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2018 recap

No doubt that I have dropped the ball on posting my adventures here, but I have had a lot of fun happenings this year!  Here is my quick recap:

* Beaver trapping - with my uncle and friend Staci.
* Honored as Sportsman of the Year from the New England Outdoor Writers Association.
* Turkey hunting.
* The Maine Moose lottery held in my hometown and my friend Bryan performed.
* Mushroom foraging with Staci.
* Going to the ribbon cutting of the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation area to honor my friend George.
* Bear hunting with Staci and then going out with Bill Dereszewski and having Robin comes with us.
* Deer hunting with Dad and Hubs.
* Taking O out for his first sit in the new deer stand.
* Seeing lots and lots of wildlife including a fisher and bobcat, both of which I had never seen in the wild before.
* Started writing for Drury Outdoors' DeerCast app.
* Joined the board of the New England Outdoor Writers Association.

It has been busy but I am excited to find out what 2019 has …

Representing hunters on the side of the road

I didn’t see the fawn but I watched in slow motion as the doe hit the corner of the oncoming jeep and disappeared into the tall grass. I hoped that it was just a brush with the bumper and that she would be OK.

The driver pulled over and began to walk along the edge of the road to see if the deer was OK. I pulled over on the opposite shoulder and asked if he was OK. We saw the doe struggling to get up and she made a horrific noise.  I assumed that she had a broken leg so I asked my mom to leave me on the side of the road with the driver and go to my house to get the gun. I placed a call to dispatch was put in touch with a warden. He asked if I was able to dispatch the deer and if I wanted to. The last thing I wanted was for this deer to suffer so I said yes and wrote down the tag number.

It was dump day in town and the man had planned on making it a quick trip so he did not bring his phone with him.  We gave him a donut and my phone to make some calls; one to his wife so that she could…

Learning to trap beaver

In an effort to learn how to trap, I asked my uncle to take me out when he set his traps last winter.  He agreed and we went out to set some beaver traps and learn how it’s done.
My uncle has been trapping for most of his life, so he knew which areas to check for fresh sign and he had been asked by the landowners to come onto their property to take beaver out and keep the bog from flooding and eating up more land.  Unfortunately, that was the case for a section of our trail and we had to get out and walk.

We loaded up an ax, the traps, lures, gloves, a shovel and started hiking, which in waders is no easy task!  We looked for slides, caster mounds and freshly dropped trees.  It was obvious that there were beaver there, we just needed to pick the right place where they were being the most active.  My uncle slipped carefully into what looked like a shallow stream coming out of the bog and almost instantly went up to his thighs.  Waterways that looked shallow and small were actually wel…

How do you remember your hunts?

A few years ago, I decided to collect skulls and furs from the animals that I killed or trapped.It was partly selfish to be able to highlight the hunts that I have been on but it was also in an attempt to educate my kids about the animals that we eat and interact with here in Maine.

My first skull was my bear’s and even though there were a lot of issues with it (cut into pieces and put back together), it was great to see what was under the fur of the animal that I killed and ate.My son loved touching the teeth and seeing the ridge where the two halves of the skull were fused together.The bear rug is thick and soft and it’s my son’s favorite spot for reading/listening to books on tape.Since that bear, my collection has grown to include a coyote (my daughter’s favorite), beaver, bobcat and deer skull.
Each skull is displayed on a bookshelf that my Grampa made. It helps to highlight the size variables of each skull but also different types of teeth.How fascinating is it that a 37lb coyo…

IF&W's money problem

The Department of Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife is facing a huge funding crunch as older hunters phase out and there are fewer and fewer young hunters to take their place.  The lack of licenses and license dollars impacts all things outdoors, from management and harvest numbers to the overall hunting culture and growing lack of understanding that more and more people have about the importance of hunting.  I am confident that my kids will grow up understanding all things hunting, but the biggest difference is that in my family, this new generation of hunters won’t be pulling out their credit card every year to buy their license.  For $500, both kids have their lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.

