Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

A DIY hunter from Maine heads West
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(217 posts)
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09:01 AM (MST)
"A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

LAST EDITED ON Jun-02-10 AT 05:46 PM (MST) by Founder (admin)

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I have traveled West from Maine every year for several years to hunt. I have rifle and/or bowhunted most of the western states over the years taking Bighorn Sheep, Mtn Goat, Elk, Mule Deer, Javelina, Moose, and Antelope. All of these hunts have been DIY hunts proving that some hunters from the East can do very well in the mountains.

This year will be another year of travel. I retired from law enforcement last year and now at the age of 47 work as a full time dad for my 16 month old son. Since the wife and I are expecting son #2 in about six weeks, in general, I applied for harder to draw hunts knowing my time will be limited this fall. So far I have drawn an antelope tag in Nevada and should have a real good chance at drawing antelope tags in Wyoming with two of my brothers.

We had a mild winter in Maine and an early spring. I have been taking my son on 3 mile hikes almost everyday to stay/get in shape. When you can throw a rock and hit tidal water from the house you need all the help you can get hiking at 12,000 feet!

My hunting season has started good. This is the first year hunters have been allowed to take two turkeys during the spring season in Maine. I have filled both tags with nice gobblers using archery gear.

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      May-31-10   1 
  RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Jun-15-10   2 
   RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Jun-27-10   3 
    RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Jul-28-10   4 
     RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Aug-19-10   5 
      RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Aug-25-10   6 
       RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Sep-29-10   7 
        RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Nov-18-10   8 
         RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Nov-29-10   9 
          RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Dec-02-10   10 
           RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Dec-10-10   11 
            RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Dec-14-10   12 
             RE: A DIY hunt...  MaineFlatla...      Dec-23-10   13 

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
10:05 AM (MST)
1. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

The excitement of the next "great adventure" begins even before I start the long drive home. As the sun sets in the rearview mirror I know I will be back.

By the time I reach home I begin planning next year. Which state? What animal? What unit? Which mountain will I climb?

When I get to the top which way do I go? Do I spend the night here or do I go one more ridge?

My plans for this year were simple. Wyoming moose for me and a Wyoming antelope hunt with two of my brothers. With a new baby coming things were going to be tight. My plans have changed already when I failed to draw the moose tag. Luckily Nevada has come through with an antelope tag.

Living over 2,000 miles from the mountains makes the planning more dificult but not impossible. In a few more weeks final plans can be made. Until then I work on the basics and make preliminary plans for the hope to draw hunts.

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
08:58 AM (MST)
2. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

As winter slowly comes to an end it is time to start preparing for the fall hunt even before tags are drawn. Hiking is one of my favorite ways to prepare and we are currently up to five miles.

Another way to prepare for a hunt is to................go hunting! This year the spring limit on turkeys was increased to two. I found myself out in the woods with my bow long before sunrise on opening day. The result was this nice 20.5 lbs bird.

The second day of the season found me back in the woods before sunrise once again with my bow. I was rewarded once again with this 18.5 lbs bird.

And with that my spring hunt was over. Not to worry because a couple days later I saw this guy out and about. Maybe he will be around when the fall season opens.

The New Mexico drawing is now complete and I was lucky, I think, and drew a muzzleloader tag for elk. Not a "good" unit but I will be hunting. Before this week is over a couple more drawings will be complete. Until then I will continue to plan and day dream during my morning hikes.

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
02:40 PM (MST)
3. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

Summer has arrived in Maine with the heat and humidity that comes with it. Since my last update ten days ago I have continued to hike with my son almost every day 4-5 miles. We now leave early in the morning before the heat becomes too bad. Maine, New Hampshire, and Montana have completed their drawings with no luck for me. However, my wife did draw a cow moose permit for northern Maine so I will get to tag along on a moose hunt this fall. We will be looking for a nice cow like this one.

Northern Maine has a very healthy population of black bears and it has been several years since I have shot one. Maybe we will run into one during our moose hunt?

