2022 Recap

NorthMaine

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It seems the 2022 hunting season left as quick as it came. This was my second-ish year trying to hunt these little woods bucks and I still haven't quite figured them out yet. After last year, I told myself I would try and be better prepared and scout/plan more, but as usual, life got in the way and I only marginally achieved those goals. I managed to get out and swap batteries in my cameras in mid summer, and to my surprise, they were still holding strong since I had last replaced them at New Years. In general, I've had pretty good luck with these $40 Wildgame cams and Amazon Basics NiMh rechargeables. They aren’t super fancy, cell cams, but hunting these populated areas, I hate to spend $100 on a camera only to have it tampered with or stolen. At least with these, if someone takes it I’m only out $40. This year was the first year so far I’ve had someone mess with my cameras. I’ve had multiple people walk in front of them and seemingly not even notice them, but at some point during the second week of the season, someone took an SD card and the batteries out of one of them. Oddly enough they left the camera itself which is good I guess. I put my name, address, and phone number on all my stuff I hopes that someone would contact me if they came across anything rather than messing with it, but I guess these are the times we live in…

In September, I managed to get out and hang a couple ladder stands. Only one of which was really where I wanted it which ended up being the only one I sat in all season, however, since I had dragged them both in there, I ended up setting them both up but will be moving one here at some point. I may end up dragging a few others in as well. I still have a handful of them sitting in the garage after wiping out the local Walmarts of them last winter for like $35 on clearance. Similarly to the cameras, I hate to spend a ton of money on expensive tree stands only to risk having them stolen or tampered with. I’d rather have someone use it if I’m not there than steal it. Hell, even if I walked in on someone sitting in it, I probably wouldn’t even be that mad. Someone did end up at least climbing into it at one point as when I returned a few days later, the seat wasn’t how I had left it.

I had told myself this season that I would try and sit more rather than walking and roaming and just pushing/jumping deer all over the place. This is difficult for me, as I'm generally not much of a sitter, however, getting used to these smaller pieces of land that are relatively thick, it's next to impossible to do anything more than jump them, let alone get a shot off. The area I have been frequenting is only 30ish acres, on which I have had a handful of cameras for the last few years. I have an astounding number of buck photos compared to does, some of which are quite impressive. However, as I noticed in years past and this year as well, it seems that once November rolls around, their areas and patterns change completely as they are pushed and disturbed by other people. I get steady traffic right through the summer and as late as the end of October, then the traffic drops off significantly. For next year, I'd like to attempt to get a better understanding of where they're going once November rolls around. They do still pass through, however not nearly at the same frequency.

Due to the sitting, I ended up seeing fewer overall deer this year than years passed, but certainly had better shot opportunities had I chosen to take them. Overall, I think I saw 6 deer, 2 of which being spike bucks, all of which were seen in the last 2 weeks of the rifle season. My hunting times were generally Saturday and Monday mornings till 2:00 or so, then I’d have to go pick up the oldest at Kindergarten. Then I also had Thursday and Friday before as well as Thanksgiving week off. The first few weeks were crazy hot, and I found myself sitting in 75deg and a t-shirt which I don't think I've ever done before. The following weeks leading up to Thanksgiving cooled off a little more but still weren’t super cold.

On November 17, one of the few days I actually roamed around, I found a dead 4pt that had been there quite a while. He was right on the edge of posted property looking like he had come out of it, but I’m not sure if he had been shot or what, as I didn’t investigate; I can only assume so.

The 18th we ended up with a dusting of snow and while sitting in that one stand, I had a spike come through that I was able to video for 3-4min. He came in from my side/behind me and went to check out a scrape/licking branch that’s 40 yards in front of my stand, then came right at me and ended up walking by at like 20’. I was able to video the whole thing for like 4min. It’s always a cool experience to just watch them do what they do.

The beginning of Thanksgiving week was pretty uneventful, generally sitting from daylight to 2:00 or so. I did buy/use a heated vest which was really a game changer for sitting extended periods of time. I look forward to using it more next season. I’m really not sure how the guys that sit dark to dark do it. Thanksgiving Day I didn’t go out and obviously, it ended up being the day I should have been there. When I checked the camera that is near my stand the next day I was annoyed to say the least. At about 8:00, a doe came through and I have a picture of her looking behind her. About 10min later, a buck I have pictures of the last 2 years came right up her track and dubbed around my camera for nearly 30min. It even looks like he may have bedded down right under it. We’ll never know if they would have come by if I had been sitting in my stand 40 yards away, but I certainly wasn’t going to kill them from the kitchen haha.

