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Showing posts from 2015

New year, new plan: Mission big buck

There is no snow on the ground and the temperatures have been in the 50s instead of the teens or 20s.  As a result, our deer herd is having a great time getting lots of food without the worry of snow, freezing temps or that coyote that is (still) around. Dad still has the trail cameras out and we are getting some encouraging pictures.  I didn't bother copying the ones of the coyote, but he is still around and solo. But these are always good to see and it means that we will need to change things up for next season if we are going to outwit this deer.  I believe he is about 3.5 or 4.5 years old and knows how to avoid hunters. I can NOT get over the size of his neck! And the next generation of big bucks: From the side, his antlers looked like they are slicked back instead of standing upright.  Hopefully he makes it through the winter.

New year, new goals

I must admit, I was surprised when I went back to reread my 2015 goal list and found that the majority of those things, I did!  Quick recap: I shot a coyote, caught fish that I could keep, went bear hunting and to a den to tag bear cubs.  I got my trapping license and I now own two fly rods that my uncle’s father used to fish with.   As I write this, deer season is not over, so I am not going to comment on either or not I finally caught up with that elusive 8 pointer.  You can check out my blog for the answer to that one.   It was those birds that got me.  I didn’t go goose hunting, but I still want to.  I did go turkey hunting in the spring and fall and I have yet to bring one home.  Maybe I am just not meant to hunt birds and right now I am ok with that! As I think about how I want to grow as an outdoors woman, I need to come up with a new more things to do and try in 2016.  Here is my list in no particular order: * Catch a fish while fly fishing * Get a bow (see previ

To bow or not to bow

Mentally, I am not ready to hunt with a bow.  I am confident in my rifle to know that I can drop a deer dead in its tracks.  I have seen the damage that my 150 (or 180) grain bullet can do to the inside of a deer and I am comfortable with that because I know that the deer did not know what hit it when I squeeze the trigger. Maybe that sort of shot is possible with a bow but from what I have seen on tv and with other hunters posting on social media, it is more likely that the deer will run off and die, assuming that it is a good shot. I have also seen far more bow hunters talk and post about how they have lost a deer than my fellow rifle hunters.  That is the last thing I want to happen! After this season and talking with Dad about all of the deer he started seeing when rifle season ended, and he was out muzzleloading, it made me really think about getting a bow and trying to get into the woods before everyone else does (including me) with their rifles. If I make archery my 2016 g

The end of deer season is for the birds

The last few days of hunting season were eventful in the wrong ways.   Just to the right of the stick is a deer track in the leaves.  In order for my mom to prepare and cook what she needed to for Thanksgiving dinner, I stayed home to watch O while Dad and Hubby went out for a few hours. In the afternoon, Hubby stayed home while O took a nap and Dad and I went out.  The woods were quiet and calm. We didn't even see a squirrel.  Thanksgiving night, O got sick; throwing up sick, which for a two year old is a scary thing. We made the decision to not hunt on Friday morning in case he still didnt feel good.  I have been criticized in the past by readers who think that in order to be a good, qualified hunter, you need to prioritize hunting above all else. I willingly stayed home to take care of my son.  No rack of antlers is worth the comfort of your kid. None. It might make me a 'bad' hunter but it also makes me a great mom.  Friday afternoon, with O down for hi

Reflecting on 2015

2015 has been a whirlwind of a year and I have an empty freezer to show for it.  It is funny how different it was from 2014 and yet I enjoyed every moment that I was able to be outside. I went turkey hunting a few times in the spring and once in the fall and it wasn't until deer season that I started to see huge flocks of them again. I continued to bear hunt but it was made harder by the fact that my husband and I each took new job and moved about an hour north, leaving me an hour further away from my bear hunting spots. I shot a coyote in 2015 which in some ways has helped me think about and be ready to conquer some of my outdoor fears.  I hate coyotes but looking at that pelt on my wall, it proves that I can face my fears and be willing to try new adventures. Which leads me to my trapping license.  I am excited that I am now (on paper) a Maine trapper and I really want to at least set a trap and see what happens this season but with the season ending on most animals Dec 3