Before any hunting trip can take place this fall the household chores will have to be completed. One of the "hardest" is convincing yourself that four plus cords of firewood needs to be stacked and readied for the upcoming winter. Winter?? But the tempurature is in the 80's with high humidity!! Why do I need firewood?? While working on the wood pile I ran into this little fellow trying to soak up some early morning heat. At least in Maine we don't have poisonous snakes.

I have also begun to replace some of my used gear in an attempt to be ready for this fall. I bought 1.5 doz new carbon arrows by Easton. I also upgraded my 15 year old rangefinder with a Bushnell Legend 1200arc. One of my brothers spend part of one day at the house and he spent some time double checking his rifle at 200 yards so that he will be ready when we draw WY antelope permits. Hopefully we will know for sure this week.

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
06:23 PM (MST)
4. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

WOW!! Has it really been a month since my last update? I was successful in drawing an antelope tag in Wyoming with two of my brothers. We will be returning to an unit we hunted in 2007. All three of us were sucessful in tagging bucks. For my brothers it was their first antelope harvests. I also picked up a couple of doe tags and then a second either sex tag to use in a unit I archery hunted in 2008 taking my first archery antelope. Here are a couple shots of the area we hunted back in 2007 and will return to.

The wooded draws can make it a little easier to get within good rifle range.

Here is the buck my brother Scott(right) took. We will have a whole week to look for a bigger one this year.

We plan to spend plenty of time locating our antelope before taking off after them.

I have also picked up an OTC archery elk tag for CO. I am still hoping I might be able to pick up a leftover deer tag in New Mexico to fill in a gap on the trip. I will have more on my complete schedule later.

It has also been a very hectic time around the house. My wife and I have welcomed our second son, Tanner, into our little family. He joins his big brother, Asa, who is still only 18 months old. Hopefully, they will be big enough to pack out my game in a few years when I get too old.

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
04:12 AM (MST)
5. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

Sorry to report no pictures for this update. The truck is packed and I will be pulling out of the driveway in Maine heading west in the morning to begin the hunts. My wife and baby are doing well.

I will start the trip by driving 3000 miles to Nevada. There I will spend a few days rifle-archery hunting antelope. Then its off to Colorado for an archery elk hunt in the high country. Once done there its north to Wyoming for an archery antelope hunt. Then off to a different unit to rifle hunt antelope with two of my brothers. Once that hunt is over I will either return to my archery antelope unit, Colorado archery elk, or do a little fishing for a week. Then the final part of the hunt will be an muzzleloader elk hunt in northern New Mexico. WOW.... that sounds like a lot of hunting. I will not be back home for the next six weeks.

One of my brothers will be using a browning A-bolt in 7mm-08 with Federal ammo for his antelope hunt. My other brother will be using a Tikka T3 in 270win.

My bow for my archery hunts is a seven year old PSE set at 60 lbs, carbon arrows, and 100 gr Thunderheads.

My muzzleloader is a CVA 50 cal with a scope shooting Barnes bullets on top of 120 grs of Pyrodex.

My rifle for this trip is a new Remington 700 with a Nikon scope in 25-06. It is currently shooting 5/8 inch groups at 100 yards with 100 gr Barnes TTSX handloads. I got these good results using 53 grs of RE22.

So I will not have any pictures etc for the next six weeks. If things go as planned perhaps my wife will be able to post a couple updates while I am away. Hopefully I will have lots of photos and maybe even a little video to post when I return. Good luck to everyone as they start their fall hunts!!!

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
09:52 AM (MST)
6. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

A quick update via BlackBerry. Later today I will hike into the back country of CO for my elk hunt. I finished my antelope hunt in Nevada with a nice buck. The taxidermist scored him at 77 7/8 inches. Sorry and the rest of the story will have to wait until I return to Maine in another 5 weeks. Good luck to all the hunters!!

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
09:18 AM (MST)
7. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

I have returned home a couple weeks early but more on that later. Today I will try to update the Nevada part of my hunting trip.

