Overall season report

Kingman Cruncher

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Hoping this short report goes through, have had access issues to posting and starting threads.

Last week I headed to a familiar place in eastern ME for a quick trip with some old friends at camp. The trip here gets shorter and with less people every year, but the core from 1999 still prevail. I got to camp on Thursday night and it was just starting to snow when I got off in Medway. When I got to camp the ground was starting to get covered. Camp was the same, wood stove roaring, a new guest was present and we told some great stories and sucked down beers until about quarter past one.

Daylight came early and camp Dad made us a great breakfast while we hydrated and got ready to go. They would hunt from camp, I would head out a ways to check roads and end up where I tracked my 8 pointer down about 4-5 years ago. Not much was moving, little for tracks but the first snow does that and they didn’t have time to get going. I hit the woods and found the deer staying close to their beds during the storm. The snow picked up and I tracked a set of does in hopes of seeing a buck. Saw the does, but no buck. Tracks were getting covered pretty hard.

Didn’t get into much after the snow stopped, only got a couple inches but hit a few spots and covered some ground. Not much for buck tracks, like none.

Ended up in an area where my friend has an enormous buck on camera. Hate to guess how big, but I figured being a few miles in the vicinity wouldn’t hurt. I walked down an old grassy road and picked up a buck track. It was really hard to follow as the snow was thin, but he brought me to a cool place where I found this. Pictures doesn’t do it justice. Impressive for Maine standards.

Looked a bit for the match but stayed on my buck. Eventually lost him in the firs with hardly any snow.

Got back on the grassy road and headed east and went a half mile until I got to a decent spot to get back in the woods. Made a bit of noise getting through the line of firs and saw 2 deer go. Just saw them streak but couldnt make them out. I held my ground, but couldn’t see them or them me. I waited a bit and started walking through the thick stuff and with my grunt tube on my binocular harness on my left shoulder I grunted and walked breaking sticks in the dry fir, and when popped out enough to see into the better woods there stood a wide racked buck broadside 30 yards away as clear as day with the white background. He almost looked orange and fake. I snapped up the gun, took of the safety, and took a look at his horns. Wide 6 pointer, nearly any brow times, and short times all around. He was frozen and I had all day to check him out as he still didn’t make me out or smell me. I felt like I had won a battle, and decided that was good enough and let him go knowing at season end I may regret the decision. He was likely 175. He stomped a few times, then turned and stiff legged it out of there. That pretty much made the season for me.

Pretty cool that in a fairly close area, got a nice shed, tracked two bucks, saw one, and saw some great bucks on camera. All for a place we have pretty much written off. Got recharged for that trip and the season. We hunted hard Saturday tracked a buck, a friend saw 7 does, and generally had a grand ol time.

Off to Jackman tomorrow for 10 days. 12 inches of snow on the ground at the border. Hope this isn’t a repeat of last year!
 

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longbow

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That’s cool you passed one up already! Nice antler you found. With all that snow you have a good chance to run into something bigger! Good luck
 

Big D

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Very nice. Look forward to your rest of the season. I won't be too far from you next week then further north till thanksgiving. Good luck. Guess I'll have to figure out the picture posting after that.
 

Browseline

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Nice shed and report! You did very well to get that close to a standing buck. Good luck the rest of the season.
 

NorthMaine

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Awesome, thanks for sharing! Good luck in Jackman!

Still hoping I can get up at some point in the next two weeks...
 

Grandkid

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Great report, antler and encounter with a buck at close range.

Good luck this week.

Roger_
 

Snowed

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Catch and release deer hunting! Congrats on a great trip. Good luck in Jackman and please keep bringing us along.
 

Kingman Cruncher

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Sitting at camp on the last day of ML season in southern zones. Here at a Parlin Pond where the season is closed and just reflecting on the season. Might try for bird if the rain lets up.
Overall the season was decent without getting a buck. Don’t think I hunted as many days in years past, and didn’t see nearly as many deer as in past seasons.
Opening Day we went to western me, which was a bust for deer with almost zero sign. Did get to see some bull moose chasing a bellowing cow and witness a chase and calling back and forth. It was incredible.
Second weekend went to Eastern Maine above which proved to be the best conditions and bucks available. After we left, the following 2 weeks the bucks got going and my friend shot a big 200 pounder and another camp member one just under 200.

guess pictures arent fully loading so you will have to imagine...
 

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Kingman Cruncher

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Off to Jackman week 3.
Saturday I start off on fresh snow. It stopped snowing and blowing at 1am. I get to an area I scouted during moose season and what we call the honey hole road, named by my buddy Sully who passed this summer. It was his favorite bird road. With the first mile I cut a nice track going up the mountain. I know it’s 5 hours or less old even though it looked older and get on it.

He takes me up the side of the mountain across the shelf north and is zig zagging stop cuts, clear cuts, etc. I’m feeling good and sprinting right along when I see two moose. They are up on their feet and only 100 feet from their beds and the buck track is in their bed. I know this is a buck I can see. He takes me into a mature hardwood stand that’s really open and he just goes along this finger of uncut woods. this is the spot that caught my eye in October as it narrows right up at the end, but crosses the road I came in on. Now I’m nervous that someone will pick up the track so I run down and the buck crossed the roads with 2 does, no one has been on the road, so I stay on it. I figured this may happen and debated driving the entire road earlier but figured I could come back to the track and someone may have picked it up. I could have saved myself 2 hours if I stayed in the truck.

So I head in on it and he’s chasing the does, sometimes running, something trotting, etc. I keep on him and he takes me out to the end of another road system I recognize on gps. It just so happens my buddy Sully had killed a good buck in this area and we hunted it many moons ago. What I do know is that once they get down in here there is a brook with high banks that they like to bed and mate. I see that I now have an old snowed in set of buck tracks, maybe two, and a set of boot prints showed in. I suspect this 4 hour loop I have made is this bucks swing. No doubt about it. Taking me to rubs, etc. I see the does feeding on whips and start to put the creep on. Then I see tracks to my left and it’s boots, swing right in and pick up the buck and he’s off! Guess this VT knew the swing better than I or he just got lucky a struck off and found the track. Either way, I cooked it out of there to go check some other spots a little disappointed.
 

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Kingman Cruncher

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Rest of the week proved tough. Monday I think it was turned warm, rain, then froze solid. We had a crust that was a killer. We made the best of it using time to cover ground to locate bucks to go back and sit or still hunt. I found a couple big bucks high up on a mountain that was 3 miles in. No matter what I did I would blow them out of there. No wind, elevation, and visibility. We covered some serious ground, sat in the evenings, etc. My buddy had a good buck where he shot his big 8 a few years ago, but they just ran circles around him with the ice layer. We saw little deer except when we had the wind in our favor. Heard blowing deer all week, running tracks, etc. I would say in general we saw less big buck tracks. It was sorta weird as a good portion of the deer were moving to the yards. In a place I hunt near the border, the deer cleared right out mid week.
 




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