125 Christmas Trees later

A friend of ours grows Christmas trees on his 55 acres and this year, we were able to come up and help him and his others friends and family as they cut, wrapped and stacked 125 trees headed to Mass for people to put up in their homes.  It was great to see the whole process and be outside with friends. Look at all of the trees! Safety first: wearing our orange It is strategic when you get 125 trees of different sized stacked together Done and ready to roll South We were not planning on it, but we ended up taking a tree home ourselves. It was a lot bigger than I thought it was when it was in the field but it looks great at the house.  That photo will be later on. 

Switching seasons and heading to Robin's

Windmills along Route 6 I took a day off from work to drive east and hang out with Robin .  We were making Christmas wreaths, or as I told Hubby when I hung it up, it is my hunting wreath.  Any time that I can spend at Robin's is fun and I am always learning from her. On this day, I learned how to tip trees to make wreaths.  She showed me what to look for when taking a branch and I as I looked around, I would grab maybe one or two pieces that I thought were good only to have her come behind me and grab about 20 more. She has an eye for these things and she makes a lot of them.  I was more excited about getting pitch on me and smelling that... woodsy, sweet and wonderful.   The air was cool and we were joined by a writing friend names Maureen.  It was fun spending time in the woods and swapping stories about hunts, animal interactions and family.  Almost enough for three wreaths. Robin made us some delicious chicken soup and homemade bread that tasted even

The Orange Army

I am a proud member of the Orange army.   I never really thought about it until I became more involved with the online hunting groups.  So many of my buddies on social media have posted  over the past couple of weeks about trying to get a deer and getting out of the woods before the orange army comes in. There are trail cam pics being posted with spike horns or crotch horns with a note about the likelihood of the deer being shot by the orange army. Allow me to tell you what this proud member does when she puts on her orange.  She is looking for food to feed her family.  She proudly carries her rifle into the woods and knows that with one well placed shot, she can drop a deer dead in its tracks.  She is able to put on that orange and spend time with her Dad in the woods.  She can sit in the stands that they built and watch fawns and their mothers interact.  She is a hunter and proud of it.

Love that fawn

This is how hunting is supposed to be! Cold in the morning with a solid front on the ground.  Noisy but not enough to give your cover away. And sun. I love the sun. I sat in the Sky Condo, Hubby was in T3 and Dad decided that since time is ticking, he would walk.  The plan was for him to walk the piece by T3 in hopes of jumping something towards Hubby.  Then, the guys would head my way and split up.  Dad would head east and loop around to my treeseat.  Hubby would make a loop west then swing east and come out at my treeseat.  When I saw Hubby at the foot plot, I was supposed to head immediately to my treeseat.  I was excited about this plan because I had not sat in my treeseat all season and I missed being more outside and exposed than in the bigger stands. There was a little windy but nothing that would keep the sound of steps hidden.  I bleated the minute I could see color.  I waited a few minutes and bleated again.  I heard a bleat back! Was it another hunter trying to l

Biggest buck ever!

I had called Dad mid-week to check in and he told me that we had a big buck by the Sky Condo One of the 8's? I eagerly asked No. Bigger If I could have driven up that night, I would have.  But I had to wait until Friday to put the memory cards into the computer and look at what Dad was talking about.  This is, BY FAR, the thickest deer we have ever seen on the camera.  He is clearly all rutted up because he has no neck!  It also looks like his E2 is broken on his right side.  He was on the camera a handful of times over the past week. I am ready to put in some time Wed, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in hopes that one of us will get a crack at this big guy. 

