Shooter Buck and Pine-Lock's 2019 week one

Shooter Buck

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My 2019 Maine deer season wouldn’t start till Wednesday but things started fast at our camp this year. Tuesday while I was stuck at work Pine-lock was already up hunting. I got a text from him with a pic of a rub he found at 9:19 from a hill top near camp. We exchanged a few messages for 10 mins or so then at 9:56 I get a text “shot one”. I guess we don’t have to worry about getting shut out at camp this year.
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Pine-lock’s Story
The 2019 season started off with a different feel than most. I had already had a few days in the woods from an early muzzle loader trip to the Adirondacks and I got out a couple days for youth bear and deer in Maine with my son as well as a little bird hunting. Typically, our group takes long weekends for most of the month of November but with a wedding in the family that 99% of our crew had to attend on 11/16 our “normal” hunting schedule had to change. I arrived to a warm camp on Monday night of week one with my Dad and one other there a few hours ahead of me.
My morning plan was to head to a saddle between two hills that’s a little over a half mile walk from camp. I’ve had plenty of luck there in the past, enough for us to plop an old plastic chair in the woods to use once you get there. I had seen some decent sign in this spot a few weeks earlier when I had my son out for youth day. I took it slow climbing the hill trying not to get over heated. That can be hard to do, especially on day 1 when you’re raring to go.
I got to the spot to find mostly dried up scrapes, but I sat for an hour and a half anyway. With swirling winds and a herd of chipmunks doing their best deer impressions I decided to move on and still hunt my way up the next ridge to the north. This ridge typically has some good runs that run along the hill on the west side but with the wind conditions I was stuck hunting closer to the ridge line.
At around 930 I was poking along and using a grunt call every few steps on an old skid trail that ran the line between some soft and hardwoods. I stopped briefly to decide how far I wanted to follow the trail as it was taking me down towards the next valley when I caught movement down hill behind me. I was able to turn myself around and catch a glimpse of some horns that looked to be a main beam. I got my gun up in the first shooting lane and waited a few seconds for the buck to move into it. The shooting lane happened to be right where the buck was going to cross my back track and around 40 yards. The buck stopped at my backtrack, I put the cross hairs on his shoulder and squeezed one off. BANG! The buck didn’t move. I work the action of my 7600 and squeeze off another round and the buck dropped in his tracks.
I took my time dressing out the buck and was able to get enough radio/phone signal to get out a few messages to get some help with the drag. I was 1 mile from camp as the crow flies, fortunately most of that would be downhill.
156lb 4 point. No browtines.
A couple days later while skinning the buck I found that my second shot wasn’t needed. The first one had blown though both shoulders and lungs. The buck just didn’t flinch.
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Shooter Buck

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Weds morning I headed out to get the first day walk out of the way. With all the excitement of a new deer season sometimes you just gotta put on a few miles and check some places out before you settle in and really hunt.
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Weds night I went over to a place where I have had a few encounters with deer right at the end of shooting light. I was going to take a walk in there and try and move to a different spot and try and get the jump on the deer I had encountered in the past. I was sitting on a nice oak flat with about an hour of light left when I decided it was time to move and get to where I wanted to be for the end of the day. As soon as I stood up and looked left I saw two deer at about 100 yards across the flat. My wind was blowing right at them and they trotted off not seeming too alarmed. I moved in their direction and ended up seeing a third deer but didn’t get much of a look.

Thursday my plans changed quickly as when I was on my way to one spot I saw a nice buck in a feild right by camp and he was headed down into a large swamp. I drove up the road and tried to drop down in front of him but I never saw him again.
Thursday evening, back to where I saw the deer the night before. I moved up to the oak flat and as soon as I crested the ridge I heard movement in the leaves a ways away. I got all excited just to realize it was some turkeys scratching along. I thought I heard a deer blow way down below me but my wind wasn’t going there so I didn’t think much of it. When I heard it again I believed it this time. Not sure what it was blowing at but I went to check it out. Nothing found so I continued my loop. On my way back to the oak flat I sat on a rock in the middle of a little valley. I was not sitting for 2 mins when I heard something coming behind me. I looked over my shoulder and saw a larger black bear headed right at me at 60 yards coming at a decent pace. Not having a bear tag I reached in my pocket for my camera but as soon as I got it out he was at about 20 yards and spotted me and spun and ran the other direction. I was just about to where I wanted to spend the rest of the night when a deer blew at me from close range. I looked to see a spike staring at me. I blew back at him and saw another deer as well. The spike was blowing at me and circling closer while the other deer want paying as much attention. I saw the other deer looked to be a fork horn so I was kind of holding off on shooting him. He ended up stopping behind a tree with his nose and the tip of his antler sticking out one side and his rib cage and hind end sticking out the other. I got to looking at his antler and decided maybe it was a little bigger than a fork so I moved the cross hairs to his rib cage and started squeezing the trigger. I saw his horns move in the scope and I let off the trigger. He turned and walked straight away with no better shot. They ended up running around and back up the hill when I saw a third deer with them as well.
 
