As I was looking through photos of 2014 and printing some out, I couldnt help but get nostalgic. I had no intention of bear hunting a year ago. I had actually told my Dad (a few times) that I had no desire to shoot a bear, didn't think I could like the meat and that it was just not in my wheel house. Skip ahead a few months and with the invitation of Steve and Lorri, I learned how to prepare and set bait and went hunting. Then, given the opportunity to hunt with hounds, I took a chance to learn more about it and came home with an incredible story and some delicious meat.
You do "funny" things when you are a hunter. You willingly wake up at 4am. You willingly spend hours tracking, sitting and walking and you willingly sit out in 0 degree weather waiting for an animal (coyote) in my case. Some mornings, it is fun to document my questionable saneness and the last weekend of deer hunting season was one of those cases. I never did get a coyote but night hunting for them starts this week!
In 2015, I have a few goals that I am hoping to finally accomplish.
1. Get a turkey! I came close last year, but I am hoping that the 3rd time is the charm.
2. Goose hunting. I had plans last year that fell through so I am hoping to try that this year.
3. Catch a 'keep-able' fish.
4. Go bear hunting again. I will never beat this year's hunt, but I can try.
5. Get that 8-pointer!
6. Go with biologists to a bear den.
7. Shoot a moose (this will be on my list each year until I do.)
8. Shoot a coyote.
9. Learn about trapping. I don't know if I will actually do it, but I want to go and see how it's done.
...having a deer bed down next to your tree stand. This bed was about 15 feet from the bottom of my stand. When I went out to see where the deer was that Hubby jumped, I noticed this. The deer were everywhere the guys were, but they just couldn't make a connection. Maybe next year!
I do have a few blogs in the hopper that I am working to get out to you. I was the only one who tagged out during deer season, but I was able to take some cool photos and will share some fun still hunting stories from Dad and Hubby's adventures but I am taking a pause for a minute to get refocused.
This Thanksgiving was the first without my Grandmother who died on September 27 - two months to the day before Thanksgiving. The is the first grandparent that we have lost and it seemed odd to not have her there with us. Then, after a short illness and x-rays that showed a tumor in the soft tissue at the base of the nasal cavity, we made the heartbreaking decision to put our dog down.
Hubby tried to put in the effort, but his heart was just not in hunting after that. It has been an emotional fall with a lot of loss that we are processing.
But know that I am writing (old school with paper and pen) and getting ready to get all of you caught up
on the latest adventures and what I …
One of the things that I did not want to tell people was that when my bear was getting cut up at the butcher's, his skull was cut. I knew it was bad and the look on my guide's face was a give away for how bad it may be. But, I had my bear head, hide and an extra bag with the back part of his skull in it that I took up to New Frontier Taxidermy for Lori and Jim. I lied to people when they asked me about it and hoped against hope that Lori and Jim could but it back together. I wanted a complete skull and if I could make it into the record books, that would be an added bonus.
This past weekend, I got my skull. It is together but not complete.
They had to wrap my skull and the additional piece in cheese cloth to make sure they would be able to find all of the pieces that they needed as they fleshed it out. Jim mad…
Well, I can still look at the photos right? Since Dad and Hubby still need to fill their tags, we are still looking at the trail cameras to see which deer are around. It is also fascinating to see how the deer change their behaviors as the season progresses and the rut starts.
Case in point - those two big 8-pointers that I want the guys to shoot, are still around! These are from a couple week ago. I forgot to get the newer pictures from Saturday am when they walked through.
I have been chasing this second deer for two years now. If the guys don't get him this year, I want to land him next year! Also, how funny that the two biggest deer around are within three minutes of one another in the woods.
What happens when you tag out in the first 30 minutes of deer season? You get bored and are done hunting. Hubby and Dad both needed to be elsewhere last weekend so we stayed out of the woods. This weekend though, I am going into the woods. I will bring my camera and play photographer but I may also bring my gun and look for some coyotes. We know they are around - we saw a ton of high traffic areas in the snow recently.
The issue of coyotes came up recently in a weekly newsletter from the National Deer Alliance. The NDA is a new organization that was started by hunters and managers at the North American Whitetail Summit. The goal of the group is to get all deer hunters involved and talking about the issues facing the deer herd in each state.