Friday I sat again, this time in the rain with no sightings. My last day, Saturday, I sat again and had a small doe come through around 8:30, and about an hour later, another spike back came up her backtrack. Could have been the same spike from the previous week.

All in all, a good season. I don’t get out nearly as much as I would like, but hopefully as the kids get older that will change. Tags went unfilled again, but it’s more about the experience than the killing for me.

Excuse the photo dump. No kill pictures, so you'll have to settle for trail camera photos. I think they're a blessing and a curse. It's always cool to see what's out there, but sometimes I wonder if I'd rather not know... The thought of these big boys roaming the same woods keeps me going out haha. It gives me something to look forward to next season.

Dead 4pt and spike.
22.jpg Capture.JPG

Thanksgiving morning:

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NorthMaine

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Same buck earlier in the year.

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This is the same buck last year. I almost thing he had a bigger rack, but I think he put on more mass. He had a split G2 last year, but the shape of his brow tines give him away.

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NorthMaine

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A ghost. Only a few pictures of him over the years. This year. 10.jpg

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I think this is him last winter.

20.1.jpg 20.jpg

2 years ago.
9.1.jpg
 
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longbow

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Holy Crow! Some spectacular bucks!
Curious as to what part of Maine this is?
So, you are hunting 30 acres of unposted land and there are other guys hunting there also? What are the surrounding properties like? Are they all posted like the one you mentioned, and you only have the 30 acres to hunt on?
 

NorthMaine

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Holy Crow! Some spectacular bucks!
Curious as to what part of Maine this is?
So, you are hunting 30 acres of unposted land and there are other guys hunting there also? What are the surrounding properties like? Are they all posted like the one you mentioned, and you only have the 30 acres to hunt on?
I'm in the Southern part of the state. Some of the adjacent properties are posted, one of which by permission. I have thought about, but haven't yet pursued obtaining permission from any of the adjacent properties. There is also a fair amount of un posted land as well. For some reason, when I started getting into it down here, this is the one area I gravitated to. I spent the first year plus just beating through the brush and pushing everything out which is why this year I thought it might be a better idea to just spend more time sitting. In general there are some others that hunt it, but it seems they're usually just walking through doing the same thing I used to be doing. In the grand scheme of things, it's not what I'd consider a ton of pressure considering it's Southern Maine. In general, the folks I have encountered over the years have been very pleasant and as I said, I hadn't had any issues with folks tampering with my stuff until this fall. I am also not aware of anyone shooting any of these bucks. I'm guessing they go hide in someone's back yard come November.
 

longbow

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OK so you don’t have it all to yourself.

That’s a sit only area, I wouldn’t ever walk around in there not even to check cameras maybe put one on the edge that you have to walk past to get to your stand, Or right by your stand just for fun but you know they’re in there every year. Put your stand on the edge where you can see a good area without walking into it and make sure you can get out without them knowing it also. I know ladder stands are convenient but if you’re in good shape and can use a climber I would use that. Having ladder stands that other people are sitting in is NG. I would hunt mostly the very edge of the property without going into far, except for the peak period, rut then I would go in and sit in deeper for the first time. You just have to hope not too many people go in there, if they do it’s gonna be a bust, the deer are gonna get pushed out and only come through occasionally. But it is what it is.

I enjoy planning and strategizing, and I have shot a few deer in my lifetime, not trying to be a know it all just expressing my thoughts on how you could get some of those big boys!
 

NorthMaine

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OK so you don’t have it all to yourself.

That’s a sit only area, I wouldn’t ever walk around in there not even to check cameras maybe put one on the edge that you have to walk past to get to your stand, Or right by your stand just for fun but you know they’re in there every year. Put your stand on the edge where you can see a good area without walking into it and make sure you can get out without them knowing it also. I know ladder stands are convenient but if you’re in good shape and can use a climber I would use that. Having ladder stands that other people are sitting in is NG. I would hunt mostly the very edge of the property without going into far, except for the peak period, rut then I would go in and sit in deeper for the first time. You just have to hope not too many people go in there, if they do it’s gonna be a bust, the deer are gonna get pushed out and only come through occasionally. But it is what it is.

