December 16, 2018

Hunting Vs. Killing

George Smith, Executive Director for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, rebutts a previous letter to the editor in the Kennebec Journal calling hunting killing. Check it out. – “I’m a Hunter, Not a Killer

Tom Remington

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Sharing A Few Photos From My Hunting Trip

During my hunting trip, I was able to take a few, well, actually quite a number of photographs of events during my trip. Here are a few I pulled from my camera today that I would like to share with you along with brief explanations of each.

Travis and Caiden
Travis spent the week at hunting camp. On Sunday, the day everyone arrived, Travis brought along his young son Caiden to begin a part of the Maine hunting tradition. In this photo, Travis and Caiden are getting prepared for a short ride in the “mule”. Needless to say, Caiden loves to go for rides.

Gary in Treestand
Gary Inman tests out Dennis’ new tree climber tree stand in the big white birch next to camp. They thought a practice run would be better than hoping for the best once into the woods. By the expression on Gary’s face, I think he liked it!

View From the Blind
One new addition to my bag of gadgets this year was a portable ground blind from Ameristep. It opens in a snap but getting it folded back up like it came out of the package is another issue. After setting it up, I decided a snapshot of what I was seeing from inside the blind was in order. Although I saw no deer from this blind, one of our hunting companions fired at and missed a large buck only a few yards from this stand.

Deer Rub
My 1 1/2 second opportunity at a trophy buck caught me off guard. Once the excitement was over, I returned to the scene of where it all started and within about 30 feet of where the monster was bedded down, I found this rubbing on the red pine sapling. Strangely, this sapling was the only evergreen tree I could see among what seemed an endless hillside of 1-3-inch beech whips. Nasty going, but it was on the sunny slope during a cool day and miserable hunting. Great hideout.

Big Deer Hoof Print
Having given up on the “big one that got away”, I headed down the mountainside toward camp. In the mud in front of me, I spotted this buck track. Impressed, I laid one of my .308 bullets down next to the track so viewers could see a big track. If you don’t think it is good sized, lay out your shell and make a comparison. I have seen them bigger but this one’s right up there.

Sunset
Without giving away my “secret” hunting spot, this was a view from the top of one of the mountains we hunted during the week. This is a sunset and to the west are the White Mountains and the Presidential Range. In the years I have been going to hunting camp (32), sometimes we hunt the mountaintops and sometimes the low swamps or both. This year the deer seemed quite plentiful whereever we could find beechnuts. This mountaintop had a few. Gary bagged a 190 pound, 9-pointer on top of this mountain. That story later.

Full Moon
It was only a day or two past full moon. The looks of this picture might suggest I was doing some night hunting but that is not the case. In actuality I had about 10-minutes of legal shooting time left when I took this photo.

Tom Remington

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My 2006 Deer Hunting Success

I have returned from the woods of western Maine after my annual deer hunting trip to camp with friends. I had some success in bagging a nice 6-point buck. I would estimate him to be a 1 and 1/2 year old buck, very healthy, fat and solid. I did not take the time to get him weighed but the general consensus is he might tip the scales at around 160 – 170 pounds. I must admit, he is good eating as my grandchildren in Bangor can attest.

Here are two pictures taken. Below that, is a brief story of the hunt.

Tom Buck 2006
Within minutes of downing the buck, hunting partner Dennis Doyon snapped this photo of me holding my prize.

Tom Buck 2006
Back at hunting camp, we got the deer hung in the tree. U.S. Hunting Today chief photographer, Milt Inman, grabbed an opportunity to get a photo.

I wish I had a great story to tell of how I became fortunate enough to bag this guy but it was mostly happenstance and doing a few other things right. It was the last day of camp – Saturday. I had seen only one other deer all week and that was on Wednesday morning halfway up the mountain, under the ledges in beech whips. I messed up on my one and a half second opportunity to bag a trophy buck. The reason? I wasn’t looking for deer. That simple. I hadn’t seen a track all morning and had let down my guard and the rest has been told countless times. When will we ever learn? The deer I got a glimpse of was big. One of the bigger bucks I’ve seen in the woods in a while.