My husband didn’t believe me when I told him the number and he made me show him my license (he buys a hunting only license and hunts deer.)  I pay a lot of money for my hunting licenses.  You can do the math; I buy a hunting and fishing license, my trapping license, archery license, …

Must have hunting app: DeerCast

While I have been away, I have been busy advancing my hunting plans for this fall.  And joining new, exciting projects.  One of those is DeerCast, an app created by the folks at Drury Outdoors to give hunters the best tools available to identify peak times to be in the woods and when the deer will be moving.  I have had the chance to interview hunters who have used the app and have taken some impressive deer!




There are a handful of us writing articles, the entire Drury family contributes and instead of waiting a year for footage to come out on television, you can see the videos almost as they happen.  Some impressive deer are being taken this year and DeerCast is free!

So far, more than 218,000 people have downloaded the app... of course I want you to download it to read my articles but try it out and see if it works for you.  Let me know!

My office!

I've always wanted an office that I could turn into my "Hemingway Room."  I am slowly building that now and getting everything in place.  My bear rug fits on the floor, my current sets of antlers are lined up on the wall and I have taken a bookshelf that my grandfather made and turned it into a space to highlight my favorite outdoor books but also my skulls, feathers, nests, calls and photos.  My little's favorite thing is the coyote.  She makes a point of petting it every day.

I am still unpacking and moving things around, but it's coming together!






New house, new wildlife part 2

I had just called in for a radio interview when I saw something land in a tree across the yard.  I could tell that it was larger and lighter than the birds that are usually around.  I held the phone to my ear and answered a few questions while getting my camera out, sliding the screen door open and frantically trying to snap a photo and then show it Hubs so that he could take more photos while I went back to my interview. 

It was a beautiful Barred owl.  It flew away after sitting there for more than 30 minutes and I didn't get a chance to see where it went.  A few hours later as we were getting ready for bed, we heard two Barred owls calling back and forth, one was close to the house and the other was further into the woods.  Each night for the past week, they have been calling at dusk. I've tried to record it, but the swarm of mosquito that gather at my back door waiting for me, have kept me inside.  Maybe the next time I hear them!





New house, new wildlife part 1

We moved to a new house about a month ago.  The second night that we were there, a doe came out from the woods.  Since then, we have had three does hanging around, one of which was VERY pregnant the last time we saw her (I am hoping for twins!)

They are out on the back lawn at least twice a week and one morning, I had a doe only a few yards from the house.  When I threw open the curtains, she just looked at me and kept eating.

If I draw a doe tag this fall, they are not necessarily safe but until hunting season arrives,, we will keep watching them.






Moose on the loose

Every spring when the cows kick their yearlings out of their comfort zone, there are news reports of them showing up in the wrong places.  This spring, it was near the kid's school.  Friends had posted pictures of the moose but it wasn't until I took the littlest kiddo to the doctor that I saw the moose.  Knowing O would love to see this, I drove home and swapped kids.  I prepped him just in case the moose had moved on, but we were in luck!




 Aside from the fact that it was next to the interstate, the moose looked healthy with no signs of ticks or illness. 

The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife got so many calls about this moose that wardens ended up tranquilizing the moose and moving it.


NEOWA Sportsman of the Year

I had the distinct honor of being named the 2018 Sportsman of the Year from the New England Outdoor Writer Association at their annual meeting.

























Staci and I went down to southern Mass. to attend the annual meeting and network with fellow outdoor writers.  It was great to put faces to the list of familiar names there and I was voted in as one of their newest board members.

It was a long but fun day of talking with fellow writers and hearing their stories of the outdoors all across New England.

More than just turkeys

For three days leading up to my turkey hunt, I woke up and looked at the clock to figure out how much earlier I would need to wake up to be at Staci's house on time.  Aside from ticks, the worst part of turkey hunting is the early start time. 

