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Thread: 2018 Maine Hunting Season

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Southern NH
    Posts
    1,191

    Default 2018 Maine Hunting Season

    It started off with our same crew of 5 meeting up in NH on Sunday Nov 11th for the 3 1/2 hour ride to my camp. We always go up to hunt the 3rd week of the season. For the 1st time in many years , I think its been at least 15 years since we all drew a permit. Actually , we were drawn for 6 permits. I bought a Maine license for my son which now lives in California. He was drawn also. He was supposed to get the time off this year but couldn't. I was able to transfer my sons permit to Haystaddle who also hunts in zone 17. Hope he had good luck. Back to the trip.

    . When I pulled off the exit , I noticed my brake pedal had some softness to it . when we stopped for breakfast I look under the truck and see brake fluid leaking. Opened the hood and its coming from one of the brake lines on the frame under the cab. No big deal I thought. This turned out to be a 7 day adventure .I will post this up at the end.

    The guys dropped me off at 5:20 in front of an old skidder trail that will bring me half way to the spot I want to go. My GPS says 1.6 miles North This will be an all day hunt for me since my truck was brought to a garage Sun night to get the brake line fixed There was 2-4 inches of frozen crunchy crusty snow on the ground that made you sound like a freight train walking on in. This spot had 3 heavily used runs and a ton of rubs and scrapes last year . So I sit on this spot for over an hour and Im thinking I should of seen some tracks when I passed over 2 of those 3 runs before I got to the blow down Im sitting in. Its 8:am and I decide Im going to still hunt By 9:30 am and after venturing through and circling this " Hot Spot " from last year , I haven't found a single deer track. And I mean NOTHING. No tracks, no rubs or scrapes, not even any old droppings.! How things change !Time to venture on in search of what changed and where the deer might be now. This is nothing new. I have been hunting these woods for over 30 years. Sometimes a hot spot is good for 1-3 years then something changes with new logging cuts

    I climb up this steep ravine into a level area that " was " all mature hemlock thats 3/4 miles from the now dead hot spot . This hemlock stand was always covered with rubs and scrapes. It was sort of a funnel 200 yards wide that connects 2 bedding areas, some old cuts and and hardwood area of mature beech. Well the thick mature hemlock stand was now nothing but stumps, pickets and slash. They wiped out every tree except for the far end that abuts a seasonal brook. While crossing the cut trying to avoid the piles of slash , I cross my 1st track of the of the day. A nice buck track with a wide stance and a long gate. Its a very old frozen track a week old that was made just after the snow the week before. I follow his tracks since he is heading in the direction i was going to go anyway. He crosses the brook and does a stage left staying on the high side of the brook staying in the mature hemlock. A few hundred yards down the track, another track , much smaller but only a day or 2 old, comes out of the old hardwood cuts on my right and heads in the same direction. Not much further, I come to another seasonal brook in its own little valley that runs into the one im following and makes a tee. I see another track that crosses both brooks going in the opposite direction. I figured this spot was worth a sit. I had good vision looking down through the hemlock straight ahead and good vision looking up through the hardwood cut on my right. I climb up the slope about 50 yards into the hardwood cut that is full of scrub beech saplings and find a nice blow down up against a mature beech tree. Now I have good vision of my back trail too. Time to have a something to eat ! Im Starved !
    Sitting there about 5 min munching on my sandwich, I take my GPS out to check on location and the time. Its 10:45 and I am .9 miles from the main gravel road, .5 miles from another old skidder trail that I had marked the year before, and a mile east from the trail I walked in on.
    While playing with my GPS measuring distances to other spots I hear what I think is a soft grunt come directly from my right up above in the old hardwood cut. I can see about 75 yards up the slope but then the contour turns flat into a small hemlock and hardwood mix. Im scanning the woods and then I hear it again only a bit louder. then 30 seconds later I hear it again and its LOUD ! So loud it sounded unrealistic. I duck into the blow down behind the log I was sitting on and scan the tree line with my scope. So far all 3 grunts came from the exact same pinpoint location. Im looking over the top of my scope scanning the tree line for any little bit of movement or anything that looks out of place . A few minutes go by and I hear it again. Not real loud but loud enough from the same spot. Thats 4 times from exactly the same spot. I eased off searching the tree line at that point. Now Im thinking that is not a deer up there. It has to be another hunter who heard me come from down low and come up into the hardwood cut thinking i am a deer. Since I stopped to take a stand , he is thinking the deer he heard must of stopped and bedded down or is feeding in the hardwood. Maybe 10 minutes later I hear it again , only this time it came from 20 yards to the left from the 1st bunch. Im thinking the guy is on the move and I should be able to spot him in a min or so. And then another grunt near the center and another on the right maybe 30 yards from center. Ok now I believe its a buck up there. So I grunt back with my mouth and he answers back with a real LOUD grunt going to the left. I grunt again and 10 seconds later he grunts back. This goes on back and forth for 10 more minutes and then nothing. The last time I heard him grunt was to my right looking up the slope. Im thinking he is circling me to find the buck he heard. But I should of been able to see him. I had good vision around me but saw nothing. I grunted a couple more times the next 20 min and nothing. I figure the party is over and Im going to sneak up the slope to where he was. I creep up there and sure enough there are tracks everywhere going left to right and back , with a bunch of tracks circling everywhere. Using Rodney Elmers description , I was looking at a barnyard of tracks. I can see where he had come to the edge of the slope a couple times to look downhill where I was sitting , but didn't go far enough for him to see me or me to see him. I found 2 fresh rubs and 3 fresh scrapes all within a 50 ft square and tracks zigzagging everywhere. The rubs are on small one inch trees and the scrapes aren't huge either. I can tell by the tracks this buck is not a monster. Im figuring a 130-150 lb buck. Definitely not the same buck I was following that made the frozen old tracks

