Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NeighborWoods

[NeighborWoods] Neighbors in or out of the woods but always outdoors. Created by Robin’s Outdoors. Please leave a comment and include the link to your [NeighborWoods] blog.

The Maine woods



Monday, November 24, 2014

The skull of a bear

I got my skull back from Lori and Jim at New Frontier Taxidermy!  They are incredible.  Not only are they tanning my bear hide but they saved my skull.  Saved it!

A look into my bear's mouth
 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. 

Not quite the same angle but close.
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 made me promise to never have that butcher touch any animal that I kill and then assured me that if the pieces were all there, he could rebuild it. I needed it to measure 18 inches in length and width to be a record book bear.

Check out those teeth - left side view

Are you ready for the "bad" views?

Right side - no cheek arch

There was no arch to find and glue back on to the skull.  You can also see the cut at the back of the skull where Lori and Jim reattached it to the main part of the head.  No cheek arch meant that the skull was unable to be measured, which meant no record book.

From the back

We didnt know it at the time, but the butcher had cut into the skull three times before my guide stopped him.  If he hadn't, it is clear that the skull would have been beyond repair.

Lori and Jim did an incredible job gluing the pieces back together and making sure that they got as much of it complete as they could.  I asked Lori when I picked it up if she thought that it would have hit 18 inches if the arch was there.  She started comparing it to other skulls on the table and guessed that mine would have measured 18 and 9/12 inches.  Given that she is a taxidermist, she knows her stuff and can break it down into fractions.  He would have made the record books! He is a record sized bear.

I save the deer antlers from the deer that I have shot and have a few sets mounted but I have never kept a deer skull (I might after seeing this bear) but I now have my bear skull.  It is not complete but it is still impressive.  I will have a bear skin rug with my bear's face and his awesome scars, that will be seen by my friends and family for years to come.  My grandkids will see and feel that bear and know the story.  This skull is a prop to tell the story with.  Every cut and missing piece is a part of the story of my bear hunt.  And I am ok with that.

My bear - 457lbs.  Shot Oct 13, 2014








Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NeighborWoods

[NeighborWoods] Neighbors in or out of the woods but always outdoors. Created by Robin’s Outdoors. Please leave a comment and include the link to your [NeighborWoods] blog.


A young bull moose






Monday, November 17, 2014

The big boys are still around

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.




Friday, November 14, 2014

Why We Hunt: Belonging

For those of you who live out of State or have not picked up the November issue of Downeast Magazine, here is my article online.  I would love to hear what you think about it.  Thanks!

Why We Hunt: Belonging





Thursday, November 13, 2014

Joining the movement of the National Deer Alliance

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 their newsletter, sign up!  We need to have our voices heard when it comes to the animals that we care about.

And hopefully, next week, I will have a picture of a coyote to show you.  Can you imagine? A bear, deer and coyote all within a month (or so)?  We shall see!  I would also like Hubby or Dad to shoot one of those two nice 8-pointers that we know are still around. 

I may have tagged out ridiculously early, but I love deer season!



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NeighborWoods

[NeighborWoods] Neighbors in or out of the woods but always outdoors. Created by Robin’s Outdoors. Please leave a comment and include the link to your [NeighborWoods] blog.









Tuesday, November 4, 2014

One and done

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 my strategy.  And here I was.  Sitting in the rain, watching the light slowing come up and preparing for the new season.

Something moved off to my right and it took me a second to realize that it was - a flashlight! Someone was walking down the trail and coming towards me.  They were about 20 feet away when I flashed on my headlight.  I did not want some random hunter coming onto our property!

"You're on my property!" he yelled at me
"No.  My Dad owns this land" I answered back.
"Well... I own this property and I don't want to hear you shooting down here." He instructed me.

I didn't respond.  I was livid. I switched off my headlamp and sat there watching him make his way down the line of posted signs and into the woods, out of my sight.  I checked the time.  6:41am.  Legal time was 6:43am.  This jerk had blown it for me.  At the perfect time when deer start moving around, here was this guy walking through the woods and yelling at me.  Any deer nearby would have heard us.  My hunt was ruined.  I was furious.  Right then and there, I decided to shoot any legal deer that I saw.  I didn't care about waiting to get that 8-pointer, I was too mad after being told not to shoot anything.

I moved around a little in my seat.  I mean, why not? I clearly didn't need to worry about startling a deer.  I thought about getting down and walking to the Sky Condo to sit there with Hubby.  There was no point in me sitting here for the next five hours.  I was so mad!  How unsportsmanlike.  This was hunter harassment.  I was on my property!  If he truly owned the property and had put up the posted signs, he would have seen my seat in the tree - there was a new posted sign about 10 feet away from it.  And my seat been there for weeks now. 

My train of thought was broken by movement off to my left.  I saw an eye, then a head.  A deer!  It looked like a doe. Figures! (Only Dad has a doe permit this year).  Then I saw antlers.  I clicked off the safety to my gun and got in position.  I aimed into a clearing that Dad had made over the summer and waited.  This deer was in no hurry.  He was walking through the woods with his head down, slow and easy.  When he walked into the clearing, I made a bleat noise and squeezed the trigger, dropping him in his place.  It was 7:14am.

150lb crotch-horn shot at 7:14am on opening day.
I called Dad, who had heard the shot, knew it was me and was on his way.  I sent a text to Hubby to say that yes, that was me and that he should stay put in case another deer was passing through.  Then I made the traditional calls to my Mom and Grammie. 

I was still mad about getting yelled at.  I half expected this guy to come back out of the woods and yell at me again for firing my gun. He knew that I had shot and assuming that he would trespass on my land to see if he could find evidence, we left him the gut pile.

It was a family affair to get my deer out.  Dad and Hubby helped drag him out to the field and Grampa brought the tractor down to finish the job.  We tagged and weighed my deer - a nice 150lb crotch-horn - and got him hung up and ready to be butchered.

I shoot it, they haul it out of the woods.
I am a little sad that my deer season is over already but I will still go out and be the photographer for Hubby and Dad as well as look for the coyotes that we know are around.

My favorite hunting buddy - my Dad.
I am extremely excited and proud about the fact that in the past three weeks, our freezer went from empty to filled with bear meat and deer meat.  For me, that is one of the best things about hunting.