August 15, 2020

This Couldn’t Possibly Be a Maine Deer

Like the Legend of Grey Ghost, deer stories and perpetuated legends and lore remain healthy across Maine….all of which are true as true can be. And, it is that time of year when trigger fingers get itchy and of course with the whitetail deer hunting season opener for Maine residents less than one week away, the die-hards (hahdz as Mainer’s would say) are doing some serious scouting hoping for a chance at a “wicked good” buck.

If I tell too much about the below trail camera photos, I’ll have to be killed. But, I was told that the first two photos below were taken in Maine. As a kid, I remember it seemed this is what deer hunting in the Pine Tree State was really like, which makes me wonder if these photos captured a “ghost” of a deer.



And, running the risk that men in blaze orange suits will come and hunt me down, there’s a wicked good rumor that the buck, pictured in the photos above, might possibly be a direct descendent of Horace Hinkley’s legendary buck………or not (running scared here) and probably guilty of spreading more lore.


More information on Hinkley buck here.


It Ain’t the Trophy, Is It?


Milt Inman Photo

I’ve always wondered why some people get all hung up over trophies when it comes to game animals and hunting. By hung up, I mean it from at least two distinct perspectives. On the one hand, you have hunters who are hung up on bagging a trophy… HAS to be a trophy. Nothing else will do. On the flip side the environmentalist, animal rights pretenders think that trophy hunting is all that hunting is and they mix that in with a whole lot of proving manhood and blood lust. I have also always wondered if these animal perverts who are hung up on game animal trophies are also as much hung up on other kinds of trophies, i.e. competition in general, winning a prize trophy, earning valedictorian or magna cum laude, etc.

I know some are because I heard one coughing up bile out of her mouth one night on a radio interview. The subject matter was why men play sports. I heard things from men playing baseball because they envision that little baseball coming at them at near 100 miles per hour as their mother’s head and they want to bash it in with a wooden bat. Along with that was my favorite (I nearly went out of the road in laughter), hockey. Men play hockey because the puck is the penis and the goal net is the vagina. Uh huh! Okay, I’ll ask the question for you. How do you explain women who play these sports? I’ll leave that answer to you.

Swimmers are imitating sperm, basketball is similar to hockey. I tried my best to come up with an explanation as to why, since I was a little boy, I skied. How did that pervert me?

I’m afraid that anything I might have to say will have little effect on those kinds of trophy aversionists but I’ll attempt to explain to anyone interested that there is more to “going hunting” than blood, killing and collecting a trophy.

For purposes of this article, perhaps I should define my idea of trophy. A trophy, as it would pertain to hunting, in my thinking, is a wall hanger. It might also be a personal best. Everything in life is about trophies. I think my wife is a trophy and I’m blessed to have “captured” her.

I have often written on my websites about my hunting experiences; not a lot because much of what I experience while in the field I find quite personal and not something I would share with strangers. Over the past few years I have shared experiences that relate to some topics at hand, such as predator pits, absence of deer herds and the overall status of the “ecosystem” (why do we use that term?) where I hunt in Maine at hunting camp.

I’ve made no bones about the fact that deer in this area of hunting camp are very sparse and I’ve offered my own educated guesses as to why it is that way. Because of this, I have been asked more than once why I keep going back to this place to hunt if there are no deer. Just today I received an email that said, “Might you explain/describe on your blog how and why you hunt a rural Maine area with few deer.”

I know the person who sent the request and I know that he wants to read my explanation and is not questioning my sanity……I think. Most people who ask that question don’t hunt and they probably wouldn’t understand my explanation if I walked them through it and holding their hand.

As a boy, I recall I couldn’t wait until I went hunting with my father when I was old enough. I might have gone before I was of legal age but I honestly cannot recall. Without taking up too much of your time in writing out a full explanation, I will just say that from before that first day in the woods, the tradition of hunting was becoming engrained in me as a way of life. I’m not sure anyone taught me directly the value of this tradition but it was learned and learned well.

