Russell Report 2013

RussellBro2

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Tuesday, November 19[SUP]th[/SUP].
Couldn't get out of the Hancock tower until 6Pm; We pulled into camp shortly before midnight and the ol’man emerged from the fart sack and got us all fired up… He had a couple day head start on us and had already seen quite a few deer including a spike at 20 paces and, just that day, he saw a small 7 point that he also decided to pass up. Don’t think I’ll ever again see a half-asleep-sixty-year-old with some much excitement in his eyes. For 11 months Boston had been pretty loud and demanding… the dull roar of the wood stove was the perfect lullaby. It was finally here!

Wednesday, November 20[SUP]th[/SUP]
Up at 2:30 for coffee, bacon egg and cheese sandwiches, and Dad’s home-made bran/raisin muffins. COLD! And heavy winds from the NW. With snow in the forecast for Saturday, we planned on checking out our favorite spots and sitting if the sign while we waited for the tracking snows to come. No movement till 9 when I got down and pulled these pictures from a cam on a group of signposts:
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A lynx!!

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RussellBro2

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I then went and still hunted into an area that I had meant to check in 2012 but never got the chance. There were a bunch of pictures from the camera there including one nice buck so I built up a ground blind and then went to check out the edges of a waterway. Swale grass does such a great job of holding onto the warmth of sunlight and, after the best tuna fish sandwich I’ve had in a long time, I nestled in for a nap in the swale.
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Not much sign along either side of that river so back to the ground blind I’d kicked out to keep an eye out for the closing hours. Around 3:40 I heard what I just “knew” was a buck chasing a doe… well it turned out to be a coyote and I took a crack with the BLR trough some trash at 100+yards and missed clean. I love how your breath shows up so well when gun powder “hangs” after a shot on a cold day. Great first day for me and Josh had a good day as well as he’ll tell you.
 
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Russell Bro.

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As most of you know, we got a picture of a monster 10 in 2012 and we were dying to see if he had made it through the winter. On Wednesday morning I hiked in the 2.5 miles to where the picture of that buck was taken last season. I sat in my ground blind until about 10.30 and then got up and scouted around a bit. The amount of deer crap in the area was unbelievable (for Northern Maine standards). I found a handful of rubs and a dozen or so scrapes – nothing real exciting in terms of buck sign. But with the amount of crap, I knew there was a good group of does in there, and this time of year, the bucks aren’t too far behind. I decided I’d sit this spot until the ground was white.

When I was done scouting for the day, I made a mock scrape with Kendo’s home brew buck urine. I hung a scent dripper filled with the doe urine he had sent me – and hiked out. I went to where Jeff had parked the truck and took a stand for the last hour or so of light – with nothing to show. We got back to camp and went through the cards. We were very pleased, the big boy was back and a few others were in the area was back!
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Russell Bro.

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Uncle Gary arrived in camp in time for one inch pork chops, garlic bread, mashed potatoes, green beans and Octoberfest. Lights out at 8.

Thursday, November 21[SUP]st[/SUP]

I was on my way into the stand nice and early. As I approached the tree I sit at, I heard a deer take off in front of me – right where the mock scrape was. The deer took three bounds and stopped – I check my GPS for that time as it was already very bright in the woods, still 10-15 minutes for legal. I knew the deer was still there as the woods were loud and I did not hear it go anywhere after the initial three bounds. I waited for a minute or two and decided to slowing walk the 40 yards to my stand – I let out a few grunts as I crunched my way over – I heard the deer moving and it was coming towards me! The deer stopped 30 yards away – in the wide open. With and unloaded gun, I checked out the deer through the scope. It was a very nice buck! I still had to wait 10 minutes or so before I could load up so I could do was watch the buck walk away slowly as I settled into my ground blind. Nothing doing till noon when I met up with Jeff for lunch. He had found a nice moose shed as he still hunted his way to me.

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After Lunch I took Jeff into the stand where the big one had come by earlier in the month – it was roughly half mile from where I was sitting. I dropped Jeff off at about 12.30, on the walk back to my stand – I spotted this nice moose shed.
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I was settled back in around 1. At about 2 oclock – a single shot woke me up… Ahhh.. I mean I heard a distant shot. A few minute later the signal shots rang out – I knew it was dad or Uncle Gary. Sure enough, Uncle G got on the radio to let us know he shot a nice little 7 point. I ran over to get Jeff as he had been quiet on the radio.
 

