Russell Report 2017

RussellBro2

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The 2017 preseason had some notables that included our best day of shed hunting ever, a couple successful moose hunts with Josh working the call, and a new "bunk house" at camp. Dad can swing a framing hammer with the best of them and as a newly retired 64 year old the guy was unstoppable framing this thing out entirely by himself with just a weekend of help Josh, my father-in-law and me on the rafters and tin roof. All dried in by rifle season and it came out pissah!





 
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RussellBro2

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JEFF Sat Nov 11[SUP]th[/SUP]
The trip started out on an exciting note before I’d even pulled out the driveway in Mass! Dad was already up at camp and passing on multiple bucks. I was eager to get up there but I also wanted to hang out with my boys and on Saturday morning took them to the Veteran’s Day parade. I gave them and my wife a squeezed around 2pm and as I was pulling away from our log home I saw a buck out in a field pestering a doe! I ran back inside grabbed my bow, release, and license then stalked to the field’s edge in “street clothes”. Long story short I never saw the buck again but I came to full draw on a big doe at 25yds... she was trotting so I held off. Fun stalk and something to think about on the 7 hour ride north. I believe this was the buck.

 

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JEFF Sunday Nov 12th
It was cool to have the first day be a Sunday as I got to hang out with Dad and hear of 2 encounters with young bucks that he’d passed on. He’d also found a big deer shed on the walk into one of his stands... and impressive one off a mature buck- cool find.

I don’t see Uncle Gary nearly enough during the year and this is a bit of an annual reunion that I cherish (for lack of a less-sappy word). My plan after a big breakfast was to hang a new ladder stand. I splurged on an expensive millennium and I’m glad I did... thing is awesome. On the ride in on the logging road I spotted a coyote a few hundred yards away trotting down the side of the road toward me. I stopped the truck and got the camera out and when it got about 100 yards out the coyote turned into a lynx! First one I have ever seen and I got a GREAT look at it. They are built so cool. Somehow it seemed his back end was somehow a foot above his head. Hunting hadn’t begun yet and Northern Maine was already sharing it’s treasure.


 

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Josh and I like to still hunt most afternoons and sometimes that puts us back at the truck well before dark. This ladder stand was set up in a place that we can slip into quickly and quietly for a quick PM sit. It also serves as a "Plan B" for anyone in our group, should there ever be the need. Jet sled worked pissah to get it into this spot which is a funnel along a lake in view of a scrape line and a signpost. I somehow managed to get this thing up by myself but it is really a 2 or 3 person job... thing weighs a ton with the double rails.



 
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I was back at camp around 2 and spent the rest of the day sharing and listening to some stories, reading some new material, and dreaming of what might be in store for our camp this year. Just when I was completely relaxed for what felt like the first time all year, Josh pulled in, and I had to help him unpack.



 

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JEFF Monday Nov 13[SUP]th[/SUP]
Bugger-freezing cold as Josh and I hiked into a remote spot for our first hunt of the year. A relaxing sit but no sightings. Both cameras by my ground blind there had been eaten by bears... literally. But we did confirm a big 7 year old buck was still around. We've pics of him since 2012. He'd be Uncle Gary's target for the week. I found 2 moose sheds on the walk out to the truck one a nice one that matched a shed Josh found 2 years prior.






 
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RussellBro2

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In the afternoon, Josh and I hiked in toward a swale bog we'd found from the topos that was a mile deep in the woods. Somehow we couldn't located it without a waypoint previously logged and no bearing confirmed. Good sign as we tramped around in there. We're intrigued about swale bogs as a solution in the NorthWoods but haven't learned much about them yet... we plan to do so during the 2018 offseason scout.





 
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Russell Bro.

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JOSH Monday Nov 13[SUP]th[/SUP]
Hiked back in a couple miles to take a stand for the morning. 8degrees when we left the truck – threw on an extra hoodie and put my head down for the hike in. I cut a buck in doe track in the patchy snow, but not nearly enough to consider tracking so continued on and got to my stand around 6:30. I sat til about 10 got up and switched out a couple of cards. The second cam is about a mile loop from my stand and I cut another single buck track in the snow. Nothing huge but there was a couple deer around anyways. Other than the tracks, not other deer sign at all. I always like to find a good concentration of crap. That means there is a good group of goes hanging around and the big boys will be around to come check on them.
I had plans on meeting up with Jeff for lunch and to switch gears for the afternoon. Took a short 30 mile relocation drive and planned to hike into a big swale system we had scouted out on google earth. It was a great hike but we never made it to the system as our assumed bearing was off…a lot. Fun afternoon anyways.