The day of my hunt arrived and armed with my coffee, I drove to Staci's house to find some turkeys.  Her husband, John, agreed to be our designated turkey caller. Deer ran through the woods off to our right and a partridge drummed continuously as we walked to our first spot.  The world was waking up all around us but there were no turkeys to answer our calls, so we moved.

I spotted the first birds of the morning, a tom fanned out with three hens (or two hens and a jake) so we parked the truck in the next field over and started making our way towards the birds.  Staci and I crawled on our stomachs to the edge of the hill and watched as the tom answered every time John called but it would not cross the field to come towards us.  We skirted…

Thank you, George!

My friend George Smith publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with ALS early this year.  When he told me in late last summer, I was shocked and saddened. I can't imagine the Maine outdoors without George in it.

The following is my article from the April issue of the Northwoods Sporting Journal.


Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that George Smith has spent the majority of his life being dedicated to the Maine outdoors and the sportsmen and women who enjoy it as well.  He is passionate about hunting, fishing, hiking and everything outdoors related, sometimes to a fault but, no matter how you feel about him, I am sure that some aspect of the outdoors that you enjoy has George somehow tied to it.
I don’t need to write about George’s accolades or his writing, time at SAM or legislative work because I am sure you know of them.  What I will write about it how George has helped me get my writing ‘out there’ through his own connections and reputation.  Thanks to George, I publis…

Love those bear cubs!

Yearlings run.  That was the caution that Randy Cross told Staci (MyMainelyGirlAdventures) and me as we met with the Maine bear crew to prepare to head into the woods.  This particular den that we were going to had a 16 year old sow, who had had four cubs with her last year when they checked her den.  There was the potential for four yearlings plus Mama in the den.  I was a little giddy with the idea of so many bears!
It is easy to brag about the bear crew. Aside from their decades of experience working with Maine’s bear population, they are a study in how team should work.  They know their strengths and weaknesses and support one another to ensure that they have a plan and back up plans for every den visit.  Staci and I tried not to nerd out as we watched Randy Cross, Lisa Feener, Jake Feener and Ethan Lamb plan for our decent into the woods.
We loaded up the snowmobiles and began to look for an access point into the woods.  Jake took the lead and I road with Lisa as we bounced off sma…

Tagged out!

Dad assured us that deer move in the wind.  He was confident that if we were in the woods, we would see something.  He could be as confident as he needed to; he had tagged out and could stay warm. The wind was howling and with the Sky Condo breaking apart, I didn't waste much time getting into my tree seat in the woods.  It had taken me a handful of years to be comfortable enough swaying in a tree during a windy sit, but I was ready.

It was so cold that I had on my snowmobile boots with toe warmers, my ski gloves with hand warmers and a blanket over my legs to help keep the wind from hitting the backs of my legs.  I had on so many layers!

It was too windy to hear anything move so I just kept scanning from one side to the other.  I kept hearing Dad's voice telling us that deer move in the wind and I was reliving the shock of seeing that massive buck run across my parent's back yard the night before.  I was zoning out, looking straight ahead when something off to my right ca…

Of course I don't have a doe permit

This is how I started my second week of deer hunting. 

I have never been so quiet in the woods.  I was painstakingly slow and keeping my eyes peeled for deer.  The week before, I had jumped two deer under my stand and I was determined not to have that happen again.

I walked out and around our normal route into my stand.  I was at a snail's pace. I would walk, stop and look.  I would look again and take a couple of steps before doing it all over again.  I watched for any movement near my stand.

The leaves had fallen off the trees from the wind storm the weekend prior so I had a better view of the area.  I could not see any movement near my stand so I paused next to our trail camera to look around and relax a little bit.  The minute that I stopped, three loud blows jumped me off to my left.  I had made a huge error; I was so concerned about looking near my stand, that I never figured that the deer would be on the opposite side of the path.

I watched their flags wave as the bound i…