BIG D and GW 3rd Week Trip Report

Gwlambo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2012
Messages
1,020
Reaction score
140
Big D and I have been doing the 3rd week for the past 14 years in northern Maine. This year was different as we have all had stuff to deal with over the past 18 months and I was just not as ready or excited for this year. But that moment and feeling when you pull off the pavement onto gravel is so damn nice! We pulled into camp on a nice Sunday afternoon with reports of snow coming thru the night. The bright stars in the sky that night would suggest otherwise.

Monday morning we were up before light and realized there was snow on the ground and it was still coming down. It quit about 6:00 and we were out the door shortly thereafter to a spot we had worked the past couple years. We were the first truck tracks heading up the road we wanted to hunt so Big D decided to head in about ½ way up the mountain and I said I would drive to the top and see if anything crossed and if not I would head in up higher. About half a mile further I spotted some tracks in the road. They were about as fresh as they come and there was a corker chasing a doe. We decided to double team them. There was the old barnyard of tracks so it took us some time to sort things out. We determined a buck came in during the morning and bumped two does out of their beds and was chasing one. We did some circling and found three smoking fresh beds. The snow on the ground was super light and powdery so it was difficult to sort things out on occasion but we kept at it. What was really interesting is that the two smaller deer, we assume both were does (we called “the runnners”), would stay together and the buck would chase the bigger of the two around. He might leave their tracks for a bit but with 100-200 yards they would reconnect. On occasion we would take the double tracks knowing they would reconnect. He ran these deer for the next 6 hours. I was surprised that both does stayed together. At 2:00 we came through a green growth nob that took us a while to figure out. The buck ultimately chased them out the way we went in. The whole “circling” method took longer than it should have. We took the deer up the mountain through a cut into the dark growth. We were pretty confident this would be their bedding spot as we were near the top of the mountain around 2600 feet. As we followed them into the green growth we spotted some tracks about 20 yards above us going in the other direction. We took a look and found three tracks. We had to assume that it was the same three and we took off with those in hopes of making up some time. We took them back across the cut and found three beds on the other side. Nothing of great size and not especially fresh. After 6 hours we realized the tracks were freshest at 8:00 in the morning and we lost time on the deer the whole day. We called it, knowing we would be back. On the way out that night we noticed the snow burned off at lower elevation so we knew we would be back to the same area the next day.

Tuesday – we were right back to our area with some additionally fluffy snow to clean things up and it was still snowing. The snow was the same as the day before light and fluffy and the temps had stayed in the low 20’s thru the night. Same plan as the day before as we were the first ones up our road again. We both struck north from an area about 1 mile apart. Within 30 mins I found some dimples in the snow that had to be made at night. Off I went heading straight toward Big D who was heavy into the deer sign. After about a mile of tracking, my buck was checking other tracks but then took a direction downhill and south and across a dirt road. I was moving fast on him for another 1.5 miles before he even started meandering. The deer was not running but kept a good gate going the whole way. He went into a swampy area and I immediately came onto another track. They were similar sized tracks and I spent some time trying to determine if it was the same buck or not. The tracks crossed ach other continuously through the swamp. I was trying to figure things out when I came to a smaller but much fresher track heading out of the swamp. I took that one up the hill and one of the tracks from the swamped joined up with it as I transitioned into hardwoods. I decided to stay on these tracks. The bigger deer stayed with this track for a bout ¼ mile then headed upwards. I took this buck into the loneliest hell holes of green spruce nobs at the very tops of the mountains. Three different nobs, to be precise, without any other tracks but an occasional moose. It was cold, snowing, windy and barren of life. At about 2:45 I opted to drop off the mountain. Big D’s biggest issue for the day was too many tracks. It was that type of snow that when tracks went together it was hard to tell which one was which and which one was fresher and even questioning which direction they are traveling.

Tuesday night an old friend came up to hunt with us for Wed. We were not about to “leave fish to find fish” so we were right back into the same location. I struck a fresh track within 30 mins, not a toad but a decent buck. I followed him for a couple miles on the same mountainside when he bumped some deer off a ledge. The deer had been there feeding and sleeping and the tracks were everywhere. I spent some time trying to figure things out but realized after 30 mins I was wasting my time. Big D had a similar issue and at the end of the day we all met up and said “we are going to get one here it is just a matter of time”. There were at least 3-4 bucks in the area and they were running the does hard. It is not often that I have found such an active pocket of deer with numbers in an area. It was great having the snow so we knew where the deer were but the conditions were not ideal for tracking. I was able to see a huge bull that I got on video and he was over 50”, that never gets old.

Thursday we were back at it and this time we caught a buck that had kissed the road so we (Kev and I) took the track from there. It was warming quickly so with the melting tracks, the number of old tracks and the water dripping it made it slow going. We had a nice lynx track with the buck track for a while, not sure who was tracking who. With the warm air came some fog but it was also dead quiet and little wind. As we took the track up the mountain we were constantly puzzled by crossing tracks. This group of deer was beating down the area. It was hard to age a lot of the tracks but several sets seemed quite fresh. We stayed with this buck. I got to the last bench before the spine of the mountain. We presumed he was on top, maybe just 200 feet more of elevation. On that ledge I crossed the track of the big buck Big D and I tracked on Monday. He was not bounding but he had his long gate going and only in one direction. We sat there questioning whether or not we should switch up or separate now. Since it was still early we decided to give it this next nob to see if the buck we were on was up there then we would split up. We turned to go up the hill when we heard this loud scream from behind us. It was a deep growl like “BRRRAAAAHHHHH”. If I never saw the animal I would have guessed a lynx or bear or pissed off cow moose. Kev and I looked at each other with a “WTF?” look, but there behind a blowdown 50 yards down our backtrack is a big doe, then a buck and a third deer behind that. The doe bounded to our left and the buck grunted and was right after her. First shot was too quick but I knew I had an opening for the second shot and I made it count. With the second shot the doe turned and ran back to the right. The buck turned and kept on her tail. He passed still chasing her ass.