    The last grunt i heard was to the right. So i figure thats the direction he left. I search and there are no tracks leaving on the right, but I find them leaving on the left where he would of crossed the small brook coming down the hill. He just crossed further up beyond my vision. I follow the tracks out and I dont see any tracks running out , just walking or maybe just a trot . I maybe had gone 100 yards following these tracks , and it turns into 5-6 fresh tracks going back and fourth on the same trail. They are veering left and headed down towards the same mature hemlock strip I was watching but 200 yards further down from where I was sitting and out of my vision.

    I am walking on fairly level but slightly downward sloping ground towards the mature hemlock and in front of me about 80 yards away is the base of a 45 degree steep slope mogul at least 100 yards tall. The left hand side of the mogul is all big hemlock to the top. But the front face of the mogul is open hardwood and hemlock mix. As Im following the tracks towards the big hemlocks a deer bolts straight away and runs up the steep slope through the hemlocks. When it gets to 3/4 of the way up the mogul it breaks to the right out into the hardwood quartering away and stops almost near the top between a couple trees. I have my scope on 2 power and can see its a full size adult deer thats quartering away. I can barely see the front leg but cant see its head because its behind one of the trees , but I can tell its looking down and it cant see me either because of the tree. I hesitated for a second not knowing if it was the buck or a doe, but with the grunting episode that went on i figure its more than likely him. Im guessing its about 125-130 yard shot in a straight line to the deer. I settle the crosshair in towards back of the rib cage and let one fly. The deer spins around in a half circle and staggers a bit and looks like its biting its mid section like it was stung by a bee. Before I could get the scope back on it , the deer turns and casually trots away in the direction it was initially facing.
    I tie 3 flags straight in line to where the deer was and climb up the mogul. I find nothing and cant even see my flags down below. Climb back down and go back to where I shot from. Flags are straight in line. I pick a tall hemlock thats at the top of the mogul past where the deer was thats very close to directly in line with the flags and climb back up not taking my eyes off that tree. I get to about 50 feet from that tree and I see a chunk of snow thats kicked up there is some loose brown hairs , a chunk of hair covered in blood and 8-10 drops of blood. taking just a few steps up the slope i see a couple more drops of blood . I look up and the deer is laying there dead maybe 50 feet from the initial hit. Instead of the buck it was a big fat doe . Thats why they have any deer permits. I made the decision to shoot and I was perfectly happy putting a nice doe in the freezer .

    121 lb Maine Doe

    Maine Doe.JPG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    726

    Default

    Congrats! She ought to be tasty!
    Born to hunt, forced to work.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Midcoast Maine
    Posts
    162

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Hunter View Post
    Congrats! She ought to be tasty!
    . I second that

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    256

    Default

    Good story, thanks for sharing.

    Sucks about the brake lines... What do you drive? I just replaced all my lines (hard and soft) last summer with stainless and braided stainless. They should outlast the truck now. It was a major PITA to do, but should be worth it not having to deal with them again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    South Shore, Ma
    Posts
    3,576

    Default

    Sounds like a great hunt even in crunchy conditions. You made fast work out of finding the deer too! Nice write up!
    Life is short. Choose the mountains you are willing to die on carefully.

    Good luck on the trail!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    NJ briar hole
    Posts
    267

    Default

    Nice doe and write up, congrats

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Windham, ME - Hunt well north of here!
    Posts
    3,145

    Default

    Great deer. Congratulations.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,606

    Default

    Nice fat doe there! Congrats!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    936

    Default

    Awesome Doe !! Now who is Rodney Elmer ?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Northern Vermont
    Posts
    264

    Default

    Beautiful doe...congrats
    To visit VBBC website simply copy and paste the following link into your search; www.vtbiggestbucks.com/

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