 

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JEFF Tuesday Nov 14[SUP]th[/SUP]
Over the summer, I hung a camera where I’d missed a big buck last year. I don’t hunt this spot much because it’s a challenge to get to- deep in and the entry point is thick, but I always see deer here so I figured some bucks on camera could convince me to spend some more time there on stand. I headed in at first light and sat from 7-9 and then checked the cam. I’m quite certain this was the buck I missed last year and he looked really good!

Another nice buck there too as well as a very vocal doe. I’d be back.
Click for VIDEO
 

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I made a big loop and found some decent sign. Eventually I came out to this fir cut that looked really deery. I'd grunted a few times and as I awaited a response I heard some Canadas in a big V way above me. Always love watching them in their southbound flying pattern. I went to grab my camera... and it was GONE! Given it was only day 2 I kind of freaked out as the pics I take each year (just barely) get me through the offseason and I didn't have a backup. I backtracked over a quarter mile I bet, passed the placed a squatted, passed the place I fell and nicked the stock on my pump, and by some miracle, I was able to find my 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] most critical piece of hunting equipment (after my pump and mercy wipe material, of course)! If you?ve enjoyed any of the previous "content"- if you're to enjoy any that's to come- be thankful I was able to deploy a few tracking tricks with a dusting of snow in places to backtrack and find this thing!
 
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RussellBro2

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Crisis averted, I went back to that fir cut and was really creeping slowly when I spotted a nice buck bedded up ahead. You can just make out his rack in this pic a bit right of center.


I was able to sneak around to position for a good shot. I got a good look at him but I decided to pass...

 

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I?ve never been fooled this bad! I was "convinced" and my heart was racing- haha.

I found an old shed after that as I completed the still hunt back to the truck.


For the afternoon, I headed to a cedar swamp and I found a HUGE buck track there with a doe... I think it was from the 7 year old that Uncle Gary was hunting.



 
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Late in the day I found myself in the middle of a larger cedar swamp and was hustling to get out to a road before dark when something caught my eye. One in every 50 thousand cedar branches is actually a deer shed- and this was a nice one!





That calmed me down and I was able to navigate out to the truck and still have enough daylight to take a double on grouse... you know when you ground-swipe one and get #2 on a nice easy straight away shot on the wing?

 

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JOSH Tuesday Nov 14[SUP]th[/SUP]
Tuesday I decided to hunt some cuts that I had been eyeing since last season. I waiting in the truck until light and then hopped out. My plan was to get to the back of the cuts and still hunt the edge. No sign really in the path I took to the back. I planned to make a big circle hoping to find the deer as I was confident they’d be in this piece. I cut through a thick piece of jack firs and when I came out to the other side it was a fairly open fir cut. I found a few pile of poop but no buck sign. I continued along the edge for a while. I cut a few tracks in the leaves and found some more. I dumped down into the cedar swamp and there were a dozen all within 50 yards of the edge including one good signpost.
I made a big swing and found a nice run paralleling the back of the newer cuts I started on. I followed that run and found a half dozen scrapes. The run took me into the new cutting and the deer sign came along with-it. Nothing too exciting in terms of buck sign but the doe sign was plentiful and concentrated. I had plans to be back.
In the afternoon I decided to hunt another set of cutting 20 miles away. They were still actively logging in there so I started away from the active site but took a compass reading towards the sound of the machine. I took my time and found some scattered deer sign. At about 2:00 they shut the machines down for the day so I continued on. Sure enough the sign started to pick up the closer I go to the new cuts. I ended up finding a dozen rubs including an hour glass sign post and other impressive brown ash rub. Scrapes and crap matched the rubs and I was excited to have found the deer. The only problem was all the sign was 150-200 yards from where the guys were working an hour prior. I planned to give the guys a few days to move out and I’d come back in and hunt it later on.






 
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