He did see 3 does and hoped there was a buck near by but that was not the case. We sat in the Sky Condo in the afternoon. It has been windy every day that we have been hunting. Not a crazy wind, but windy enough to keep your ears sharp for the difference between leaves blowing, squirrels running around and a deer. Or so I thought. I was in the SC, checking all of our shooting lanes. I looked straight ahead, where we have been seeing deer before the season started and where we shot our deer last year. Looking. I heard leaves to my right but assuming it was a squirrel, I didnt really pay attention. When it got loud, I turned to see a deer run by. It was maybe 100 feet from the SC and by the time I realized it was a deer, it was gone. I saw the whole deer, but I could not tell you if it was a buck or doe. For the sake of my self-esteem, lets say it was a doe. We left the woods empty handed. Saturday - nothing. We own 400 acres near my parents house and Dad had seen a lot of scrapes and rubs (finally). We walked around for 2 hours trying to jump something. Dad put me on a skidder trail and told me to walk up and over the mountain and we would meet at an intersection. I took my time and followed the trail. Dad lets bikers ride around the mountain, and I got off on their trail and not on the one I was supposed to be one. Crap. I found tree with orange tape and trees with yellow paint. Not an intersection and no trail really in sight. Im glad we carry cell phones. I had to call Dad to find out where I needed to go - he was literally 60 seconds behind me following the yellow trees. While it was a lot of fun to walk around the mountain, we need some meat. This weekend is the end of the season. Thanksgiving, Friday and Saturday. Fingers crossed I have a nice picture to post!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Working on our angles

Dad was out scouting this week. He found a bunch of scrapes and huge tracks near my tree seat. Big. He said its probably the monster we saw on the camera this summer - 8 pointer that he hopes has 20+ inch spread. No pressure or anything. So, we worked through all of the possible angles that I could shoot this monster, depending on which shooting lane he steps into (the largest scrape is in the lane right in front of me - see previous posts for the photo - there is a blow down and its right under it). Dad needed something to use as a model. I had the perfect thing!
We worked all sorts of scenarios - if the deer does X, shoot him here. If he comes right at me, hit him in the white of his neck. If he falls down, shoot again (I lost a doe when I let her get up and walk away). The normal pressure of making sure to kill a deer is fun, but having the added pressure of this monster buck right near me... eeeekkkkkkk!!!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Season 9, episode 3

Note: I started writing this, saved it and realized I never posted. Sorry! Well, at least the weather has been beautiful and I can work on my fall sun/wind burn. Last weekend, we struck out again. Dad saw a coyote and a couple does but nothing big. It was a beautiful weekend and it was nice to be outside in such great weather. Dad said he will make a scrape near our stand to see if we can get some action that way. My father in law did get his deer but he didn't have it weighed. SO... I ask all of you to guess how big you think this deer may be. I guessed, they guessed and now I want your guesses.
AND - I know how much meat they got from the deer. Is there a formula to figure out the dead weight?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Something more upbeat

This is my dog. She is adorable. She is a rescue puppy that we got almost 2 years ago. And this is the only picture I have of her face on, usually she moves as the flash is going off. So, blog friends, meet Leah.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The rotten apples

Over the weekend in Maine, 3 hunters were shot. One man died. Also over the weekend, 2 dogs were shot and killed as they were mistaken for coyotes. In this article, John Holyoke talks about what its like for him to talk to his non-hunting friends and how bad the sport or hunting looks when so many incidents happen over such a short period of time. I must say that it makes me happy that I hunt on family property and that Dad and I know WHO is hunting in the area with us (they sit in tree stands) but it is so, so scary to think about how quick something like this could happen and how absent minded some hunters can be while carrying a loaded weapon. Yes, I throw that gun up over my shoulder and shimmy up into my tree stand without worrying, but I also have a constant voice in my head yelling at me the minute the front of my gun comes up to where it would hit Dad's calf. It is unfortunate that these serious incidents happen at all, but to have 5 of them happen in less than a week is scary and unnecessary. A man lost his life. The idea of hunting already has stigmas attached to it and when things like this happen, it doesnt help our cause.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Season 9, episode 2

Nope. Not mine. Or Dad's. We struck out again this past weekend. We saw coyote and bear droppings (the bear was really cool because it was on the path to our sky condo). Dad was able to jump a few does but no bucks. No scrapes or rubs - are any of you seeing this as well? I am hoping that with a full moon on Thursday, rain all day Thursday and it getting colder here, that come Friday, I have a picture to post that is actually mine. The above deer was shot by my brother in law - 8 points and 225lbs. He got is at 8am on Saturday.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hunt the Rut

I found this cool article today about deer moving around in the rut. Do you agree? Hunt the Rut