I arrived in my Nevada unit to a temp of 93 degrees. The trip was uneventful as I completed the 3200 mile one way trip by driving solo.

My first view of my hunting area and I knew that unless I got really lucky it would be a long shot. Here is a shot of the general area.

I spotted a nice buck and two does on the way to the nearest town. While I had most of the supplies I needed with me I wanted to get a couple bags of ice for the cooler. I made a note of the general area the buck was and continued on to town. Here is another picture of the general area.

After finishing up in town I drove back to the area of the buck and located him with his does in no time. After carefully looking at him with both binoculars and a spotting scope I make the choice to go after him. After spending an hour trying to get within range of him I gave up. He wasn't spoked too bad and there were several draws in the area that I hoped he would work towards later. I continued on looking for more antelope.

It was obvious to me that antelope hunting here was much different than Wyoming. The population was no way near as high and it took a lot of glassing to locate antelope. A couple hours later I spotted another buck with two does in the general area of this picture.

I tried to get a good look at the buck but even in the spotting scope the heat shimmer was so bad it was difficult to see how good he was. I finally made up my mind and went after him. I was able to get about 400 yards from him before he knew something wasn't right. He continued to feed with his does but also kept a close eye on me. After an hour I got a rangefinder reading of 358 yards.

I was unable to use the bipod on my rifle because of the brush. Luckily I had brought my shooting sticks with me. I settled in for the shot and when it felt "right" I pulled the trigger. The buck traveled no distance as the Remington 700 in 25-06 with handloaded 100 gr Barnes TTSX did their work.

Here is what I saw as I walked up on my buck.

He may not be a book buck but to me he was a great buck. I took a couple more pictures of him as I admired him.

With my Nevada antelope tag filled I quickly took care of the buck and then hauled him back to my truck with the use of a game cart.

The Nevada hunt went better than I could have hoped for. I dropped him of at a taxidermist (who is also a guide) and he put the tape to him. The final score came out to 77 7/8 inches. We talked about the hunt and he pointed out the places my buck was weakest in scoring. All of this information I can use later. While I am not a trophy hunter I strongly feel the more information you have about any animal the better hunter you can become. Here is a final shot of the antelope. He is 15 3/8 inches in length but lacking in base mass and prong length.

With the Nevada hunt over it was time to point the truck east to Colorado and the start of my archery elk hunt there.

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
04:48 PM (MST)
8. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

I arrived in Colorado and "my" camping spot looked the same as it did two years earlier. The weather was great as I began setting up my tent. I had found this spot two years earlier during a deer hunt and had seen several elk. I knew someday I would return with my bow.

In a few minutes my camp was up and ready for the next ten days.

I spent the next two days getting used to the elevation. The tent was pitched at 10,270 feet and I would be hunting uphill from there. In the nearby meadow I found a couple high country flowers still in bloom.

With two days to scout I found the area I had seen the elk a couple of years prior. The wallows were still being used! I placed a treestand and headed back to camp. Here is a view of the area from my stand.

Opening day came and went. I had one small 4X3 bull come near the wallows but he never came in. Still it was a great start.

On day #2 I had no elk by the wallows but saw three bulls nearby on the hike back to camp.

On day #3 the fun began. Just before dark two bulls slowly closed in my wallows. Before they could make it all the way in a nice 6X7 bull showed up and came into one of the wallows at 41 yards and began to work it over. He was facing me offering no shot. I was hoping he would turn but before he did he caught the wiff of something he didn't like and began to leave the area. He stopped at 50 yards giving me a quick shot. The arrow flew great before running out of steam and passed under the bull's chest. I later ranged the spot to find it was actually 55 yards.

I continued to hunt the area over the next few days but the wallows grew cold. I still managed to see at least one bull everyday coming or going to the wallows but they never came in. With three days of scouting and 6 days of hunting at 10,000-13,000 feet my body was telling me it needed a break. I gave it one more try.

