Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Learning a new hunt

I am decent at deer hunting and I am learning how to ice fish. This Christmas, my sister and brother in law got me a couple turkey calls since inane said that I want to learn. There is a round scrape thing, a mouth piece and wooden box thing (like my terminology and details?).
After I opened my gift, ironically there were about 20 turkeys on the back lawn. I stepped out on to the back porch and tried the round scrape. I thought I did ok but when the turkeys heard it, they took off! Not just like walked off, but started running into the woods and up the mountain. They couldn't get away from me fast enough. So, I need to work a lot of my calling techniques or put Dad in one location and have the turkeys run towards him.

But what do you all recommend? What or how should I start to learn these new hunting toys?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Early Christmas Gift

I got an Ipad!!! My wonderful hubby saved since August and couldnt wait to give it to me, so I got an early Christmas gift last night. YEAH!! Welcome to the 21st century right? So now, my question to all of you is; do you blog from yours (if you have one) and do you find the touch screen works ok or that you wish you had a keyboard? It takes video and photos, which I am hoping will be better than some of the ones I have taken and posted in the past.

So, what should I know about this? I dont see myself taking it into the woods with me but maybe fishing...

Friday, December 14, 2012

What to buy the hunter on your Christmas list

Apparently, I am hard to buy for. I don't think I am but I have been told that I am by multiple people. So, here is my helpful personal list of what to buy a hunter for Christmas or Hanukkah or Festivis.

1. Books. My suggestions this year are:
Meat Eater by Steven Rinella. I asked Santa for it and I am pretty sure its wrapped and waiting under my tree. I have not read it, but I did read American Buffalo and it was fantastic!

Suddenly the Cider Didn't Taste so Good
by John Ford. John is a former Game Warden who tells wonderful Maine stories of the adventures, animals and people he encounters. Light hearted and a quick read.

Tales from Misery Ridge by Paul Fornier. Paul was a Maine Guide and worked for Inland Fisheries before he retired. He tells great stories of the people and places he traveled to around Maine.

2. Clothes.
Anything but cotton. If you can find women's wool pants, without the weird stitching around the knees that will make me scratch when I sit down, then let me know! I have tried on many pants and they either don't fit right or they have the weird knee stitching that rubs just above my knee. And since I sit for hours on end, I look more like the Michelin man than I do a hunter, and need layers that will keep me from sweating and warm for hours. I wear some of this and some of this with monkey thumbs.

3. Gear.
Knife sharpener and a good knife.
I won this sharpener from Work Shop and OBN. I am going to wrap it up, give it to Dad and then we can use it and I will blog about how awesome it (hopefully is). It came with a cool t-shirt and a bunch of stickers with knife quotes on them. I will have examples in my review.


4. Above all, I buy my Dad and my Father-in-Law their hunting licenses. The first time I did this for my FIL, it blew his mind. He had no idea how I was able to get his MOSES ID number and renew the license (secret: I called IFW, gave them all of his bio information and they helped me get the number. I renewed online and have the confirmation sent to my email so I can reference it every year now. I'm sneaky!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Easy peasy

I am getting spoiled. Actually Dad and I both are. I am afraid to write this for what it might mean for next year, but I will; Dad and I have not had to follow a blood trail in a long time. Three years ago, Dad dropped this guy (below) on opening day.
Last year, I dropped this one:
and this year, I dropped him right at the base of the Sky Condo:

We are getting spoiled but really, I have a great teacher who has taught me where to shoot a deer for the quickest, least painful death. And it has worked out well.

This year, we spotted the buck coming to eat grass early in the day. He walked out from the upper right corner of this photo and headed down almost to where the camera is and then started to walk back and eat on the clump of brown grass when I shot him (you can see him laying there post gutting and see the brown grass just to the left).

It was a good shot because it dropped him but in my mind it was a bad shot because it was SO LOW! I shot him right in the heart. If you look at where you are supposed to hit them in the vitals and where I hit him, there is about a 3-4 inch difference. But, that is also why I love my 30-06 with the scope. The more advantages I can give myself the better!

