August 17, 2019

Big Buck Tracking School in the North Woods of Maine

Listen To The Audio Version

This is a rerun of the story I did on April 27, 2006

Everyone dreams of bagging a trophy deer. Some are infatuated with antlers, some by body mass and weight. I know some whitetail deer chasers that are obsessed with tracking, some with stil- hunting and others sitting in a tree. Ever wonder what it would be like to come face to face, or as close as one could imagine, with a monster buck that had never seen a human before? Ever wonder what that deer’s reactions and actions would be?

It can happen and it does happen every deer hunting season. But not everywhere. Maine has vast wilderness with acres of wooded space to hunt. I need to tell you right up front that hunting in these woods is not an easy task. There also are not a lot of deer, at least by some hunters standards. You could spend countless hours chasing hopes and dreams unless you know where to go and what to do once you got there.

Are you interested in learning how to track monster bucks, where to find them, ensure you won’t get lost and hone your shooting skills so you won’t miss that once in a lifetime opportunity?

Now you can! The Allagash Sporting Camps, located in Allagash, Maine is hosting a three-day tracking school. This event is scheduled for June 16, 17, and 16, 2006, is limited to the first 15 hunters who secure a spot AND there are still a few openings.

I called Mike Paquette, owner of the Allagash Sporting Camps yesterday, to get more information and find out if there was still some room. Mike informed me that there was some room but if you’re interested, not to wait. Hunters are flying into from all over the country.

The tracking school will be in three parts Mike says. First, professional instructors are going to teach hunters how to enter the big woods and not get lost. Sounds a bit silly but unless you’ve been in the big woods you may not realize just how big it is. If you’re not accustomed to tracking big bucks, you also don’t realize the amount of concentration it takes. Everyone who tracks big bucks has done it before. Get tracking a big buck and the next thing we know, where am I? You have to have the confidence that you can focus all your attention on tracking and not on keeping track of where you are.

A second part will focus on the tracking aspect of hunting – where to find the big bruisers in thousands of acres of woods and how to recognized signs to know you’re on the right track. The tracking methods, most of which will be conducted by the Benoit brothers, are complex and varied. Trust me! You’ll leave this school with a wealth of knowledge from people who have spent years in the northern Maine woods and they have proof of their effort and skills.

The third part of the school is going to test your skills at shooting. We all want to stalk our buck and catch him standing, just quartering slightly to the left or right, silhouetted by a partially obscure sun in the early morning mist – isn’t going to happen! Once that big guy knows what’s up, more than likely you’ll have only a split second of time to react. Can you? Are you good enough to hit the target?

Below is the banner that the Allagash people are circulating for the event. Give Mike a call now and book your spot. If you’ve ever wondered how to track and how to hunt wilderness trophy bucks, there’s no better school with any better instructors than what you’ll find here.

Tom Remington

Share

The Polar/Grizzly Bear Uproar

On April 27, 2006 I brought you the story of an American, Jim Martell, who went on a polar bear hunt into the far reaches of the Northwest Passage of Canada. He shot a bear that turned out to be a half-breed – half polar bear and half grizzly bear. Soon thereafter, we retrieved some photos released by the Associated Press of the bear and the hunter and posted them for you to see as well.

Since the original story we have received a few comments, some of which are a bit less than desireable to share with the general viewing audience. It is clear that the majority of responses are from people opposed to hunting and their opinions are certainly acceptable and respected. I can’t say they feel the same way toward us and hunters in general.

I completely understand, as I have been in this Internet business for quite some time now, that it is much easier to spout off daring and accusatory statements and even resort to making threats when you can hide behind just a name. I am curious as to how many of those who made comments would share so eloquently with others if they were face to face.

Here’s a comment made by reader Brian. Not that the comment is really directed toward the topic at hand but an interesting observation nonetheless.

I am still confused as to why they let americans into canada to hunt our bears…i say no more bear hunting untill they pay us our softwood lumber money!!!

I censored the last two words of his comment. I wonder if Brian would still feel the way he does if Americans did the same to the Canadians?

One reader’s comments suggested they would fine the guy for his actions but that he wanted the hide. Another tries to oversimplify the case saying that if the bear wasn’t white he shouldn’t have shot it. This is true. Now we actually have someone who is asking or commenting on things that actually matter.