As the sun began to set on my last day I had stayed out of my stand and checked some new area. I had not seen anything until I looked across the basin to the opposite treeline. There I could see two elk feeding. They were 800 yards away. I set up my spotting scope and could see they were both 4X3 bulls. With the sun setting and nothing to lose I pulled out a cow call and gave it a try. Much to my surprise in short order both bulls were coming my way!

In ten minutes the bulls were 200 yards away and closing. They seperated and began coming in to me from two directions. This I knew wasn't good because one of them was going to smell me sooner or later. I had backed myself into a small group of 4-5 trees. I concentrated on one bull that was coming the fastest. I had already ranged several rocks in the area and was waiting for him. He came in facing me until I could actually hear him breath hard. At 26 yards and a limb between us I began to draw as he turned sideways. It wasn't to be as he either saw the movement or hit my scent trail. Both bulls stayed in the area looking for the "cow" for another 15 minutes but stayed well out of range.

My hunt was over. With several antelope tags in my pocket for Wyoming I would pack up my camp and head north in the morning. While my trip didn't result in a filled tag I had a great time and learned a lot. When I go back I will hunt the area differently and hopefully fill my tag. Until then I have a lot of memories.I also met two fine hunters from Colorado and now have two more names, addresses, and emails for future hunts.

I could climb up here and make cell phone calls home to the wife every couple days. It gives her a piece of mind knowing I can call every couple days.

Here is a final shot of the area I hunted. The next day I packed up the tent and started north to hunt Wyoming antelope with my bow.

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
01:44 PM (MST)
9. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

I arrived in Wyoming and began checking out my hunting area. I had picked up this tag as a leftover and got permission to hunt on a state controlled HMA. It was near the end of the archery season so I figured most of the antelope would be wary of the obvious hunting spots. I wasn't looking for a book buck. I was hoping for a chance to get my second antelope with a bow. I had tagged one in this very area in 2008.

After spending the last half of the day looking at numerous bucks through the spotting scope I was disappointed at the quality of the bucks I had seen. There was only one buck I thought had a chance to make the P&Y minimum. I placed my pop-up blind by a windmill and then made the 15 minute drive to some public land to set up my camp. I would return in the morning and hope one of the several bucks I had seen would work their way into the water.

I settled into my blind well before first light with several books and food for the day. I could see antelope feeding all around me as the sky lightened but no big bucks. After several hours of glassing, reading, and eating this buck worked his way into the water.

While not being too picky on what I buck I was going to shoot I let this one walk. He watered and then left the area. Little did I know it would be several more hours before any more antelope would show.

A couple hours before dark I saw a buck working my way. I watched for 30 minutes as be closed the distance. He finally closed the final few yards and began to water. I had already ranged the spot and knew he was 30 yards away. I slowly drew my bow and released. There was no doubt I had made a perfect heart shot. I watched as the buck ran just over 100 yards and collapsed. My hunt was over. Here is a picture from my blind of the water. The buck had watered on the right side within a couple yards of the same spot I had tagged a buck in 2008.

Here is a picture of the windmill from the spot by buck dropped. The top of my blind can be seen under the windmill.

And here is the picture of my buck. He's not a book buck but I am very proud to have one like this with the bow. He is also very good eating.

I spent the next day packing up my gear and taking care of the antelope. Two of my brothers would be arriving in a couple days to start our rifle hunt for antelope in a different unit. I can't wait for them to arrive.

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
11:41 AM (MST)
10. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

After meeting up with my brothers we spent the night at a local motel before buying supplies the following morning and heading out. We knew where we were going to go as we had hunted this unit in 2007. We saw several nice bucks on the drive into our camping spot and our spirits were high. When we got to "our" spot another hunter was setting up his camp. We continued on looking for a new place and hoping to find one out of the famous Wyoming wind. Here I am driving down into a draw to check out a potential new spot.

When we can drive to our camping spot we like to bring everything it takes to make it just like "home" Here we are sorting out camping stuff as we start pitching tents.

We set up our sleeping tent in the trees to keep the wind away.

We also set up a second tent to use if it started to rain or snow as a place to eat. Here is our final campsite.