Prep for week 2

What am I missing or need to do before I head into the woods? There was an article in the local paper about traditions and how the author gets up with his buddies, has a huge breakfast and coffee before heading out into the woods. I have cream of wheat or maypo, sip enough juice to get the vitamins down. Girls and guys? What about you? What's your typical breakfast before heading out? I also dress in SO many layers. This morning I found my running pants (Lycra maybe? spandex?) and my first thought was "perfect, they will fit under my fleece long johns that I wear under my wool pants". Two layers of sock, snowmobile boots, foot warmers (like the ones you use when you go skiing). Under armor, non-cotton t-shirt, more fleece, more under armor, a down vest and my wool jacket. Layers baby! Gloves, hat and blaze orange light weight vest and I am ready to go and sit. Tomorrow, I will be in my tree seat at 5:30. The temperature will be somewhere near 20. I will wait for the day light to break and hope a deer decides to walk past me. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Before and After

Here are my before and after shots with the snow. I climbed back up in my tree seat to take Sunday's photos from the same view point. You can see how long my shooting lanes are with the snow on the ground. 48 hours from now, I will have been in that seat for 4.5 hours. Im cold just thinking about it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Season 9, episode 1

Ok friends, while I don't have any venison hanging up, it was a fantastic weekend! Incredibly cold but awesome. Dad and I were in the woods by 5:30, sitting in our Sky Condo (pictures coming soon). We were there for 4 hours, then moved to my tree seat and dad started walking, hoping to push them my way. I was able to thaw a little while sitting there - the sun, a little breeze... I didnt fall asleep, but I could have.
I thought I would snap a few photos of the view from my tree seat so you know what sort of great views I have. And because I took the same photos about 24 hours later and there was 4 inches of snow on the ground.
This is right in front of me. The lane to the right, is where I shot my doe 3 season ago. I dropped her right where the bright yellow leaf is pointing. She made a terrible, haunting sound. Was there for what seemed like forever (was probably 1-2 minutes), staggered to her feet and wobbled off. We never found her, even though the blood trail was almost a solid red line. I felt awful after that happened. The more people I talked to though, the more I realized that it seems to happen to almost everyone at some point in time. So, I am chocking it up to having it happen then, with a does as opposed to that 10 pointer that I want.
This is the view to my right. Dad cleaning it out last spring so I have a clear shot. I kept visualizing a deer walking through there, stopping to eat some acorns and whatnot and me getting a perfect shot. Never happened. I did see 2 partridges that crossed right in front of me. They were loud in the leaves. Also, how do you like my gun pointing out? The seat is a modified job that Dad did - he cut, duct taped and tweaked to make it perfect for me. The way it sits, it snuggles right under my arm. Ready to go at anytime. After lunch, we went back into the Sky Condo as the sun disappeared, the clouds rolled in, the temps dropped (started at 20, went up to 42 and then dropped again). We waited and waited and came home at 6:30. BUT - Sunday, we went tracking. AMAZING! I am grabbing the photos from my camera and will post in the next couple of days. Stay tuned as Sunday turned into a fun, exciting time in the woods.

Friday, October 28, 2011

We need to find the match

We found these out back today. Dad now wants to find the deer that matches these prints. We had to measure the best tracks to see how big it is. Dad thinks its the big deer the neighbor has been seeing, but now Dad wants to bring it home. Wish us luck tomorrow!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Count down

So, I am anxiously awaiting the first few snowflakes of the season... I love snow. I love it a lot. Last year was the first year I had hunted in the snow and it was magical. It was so quiet and the temps would change just enough that it would go from snow to a wet snow to a light rain and back. Dad and I were drenched but cold enough to keep our gloves on. We sat and sat and sat. Then walked, walked, walked. When we were getting ready to call it a morning, we saw a single track. Like kids on Christmas morning, our energy levels sky rocketed and we started to follow. It was a fresh track and we split up.
I had never tracked a deer before. It is not nearly as easy as you may think. I stayed on the track while Dad tried to cut us off by going way right. The deer meandered his way past our sky condo (if we had been sitting there, we could have shot him), past a neighbor's tree seat (if they had been there, they could have shot him) and Mr. Deer walked in my boot tracks from earlier in the morning. Dad and I met up and switched roles. Dad tracked and I stood in one spot to wait for the deer to circle back.
Dad followed the deer a few miles to a pond that sits at the end of my parent's road and a main road. The deer went into the thick brush and tress that surround the pond and being so close to houses and the road, Dad smiled and came back to get me. As we were again heading out of the woods, we saw a 2nd track made by another deer. It was many 50 yards from where I had been standing, but down over a knoll. There was no way I could have heard him, but he was out there with us, enjoying the snow. It probably doesnt sound as much fun as it was, but take my word on it - tracking a deer in the snow is fantastic! Now, as the season kicks off in 2 days and the snow is starting to fly, I am so excited to see what sort of adventures Dad and I have this year. And if it snows again, I will take real photos so I dont have to google seach pics = )