But the one comment that has stuck out so far is this one.

If I had my way, Jim Martell would bw as dead as that rare creature he mercilessly killed. Perhaps I should hire a headhunter for $50,000 to find his sorry self, shoot him, then pose by the picture.

Al Shapeton is the maker of the comment. I must warn you though, his comments were quite a bit longer than what I have copied here. At first glance I thought the responder was Al Sharpton, the civil rights activists, you know, the Rev. Sharpton. I guess the comments could very well have been his too.

Shapeton calls hunters – well, he refers to “us” as “you folks”, so I assume he means hunters in general – not human. Therefore his logic says that because we are not human we can be slaughtered by hunters too.

The biggest chuckle came in his threat to “leave the substantial proceeds of my will to them (PETA)”. Now that’s reason enough to stop. Money will do anything.

But, I have a suggestion for Mr. Shapeton of what he should do with his money. After reading through his comment, I think he should invest it in some classes on writing, spelling and basic grammar.

Maggie comments on the story saying she is doing a debate on this article. Here’s her comment/question – which by the way, I hope she pays closer attention in English class.

Hi~ im doing a debate on this article for a school project.. Im just wondering… well.. the guy was a hunter rite? so he hunts for a living and was liscensed to do so.. (there for the $50,000 lincense) he didnt know that it was a mix breed..
if he did.. he deserved the jail.. or .. alot more fine then the 1000 or whatever it was..

but if he realli didnt know .. does everyone still think he should go to jail or be fined??

Thank you for the comment/questions Maggie. Let’s clarify some things for you Maggie. Because Mr. Martell paid $50,000 to go on a hunt, doesn’t necessarily make him a “professional hunter”. It does say that he is probably a fairly wealthy man. Also, the license didn’t cost him $50,000. That was the estimated cost of the trip, supplies, guides, etc. that are involved in making a hunt of this kind.

But make no mistake about it, Maggie, anyone who goes on a hunt of any kind is responsible for the target they are shooting at. So to answer your question, when Mr. Martell decided to pull the trigger, he and he alone is responsible for the end result.

According to the laws where Martell was hunting, he broke no laws. It is my understanding that had DNA tests showed that the bear was more grizzly than polar, he would have been charged. So, under the circumstances, Mr. Martell has not broken any laws.

But let’s examine something a bit closer. First let me clarify that I was not there. I am only writing on information available to me the same as any other person. The original story that I read said that, I don’t recall if this was a direct quote of Martell’s or not, when Martell saw the bear he hesitated to shoot. It was not until after his guide told him to shoot that he did. To add to the story, it was the end of his hunt as well and he was thinking he might be going home without getting his bear. This may or may not have affected whether he should pull the trigger. These are all things to think about.

Once again, I remind readers, the end result is Martell broke no laws BUT, I think he was a lucky man. He hesitated for some reason and perhaps that reason was because he wasn’t 100% sure it was a polar bear. It is easy for me to sit here and write that he shouldn’t have pulled the trigger. Other than in the zoo, the only polar bears I’ve seen are on the coke commercials.

There is always good that happens in everything if we look hard enough for it. Two things good may happen here. The first is obvious. Mr. Martell should learn a valuable lesson. Things could have just as easily gone the other way and found himself in a cell and paying a fine. Yes, the reader is right that commented that a $1000 fine wouldn’t hurt Martell but a little jail time might have.

The other thing that actually may benefit us all to some degree is the fact that the stoppage of the dispersion of a mixed species may have happened. Biologists have already voiced concern that a continuation of interbreeding between grizzlies and polars could be devastating to the polar bear species. Scientists don’t know if this bear had siblings or not. I suppose time will tell.

Maggie, I hope I have helped to answer some of your questions and given you some insight in the event. You have picked a good subject to debate because this one is not black and white or maybe I should say, brown and white. You also deserve an “A” already because you haven’t called anyone bad names or threatened their lives.

Tom Remington

Share

What Do You Know About the Red Fox?

