Greetings from a newbie

Tailfeathers

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Hey Guys!
Greetings from a newbie. I recently discovered this page and have spent hours and hours ready though all the great stories. Man this page has some unbelievable hunters and some damn good writers. You guys have me itching to get a respectable brush gun and head out tracking.
I grew up in southern Maine bird hunting, trapping and fishing before sadly leaving for RI about 10 years ago. Luckily I still get up that way a bunch and still do a fair amount of Maine hunting.
I have been half heartedly chasing deer the past three years with no success to speak of (guess I'm a slow learner), but when my English setter suffered a seizure in the woods in early October my bird season came the a screeching halt. Not being one for spending prime fall months indoors, I fully committed myself to chasing deer across Maine Mass and RI. I caught the bug and I'm hooked!!
Here is a quick look at my first ever Maine buck taken on Thanksgiving morning with my muzzleloader after months of cat an mouse and a few close encounters!
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He weighed in at 208lbs and had a green score of 142 3/8!

Thank you all for sharing such great stories to keep me going through the off season! I hope I can return the favor and add a few of my own soon.

-Stephen
 

JDK

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Great buck.

I lived on Block Island for a while. Do they still have wild pheasants out there and a season?
 

Big D

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Welcome. I wouldn't call 3 years being a slow learner w/ a buck like that.
 

Tailfeathers

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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!
My setter is doing much better now they have figured out meds for him and I am still holding out hope that he will be able to go back to hunting!

The buck was taken in zone 21 on the farm where I grew up. Here are a few of the details of how it all came together.
He first showed up in August in velvet as part of a bachelor group. I had lots of night time pictures of him through October and I had a close encounter with him bow hunting... then the first week of rifle season he vanished. His scrapes all went cold and I assumed the worst.
MFDC8 (2).JPG
unnamed (2).jpg
By the time Thanksgiving rolled around I had my mind pretty set on filling a doe tag. After helping around the house Wednesday morning I grabbed my muzzleloader and headed for the edge of the field I had seen some does in that morning. I took about 3 steps in the woods and stepped in a fresh scrape. Two more steps and a caught a flash of movement. A small 7 point that I had passed during bow season had stood up on the ridge and was moving off with his tail held high but in no real hurry. I was about 30 feet from one of the stands that I had hung over the summer and with a perfect wind decided to climb up for the rest of the evening. This particular stand looks out over an alder thicket in a stream bottom that lies directly between an apple orchard and a beaver swamp.

About 40 minutes into my sit I caught the movement of a small alder top 80 yards away and could make out the distinct white shine of tines in the sun. Settling on a shooting rest I waited for him to show himself. Time ticked by and the tree stopped shaking, 20 minutes passed and still nothing. In an obvious act of desperation I let two grunts go on my grunt tube. A yearling doe jumped from her bed and started making her way through the thicket toward a clearing. To my amazement, there he was not 20 feet behind nose to the ground. As she neared the edge of the thicket I settled trying to calm my self. She took about 3 steps into the open and with no warning turned on her heals and went right back the way she came. Buck still in tow. I picked the widest gap in the thicket (about 3 feet wide) and set my cross hairs on it. Just as planed, she made her way quickly across it. I slowly counted 1,2,3 and there he was shoulder fully in the opening. With admittedly a somewhat jerky squeeze, muzzleloader let loose... I sat there waiting for the smoke to clear, heart still beating out of my chest. There was not a sound as I waited 15 minutes or so to climb down and take up the trail. As I neared the spot that he had been standing the doe fawn that he had been chasing jumped up and took off like a bat out of hell. This is about the time that I started getting that sinking feeling. For the next hour I search high and low for blood or hair or any sign of a hit at all. After about an hour and a half and climbing up in the stand several times to replay what had happened, I discovered a perfectly round .50 cal hole in a 4 inch sapling.

After calling a few hunting buddies to talk me off a cliff, I set about planning the next mornings hunt. I was fortunate to have good wind for the morning and a heavy rain through the night to wash away most the traces of my long search. I got up extra early and snuck to the very edge of the alders and freshened up a scrap with some doe urine and did a scent drag to another scrap 50 feet away in the open, then took up stand to wait for light. Shooting time came and all was quite. Then 645 he appeared without a sound standing squarely in the scrape at the edge of the thicket with his nose to the ground. he worked the scrap for a few minute, never offering a shot before proceeding right down the trail I had laid. I could barely believe my eye he paused at 60 yards and I let it fly. Again I waited for the smoke to clear. But this time the unmistakeable sight of a while belly greeted me from 100 yards away.