It is this tradition, this culture, a family institution, yes, this heritage that forms the rock solid foundation of what hunting is. As the Bible story goes, if you build your house on a solid rock there is little fear of it crumbling to the ground. From that foundation, the design of the structure on top varies much according to taste.

If deer hunting at my Maine hunting camp was about the need to wall mount a trophy, I would have quit after the first year there. No, there’s something, perhaps inexplicable, about hunting camp and why I choose to hunt an area where there is little game.

Aside from all the traditions of hunting camps themselves, the effort to go into the woods when the odds are slim to none, is aroused by many things. As I have said, some defy explanation. I become motivated by the memory of sights, sounds, smells, assurances of unchanged things, interest in the few that have. Even knowing there is little to no game, excitement still builds, anticipation is there, a bit of an adrenalin rush happens when sounds make you believe there might be a deer, followed by the chattering of an upset red squirrel.

Off in the distance, a lone gun shot. Too far away to be one of ours, and yet the mind begins telling you that perhaps the hunting is better over there. Perhaps tomorrow.

Birds usually flutter about. Chick-a-dees are my favorite that time of year. I love to sit on the sunny side of a beech ridge, quiet as can be, still as a tree, and allow the chick-a-dees to land on my hat’s visor; once on my gun barrel; another to share my bologna sandwich.

An examination of the trees, some of which I have seen for the past 36 years, display something new each year. It’s been a few years since I’ve visited my favorite spruce tree looking for a chew of bitter gum.

What few deer there are around, they do leave their markings; a rub and a pawing. It is one more small thing that brings you back. My mind is saying, “By the size of that pawing and rub, I think that’s a big deer. I hope I see him. Wouldn’t it be fun to see him. Just see him.”

The forest and fields offer something new and exciting each year and it happens when I’m not there. It is the draw to find out what did happen, to be a part of it. To feel your heart race when you flush the grouse, unexpectedly. I might curse for a moment, angry that my keen focus was interrupted by another game animal I wasn’t expecting.

For 36 years I have walked the same hillside looking for deer……well, really I am hoping that just one more time I might spy the two cub bears playing in the beech leaves while momma stood watch among the rocks below the ledges. Now that I think about it, just up from this spot is where I encountered the cow moose – she on one side of the tree, me on the other. Heart pounding. Mine too!

Trophy? I already have my trophy. As the sun edges upward on a frosty November morning, I plunk myself down on a small flat rock that is bathed in brilliant sunshine. A not-so-typical November day in Maine. Nearly cloud free. A day to bask in the glory of the day the Lord hath made and be glad in it.

Suddenly, before me, stands a four-point buck. He is beautiful. Not a wall-hanger but a magnificent animal. He knows not that I am there. At this moment his life is in my hands. I slowly raise my rifle and bring the young buck into my scope. He’s only 15 yards away. My heart is pounding. It’s been at least 5 years since I’ve even since a deer in the woods. I take aim……….

What a glorious day. What indescribably marvelous things are going on around me. They do every year in this place.

I wish the young buck a long life and tell him to be on his way. That was my trophy. The mountains, the hills, the rocks, brooks, rivers, ponds, lakes, every creature that shares this earth, is my trophy.

Why do I go hunting in a part of Maine that has no deer? Oh, gosh! I couldn’t really say.


Maine Moose Hunting Success

I was so happy, but not as happy as my dear friends who went on a moose hunting expeditions into the Allagash Region of northwestern Maine, to learn of their success. Congratulations!

The hunters were also on a bit of a side mission for me. I had requested that when they took a moose, if they could look for Hydatid cysts in the organs of their moose. It was reported, thankfully, that to their untrained eyes, none were found.

Below is a photo of the couple and their young bull moose, along with a brief caption of the event.



It’s Easy To Pin Down The Intangibles of Overpopulated Wolves

*Editor’s Note* The below was a comment, left at a related article on this blog, by a reader and part time writer and contributor to, by “Rattler Rider.” I felt it was worthy of front page coverage. I also took the liberty to make slight edits.