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Shooter Buck

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It was supposed to snow on Thursday night but we all woke up with not a trace of it at camp. Everyone was kind of let down. I was all pumped up to track one so I decided to drive north till I found snow. An hour or so later I found what I was looking for. I stepped out of the truck to see a nice bear track. I had bought a bear tag last night after my encounter and a few other bears seen around camp but the track was old. I made a 3 mile loop behind a gate with my new 35 whelen and only cut one doe track. I was about a half mile from the truck walking back the road when I saw a track crossing that wasn’t there before. Looked like another doe headed down into a swamp. I had never been down in that swamp so I figured I would check it out. I went down in and ended up circling right back to the road. Turns out it must have been right down there when I went in and It saw me and headed right back across the road.
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Shooter Buck

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Friday night back to the oak flat but I brought my cousin and dad this time. I came in from another direction and guided my cousin in to where I had been sitting. We weren’t an hour into the hunt when I heard shots from a hill not too far off that a few other guys in camp were hunting. Heard them on the radio confirm they got one. Always good to know there will be one on the pole when you get back to camp. The evening started nice and sunny and then out of nowhere a snow squall came through and it was snowing so hard you couldn’t see 30 yards. About a half hour later everything was covered in snow and the sun came back out. I was about 300 yards from my cousin and had a doe and a fawn trot by me at 30 yards. Met up with the other guys at the end of the night and headed back to camp.
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A sow and cubs seen by another member at camp
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Shooter Buck

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Saturday morning I was working my way around the bottom of a hill and my cousin was working his way around the top. He was hunting the same area he shot his first deer ever a few years back. About an hour in I hear 2 shots only to be disappointed he was shooting at a grouse with his sidearm. An hour later another shot rings out but this time I know it’s from a rifle. He instantly comes on the radio saying he got one. Then 2 more shots. I decided to start hustling his way but he confirms he’s down for good. I get there and he tells me the story. He had seen deer on the woods road right where you park so he decided to go real slow down it this time. It took him about two hours to go 150 yards. He was standing on a stump less than 50 yards from where he shot his first deer when a deer came down the hill headed past him. He had a doe tag but saw spikes and new he wouldn’t need it. His first shot dropped the buck with a hit to the spine but he managed to start crawling his way down the hill. He didn’t make it far before the final shots finished him. A few others from camp arrived to help drag and teach a few gutting lessons. He missed lesson one where you are supposes to cut the deer and not yourself but we got the job done.
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Saturday afternoon I made a 5 mile round trip hike back into the mountains with nothing to show for it but some tired legs. When I got back to camp an hour after dark a few others were just getting back as well. Turns out my dad had shot a doe during the last few minutes of light and they tracked it about 50 yards but were having a hard time finding blood. He wanted to wait for the morning with day light to continue tracking . We had never had issues with coyotes so we decided to wait. A bunch of us headed off the next morning to find his deer. We got on blood and were able to follow it pretty easily. It went down into a valley towards a swamp where we figured we would find it. We got to the bottom and found an area where the ground was all torn up and there was hair everywhere. Looks like our luck with coyotes had changed. Not 100 yards from there we found what was left. They coyotes ate pretty much all but one shoulder. We tagged what was left and were glad to find it even if we didn’t end up with much meat. The doe still weighed 115 lbs with everything missing from her.IMG_5269.JPG

Week one in the books and we had a great start. This was the first time we had ever got four deer in a week. It was great to be back at hunting camp and I can’t wait to get back at it later this season.
 
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xp600

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Great pictures. Thanks for bringing us along. Congrats on all the filled tags!!!
 

SportsmanNH

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Great write up SB ! Congrats to PL and to all the others that punched a tag.

Freakin coyotes are nasty . Doesn't take them long to devour a deer
 

mbVT

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Good stuff! Lots of action at camp- congrats to everyone there who got one and good luck to those guys still after it!
 

Grandkid

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Nice report and photo of the week. Congratulations.

Roger-
 


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