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I never heard the signal shots but apparently Uncle Gary had one down! Josh and I had a 2 mile walk and a long ride to the kill site and we arrived with just enough time for a few daylight photos of the same 7 point Dad had passed on a couple days prior. We got buck-in-truck just at the end of legal. Uncle Gary was in a climber over a few scrapes he’d found the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] weekend of November. He’d seen a doe that morning and returned to the same stand for the PM hunt. He was watching a pair of grouse strutting around behind him and when he turned to look out in front again the buck was already in view. As he raised his gun the buck took off but stopped and turned to look over his ass and Uncle Gary (best shot I know) put one in the only place he could. The buck dressed out at 144lbs and the ice was broken for the 2013 season.
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Friday, November 22[SUP]nd[/SUP]
Cold, Cloudy, and Calm. A perfect kill day with three inches expected before sundown. Arrived at the stand I’d missed the coyote from with 30mins left before legal. I hung a couple scent jars and settled in for a mornings hunt. At 7:45 I heard a shot ring out to the south… too far to be our group I thought. I dismissed it. 15mins later I heard a loud report of a rifle. “That’s Josh!” I thought and I attached the antenna to my radio and turned it on. Josh came across excitedly and almost immediately, “Jeff, You on?”

“Yeah!! What’s going on?!!”
“I got a big one down, Man! He’s either a 9 or a 10 and he’s pushing 2!”
“FN Awesome!!! I’ll make my way there now!”
I got out of my sitting clothes and hustled to the truck. As I’m packing up some drinks, cameras, and lunch I’m thinking, “How in the world are we going to get this buck out??!!” It would be a 2 mile drag and nearly all uphill… and that’s no exaggeration. I had some adrenaline flowing which helped me cover that 2 miles pretty quickly though all sweated up. When I got within sight of Josh he let out a loud “Whoo-hooo”. He was still sitting on his stand. I gave him a whoop back then gave him a congratulatory hug and handshake.
“Where’s he at?”
“You can see his back on the side of that ridge”
It was a 75 yard shot through some junk. “Whoa! Nice poke huh? Let’s go look at him!” I said.
Then Josh goes “I don’t even know if he’s a 9 or a 10 yet, I wanted you to be here when I pulled him out of the pile he fell in!”
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“Man, his eye’s been poked out huh? Look at that! It’s one big infection! We’ll that’s the least of his worries now!!”

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“What a great buck, Josh!! He’s definitely pushing 2!” How’d it go down? Give me all the details!”
 

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I had trouble staying awake the morning before so I decided I would be active with the calls on this particular morning. I gave a few toots on the grunt tube and used the can call every 5 minutes or so. Well, at about 7.30 I heard an obvious branch crack, followed by another. I could then hear an animal walking in the leaves. I was pretty sure I heard antler hit a sapling and with the thumping sound of the walking, I was expecting to see a bull moose step out on the distant ridge I was watching. I waited for 20-30 seconds and still couldn’t see anything. Then a flash of brown and a nice rack! The buck disappeared and continued to parallel the ridge, getting further away from me. I thought about grunting but decided to wait it out. The buck stopped – still not visible. I waited and waited. Finally I could hear him coming again, and he was starting a diagonal decent down the ridge to Kendo’s scent bomb. I could see bits and pieces of him. The gun has been up for a while and I prepped myself for the shot I knew was coming soon. The buck stopped at about 80 yards with just his brisket forward showing – I settled the crosshairs on his neck and touched off the trigger. Bang! The buck took off- to the ground! I’ve never seen a deer drop the way he did, no kicking or thrashing. He was dead when he hit the ground. I kept the scope on him and waited before I sent off the signal shots for the boys. Dad got on the radio

“Gary did you hear that”
No response from Uncle G so I got on and said – “Dad that was me – I got a nice one down” I still had not walked up to the buck yet. We made plans for him and Uncle Gary to come over. After I took a minute to calm down – I walked over to my buck. I knew he was a decent buck but he grew as I approached. He had fallen into a cedar blow down and his rack stuck into the ground from the force of his fall.

He was beautiful 10 pointer that was obviously hovering right around 200. His neck was swollen and his left eye dead and ouzing from fighting for the ladies. A true Northwoods warrior. I took some pictures and said a prayer or two. I still had not heard from Jeff – so I ran to the top of the ridge and let out a shot and got on the radio.

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RussellBro2

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Just to give a disclaimer, the fire was only partly to warm up from sweating out on the way in but it was mostly to add to the ambiance of a classic Northern Maine deer hunt.
 




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