After a late breakfast we were ready to do a day of scouting. The goal was to locate several bucks and know where they would be opening day. On this type of hunt no one will lose any weight.

We set up on a nearby ridge and spent the day looking at antelope. One thing was for sure....there was no shortage of antelope including several nice bucks. This hunt was different from our last try. This time we were hunting the opening week while last time we were there for the last week. Here is my brother Scott setting up to check a distant ridge.

Early the next morning we were ready at first light. We had agreed that my brother Craig would have the first shot because he had the shortest time to hunt. We located a nice buck after walking 200 yards from camp. Scott stayed behind to give us hand signals as we started the stalk. After crossing a small draw we eased up the other side to find the buck still feeding. I used my rangefinder to determine that he was 286 yards away. I asked Craig how long of a shot he wanted and he told me 200 yards. I could see that the buck was very nice but if we got really lucky we could crawl up the backside of the ridge and close the distance unseen. Meanwhile Scott was watching the show and wondering why we weren't shooting. The plan worked great and soon we were on the crest without the buck having a clue we were around. I slid my pack off for him to use as a rest and then ranged the buck again..215 yards but we weren't going to get any closer. As I watched through my rifle scope he made a perfect one shot kill with his Tikka 270win. The hunt was one hour old and we had our first buck on the ground. We are not trophy hunters but we were more than pleased with this buck...his best one to date. Craig on the right.

After taking pictures Scott and I crawled to the top of the ridge to check the other side before making our next move. Here we are on top checking out the far side.

We located several does and bucks including one that we thought was worth a closer look. We crawled back down the hill to Craig's buck and rounded up our equipment and made our plans while leaving Craig to care for his buck. Here I am loading up my gear.

Scott and I climbed the ridge as we planned and at the top could see several antelope including a buck but we gave him a pass. We still couldn't locate the buck we had seen so I left Scott, backed down the ridge, and then made a semi circle to get a different view. Just as I settled in on the ridge I saw a buck top the next ridge. After checking him with the binoculars I ranged him at 320 yards. At the shot I wasn't sure if I had hit him or not as antelope ran in every direction. A nice buck stopped on the ridge but I was afraid to shoot because I was unsure of my first shot. As the antelope continued to scatter a doe paused in front of Scott and he filled his doe tag. As it turned out he could not see the buck. When I stood up I was glad I had waited because through my binoculars I could see my buck down on the ridgeline. Here is the picture of my buck. Another good Wyoming buck. He was shot with a Remington 700 in 25-06.

We also recovered my brother's doe. He was using a Browning A-Bolt in 7mm-08.

After several trips out west I think one of the best tools to have is a game cart! Here I am hauling my buck back to the nearest road.

So day one was a little over half done. With three antelope on the ground and temps rising into the mid eighties we called it a day and hauled our meat to the nearest town for processing. Not a bad day. Two nice bucks and one doe. Craig was done as he only had the one tag. I still had two doe tags and Scott had one doe tag and his either sex tag left. After returning from town and cooking up a great meal we crawled into our sleeping bags wondering how tomorrow could be any better.....

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
10:45 AM (MST)
11. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

The next morning was clear and warm once again. After a quick breakfast I headed east from camp to where I had seen a small herd of antelope the day before. There were several does and small bucks in the group so my two brothers headed north to look for a big buck. I was hoping to fill my two doe tags. I followed the tree line around and as I rounded the edge I saw a group of antelope feeding. I picked out a nice looking doe and made the 45 yards. As the group ran away a second group ran towards me from a dip that had hide them from my view. I picked out a second doe and made another perfect shot at 300 yards.

I could look off in the distance and see my two brothers watching me. They had seen the second doe go down so Craig who had already filled his only tag started hiking back to camp to get the game cart. Scott continued on north towards an area we called, "the hill." I was higher in elevation than Scott and could see a good looking buck a half mile past him on the next ridge but he could not.

As I took care of my first doe I saw movement bind me towards the treeline. I pulled out my camera and made a stalk on this guy.