It’s easy to pin down the intangibles of over populated wolves if you lived in the region prior to wolves becoming over populated, out of control, and afterwards. Prior to the over population of wolves I’d see cougar and wolverine in winter. I’d see many elk and deer in winter; the ones that migrated, and the ones that toughed it out in the high country. I’d see moose in creek bottoms toughing out the winter. I’d see foxes and coyotes, and rabbits, marten, and mink. I’d see cow elk and calves in spring at the calving grounds and surrounding forests as they moved out for summer. I’d see pick up loads of shed antlers and gathered a few myself.

Through the summer and fall I’d see plentiful wildlife and I’d gather some fish, elk and deer for myself. That changed drastically starting for me in 2003. Wolves became the dominant wildlife every where I traveled. The trail systems I used looked like wolf highways. The meadows and usual elk feeding grounds were vacant, tracks were scarce. I’ve enjoyed three hunting interruptions by wolves that showed up at the prefect moment and chased off my opportunity while I sat and watched. I’ve found more dead elk and deer and bone piles in the past ten years than I’ve seen in the previous thirty years. I’ve observed drastic cuts in the hunting opportunities here; the Sawtooth Zone for example is pushing 7 million acres, and last fall general tags for elk were reduced again from 1526 tags to 1200.

No more do I find abundant cougar sign, no more do I find 15 wolverines in the Seafoam drainages. No more wolverine tracks crossing the trail from Archie Mountain to Swanholme Peak; an eighty-mile round trip ride that used to produce wildlife tracks of all kinds. A friend is riding a sixty-mile loop through Seafoam placing out beef rib cage halves. Where in the past he’d find 10-14 wolverines, in three months now not even a coyote or fox has been into those sites for a chew. I’ve seen the before and after results of protecting wolves when protection was necessary, and the results of protection becoming unnecessary. If wolverines make the ESA [Endangered Species Act] it will be because of the environmentalists numerous lawsuits delaying wolf control measures, based on lies and deceptions, and their continued smear campaign against those of us who have observed first hand the truth here in these forests of Idaho.

We’re going to keep telling it like it is. Obviously the wolf protectors are going to keep telling lies. Meanwhile, we will keep using snow machine, snow shoes, skis, dirt bike, and horse with mule and our boots on the ridges, and eyes pressed to binoculars to get the truth out to those who really care.


Golden Eagle Snatches Kid

*Update* I have been informed that this video is a fake.


A Buck Fight Like You’ve Never Seen Before


Homeland Security in the Moose Poaching Business in New Hampshire/Canada

Thanks in part to a federal Homeland Security grant titled “Operation Stonegarden,” teams of officers conducted surveillance of several hunting shacks, as well as foot patrols on the border in the upper reaches of Hall Stream.

Vehicle access is limited in this area, and officers had a 1- to 1.5-mile hike to reach their intended positions, where some spent a chilly night in sleeping bags in 17-degree temperatures.<<<Read More from The Telegraph>>>


3 Generations of Women Tag Out on Deer on Same Day in Maine

It must be because of Maine’s high rolling, super active, “Plan” to save and rebuild the disgustingly poor deer population in Maine, that 3 women in Maine, all from the same family involving 3 distinct generations, bagged a deer on the same day. What other reason can there be? We know bad winters kill all the deer but do good winters bring the deer back? Inquiring minds want to know.

According to a short article I read in the Maine Public Broadcasting Network news, 12-year-old Katelyn Carlow of Peru, shot and killed a 125-pound doe on Friday. Her mother shot a 120-pound doe that same day as well. And if that wasn’t enough, grandma, Brenda Gammon, took a nice 150-pound, six-point buck.

All on the same day!

But, there now must be soooooooo many deer in Maine, to rub salt in your wound, grandpa Gammon tagged out with an 8-pointer earlier in the season.


How Do You “Purposely Kill” Two Wolves With a Vehicle?

Here’s the news story that is so poorly written that it is information-starved leaving readers with no clue as to what really happened.