From coyotes to Chronic Wasting Disease and habitat concerns to celebrating youth hunters... there are a lot of things that deer hunters should be talking about and sharing our concerns. If you have not heard about NDA and don't receive…
As I walked into the woods with Dad, I noticed many more posted signs than in previous years. And more than what had been there even two weeks before. No one had signed them but they were clearly on the property next to ours. We walked along the property line towards my treeseat. It was raining hard enough so that I could see the drops flash in front of my headlight but I was in my wool pants and coat so I knew that I should be OK for the five hour sit that I had planned.
Dad waited until I had climbed up, got situated and clicked off my headlamp (it was a new purchase that I had made when I decided to go bear hunting and it was very useful now as we walked into the dark woods.) I settled in and waited for day light to break on opening day of deer season!
I wasn't going to sit in this spot. I had planned to be in the Sky Condo but after viewing the latest trail cam photos and seeing that 8-pointer make his first daylight appearance on Thursday morning, I decided to switch up…
* The meat!There is nothing better than butchering and eating meat from an animal that you killed
* Sitting in the woods for hours with no technology The sun, the honking geese in the fields, the eff'n squirrels... and no office walls.
* Watching wildlife in their natural habitat I love watching does and fawns playing when they have no idea that I am in the tree nearby. Only well-behaved squirrels can hang out with me in the tree though.
* Spending time with my Dad=)
* Breaking the stereotypes of what a hunter looks likeYes, those are 4 inch heels that I am wearing
* Breaking the stereotypes of how a hunter actsGo bear hunting then listen to Alec Baldwin host the New York Philharmonic, yes please!
* Meeting and connecting with other great huntersThere are a lot of awesome people in Maine and around the US who are passionate about hunting and are sharing their experiences.
* The meat!Worth being mentioned twice! On a cold snowy day having a nice bear or deer roast in the crockpot…
A few months ago, I was asked to write an article for Downeast Magazine about what it means to be a woman who hunts. I was excited about the opportunity and eagerly sat down to write what I knew would be the widest seen piece of my career. It took me a month to come up with the article, edit it and edit it again but it was submitted and I felt good about it.
Then, I was asked to do a photo shoot for the article that would be me and a few friends in the city. It was a perfect depiction of what hunters look like compared to the perception that non-hunters (and maybe a few hunters) view as a hunter.
Seeing the finished photo and my article in print and to be able to hold it is surreal! I am excited to hear what people think about it. If you can, please go out and get a copy. There are great stories about hunting heritage, traditions and explanations (including some great financial stats) about how hunting impacts Maine.
This could be the best season ever when it comes to trail cam photos of the deer around the Sky Condo. Hunter or not, how can you not love and respect these great animals?! I can not wait until deer season starts.
It rained. Rained hard and the wind blew. It was anything but ideal for finding moose in the Maine woods. But Brian, Jenn and I knew that the weather was going to be clear and with some rain gear, we were off for an adventures. Last year, I was spoiled; beautiful calm weather and moose first thing in the morning. This year, our normal 4:30am start was pushed back to 10am.
About an hour after we left, we were winding down dirt roads heading further into the woods. We pulled into an old skidder road, grabbed our cameras and were off. The sun had finally come out but the wind was still whipping through the trees and causing bursts of leaves to drop from their branches. We walked along the trail, stopping every once in a while to call and attempt to listen between gusts of wind. It was turning out to be a beautiful fall day and we had high hopes for seeing some wildlife. The first chopping that we came to was beautiful - the photo does not do it justice - with Black Spruce be…
I was glad that I had brought extra layers when we stepped into the 29 degree October air. It was going to be a perfect hunting day with bright sun, cool temps and a great view that showed off Maine's fall foliage.
Tim Cote of Cote & Sons Guide Service was taking me out on a guided bear hunt with his friends Al, Scott and Scott's two boys. And Tim's six Walkers, pups Boy and Lady, Jill, Emma, Garth and Moose. We headed for the Maine woods when it was still dark out and as the first light was breaking, we turned off the paved road and started to head deeper into the woods on some old dirt roads. Tim let the dogs out to stretch and run around the truck as we slowly drove down the road.
I was taking in the view and talking to Tim when the dog's demeanor changed and they began to bark. First one, then two, then all of them were barking and running up the mountain and into the thick forest Maine in known for. Tim pulled out the GPS to see where the dogs were. We w…