Soon Craig arrived and we loaded up both does on the game cart and started back to camp.

After getting back to camp I set out to find Scott and help him locate the buck I had seen. I had no trouble finding him and soon we were on the trail of several bucks. We watched as they bedded on top of a ridge a good half mile from us. We figured if we stalked down a wash we could get well within range. A couple hundred yards into our stalk and we found a second group including a nice buck at the base of the ridge below the other bucks in the same wash were had been hiding in. I never thought we would make it into range but two and a half hours later we crawled into position. We had lost sight of the buck but could see a couple of does. I ranged them at 250 yards and we layed in the hot sun and thorns waiting for the buck. After a few minutes he fed into sight only to go back behind a small mound without presenting a shot. More waiting paid off and soon he was broadside. A good shot put him on the ground. Here is Scott's buck.

I hiked the mile back to camp, got Craig and the game cart, and then we hiked back and hauled out the buck. With the temps in the mid 80's again and three antelope on the groud we hauled them to town and called it a day. Scott still had one doe tag to go.

The next morning all three of us headed east to where I had shot my does. We located several does and soon had one not much over 100 yards away. I'm not supposed to tell anyone but lets just say that unless another hunter got lucky that doe is still roaming the grasslands of Wyoming! He redeemed himself a couple hours later filling his last tag.

That night we had a big meal cleaning up whatever we wouldn't be right to leave food to spoil.

The next morning we packed up camp and made our way out. There is no doubt that we will be back. The three of us had taken three nice bucks and four does. Waiting to close the gate on the trip is never easy.

The three of us are already making plans for our next hunt. Here we are together. With me living in Maine, Scott in NH, and Craig in Texas we have very few moments together.

I was scheduled to head for NM and a muzzleloader elk hunt in a poor unit. After speaking with the wife on the phone it was obvious she was worn out taking care of a newborn and an 20 month old. I knew the flu was going around and she was probably sick as well. There are times when hunting has to wait and family comes first. I already had a great trip so I pointed the truck east. Only after traveling for a day did she let me know she had been suffering from sudden and disabling migraines. She had suffered the same thing six months after our first son was born but they went away. Luckily for her a week after I returned they have once again gone away.Hopefully to never return.

The rest of my 2010 hunting season would be spent in Maine. We had a cow moose hunt the first week of November and I was hoping to get a couple days to rifle hunt deer during the November season. Please stay tuned.

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(217 posts)
Click to EMail MaineFlatlander Click to send private message to MaineFlatlander Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
09:07 AM (MST)
12. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

The first few days home where filled with many many things to do around the house. My "man cave" had turned into a babies room so I set to work building a room in our unfinished basement.I still have lots of trim to do but it is full of hunting, fishing, camping, and reloading stuff. My wife, Alexi, had been promoted while out of work on maternity leave and she now had to return to work. With it came a schedule change to the midnight shift. In all of the hussle there was no time for me to do any archery deer hunting. I managed to make a trip north to rent us a cabin for the moose hunt the first week of November. Alexi insisted that the moose hunt was going to be a family hunt. We would be bringing our two sons with us!

Soon it was Oct 31st and we started the four hour drive north to our moose unit. Maine has a "wacky" moose permit system that allows the tag holder to name a subpermittee who can shoot the moose as well as the tag holder. Lucky for me she had listed me.

The first day of moose season arrived and we headed for the woods. Taking a 21 month old and a 3 month old hunting isn't that easy! We were limited to driving the hundreds of miles of logging roads checking the clearcuts for moose. Here is a picture of one road.

The clearcuts are great places for the moose to caught feeding. Here is a clearcut that has been replanted.

We would have to stop often to let Asa out to run around. Anyone who has kids knows how hard it is to keep them entertained in a vehicle. With lots of breaks and plenty of snacks we made it through the first day. I knew the hunt wasn't going to be easy with the kids and this being the third week long moose hunt of the year but I was surprised when we failed to locate a single moose the first day.

The next day we were at it again. I wasn't sure how many days the kids were going to last so the pressure was building already. We weren't the only ones out looking for something to eat.