The deer this year was a little crotch horn that weighed 112lbs. But getting him on the first Friday of the season took the pressure of us getting a deer as the season continued. We are lucky to now have steaks, stew meat and roasts for the winter! You can't beat it! and you can't beat hanging out with Dad in the Sky Condo during hunting season =)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Coming up...

I miss hunting season already! Is that weird? This is the first Friday I have been at work since mid October. And while it is freezing out right now, Dad and I do have a heater for the Sky Condo. The good thing is, once we get snow, we will start tracking the deer around the SC to see where they are yarding up for the winter and see if we can get some pics on the cameras of our targets for next year.

Coming up in the blog world:

* My post about shooting this year's deer

* A GREAT interview with Bryan White about getting his first ever buck this season

* (Hopefully) an interview with Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's Commissioner Mr. Woodcock about the past hunting season, where the numbers are and if he is happy with the progress of the predator program.

* A great blog about a group in Maine who track wounded deer and how they train their dogs and what the process is for them to be called in and try to find the hit deer.

* AND - I will have a BIG announcement after Christmas that I think all of you will be excited about.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

End of season 10

We called it a season yesterday at noon. It was an overall warm season this year, I was bummed not to have snow to hunt in. The season flew by and I can not believe that it is already over!

Here is a quick recap of what we saw:
A group of 20 turkeys around all season
A group of 2 does and 2 fawns around the Sky Condo
3 single does in the woods
5 partridge
3 coyotes (shutter)
3 ticks (shutter and start scratching)
and 1 buck



Monday, November 19, 2012

My new enemy

In my new tree seat, I have seen a ton of wildlife! Does, partridge and turkeys are the norm. All have been super fun to watch. We are still waiting for Dad to get that big buck that he wants!

As I was sitting in the seat on Saturday morning around 10:30am, I hear a shot. Its close because it makes me jump. From where I know Dad was going, it could be him!! I pull out my cell phone waiting for the call to confirm. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes go by. All I can think then is that Dad jumped a deer towards another ground blind that must have had someone in it. As I sit there, I see a movement coming from my right.

It looks like a fluffy dog. It is about 30 feet from me trotting along a broken down tree then turns and heads towards my left. My the time I realize that it is a big coyote, he has ducked under some downed trees and I can just see his feet. I sit there almost in shock. Not only have I never seen a coyote in the wild, but this one was close and out and about at 11am. Clearly I did not have my whits about me, as I let him go past me without even raising my gun.

I hear a snap and see Dad walking towards me. I wait til he gets to the bottom of the stand.

"Was that your shot?"
"Yup"
"Did you get it?"
"Yup"
"Was it a deer?"
"Nope. A coyote."

When I told him I saw one, he laughed and asked why I didn't shoot it. Clearly, this is another example of why I hunt from trees; I am not fast thinking! I think in this case, I was so shocked to see the coyote that by the time my mind realized I needed to shoot it, he was gone. Dad took me to see the coyote that he shot (because I am like that and want to see dead animals).


Dad said he heard a snap and saw the two of them. The big one took off and the small one didnt know what to do so she ran behind a tree. All he could see was her tail. She turned around and he could see her head and chest. And shot. It was a small female. I would guess that she was either the mate of or daughter of the one I saw. I know coyotes are dog sides and I have a dog that is 50lbs, but I would say the the one that trotted past me was probably twice the size of this one. So now, as I go back into the woods for a final weekend, I have a new enemy that I am after!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What it means to lose a deer

It was horrible. I remember the noise she made when she dropped. How she spun on the ground trying to get back up. I can remember pretty much everything about that 2pm sunny, Saturday afternoon in November. I remember her finally getting back up and thinking she would just go a few more feet, fall and die. That is why I didn’t take that second shot.

When Dad came to get me from the tree stand and we started following the blood trail, it was almost a straight line. There was so much of it. We followed it and followed it and then, nothing. No blood. No tracks. It was like she disappeared into the ether. We searched until it was dark. Then Dad searched again on Sunday trying to find my doe. She was lost.

For any hunter, losing a deer is heart wrenching. To make an animal suffer goes against everything we stand for. Yes, I want to kill an animal, but I want to do it in a way that is so instant and carefully done that the deer does not suffer. To know that one did and that we never recovered it is something I, and many many hunters like me, have had to deal with.