I don’t think this was the buck we were tracking but am just thrilled to get another nice buck from Maine. I cleaned him, dragged him out and took him to town. It was only 1/2 mile to the truck but there was a shithole that BigD advised me to miss so I side-hilled him for ¼ mile then brought him down so about a ¾ mile drag total, mostly down hill and with a bit of snow. Big D and Kev stayed in that area and were on top of deer all day. Big D saw two and Kev missed one at about 3:45 that he tracked afterwards for more than a half mile with nothing but running tracks.

I tried hunting NH for the next 4 days. I got into a ton of birds(partridge), but never saw a deer. This was completely new area for me. I got into some good deer sign on one mountain but it was in the beech whips and witch hobble that can just make a man cry. On Saturday I had a half inch of fresh snow. I ran up a super steep mountain down the back side, though some old cuts, back up the mountain and back around. 4.5 miles and never cut a moose, deer, fox or bird track. A complete desert. It reminds me of the low deer density but also the importance of knowing your area, eliminating spots and how much snow helps you do both of those. Sadly, we are losing the camp we have been at for the past 12 years as it has been sold. We have made some great memories and friends up there and will do our best to find a new place in the area or we may head to some new country – we shall see!

All in all a great week in Maine, a lot of moose, partridge, we all saw deer. One on the pole 158# 6 point! Best of luck to those still at it! HC 21 Pic 1.jpg
 

Attachments

  • HC 21 Pic 2.jpg
    HC 21 Pic 2.jpg
    30.6 KB · Views: 48
  • HC 21 Pic 3.jpg
    HC 21 Pic 3.jpg
    30.7 KB · Views: 49
  • HC 21 Pic 4.jpg
    HC 21 Pic 4.jpg
    83.2 KB · Views: 46
Last edited:

WetWool

Active member
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
373
Reaction score
101
Location
Maine
Excellent write up and deer. Sorry to hear about camp, good luck finding another spot to make memories. The older we get maybe camp is the best part of "hunting"!
 

NorthMaine

Active member
Joined
Nov 14, 2011
Messages
564
Reaction score
67
Thanks for the report. Sounds like a good spot, and a nice buck!
 

Davey

Active member
Joined
Apr 10, 2004
Messages
960
Reaction score
26
Loved reading this and congrats on a nice maine buck.
 

Big D

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
1,199
Reaction score
183
Location
Maine
Wow Gw. Thanks for saving me some typing. One minor change I would make to the day one hunt is that we were approaching 3600 ft on the opposite side of the mountain. Only relevant because on the way out I figured I'd just curl the ridge back around and it would be "all down hill from there". Lets just say it was until it wasn't. Ended up dropping too quick and turning on a finger ridge into a back bowl opposite the truck. Probably should of at least broke out the compass for a quick look. Sucked as it was "all up hill from there" and we were already kind of gassed. The look on Gw's face was priceless when we looked back over our shoulder at what lay ahead. Made it back at dark taking the scenic route.

Similar to his Saturday in New Hampshire, I walked my legs to stumps that day also without cutting anything but coyote tracks. Friday night was the full moon (yes I'm bitching about it:)) and it didn't dawn on me until mid day, no tracks, and why the camp yard was so bright the night before. I'll try to resize a few more pics and post.
 

Gwlambo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2012
Messages
1,020
Reaction score
140
Wow Gw. Thanks for saving me some typing. One minor change I would make to the day one hunt is that we were approaching 3600 ft on the opposite side of the mountain. Only relevant because on the way out I figured I'd just curl the ridge back around and it would be "all down hill from there". Lets just say it was until it wasn't. Ended up dropping too quick and turning on a finger ridge into a back bowl opposite the truck. Probably should of at least broke out the compass for a quick look. Sucked as it was "all up hill from there" and we were already kind of gassed. The look on Gw's face was priceless when we looked back over our shoulder at what lay ahead. Made it back at dark taking the scenic route.

Similar to his Saturday in New Hampshire, I walked my legs to stumps that day also without cutting anything but coyote tracks. Friday night was the full moon (yes I'm bitching about it:)) and it didn't dawn on me until mid day, no tracks, and why the camp yard was so bright the night before. I'll try to resize a few more pics and post.
This is hilarious and something I totally forgot - perhaps on purpose. Well I was gassed for sure after a good chase on Monday and really just assumed Big D had us on the right heading back to the truck. I think I took a peek at the compass while we were either pissing or repacking a chew. I was like WTH? And to my backside was a big mountain we had to go over, and then we did a similar twist at the top of that mountain. That was a shit walk out that night. Beers were tasty after that!
 

802-603hunter

Well-known member
Joined
May 2, 2012
Messages
2,913
Reaction score
618
Location
Central Vermont
Congrats on the buck GW, and thanks for the recap of the week. When I read you guys' trip reports I feel like there's a chance we'll run into each other in the woods someday. Your photos and descriptions of the places you venture always sound eerily similar to mine.
 

Gwlambo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2012
Messages
1,020
Reaction score
140
Congrats on the buck GW, and thanks for the recap of the week. When I read you guys' trip reports I feel like there's a chance we'll run into each other in the woods someday. Your photos and descriptions of the places you venture always sound eerily similar to mine.
802-603 - I would not be surprised if we have already met. I know we hunt the same territory and you know our "meat pole" and the area we run around. My NJ plates give me away in our region - so says the wardens and border patrol!
 




Latest posts

Top