How well do you know about the Red Fox? Well why don’t you find out and take the quiz. Just a few of our state’s hunting magazines currently have a Red Fox quiz. Once you submit the test you get the results immediately. The following is a small list of the states that this particular quiz is currently on. You can choose any state you want. They are all the same.

Steven Remington

Share

It's Official! It's a Grolarpizzly…er uh, a Prizzlyolar…er uh, a Pizzolar…er uh

Remember this story about a guy from the U.S. who paid $50,000 to go on a polar bear hunt and killed a bear that appeared to be part grizzly and part polar bear? Well, the game officials confiscated his bear and threatened that he would be charged with a crime for killing a bear he didn’t have a permit for.

The same officials have run DNA tests on the bear and determined that the bear is a 50-50 mix of grizzly and polar. So does that mean Jim Martell, who shot the bear only gets half the amount of jail time and a half fine? No, they returned his bear to him and he will now be the proud owner of a very unique, one-of-a-kind bear – skin, rug, stuffed, whatever.

Discovering a cross breed between these two species is not heard of in the wild but happens in zoos sometimes. What makes the event rare is the fact that the habitat for the two bear species doesn’t really overlap that much and the mating process of the polar bear is some different. The polar bear has to go through a bit of an engagement process for at least a week, sometimes more, before it becomes fertile. The chances of a grizzly and polar bear having a one night stand is not heard of. So these two bears got it on for a while before heading their seperate ways.

What is not clear and evidently can’t be determined is which species sired and which conceived and bore the offspring. There is also the distinct possibility that there was more than one offspring and did the offspring mate with other bears and if so, which kind?

As humorous as this all can be made out to be, it could be devastating to the species. Studies have shown that the grizzly bear has adapted to some of the polar bear ways, like seal hunting. As a matter of fact, the bear that Martell killed had remnants of seal meat in its stomach.

One name for this bear that has been tossed around is “nanulak” a cross in native Inuit names for the polar bear – “nanuk” – and the grizzly – “aklak”. The natives in the town where the guide who lead Martell on his hunt, just call it “half-breed”.

Tom Remington

Share

Chronic Wasting Disease – It's All in the Tongue

What has been suspected as the leading cause in the spread of the fatal chronic wasting disease has been proven to be fact. Deer and elk tongues are the culprits.

Prions are the infectious agent that causes CWD and now it is proven to reside in the tongues of deer and elk. When these animals eat, drool, kiss, lick, sniff and a host of other activities that can easily get saliva on other things and other animals, it is very likely the disease will be passed on.

Even normal grazing of the animals will leave traces of saliva. Other animals will come behind and graze in the same location and ingest the prions. Once ingested, they spread from the guts eventually ending up in the brain and from their, the prions seem to find a safe haven in the tongues.

Knowing how the disease is spread, can be a major step toward preventing further infections and possibly a cure.

Tom Remington

Share

Wildlife Officials Spouting Bear Talking Points in Explanation of Child Death From Bear Attack

A 6-year old girl was killed this past week, her brother mauled and injured and mother seriously hurt by a black bear in the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. The 2-year old brother has been released from the hospital, the mother remains in stable but serious condition. One report says they were swimming when the attack occured.

Now officials are making an attempt to explain why the bear attacked the three. Most of what they are saying are the same old talking points when it comes to bears – “rare occassion, bear must have been sick, bear confused people with normal prey, etc.”

DNA evidence is still not available yet to confirm whether a bear that was captured and killed was the same bear that attacked the family. It is also thought that this bear had been transplanted into that area from another area where the bear was being a “nuisance”. Officials state that dangerous bears are killed, nuisance bears are moved around within the half-million acre forest.

Duncan Mansfield, of the Associated Press, has an article this morning trying to explain why the bear attacked and what are the “normal” habits of black bear. I fully understand the need for officials to tout the “official word” when it comes to incidents like this one but isn’t it time that wildlife experts begin educating people in a different way? Bears are not the cuddly little things we give our kids to sleep and play with as children. They don’t talk and dance, nor do they live in Jellystone Park. They are a wild animal with wild animal instincts and as smart as we would like to think we are, we don’t know many things about wild animals. Heck, we don’t even completely understand our pet dogs. They attack and kill people, sometimes for no apparent reason.