I enjoy planning and strategizing, and I have shot a few deer in my lifetime, not trying to be a know it all just expressing my thoughts on how you could get some of those big boys!
For sure, once November comes around, any of those bigger bucks coming back through is more/less just luck, can only hope to be in the right place at the right time and position yourself on a route that they are more likely to travel. An interesting thing is I have a handful of cameras in this piece, and very rarely do I get the same buck on multiple cameras which is surprising for a rather small piece. What I really need to do is spend more time studying their core travel areas which I haven't really figured out yet. The rubs haven' been as prevalent the last few years. The first year I was in there, fresh rubs were everywhere. The scrapes get frequented yearly and have been great places to get pictures of deer. I hear ya on the ladder stands, they aren't ideal but they're what I've got right now. My goal is to put a few more stands up in different places so that I can hop from one to another if need be. This stand here is less than 100 yards form the railroad tracks. That's another thing that I forgot to mention, they were doing a ton of work on the railroad this summer/fall so I suspect that changed up the deer patterns some as well.

At the end of the day, its un posted property in Southern Maine. Not much you can do as far as folks accessing it. As I said, given the area, I actually can't complain about the pressure it sees really. At the end of the day, I don't own the woods. I'd be just as happy to see someone else get one of those big boys as I would be getting one myself.
 
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mainer4570

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Wow, what a buck on Thanksgiving. Guess I’d haunt that stand. I considered a heated vest or jacket, but never followed through. I did try this Hot Hands body patch. About 4”x6”. I stuck it on my shirt at my lower back. I was skeptical, but impressed in the end. Temps in lower 20’s. Got lucky. Didn’t have to sit all day that day, but at days end it was still giving off heat. I’ll get more.
 

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NorthMaine

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Wow, what a buck on Thanksgiving. Guess I’d haunt that stand. I considered a heated vest or jacket, but never followed through. I did try this Hot Hands body patch. About 4”x6”. I stuck it on my shirt at my lower back. I was skeptical, but impressed in the end. Temps in lower 20’s. Got lucky. Didn’t have to sit all day that day, but at days end it was still giving off heat. I’ll get more.
This is the one I got. It runs off one of those USB power packs. The one that comes with it is pretty small, but you can buy much larger capacity ones for pretty cheap, the only issue being that they don't fit in the built in pocket very well, but the cable is decently long (or you could probably get an extension) to run it into your pant pocket or something. I was wearing it on top of an Under Armour type shirt so that you could feel the warmth on your skin, then a long john top over that and jacket over everything. Ran it on low most of the time.

 

NorthMaine

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Nice write up. You have some nice bucks roaming around in there. Are you bow hunting as well or just rifle?
I should be but am not haha. I think your best bet would be with a bow honestly. I've got tons of daytime photos of the big guys during bow season. Next year I think I'm going to take the first week off instead of Thanksgiving. Try and get in there early before their patterns really change.
 

JDK

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Very nice write-up and agree with the others, some very nice bucks.
 

NorthMaine

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Having cameras out year round, it's really amazing how quickly they start growing antlers again.
 

Kingman Cruncher

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Very nice bucks right there. You’ll get one, and I agree about sitting being tough but being productive in areas like that. Behind my house I love to walk around but hardly see a deer. This year I sat every time I hunted it, and literally heard or saw deer every single time. Just got to have some patience.
 

NorthMaine

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Very nice bucks right there. You’ll get one, and I agree about sitting being tough but being productive in areas like that. Behind my house I love to walk around but hardly see a deer. This year I sat every time I hunted it, and literally heard or saw deer every single time. Just got to have some patience.
Its really what ultimately made me hesitate to get into hunting down here. I've lived down here since 2012, and just couldn't get myself to get back into it until a few years ago. It was just so different than what I was used to that I couldn't mentally get into it. At first I was naturally attracted to larger plots of land, wildlife areas, etc., but always have seemed to end up back here. At some point I'll be at the right place at the right time.
 

cdc

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Its really what ultimately made me hesitate to get into hunting down here. I've lived down here since 2012, and just couldn't get myself to get back into it until a few years ago. It was just so different than what I was used to that I couldn't mentally get into it. At first I was naturally attracted to larger plots of land, wildlife areas, etc., but always have seemed to end up back here. At some point I'll be at the right place at the right time.
sent you a PM
 




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