I know three people who are hunting for their first whitetail this fall. My Hubby got his but my friend Robin and my cousin are still on the hunt. I received a text from my cousin this morning:


I had the big one in my sights and he got away =( I shot him Monday and hit him. Yesterday your Dad and I tracked him for miles before we lost his trail.

As we talked, my cousin explained how she hit this deer at about 100 yards and he ran. Ran! He ran from her field, about a mile north through the woods, crossed Route 2 and ended up crossing onto the property that I have my tree seat on. He never bedded down.


I would have preferred to have missed him completely!

When I lost my deer, my Dad said it happens to many hunters and throughout the years as I have talked to people, it is true. The more you hunt, the higher your chance is to lose a deer. But it really breaks your heart. My cousin is dealing with that now. Her first chance at a nice big buck and knowing that she hit him but just can’t find him… it tears at you and can shake your confidence.

Three years after I shot that doe, I still think about losing her when I am in that stand but now, I have another story about another deer.

I hope that while Dad and I head back into the woods on Friday, that he can find that deer somewhere in the woods. I think it would give my cousin the closure I never had.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Matching Deer!

I shot my 4th deer on Friday morning (story coming this week!) It was a nice 4pt 112lb buck. The next morning, my husband shot his very first deer! It was a nice 4pt 110lb buck! And as terrible as the shots were, we both shot our deer with one shot, in the heart. Any hunter will tell you than if you hit the heart as square on as I did, it really is a bad, low shot and not one you should aim for on a regular basis. I was about 4 inches low. But, it took me one shot and he dropped. It takes a little bit of the pressure off since there is now meat in the freezer for the winter, but now it's Dad's turn. And he wants a big buck!

My deer is on the left.


P.S - for the first time EVER!!! I had 3 ticks on me this weekend. Never have I had those nasty things on me in the fall. I fear the deer will smell my cloud of deet from miles away if I use it. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Same deer? or Same gene pool?

He was a part of triplets that we watched a few years ago. I joked that he was so ugly, I was going to shoot him when I had my big birthday. Yesterday, Dad pulled the camera chip and the picture below was on it. Has he come back??? Could a deer born in (probably) 2009 have such small antlers in 2012? If it is not the same deer, it has to be the same gene pool - look at those eyes!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Have some respect or ruin it for the rest

A hunting license does not authorize you to enter private property without permission.

Last week, my friend Robin and I got into a conversation about hunting on private vs public lands (and about hunting on Sundays, but that’s a different blog) and the lack of public land around to hunt on. IFW says 94% of land in Maine is privately owned which makes hunting hard if you do not own land to hunt on.

I am fortunate. The three pieces of land that we hunt on make up about 430 acres and are owned by my parents and grandparents. We have allowed people to hunt on the land as long as they asked and did not use four-wheelers. I hunt in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and knows where they hunt/own. It is a community where the rules and verbal requests to hunt on certain parts of land are taken seriously.

This year, we posted a new piece of land to keep people off of the logging road and away from where my tree seat is. We don’t expect to have problems, but with a new logging road popping up, there can be temptation. It was the first time we have ever actually posted land.

But what ruined it for me was something that happened Saturday.

Dad and I built our Sky Condo 5 years ago. It sits on the edge of the woods and a small field and is on route for the deer traveling between food and beds. The property abuts one other owner named “Bob”. On Saturday, at about 3pm Dad and I were waiting for some deer movement when I spotted a hunter in the back left corner of the field. The hunter walked along the field/woods line and then started walking towards us. We got the binoculars out to see if we knew who it was and we didn’t. The hunter stopped, waved to us and kept coming towards us. He got to about half way down the field before he turned around and took his time going back from where he came from.

We are baffled. “Bob” knows that we hunt and knows that we hunt in the Sky Condo so we can’t imagine him telling someone in his hunting party to come onto our property to hunt. “Bob” has all of his land posted so a random hunter would have a hard time stumbling onto our property. As a result of this, we are posting all of our property. It makes me (and Dad) a little sad to think that we can’t trust people to ask before they come onto our property, especially as we were sitting and hunting right there.

