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!