In the article, mixed in with all the right talking points, is a comment made by Laura Lewis, a Cherokee Park wildlife biologist. Her comments seem to go by the wayside. Here’s what she said in response to a statement made by Joe Clark, bear expert with the U.S. Geological survey. Clark said there are more people and more bears that’s why there are more human-bear contacts.

“I don’t know that increasing population or increasing recreation in the national forest has anything to do with it. There is just not a clear link,” Cherokee Forest Service biologist Laura Lewis said.

“People don’t want to think it is a natural behavior on the part of the bear” to attack a person it views as food or a threat, she said, “but I really think it is.”

Bingo! I agree. What is wrong with telling people that this may in fact be a “natural” habit of the black bear. We certainly don’t know for sure one way or the other. People deserve to know what possible dangers might befront them, especially with children.

Maybe there’s something more to it. Maybe there’s money involved. What would happen to the revenue generated from all the National Parks that had bears in them if we began telling people no bears are safe?

Mansfield goes on to write about all the statistics that prove that bear maulings are so rare.

These are the only black bear fatalities recorded in the South in the past century and are among only 12 cases in the contiguous United States. Forty-five other black bear killings reported in North America were all in Canada or Alaska, according to the Minnesota-based North American Bear Center.

That’s not many out of a North American bear population of 750,000, said center director Lynn Rogers. “One in a million becomes a killer. There is no way you can manage for that,” said Rogers, who has spent 38 years studying black bears.

The article continues telling of the vast numbers of bears in the southeast region of the U.S. including Tennessee and then goes on to explain why the number of bears in this area has swelled so.

Conservation programs have swelled their numbers since the 1970s. Hunting is banned in the Smokies and in six bear preserves covering about a third of the Cherokee National Forest.

David Brandenburg, of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and bear expert, says that bear populations are reaching “cultural capacity” within the preserve but claims it is not out of control. Perhaps by park standards it’s not out of control and maybe cultural capacity is estimated a little bit too high.

Lynn Rogers, director of the North American Bear Center, explains black bears this way.

Black bears naturally fear people, and their first defense is to flee and climb a tree. While some may yearn for people’s food, those aren’t the bears that typically kill, Rogers said.

“It is interesting that where you have the most contact with people, you will see the fewest killings,” he said, pointing to the number of deaths in the Canadian hinterlands.

From this statement are we to assume that we would all be safer visiting our national parks if all the bears were more familiar with humans? If this statement is true then the following statement made by Kim DeLozier, supervisor and wildlife biologist in the Smokies region, is a major contradiction.

Kim DeLozier, supervisor and wildlife biologist in the Smokies, said the key is to keep the bears wild by moving them quickly at the first signs of habituation….

Is it any wonder officials don’t know what caused this bear to attack. They can’t reach consensus on how bears act normally and how best to deal with bears in the parks. You have one expert saying that statistics prove that most deaths of humans caused by bears happens in the wilds away from civilization. Then you have another saying that the best way to deal with bears in the parks is to keep them as wild as they can. This makes us safer? I’m confused.

The opening statement in the article by Joe Clark, the bear expert says,

“I think it is probably just a matter of there being more bears and more people in bear range than ever before,”

That statement is immediately followed by the one from Laura Lewis.

“People don’t want to think it is a natural behavior on the part of the bear” to attack a person it views as food or a threat, she said, “but I really think it is.”

So, who you going to believe? What will be on your mind the next time you venture into lands inhabited by black bears? Will you rest assured that as long as the bear is wild, it will run and climb a tree or will you wonder whether it has seen enough humans that it’s ready for a meal?

I am not a sufferer of bear phobia. I have encountered bears in the woods on several occasions and I have an absolute intelligent respect for them. I treat people’s pet dogs in a similar manner, realizing that both are animals and are subject to unexplained and unusual behavior.

I just think it is time to rethink what we are telling people about wild animals and in this case, the black bear and revisit “cultural capacities” and policies in dealing with nuisance bears.

*Previous Posts*

Mother, Two Children Attacked By Black Bear

Bear Captured Believed To Be One That Killed 6-Year Old Girl

Update on Nuisance Bear

Tom Remington

Share

Hunting For Meat or Hunting For Trophies?