I know that the battle between public and private land is a huge issue for hunters but unfortunately this one has ruined it for other hunters on our land. We will continue to let some people hunt with permission, but they will be surrounded by yellow posted signs as they walk into the woods.






Friday, October 26, 2012

Hours away...

Clothes are out, licenses and ready to go, guns are sighted in and a game plan is on deck.

In about 11 hours, we will be heading into the woods and into our Sky Condo. Dad and I jumped three deer today walking in to move branches AND, when we grabbed the cameras and checked photos, we say a ton of does, one coyote and a NICE looking buck all in front of the Sky Condo!

I wish all of my fellow hunters good luck tomorrow!!!

See you Monday with an update!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What do you do when the tree is too close?

Folks, I need some advice.

Dad put up a new tree seat in a new secret spot. Its fantastic. I climbed up there last weekend and sat for a few minutes. It's another pimped out seat with a bar that comes down over me like a ride at the fair. It's a little tighter of a fit than my other seat but it will work. Here is my concern: the open shooting lanes are on my right. I am right handed and right eye dominant. The tree is a little too close to my back and shoulder if I need to turn to the right to shoot. The last thing I want is for my gun to kick back and me not be able to go back with it. What should I do?

Monday, October 15, 2012

In honor of my Dad, my Birthday and being an Outdoors Woman

Every woman has a story. For some, it is a new adventure when the nest is empty. For others, it is a way to find themselves after a divorce or a new hobby after retiring. For some, it is a way to experience the outdoors among other women and for a few of us, it is a way to pay homage to the fathers who were willing to take their daughters into the woods.

When I walk into the woods this fall, I will be celebrating a milestone birthday, but more importantly, I will be celebrating 10 years of being my Dad’s hunting partner.

I remember how loud I was that first morning, crunching leaves and snapping branches. I am surprised we saw anything! But with Dad’s patience and teachings, we have seen a lot of wildlife over the years, built some great tree houses and harvested a few deer.

It is because of my Dad (and my Mom who gets up to make us breakfast at 4:30am, gives us words of encouragement and helps butcher our deer), that I have become more connected to my family’s history. I have been able to hear great hunting stories and hunt on the same land that my grandfathers did. Hunting has been a way for me to connect with people I work with and it has given me the opportunity to write 2 different blogs about my hunting experiences. I have learned patience, met some amazing people who are connected to the outdoors and have become a better woman in the process.

That is why I was so excited to join the board of Becoming an Outdoor Woman in Maine. It is the chance to empower women to become involved in the outdoors and get them excited about all of the possibilities Maine has to offer. BOW creates opportunities for women to participate in training sessions all over the State. I have the chance to help women have the same opportunities and experiences that Dad has shown me. It is an invaluable experience and I am proud to do what I can to pay it forward. -

In celebration of my 10th hunting anniversary (and my birthday), I ask that you join me in supporting Becoming an Outdoor Woman (BOW). Together, we can get more women into the woods and continue telling great stories of our adventures!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

32 years and worth the wait!

I saw this bull coming at me on the skidder road. I can tell he is a good sized bull and he is following behind the cow and calf. He stepped out, I lifted my gun up, placed the cross hairs on him and squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened.

Rick and his family have been hunting in Maine for more than three generations. Each year, Rick faithfully puts in his application to get a moose permit and each year, his name is not drawn. Until this year! After 32 years, Rick saw his name appear but it was not an ideal situation. He drew a cow in zone 17 for the October hunt, starting Oct 8th. Not ideal, so Rick put his permit up on a couple of websites to see about a possible swap. Within 24 hours, an email hit his inbox accepting the swap. Frank had drawn a bull in zone 4 for the September hunt but his Dad had drawn a bull for October in zone 17 and it would be the first time (and maybe last) that the two could both hunt for moose together. Trade done.