New week, same wind

Week two of deer season started the same way that week one ended: lots of wind! Looking NE from T3 Hubby was hunting with his Dad so it was Dad and I to tackle the woods and we got up early and headed out.  I started in T3 and Dad took to the Sky Condo.  It was cold.  It was windy.  I could have had a deer walk up on me and I don't know if I would have heard it.  We did our best so sit it out, but at 9:30, I headed up to get Dad.   As I did, I ran into the neighbor who was driving out of his hunting camp.  After a few comments, they said that they had shot a nice 9 pointer earlier.   My nine pointer!  I had weighted in at 170lbs and they had taken him in the same area as T3. Crap!  I congratulated them and trudged to the Sky Condo.  We headed in for an early lunch and to warm up.  Then, we mixed things up.  We headed over to the mountain and I sat near the truck while Dad walked a small ridge to see if he could jump something towards me.  He said that I could sit in the

Oh the wind!

After checking the cameras last week and seeing that coyote, we picked our spots and headed out early to get ahead of the deer. The time change made it hard to wake up so early! but we trudged through the woods and found our spots: me in the Sky Condo, Hubby in T3 and Dad in the nearby tree seat. Dad was fighting a cold so he decided to sit all morning and leave it to us to come get him when we were ready. The view from the Sky Condo I had the grunt, a bleat and a set of antlers with me but I wasnt sure how early to start calling.  The wind kept me from hearing anything moving around.  Even watching was hard because those beech leaves look a lot like a tail moving when you catch it out of the corner of your eye. I used the grunt.  I waited and tried the bleat.  I rattled.  Nothing. I got a text from Hubby a little before 8 that he would walk up to me in a little bit.  That was followed by a text saying that two does were walking straight AT him, up one of the new shooting lan

Bring it on Wile E.

I hate coyotes.  They just freak me out especially when you can hear them but not see them.  On opening day of the 2015 deer season, we heard one howling especially close to where we were headed.  Over the summer, there had been a trail camera photo here or there but it had been quiet until that morning. Then, Dad handed my the memory cards to review before we went into the woods last weekend. As if gloating, here are a few highlights: He actually lays down!  All in all, he spent about one hour in front of this camera.  He was on the camera more than any other bucks were and I am sure the does are not happy about this. I talked to a friend of mine who traps and he has offered me a couple of his traps to see if I can get this guy and help the deer herd.  He is the reason that I won't sure the doe with the fawn - I need to keep the good moms around so more fawns can survive. We will see how this goes, but between trapping and maybe some night hunting... this

Sunday Visitor

We can not hunt in Maine on Sundays but that doesnt mean we can not enjoy the wildlife!  This doe was enjoying the grass when we caught a glimpse of her.  Maybe that means there is a buck or two around.

My bear is home!

Lori let me know last week that my bear was done and I could come get him!  When we dropped him off a year ago, there were a lot of problems, namely his head being cut in half.  But, when all was said and done Jim and Lori did the following: 1. Piece the skull back together. 2. Remove the bald patch in the center of his back that the bear got when he was being hauled off the mountain. 3. All paws were removed and turned 180 degrees because the pelt was not cut right when it was butchered. 4. Flaps of skin above his shoulders were removed and sewn back onto his sides were they belonged. 5. All of the normal taxidermy stuff like preparing and working with the pelt, getting the fake head to go into the rug and felting the bottom. Needless to say, they went WAY above and beyond in order for me to have a quality rug from my remarkable hunt.   I don't care where you are in Maine, if you can get there, go to New Frontier Taxidermy and get your animals done right.  If I have t

Deer Season 2015

We kicked off the new season on Saturday and it could not have been a better morning.  The moon was out, the stars were bright and there was just a slight chill in the air.  It was 24 degrees. After last year's last minute switch in sitting spots and my success , I let Hubby pick where he wanted to sit.  He wanted the Sky Condo and I took T3.  As the three of us walked along the path into the woods, the silence was broken by a single howl. It was loud and close. Sound travels Dad said but we all knew that the coyote was close.  He was probably in the woods between us and T3. Luckily, it was just one coyote (only one was howling.)  We split from Hubby and headed directly towards T3 as another howl came.  We were walking directly towards the coyote. I kept thinking about the deer and how they were probably moving away from the coyote and further away from us and T3.  As we came to a field, the coyote howled again but he was further away at the other end of the field. I felt a lit