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!