In preparing for this year's hunting season, (this is where Rick far exceeds me in hunting and preparation) Rick drove to Maine in July to start scouting areas in zone 4. He researched choppings on Google Earth and he went into the woods a week before his hunt was to start to keep scouting the areas.
In the first four days, I saw 17 moose. I saw 12 in the areas that I wanted to be in. It was amazing. You could hear the bulls racking and calling to one another. It is so cool to be able to make a call and have an animal answer you back.

With his subpermittee and a couple of friends, Rick headed out on that first early morning to the choppings he had been scouting. Within the first half hour the group had found a cow moving through the woods. Behind her… a bull. Rick lifted his rifle. The cow stopped, she had seen something move that she didnt like. Her ears started moving around trying to figure out what she has just seem. Behind her, the bull stopped. For minutes, the cow stood uneasy. Then, she bolted. As she ran, Rick headed in that direction in hopes of getting the shot off at the bull. But it was too late. The rumps of the moose heading back into the woods was all Rick could see.

The next morning the group saw moose eating raspberries and had another great bull encounter but no shots. Wednesday was a wash. Thursday started off with some callings and grunt responses. Knowing that time was ticking, Rick gave his subpermittee permission to shoot a bull if the opportunity presented itself.

They walked parallel into the woods about 100 yards from one another. Rick could see an ear twitching and taking his time and slowly moving, he could see that it belonged to a calf. The question was, where was mom? Rick continued to walk when he heard some crashing coming from the direction of his hunting partner. A new cow and calf pair started coming through the chopping headed towards Rick. Behind that new pair; a bull.
"I saw this bull coming at me on the skidder road. I can tell he is a good sized bull and he is following behind the cow and calf. He stepped out, I lifted my gun up, placed the cross hairs on him and squeezed the trigger. Nothing happened. I couldn't believe it. All these years, I've been hunting and I forget to take the safety off" , "He stepped out into the chopping and I put the cross-hairs on his temple and squeezed the trigger. He dropped right where he was. Dead."


The elation that comes from a successful hunt is something any hunter can appreciate. To be able to accomplish a goal that you set 32 years before is amazing. Being able to shoot a monster moose, in the north woods of Maine with your friends is an experience any hunter would be thrilled to have.

It took Rick and his friends 8 hours over the course of two days to quarter and remove the moose from the woods. Weighing about 1000 pounds and with a 42 inch spread, this moose is more than a great hunt, it is a great story and a great example of the tradition of hunting in Maine.



So much to celebrate - let's give away stuff!

As you know from my last post, this month I am celebrating the one year anniversary of this blog, 10 years of hunting with my Dad and a milestone birthday. In honor of all three, I want to give away some great Maine stuff to all of you!

Rules:
1. Leave a comment
2. On Oct 28 (my big bday), Dad will pick a number and the corresponding post will win.

What will you win? A big basket of great Maine and outdoor things! Such as: fly fishing flies, blueberry something, Maine maple syrup, apple butter (to be made by me on Tuesday), something related to deer hunting and a couple of great books signed by local authors. (Pictures will be posted when I am back at a computer).

So thank you for your support and for helping my celebrate such a great month!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Its been 1 year!

Wow! It has been a year since I started seriously blogging.

It all started with a Hemingway quote on Twitter. Followed by some tweets and emails and before I knew it, I was being interviewed about my hunting. If it were not for Rabid, who knows if this blog would even exist.

It has been a whirlwind of a year and I am so grateful for the many, many new friends I have met. Here are a few that really helped me get started, gave me a boost of confidence in myself and my writing and still make me smile when I get a comment from them.

Downeast Duck Hunter

Trey Luckie

Rick Kratzke

LB

Penbayman


Thanks to each and every one of you who read my posts, add your comments and continue to encourage me to keep blogging!!!

Also, there will be a special give away coming up soon - in celebration of this blog's 1 year, celebrating 10 years of hunting with my Dad and I have a kinda big birthday at the end of the month... so I want to do a great give-a-way! Check back in a couple of days for the announcement!



This is proof that there was a cribbage game with Rabid. You can ask him what the score was.

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's the little things

I remember slapping my Dad's leg because I could see him coming down the hill and was so excited. I remember Dad telling me to get into position and he helped me pull my mitten/gloves off. I knew where the target spot was and I knew not to lift my head after I shot. I remember asking Dad if I could shoot him and getting the go ahead. I remember his front leg snapping up and him running. I asked Dad if I had shot him and he chuckled, patted me on the back and said I had.