Unlike the first day we found three moose in the second area we checked. Alexi wasn't the least bit interested in killing a moose so as she and Tanner napped in the backseat I snuck out of the truck and took aim on a nice cow moose 150 yards away. I thought about it for a few seconds-I'm going to have to drag that thing back to the road!", and then took the shot. She went just a couple yards and it was over.Tanner was still sound asleep in the truck but Asa has watched the whole show. We left Tanner in the truck and hiked into the woods to check out the moose.

Here is Asa thinking, "good luck getting it out Dad" and me wishing he was 15 years older just for the day.

I took Alexi and the kids back to camp and then returned to take care of the moose. It took a couple hours but I had her loaded into the truck and was heading back to camp by noon. Everyone was an opinion on what caliber rifle is big enough and its an arguement that I'm not going to start. I'll take accuracy over power any day and dead is dead. I was using a 7mm-08 with handloaded 140 gr Barnes TTSX.

We took the moose to town to be processed and then went out to lunch. The rest of the week was spent on a family v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n!! It passed way too fast and we returned home. Rifle deer season was now open and I was really hoping to get out after a buck before the month was over.

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12:22 PM (MST)
13. "RE: A DIY hunter from Maine heads West"

Maine deer hunting has been hurting the past few years. I have met many people out west who assume that shooting a whitetail back east is as easy as it gets. Shoot several does while you wait for the monster buck to appear. In general the limit in Maine is one buck per year. It doesn't matter if you shoot it during archery season, rifle season, or muzzleloader season. Parts of the state will allow you to draw a doe permit allowing a buck or doe but not both. The harvest has dropped from over 28,000 just five years ago to 18,000 last year. With a month long archery season, a month long rifle season, and a 1-2 week muzzleloader season and over 100,000 hunters it doesn't take a math teacher to calculate the odds.

I was lucky enough to have a doe permit this year but not in the unit where I live. I wasn't really looking to shoot a deer but the opportunity to get out of the house for a couple hours here and there is nice.

My first evening out I was hunting in the unit my doe was valid in when I had three does feed past me just before dark. I didn't need the meat and it was too early in the season to fill my tag.

The rest of my time I would be hunting behind my house. I haven't spent much time hunting here over the past few years because of work and now kids. While hiking with my son I did find some deer sign before the season opened.

My wife was working the midnight shift and when she got up in the afternoon it gave me a couple hours to run out back. I live in an area where I can simply walk out the back door and go hunting. I would walk 300 yards into the woods to a small ridge with scattered oaks. The acorn cropped was hit or miss and the turkeys had already cleaned most of them up but with the rut on I was hoping to catch a buck working the ridge. After three evenings in the area I had seen nothing but turkeys and small animals but today that would change.

I found this nice rub a short distance from where I had been hunting.

It was by a low spot in the rock wall making a perfect place for the deer to cross.

I placed my climbing treestand and waited. Just before dark I heard a deer walking seconds before it jumped the rockwall. The deer froze as I picked up my rifle. I was unable to make out if it was a buck or doe even through my scope. I slowly cranked up the power on the scope until it was maxed out. The deer was looking in my direction but there was no doubt I could see the base of an antler on the left side. Knowing the deer was going to bolt at any second I took the only shot I had at the base of the neck. The buck spun and was out of sight in one jump. I heard him go down and knew it was over. My wife heard the shot and sent me a txt message. I told her I didn't know how big he was. I climbed down out of my tree as the light was fading. I found the buck less than 20 yards from where I had shot him. The Barnes 100 gr TTSX from a 257Roberts had done the trick. Because of the darkness I was unable to take photos that night. My father-in-law showed up and we dragged the deer out.

The next morning I took a couple of photos of the buck on my lawn. The pictures don't look "just right" becuase it was pouring rain at the time.

The buck had eleven points including a small drop tine. At the tagging station he weighed 209lbs after field dressing. A very nice way to end my 2010 hunting season......and in my own backyard only 300 yards from the house to boot.

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