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This is how we do it

A very cool article about what we are doing to keep Maine clean. The river restorations have been incredible - the Penobscot and the Androscoggin have undergone amazing transformations as people are now working hard to keep. It is projects like these that make me proud to be a Mainer and it shows that we care about our State and are working to preserve it. The article is short, but cool. And its amazing that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is giving us props for the work that is being done.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Caribou in Maine

I was/am looking to see if I can find pictures of youth day yesterday but I came across this article about bringing caribou to Maine in 1986. Check it out!

Cleaning smiles

In an effort to clean my house before I go mia for the next 5 weekends, I started cleaning my office. I was of the mindset that if it was not critical to my daily life or have a significant historical impact, it was going in the trash. I had to. A lot of the stuff has been hiding in a closet for more years that I know and has been moved in those boxes probably 4 times. As I was going through stuff, I found the following that made me smile:
They are handouts from my hunter's safety course. I am not sure why I held on to them since they are out of date now. I also found a notebook with permission slips for hunting on other people's property, information on how to keep invasive species out of the waterways and how to safely keep a firearm in your home. Fun things to find!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Youth Hunt = )

Tomorrow kicks off youth hunt in Maine. YEAH!!! The season is finally here. And it makes me happy that I hunt on my own property because it assures me that no one can be killing my 10 pointer before I hit the woods early next Saturday. At least, as long as my deer stays around the area he has been. Its always so exciting to see the pictures in the paper throughout next week as kids who are between 10-12 it seems, post their pictures of their deer. Last year, a friend of mine's daughter shot a nice deer and her photo was in the paper. Good work Carleigh - girls and guns. I love it. Bring on the season!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

1 week

1 week from tomorrow, I will be heading up the our hunting grounds to start the 2011 season. Yeah! There are things I need to get done before the season starts. 1. Get sick. I have been mia the past couple of days because I have been really sick. CHECK 2. Get wool jacket out. Its hanging up in my room. CHECK 3. Get warm, non-cotton clothes out. CHECK (thank you fall camping) 4. Get hand/toe warmers. CHECK 5. Boots ready. All 2 pair. CHECK 6. Guns sighted in. CHECK and DOUBLE CHECK 7. License in hunting vest. CHECK 8. Squatter out of sky condo. CHECK (so says Dad) I think that's all I need, right? Now, I sit and wait and prep and check in with Dad to see what else is on the camera. I had been hoping that opening day would be on my birthday and since there is a leap year next year, I have YEARS to wait until that happens, so Mother Nature can bring me a post gift by having that 10 pointer walk in front of my cross hairs. HA!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blogger Fail

This weekend, I went with Dad and hubby to set the trail camera and put up my tree seat. Everytime Dad brings in the camera to review what we got for photos, we have to look at the photos of the 10 pointer. Clearly I have been WAY too excited because we realized that the massive buck we thought was a 10 was really a massive 8 and that the 10 pointer comes into the camera 10 minutes later. So, out of the 5 pics were thought were the same buck, it's really 2 deer! Dad thinks the 8 must have at least a 20 inches span and he called dibs. Which means I get the 10. Im very much ok with that. We will see what shows up this week. Anyways, my fail as a blogger... We spent probably 2 hours around the area that we hunt. We checked the Sky Condo to make sure the squatter was no where to be seen and put up the tree seat. We looked for sign (hello massive deer tracks) and scrapes. I showed hubby where I shot my doe and lost my doe. And somewhere in between marching through the woods and looking at last year's scrapes, I realized I did not bring anything to take pictures with. No camera, no cell phone. Nada. Fail! I went back through my cell to see if I had the photos that I took last year while sitting in my tree seat and nothing. I was hoping they were there so I could at least post some photo that related to this past weekend. Nope. Fail! Next time I go into my hunting grounds, I think it will be on the 29th, which is opening day. A camera and cell are both mandatory on my list. Then, you can see the views from my condo/seat and (fingers crossed) how big this 8 and 10 pointer are = ) Maybe we should take bets on how big the spread on the 8 really is... I will figure out a way to get a pic if we don't drag him out on opening day.

Happy Birthday!

The Outdoor Blogger turns 1 tomorrow! I recently added this little blog to their network and got a wonderful email from Rebecca welcoming me to the club. It looks like a great resource for folks to connect, network and talk about whats going on in the outdoor world.
Happy Birthday Rebecca and Joe!! here is to many more years