It was November 17th. I will never forget it. Where we were, what we did and how excited I was to get my first deer. He weighed in at 111lbs. The biologist at the tagging station took a tooth and I think some blood. He estimated that he was about 2 years old.


When I stopped by my parent's house this weekend, I found this:

My Dad had had the small spikes mounted for me! I had no idea he was doing this and I can not tell you how much it means to me that he did. I think we will do the same thing with my other antlers.

I can't wait to start my 10th season hunting with Dad! Just a few more weeks!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Learning to forage

I don’t trust myself not to kill myself. I wish I did. But I am going to learn! And the first step in this process was heading out into the woods with my friend Robin Follette during some downtime at BOW. We were off in search of edible mushrooms!

My love of mushrooms is not normal. They are my selling item at a restaurant; if a dish has mushrooms in it, I will order it. I can eat mushrooms with every meal. But one thing I can not do; identify which ones in the woods are actually safe for me to pick and eat.

Robin agreed to show me some basic mushrooms. She told me what they were and talked about how to make sure they are edible or not.






Fast forward a couple of weeks and I met Greg Marley at the Common Ground Fair. He hears me raise my voice as I enter the tent “Ohhh mushrooms!!!” and knows he has an easy sell on his hands. He hands me a cup of Chaga Chai to drink and tells me about some courses he is teaching and how I can learn how to not kill myself.

My plan now is to take what Robin has taught me, add in a course by Greg and see if I am confident enough to go into the woods to find some mushrooms. I doubt I will be at first, but I wont know if I don’t try. And I do love mushrooms!

Monday, September 24, 2012

I got kinda distracted...

So, I do have 3 more blogs to write about Becoming an Outdoors Woman. They are already drafted and the photos are ready to go. But, I got distracted.

Last fall, my friends invited Hubby and I to their house. We headed to a local fair and then Jason convinced us that it would be really fun to pick tomatoes from the garden and then make tomato sauce. Apparently, I would be one of the kids painting the fence in Tom Sawyer.

This year, I went out and bought all of the attachments I would need for my KitchenAid and set about making my own tomato sauce. For the record, I hate tomatoes, so wrap your brain around that!

But, I am a sucker for good, homemade stuff. And harvest season. And getting an amazing deal on tomatoes from a great local farmer. As a result, instead of blogging and posting, I did this:






When all was said and done, I had 8 pints of corn and 6 quarts of tomato sauce.
I am SO ready for the snow to fly - I am like a squirrel collecting nuts =)



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Fishing the right way

We could not have asked for a better weekend for the BOW Skills Weekend. It was crisp, mostly sunny and the excitement was palpable. 106 women, 36 different sessions taught be awesome instructors and most of the Friend of Maine BOW board members were there. It was a time to test our skills, try new things and learn to push ourselves to do things we might have thought we could not do.

For me, I wanted to try Don Kleiner’s session: Intro to Freshwater Fishing. After my trip to Jackman, I needed all the help and advice I could get.

Big, big kudos to Don! If you can ever take a class he is teaching, do it. He encourages questions, clearly knows what he is talking about and has an infectious laugh. The 6 of us in his session were put at ease and enjoyed having a smaller group to be able to get more one on one instruction.

Don introduced himself, his business and assured us that if he could teach kids to fish, we shouldn’t have a problem. He got us started by practicing the improved clinch. His confidence in us was fantastic and I think we quickly got the hang of it. He explained that when using monofilament line to tie the knot, we needed to wet the line to reduce the heat (which could cause the line to weaken or break) and thus, keep the line strong. One woman in our group laughed, “So that’s why my husband does that! I thought he was just weird.”

Don had us piece together our rods, tie on the hook, a small sinker and a bobber. Then it was off to the water’s edge to catch fish.

