Monday, July 22, 2013

Preparing for deer season

The temp was 102 at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  Yes, 102.  Dad and I were melting but we had put this off for way too long. Here is was July and our trail cameras were not up and because they weren't, we were not seeing what sort of animals are around our hunting areas.

We put up three cameras.  Two by the Sky Condo (the above shot is a panoramic from the bottom of the SC) and one by my tree seat.  For the first time in a long time, I was able to bathe in deet in order to prevent the ticks from finding me - as well as the mosquitoes and black flies.  

It was hot, we were sweaty and I stunk from all of the bug dope but it was fun.  It is weird how different the woods look in the middle of the summer compared to the middle of the fall and after the first frost.  Our path from the Sky Condo to the tree seat was totally changed with huge undergrowth that we had to bush wack through.  It helped that there were lots of deer (and deer tracks) that had taken the same trail and helped to beat down the growth but on our way back to the car, we got off of the main trail and had to side step a little to get back to where we needed to be.

The best part, along with seeing all kinds of tracks - even a few good sized tracks- was that dad jumped a deer while putting up the third camera.  It is always good to see the animal you are looking for.  I didn't know what deer did when it was this hot out.  Moose go into the water but I don't think deer do.  Maybe they just hang around in watery areas or bed down?

With the cameras up, we headed home.  On the drive out, a hawk flew into the tree on the side of the road.  He stared down at us and allowed me to get a few photos of him in before he took off again.

Let me just say that with the cameras up, I can not wait for deer season.  I can't wait to see what pictures we get and then... That first morning in the woods, the crisp air and Dad by my side.  It is his turn to shoot a deer this season but we will see how the season goes.  Maybe we will get two for the first time ever.

Come on fall!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On hunting bears in Maine

Once again, Maine finds itself facing a battle over our bear hunt.  The Humane Society of America tried to get a motion to outlaw bear baiting through the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee at the State House and it fell flat.  As a result (and as they threatened to do), they are trying to collect enough signatures to take the issue to the voters.  The last time they did this, Mainers won out with 53% of the vote.  We appreciate our biologists, bear hunters and those that make a living off of the hunting industry. 

Below is a blog that I wrote for the Bangor Daily News.  I have included the link here so you can read the comments that people left and see how uneducated people are when it comes to creating and maintaining a sustainable population.  Here is my blog.  I would love your thoughts:

We are starting to see the first stories of the possible bear referendum coming up in 2014.  Local news stations are starting to cover the story and interview those for and against the baiting of bear as a means to hunt them. Katie Hansberry spoke in one interview, about how inhuman it is and how it is not fair chase hunting.  Ms. Hansberry is the Maine representative for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and I am willing to bet she has never stepped foot into the woods to go hunting or know what really goes into fair chase and humane hunting.  I stand by that statement because I have heard Ms. Hansberry speak in front of the IFW Committee and the minute she mispronounced “Cabela’s” she lost all credibility in my book to speak on the topic of hunting (you should know how to pronounce the name of the largest hunting retailer in the State) to the hunting community.

Those of us that do hunt, and those of us that have some common sense, know that the Maine woods is not some animal farm where you can put out bait, wait a couple of minutes or hours and shoot the animal you are after.  There is no magic button. There is no guarantee that putting out bait will result in you seeing and shooting a bear. Does it help? Probably but I know plenty of people who have spent years bear hunting with bait and have not shot a bear.  I don’t hunt bear. I have no desire to, but I have eaten bear meat (it’s good) and I understand the conservation efforts behind the need to bear hunt.  No one wants the population to get out of hand.

Years ago, I went with Randy Cross and his team to tag bear cubs north of Bangor.  It was an incredible experience that I still talk about.  The sow’s radio collar had died but because Randy knew this bear (he talked about tagging this bear and her mother when they were cubs) and knew where she normally had her den, within minutes we had found her and her two new cubs.

As Mainers we care about our wildlife and want to make sure the populations are kept healthy for generations to come.  As hunters, we obsesses about population numbers around the State and in our local areas.  We trust the biologist to do their jobs effectively and communicate when there is need to restrict the number of animals harvested each year (deer hunters know this all too well as we saw a drop in doe permits post 2007-2008).  What we do not trust is out of state organizations coming into Maine (with their millions of out of state dollars) and trying to tell us that what we have been doing for years is wrong.

No one wants the bear population to get out of control and no one wants to see bears having more altercations with humans.  We should stand up for the conservation efforts that have been made when it comes to bear hunting and are proud of where we are as a state. Let’s use common sense and not let the propaganda and spin take away the good work that has been done.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Starting the season late

Every year when we get a new calendar, I plug in all of the birthdays, anniversaries, doctors appointments and important dates coming up that I know of.  When I get to October I don't mark down my birthday, but opening day of hunting season.  I mark it on Dad's calendar too.

As I sat down to apply for our doe permits for this upcoming season, I froze and reread the email "Maine Resident Only Day will be held on Nov 2 this year" What???? Huh???? November?  I can not remember a year when we didn't open the season on the last Saturday in October.  November. My whole hunting world is off.

Since Thanksgiving is so late this year, we will essentially hunt the whole month of November. But how will I celebrate my birthday if not sitting in the woods!?!  It feels so odd to not plan on an October start date to kick off my birthday and the new deer season.

I'll deal and it will be good to have the baby add one more week to his life before I leave him with my mom to go hunt.  What I am really hoping for now is snow! If we a hunting a week later then hopefully there will be snow on the ground and there is NOTHING more fun than hunting (and shooting) a deer on snow!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mommas everywhere

My little baby turned 2 weeks old on Saturday.  It's flown by and I think he changes every day.  It's exhausting and wonderful all at the same time.  It is also the reason why there have not been any new blog posts recently. Sorry 'bout that.

A cool thing has been happening around the area where we hunt, an increase sightings of does and fawns.  Dad and Mom had a doe with a pair of fawns in the back yard.  Little ones with spots learning  how to survive in the woods.  It's a fun parallel, me and the animal that I like to hunt both taking care of our new babies.

I can appreciate what those does must do to keep their fawns healthy and safe! While I don't need to worry about predators or the weather, it is exhausting to make sure that you can give your baby everything they need from food to shelter to general comfort.

It will be just a few years before my baby is out with Dad and I hunting those deer. It's a weird circle.