It appears two men in Minnesota were charged with violating the Endangered Species Act (no specifics given) and making false statements to a federal officer (no details given). But that’s not the bizarre part. The news story states:

According to the U. S. attorney’s office, evidence was presented over a four-day trial that Hoff lied to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials when asked whether he spoke on the telephone with Jensen about transporting the carcasses of two wolves that Jensen purposely killed with his vehicle on Feb. 17, 2010.(emboldening added)

How does a person purposely kill or even not purposely kill one, say nothing about two, wolves with a vehicle? Did he trap them and then run over them while they were still in the trap, drag them out to the highway and claim “roadkill”?


Maine’s Bear Hunting Season Outlook a Shell Game

When I was perhaps 8 years old, I got one of my first lessons, through joke telling, of how sometimes the milkman delivered more than just milk….wink, wink! The joke goes something like this. A very young boy, with a very distinct speech impediment, came to his mother one day and asked, “Mom, why do I talk this way?” The mother did not want to address the issue and so told her son to go ask his father.

And so he did. “Dad, why do I talk this way?” The father also shirking his responsibilities told his son to go ask his brother, which he did and was told to go ask the milkman.

Waiting patiently for the milkman to arrive on the front steps, upon arrival the boy ran to the milkman and asked, “Mr. Milkman, why do I talk this way?” To which the milkman responded in an identical and very distinct speech impediment, “Gee, I don’t know son!”

In Maine, the hunting season on black bears is in full swing. I saved many of the news articles and press releases prior to the bear season telling hunters what they can expect this season. In addition to these news accounts, there also included stories of bears interacting with humans and some of the excuses given by officials as to why. And now with the bear season in progress, we are left wondering if anything we were told about the bear situation was even true at all. I suppose it’s time to go and ask the milkman.

In August the debates were numerous around the state of humans encountering bears as reports were doubled from a year ago. On August 28, the Portland Press Herald (PPH) carried a story of how bears were “on the prowl”. As was typical in just about every account I read and heard about, the selected excuse to pass on to the press was that there is no natural food for bears to eat.

Jennifer Vashon, a bear biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said of the bears, “There is a lot of opportunity for bear. The drought means natural food is low. And our bear season is really tied to the natural food crop.” The lack of natural food gets the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) off the hook to explain that the reason for so many bear encounters with humans is tied to food and not too many bears.

And of course in attempts to promote the upcoming bear hunt, explaining that bears are hungry and on the move and will be easier to bait and bag.

On the 27th of August, I received a press release in my email from MDIFW announcing the beginning of bear hunting season. I posted it on this same blog for readers. In that presser, MDIFW, once again, explained that the reason for such a lousy bear hunting season last year was because of too much food. And, just as was repeated in the PPH piece, MDIFW says there is no natural food and hunters should have a good season. Just to recap. Last year – poor hunting season = too much food. Expected this year – good hunting season = no natural food. Got it!

With no natural food, as MDIFW has blown their horn about, hunters probably shouldn’t expect to find big, fat bears as they would when there was ample food, even though they might not see so many. However, on September 7, 2012, John Holyoke, at the Bangor Daily News, gave us an informational article of one hunter who bagged a 600-pound bear on the second day of his hunt. An anomaly I guess? Or perhaps not.

Randy Cross, another biologist at MDIFW, said usually large black bears harvested in Maine, are taken later in the season, I assume meaning the bears have had more time to fatten up. Part of this assumption comes because the article spends a fair amount of time, quoting Randy Cross on how quickly bears can fatten up in the late fall readying themselves for hibernation. Cross relays two instances to note: one was a bear gaining 210 pounds in 12 weeks and another fattening up 65 pounds in 16 days. (Note to self: Lay off the Dunkin’ Donuts)

This one 600 pound bear was obviously not a lean mean fighting machine due to lack of eating. Perhaps he had been feasting on the bait set out by the guides prior to the opening of hunting season. But none of this explains what Randy Cross meant in this comment:

And while food is still available, bears are still growing rapidly during the early part of the season, Cross said.

Wait! “While food is still available?” We have been told all summer long that there was very little natural food. So where did this “available” food come from? Are there that many bait stations?

And if that isn’t enough to make sportsmen wonder just what the heck, the Portland Press Herald rushes in to save the day by publishing an article all about how the bear harvest is so low all due to a bad economy.

Mr. Milkman! Why do I talk this way?”