We were using closed-faced rods, so unlike my rod at home, there was a button that I needed to push to let the line out. We spent time casting without bait on the hook first. It was a sad state of affairs. I tried and I tried and the bobber would end up maybe 2 feet away from me. At its worst, it ended up at my feet. Don assured me that it was equipment failure and attempted to prove it. His cast went about 20 (probably more) feet into the water. I tried again and again. Having helped the other women with their casting and preparing to bait our hooks, Don assured me that there must be a knot in my line and processed to pull line out of the reel until he found what might be considered a knot.

With a new line ready to go, I started casting again. Only this time, I didn’t think about where my feet were, where my hips were or really where my thumb was when I released the line. And it worked! Before I knew it, I was getting the bobber more than 5 feet in front of me. My first cast with a worm, I caught a sunfish! (and proved that Darwinism is a real thing.) Soon, the group had caught sunfish, small mouth bass, large mouth bass and I caught 2 yellow perch. Pretty much everyone in our group had caught a fish and got the chance to cast a lot. One woman said she wanted to be able to get her fishing pole ready by herself because up until that point, her husband had done it and just handed the pole to her. Another wanted to prove to herself that she could put the worm on the hook herself, without getting grossed out. And I wanted to learn a new skill that will hopefully turn into another outdoor passion.
I loved the class and became confident enough that when I got home Sunday night from the weekend, I knew how to take apart my fishing pole, how to tie off the line and where to store the rod until next time.

Knowing that I can now go out and be a basic level fisherwoman all by myself is a great feeling. Now, instead of the comedy of errors that was the trip to Jackman, I am now confident that I can catch something, even if its a sunfish the next time I go out. I am ready now!

Final count: Fish 2 Erin 3

Thank you Don!







Sunday, September 16, 2012

Becoming an Outdoor Woman

I joined the Becoming an Outdoor Woman in Maine board in April because I love the outdoors and write a blog about hunting. I joined because my friend Rabid sent me the application. I attended board meetings and started understanding what is it we do as Friends of Maine Bow.

But it wasn't until this weekend that I got it.

We help to empower women to be confident and know that they can do anything they put their minds to. From hatchet throwing to freshwater fishing to muzzle loading and beyond, there was no skill these women could not do.

We laughed, we cried and we shared stories that linked our experiences closer than I think many of us realized.

Over the next week, I will be posting stories about the classes I sat in on, the women I met and my hopes for next year's Skills Weekend

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall and Family Traditions


I love fall. I love the cooler air and the countdown to hunting season. I love the prospect of the first snow and being able to break out the sweaters. Fall is when I can finally get back outdoors and relax. And its harvest season.


This year, I have a pressure cooker and huge lobster pot in my kitchen. Both have been used for canning. I have beans and tomatoes canned and ready for winter. I have apples and tomato sauce on the list that needs to get canned before hunting season starts and I have no free time.

One of the things that is a must for my family in the fall is apple picking. It is one more thing the deer and I have in common; our love of fresh apples off the tree. Last weekend, my Mom and I made our first (of many) trips to a local apple orchard, North Star Orchards. We have been picking apples with the Dimock family for 20 years or more. We are on a first named basis with most of the family, which adds to the draw of wanting to come back again and again. It’s a trusted relationship and they will help us (more so me) with questions about which apples are best for… apple pies, apple butter, apple sauce or which goodie baskets are best to be sent to family across the US. It is a welcomed family tradition to pick apples here and be able to support local farms of all kinds. And so worth me driving almost two hours to meet my Mom here and enjoy the sun and apples!


So, I say welcome fall! Welcome the cold temps and the countdown to hunting season. Here is to enjoying the harvest season, the fresh veggies and fruit that we can pick off the trees and vines.

And here is to being one day closer to hunting season.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Trouble with Trail Cams

I need some advice. Dad and I have 3 trail cameras that are spread throughout our hunting grounds. In the past, we have seen photos like this:






But now, we are getting photos of the trees. We have tweaked the timing so they are set for 15 seconds between photos. We have them where the deer are (as evidence by the tracks) but no photos of deer. We have them in the same spots we did at some point last year when we got the above photos. So…

What are we doing wrong???

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Less than 2 months!!!!

‘Til opening day of deer season!

I know a bunch of people who are out in the woods this week looking for bears and moose season starts in a couple of weeks… but I am counting down the days til the whitetail and I come face to face (or scope to face).