Shaking I climbed down, paused for a minute then turned for the house so that my father could share in the excitement. As I stepped on the porch he was already slipping on his boots coffee in hand.

unna.jpg
It was an unforgettable season full of learn. I messed up a few chances and attribute a lot of my success to luck. In the end I hunted 22 days across 3 states.

I already cant wait for next season!

Thanks for reading

-Stephen
 

mowbizz

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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome!
My setter is doing much better now they have figured out meds for him and I am still holding out hope that he will be able to go back to hunting!

The buck was taken in zone 21 on the farm where I grew up. Here are a few of the details of how it all came together.
He first showed up in August in velvet as part of a bachelor group. I had lots of night time pictures of him through October and I had a close encounter with him bow hunting... then the first week of rifle season he vanished. His scrapes all went cold and I assumed the worst.
View attachment 23204
View attachment 23205
By the time Thanksgiving rolled around I had my mind pretty set on filling a doe tag. After helping around the house Wednesday morning I grabbed my muzzleloader and headed for the edge of the field I had seen some does in that morning. I took about 3 steps in the woods and stepped in a fresh scrape. Two more steps and a caught a flash of movement. A small 7 point that I had passed during bow season had stood up on the ridge and was moving off with his tail held high but in no real hurry. I was about 30 feet from one of the stands that I had hung over the summer and with a perfect wind decided to climb up for the rest of the evening. This particular stand looks out over an alder thicket in a stream bottom that lies directly between an apple orchard and a beaver swamp.

About 40 minutes into my sit I caught the movement of a small alder top 80 yards away and could make out the distinct white shine of tines in the sun. Settling on a shooting rest I waited for him to show himself. Time ticked by and the tree stopped shaking, 20 minutes passed and still nothing. In an obvious act of desperation I let two grunts go on my grunt tube. A yearling doe jumped from her bed and started making her way through the thicket toward a clearing. To my amazement, there he was not 20 feet behind nose to the ground. As she neared the edge of the thicket I settled trying to calm my self. She took about 3 steps into the open and with no warning turned on her heals and went right back the way she came. Buck still in tow. I picked the widest gap in the thicket (about 3 feet wide) and set my cross hairs on it. Just as planed, she made her way quickly across it. I slowly counted 1,2,3 and there he was shoulder fully in the opening. With admittedly a somewhat jerky squeeze, muzzleloader let loose... I sat there waiting for the smoke to clear, heart still beating out of my chest. There was not a sound as I waited 15 minutes or so to climb down and take up the trail. As I neared the spot that he had been standing the doe fawn that he had been chasing jumped up and took off like a bat out of hell. This is about the time that I started getting that sinking feeling. For the next hour I search high and low for blood or hair or any sign of a hit at all. After about an hour and a half and climbing up in the stand several times to replay what had happened, I discovered a perfectly round .50 cal hole in a 4 inch sapling.

After calling a few hunting buddies to talk me off a cliff, I set about planning the next mornings hunt. I was fortunate to have good wind for the morning and a heavy rain through the night to wash away most the traces of my long search. I got up extra early and snuck to the very edge of the alders and freshened up a scrap with some doe urine and did a scent drag to another scrap 50 feet away in the open, then took up stand to wait for light. Shooting time came and all was quite. Then 645 he appeared without a sound standing squarely in the scrape at the edge of the thicket with his nose to the ground. he worked the scrap for a few minute, never offering a shot before proceeding right down the trail I had laid. I could barely believe my eye he paused at 60 yards and I let it fly. Again I waited for the smoke to clear. But this time the unmistakeable sight of a while belly greeted me from 100 yards away.

Shaking I climbed down, paused for a minute then turned for the house so that my father could share in the excitement. As I stepped on the porch he was already slipping on his boots coffee in hand.

View attachment 23206
It was an unforgettable season full of learn. I messed up a few chances and attribute a lot of my success to luck. In the end I hunted 22 days across 3 states.

I already cant wait for next season!

Thanks for reading

-Stephen
I love hunting out my back door too! Nice buck and welcome!
 

Tailfeathers

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Great story, Nice buck and on your own property. Did you have it mounted?
Thanks. Yeah he is at the taxidermist right now along with an RI archery buck that I am having euro mounted. Really excited to see how he turns out, and a little nervous about where the lady will let me hang him! Is that how one goes about justifying a deer camp?
 
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