Are you a meat hunter or a trophy hunter? Perhaps you fall somewhere in the middle, meaning that you go out intending to shoot that illusive trophy buck and end up settling for something smaller to fill the freezer.

This seems to have been the norm for decades all across America. You talk to a deer hunter from any state and ultimately they are going to tell you they go out with good intentions and more times than not come home with meat. Oh, there are exceptions. I personally know hunters who are diciplined and determined enough that they would not settle for anything other than a big buck. They have their reasons and I can respect that.

Me, I’m a meat hunter mostly, although early in the season I would probably pass on a small deer but the trend in this country seems to be changing. The demand from hunters is more bigger bucks. This appears to be where the money is coming from as well. It is no secret that hunters nationwide spent millions of dollars each year to hunt. The number of wealthy hunters willing to spend more dollars for chances at trophy deer seems to be on the increase as well.

Texas is an example of one state that seems to be changing their rules for buck harvesting. Whether these changes are coming as a result of the discovery of better quality deer management or giving in to the demands of the bigger buck seeker, remains to be seen. Their rule changes prohibits the taking of bucks until their antler spread exceeds 13 inches. This combined with permit allocations for antlerless deer, officials hope to not only manage deer population but produce more bigger male deer.

Quality Deer Management Association is an organization of about 40,000 members nationwide and growing. Growth rate runs about 30% annually. Their goal is similar to what Texas has undertaken. They believe that managing the deer herd numbers isn’t enough. They think it also needs to be done to produce quality deer. In other words, bigger bucks.

With a trend toward this kind of deer management, time will tell if it will be in the best interest of the deer. If science proves that managing deer in this manner can produce a higher quality of deer and at the same time management numbers and keep hunters happy, then it will be a good thing. If not, then money once again will win out.

Tom Remington

Share

Exposing The Radical Left-Wing Animal Rights Groups For What They Are

I received this press release this morning. You are welcome to go and read the entire article. I wish to highlight some of the more revealing facts and comments made that will help us all to better understand the deranged mentality of extreme members of these groups and exposing them as to what they really are – terrorists!

This is a statement made by the FBI.

In May 2005, John Lewis, FBI deputy assistant director and top official in charge of domestic terrorism, stated, “The number one domestic terrorism threat is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement. These groups have a history of disregarding personal and civil rights of citizens in attempts to further their agenda.”

We then are told that the animal rights groups themselves reveal that there is a conspiracy.

Reliable sources within the animal rights (AR) community report that some extremist elements within their organizations are involved in a conspiracy to report false sightings of large cats such as lions, tigers, and leopards.

The press release then goes on to tell of several instances of false reports filed in order for these groups to draw attention to their cause. Evidence also shows that members of these animal rights groups are actually acquiring animals, sometimes exotic ones, for the purpose of releasing them or even killing the animals themselves and dropping them at key locations to appear as though other people are abusing animals.

Cook said the evidence points to the cats having been acquired by animal rights fanatics and set free to be “discovered”.

Participants in the animal rights “false sightings scheme” are encouraged to enlist friends and relatives in filing false reports to lend credibility with numerous eyewitnesses. Additionally, the groups are counseled to call reports when law enforcement staffing is at lower levels, such as Sundays and on holidays.

Marcus Cook, director of the Feline Conservation Federation, says we mustn’t allow these terrorists to get the upper hand.

Cook advises not to let fanatics succeed in enveloping America in a cloud of fear. “We have to continue to live our lives and use our power of reason and our superior intellect to outwit the extreme left-wing AR agenda.”

Speaking for the Feline Conservation Federation, Cook stated, “If American citizens use terror tactics against their own people, it is imperative that we make certain that no matter what their objective, they do not achieve it through these means.”

Tom Remington

Share

Benoit Brothers Trophy Deer School

Here’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often in any hunter’s lifetime. The Benoit brothers, in conjunction with the Allagash Sporting Camps, in Allagash, Maine, will be holding a trophy deer school.

This event will be held at the camps over a three day weekend commencing on June 16, 2006 and running through the 18th. You need to call Mike Paquette in New Hampshire at 1-603-335-1320 or in Maine call 1-207-398-3555.

Tom Remington

Share