The more I think about it, the more I want to get done before Oct 27th! Dad and I have a new spot with a new seat in it and I want to hang out there for a couple of hours to get use to it. I never realized how familiar a spot feels until you spend countless hours there. By the time I shot my deer last year, I had spent 76 hours in the woods. I knew where the gray squirrels would come from (direction and tree) and I knew what the normal sounds were and what were not.

I have written about my hunting spots before and so far, we have shot a deer from each tree stand and my tree seat. The pressure is on for this 4th spot.

Also, as Dad and I walk into the woods this fall, we will be celebrating 10 years of being hunting partners. So much as happened since that first trip in the woods with him and as the season gets closer and starts, I am excited to write about the new adventures and some really good (and funny) old ones.

Are you excited about the upcoming season? Are you already in the woods?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jackman

Last weekend, the hubby, pup and I headed to Sandy Mountain Cabins in Jackman. We were excited and eager to test out the fishing pole.

It was beautiful when we arrived on Friday! The camp we were in was unlocked and ready for us. Corey, the owner had left a note in the window of the door saying welcome, where we were going to be and that we would catch up later. It was clean, welcoming and wonderful. We quickly got settled and headed out to start fishing.
For some reason, I always take self portraits. I have them from my tree stand, and here when we are on the boat...

Anyways, Corey usually rents out motor boats but because it had rained the night before, he said that if we wanted to pump it out, we could just take it. Yes, please!
We had asked Corey where we should go to see if we could catch something and he gave us a suggested spot but also said that because the water/air had been so warm that it might be (probably would be) hard to catch something decent. But he gave us suggestions and we headed out there. If nothing else, we just wanted to start casting. I am brand new to this and Hubby has not fishing in a solid 10+ years. Beginners!
The pup was less than impressed with the boat. And the heat. She did not really know how or where to sit, what we were doing and why she could not be in the water as opposed to floating on it.














On Saturday it felt like fall and the wind picked up just enough that we were not willing to battle whitecaps on Big Wood Pond to go out fishing. Looking for something else to do, we went to the Information office and picked up some brochures. One was for Moose River ATV rental and their Red Eye Moose Cruise. I called and had to leave a message. We also drove to Cedar Ridge Outfitters since their brochure advertised horseback riding and guided fishing trips. The door to the house was wide open but they had some brochures outside and a note saying if no one was around to leave a note. We did not want to walk through their house looking for someone, so we left my cell number and info about what we were looking to do.

We headed back to the cabin to wait for the phone calls. We took the pup swimming and decided to practice our casting from shore and the nearby boat launch. This is where things turned into a comedy of errors.

Corey had mentioned that the fish stay down where it is colder and with the water being so warm, sinkers would be a good bet. So we bought sinkers. And sinkers might have worked if we were back out in the middle of the pond. But near the edge... not so much. With the sinkers now on the line and some of my cool new lures. I tried a little, Hubby tried a little. Then it was gone. My first lure. Gone. The lure caught on the bottom and stuck. The swivel broke leaving half on the fishing pole and half in the water with my lure.
Thinking he might be able to see it, Hubby attempted to find it. But not to be outdone, we did it again and the line snapped taking everything attached but the sinkers. By the time we put the fishing pole away, we had lost two lures.

Fish = 2
Erin = 0

What we learned on this trip is that we should have done a better job of preparing. We went up to the cabins without having a plan, we just knew at some point we wanted to fish. Any plans that we did try to make just did not work out. Neither place called me back Saturday or Sunday. Cedar Ridge called me on Monday at 3:30pm and said that they had been gone for the weekend, no longer offer horseback riding and that it was really too warm to catch any decent fish. I should try back at the end of September.
At some point, I am sure we will go back to Sally Mountain and when we do, we will be better prepared! But regardless, the sun, wind and beautiful scenery was enough for a relaxing weekend.
I had to take a photo of this! Inside the office is a wall of photos with big bucks from over the years hanging from this. My cabin was built in 1932 and while I am sure this has not been standing for that long, the thought of the stories and the deer that have hung here, made me smile.