What was comical to me was at the moment I knew my chances were blown, I wondered if the Benoit Brothers would have had him? After attending their school this past spring to do a story, this was one of the things the boys tried pounding into everyone’s head – when you get a chance a a trophy, you’ll only have a second or two.

Regardless of the missed opportunity, it played a partial role in helping me tag this 6-pointer. When I entered the woods, I was looking for deer and I hunted that way. It wasn’t an ideal hunting day to say the least. Mostly sunny, windy and cool. At that time, temps were running in the 30s I believe. To make matters worse, the wind was mostly at my back but swirling.

I was moving very slowly, taking one or two steps and watching and waiting. When I crested a knoll, I stopped for several minutes scanning the mix of hardwoods and evergreens. Much to my surprise, nearly dead ahead at about 40 yards, I spotted the back half of a deer. (I have video of where I stood and where the deer fell when shot. It shows two large poplar trees that blocked my view of the front half. I will make the video available later when I have more time.)

I slowly raised my .308 and got the back half zeroed into the crosshairs. The deer, I believe, had spotted me at some point but hadn’t figured out who or what I was. He moved his head quickly up and down and I caught glimpses of antlers in the bright morning sun. I knew then beyond a doubt, I had a buck in my scope but I didn’t want to shoot the backside.

I began to lean slowly to my left. I leaned so far that I began to shake from the strain. When I got what I believed to be right behind the front shoulder in the crosshairs, I squeazed a round off and he fell in his tracks.

I stood motionless for a minute or two. The buck tried to get up. I immediately positioned a shot high in the neck just behind the back of the head. That finished him.

I later discovered that the first shot entered just in front of the right front shoulder at the base of the neck, hitting the spine. That’s why he dropped instantly. What I am puzzled with is how the bullet entered there when I wasn’t aiming there. I haven’t answered that question in my mind yet. Obviously something went askew when I pulled the trigger. I was leaning so far to my left that my gun was rotated nearly 90 degrees to the left. I’m sure this awkward position and being at only 40 yards played a factor. I opted to lean rather than run the risk of a bolting deer if I tried to take one step to my left. I think I made the right choice.

My hunting partners came to my assistance and I am grateful to them for their work in getting the deer out of the woods. Gregg Inman field-dressed him and Dennis Doyon and Travis Coffman dragged him out to the “mule” where we loaded him and headed back for camp.

I plan on submitting a complete story of the week’s events with pictures and videos as soon as I can get it done. Personal events have prohibited me from getting it done sooner.

Tom Remington

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Hunting Traditions

Every hunting camp has traditions and rituals. Ours is no exception. Here’s one that has gone on since the first time Noah and his two boys came and stayed with us.

Our tradition is called a shirttail party. As an invited guest to camp – and trust me, not just anyone gets invited (I’m still not sure how I did) – you have to read and sign an agreement between hunter and camp regulars. In essence this is what the agreement says.

At any time while staying at the hunting camp, you should shoot at a deer and fail to tag that deer, you must forfiet a one-inch by one-inch square of shirttail from the back of your hunting shirt.

The process of choosing who does the cutting becomes somewhat political. This photo shows Maine humorist Joe Perham on the operating chair while longtime camp resident and family friend Gregg Inman displays the results of his shirtendectomy.

Joe Perham getting shirttail cut

Sometimes the lighting in camp can be less than sufficient to complete such a fine and delicate operation to one’s satisfaction, making it problematic to master the famed one-inch by one-inch square cut. Not knowing exactly how the operation went, Joe turns to the camera as laughter from all camp dwellers rises as the victim performs the shirtendectomy pirouette.

Joe Perham displays hole in shirt

Once the operation is deemed a success, the patient then must nail his tail to the camp wall, sign and date the mishap.

Joe Perham nails shirttail to the camp wall

If a hunter is caught withholding any valuable information or not being totally above board, the consequences could become tragic.

Tom Remington

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All That An ATV Does Is Chew Up Ground!!

I have to confess, I used to have a not-so-great opinion of ATVs but I have changed my mind over time. Like when snowmobiles first came out, there were always wars going on between land owners and riders. The same is true today with ATVs.

But as ATV riding evolves and riders become more mature and responsible in how, when and where they ride, this piece of machinery can become quite helpful.

As many of you are aware, I suffer from a bad back. At times it would be difficult to know that I had a back problem while at other times, I’ve had a few days stay in the local hospital and/or rehab clinic.

I love to hunt and I have always put on a lot of miles during my hunting expeditions. Not so anymore. My time spent beating the brush piles and pounding the thickets is limited.

Gaining access to some of my favorite hunting spots is a major obstacle. It has become easier for me though during my week at hunting camp with the onset of ATVs.

Usually we have two ATVs at camp to use. This picture below shows Walt Inman with an ATV bringing home his buck he shot that morning. Without the ATV, we could have gotten the deer out but life became much easier with it.

Walt Inman with buck on ATV

But the real blessing comes in being able to use the machine to gain access to favorite places. One of my most enjoyable spots is on top of one of the mountains nearby to camp. Normally about a good hours hike up steep terrain now is about 20 minutes by ATV.

The landowners have been extremely gracious in granting us permission to take the one access road to the top of the mountain. We park at the end of the road and walk from there.

Last year I was able to hunt the top for the first time in several years. For ATVs I am thankful.

Tom Remington

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West Paris Hunter's Breakfast

Last year was the first year I actually went to the hunter’s breakfast in West Paris, Maine. Every year on the first Saturday of deer hunting season, the Hunter’s Breakfast is the place to be.

In the photo below, Sayward Lamb, staff writer for U.S. Hunting Today, works on ruining some scrambled eggs while Gary Inman in the back pretends to be making some pancakes. If you’ll notice he’s staring intently at the food. That’s a good sign he’s sampling it.

West Paris hunter's breakfast

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When You Go On Stand, Pay Close Attention!

How many times have you put someone in your party on a stand and given them explicit instructions to keep their eyes and ears open at all times?

Well, sometimes the best laid plans do quiiiiiiiiite work out the way we think they will.

Hunter sleeping on stand

We caught Milt Inman – yes the same Milt Inman who is chief editor for U.S. Hunting Today – paying R-E-A-L close attention while on stand.

For those wondering! No we were not out night hunting.

Tom Remington

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A Room With A View

A view of Mt. Washington

This is prime real estate. How much do you think this parcel would fetch on the market? Hopefully it isn’t for sale and never will be. Believe it or not, this is a view from one of our favorite hunting grounds. There really isn’t much around for several miles – a spattering of homes here and there and a tiny village once in a while.

What you are looking at is the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. As the crow flies, I would estimate our camp to be about 30 miles from Mt. Washington.

Tom Remington

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Chris Cobbett Bags Buck for 2006

Chris Cobbett of Northwoods Adventures shot a nice buck already. Click here to read his story.

Steven Remington

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Bless This Food And Us That Eats It

Camp cookstove and breakfast

Our camp has character, another nice term for old and rundown. One item that adds character is the wood cookstove. This stove is our only source of heat as well. The camp is rustic – gas lights, no running water, no electricity, no insulation – you get the picture, maybe. The mice and snakes make an exception and allow us one week out of the year to visit. The trade-off is the crumbs of food we leave behind and a warm camp for a little while.

Some nights, the person who opts to sleep on the couch downstairs gets to tend the fire. Many nights we wish they would stop thowing wood on the fire as a heavy sleeping bag and sacking out upstairs on top of the wood cookstove makes it warmer than we would like it to be. Other times, nobody wants to unzip the sleeping back to get out of to go to the bathroom – outdoors – or just to put wood on the fire.

Morning happens about 4 am – well it used to when camp had more young guns in it. Now it happens by 5 usually but takes us all a couple hours longer to get breakfast, geared up and in the woods.

Scrambled eggs work pretty good. We go through a good 12 dozen eggs in 6 1/2 days.

If you look just to the left of the back of the stove you’ll see the back wall of the camp. In case you can’t tell, the wall is period decorated in early American cardboard.

Tom Remington

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