Entry into Maine’s 200 Hundred Pound plus Big Buck Club

Hunting Maine whitetail is different than hunting deer in other states. Whereas deer hunting in some states is on leased land with deer feeders and food plots, in Maine you pretty much just walk into the woods and start hunting, private land or public (unless it’s posted). From my biased perspective, this is more like “true” hunting. Watching some of these ESPN hunting shows I see people sitting behind a blind and then some monster buck strolls by and the hunters whisper things like “this is the 3rd buck we’ve seen this morning, this looks like a good one.”

That just doesn’t happen in Maine. You’re lucky to just SEE a deer – any deer, let alone getting a shot opportunity. Unless you’re going on a private land, guided hunt, Maine deer don’t march their way to food plots. If you want to hunt a “food plot”, you find a big oak tree dropping acorns, beech trees, a patch of clover in the woods, etc. Other styles of hunting might work for some people, but if I’m going to hunt deer, I want to hunt deer, not sit in a comfy stand sipping coffee and waiting for 8:37 am when bucks are scheduled to walk by.

This “just walk in the woods” type of hunting can be more frustrating to the beginning hunter. I suspect the new hunter dropout rate is high. You can go years without getting a deer. I did. Success may require a healthy dose of luck, but the more you practice hunting skills, the luckier you tend to get.

Because this style of hunting can be a challenge, you gain certain …. bragging rights when you get what qualifies as a “Big Buck.” It’s a buck that weighs 200+ pounds (dressed). I’ve done it once.

It weighed in at 210.5 pounds. North Woods tagging station dude certified the weight on a “Big Buck Club” form. I sent it in with 5 bucks. That gave me official bragging rights (not that I would ever do such a thing) and this sexy patch.

I’d like to tell you some grandiose story about how I tracked this buck up and over a mountain for miles on end, but I don’t think you’d buy it, and it wouldn’t be true.

It was the first morning of Deer Camp. I wasn’t hunting that specific buck, but I knew it was around (long story). The area was good, I’d taken a buck there before. My morning plan was to scour the woods for a decent location to set up for the rest of the week. I moved fast, didn’t worry much about noise, and had pretty much written the morning off as a quick, fast scouting mission. I didn’t carry much with me, my rifle with only 4 rounds.

By late morning I was near the end of the area I wanted to scout. I was standing on an old logging road with brush chest high, getting ready to head back to the truck to meet my hunting homie for lunch – then – I heard something to my right and from out of nowhere this beast of a deer was moving through trees, about to cross the old logging road I was standing on. Caught off guard, and too quick for accelerated heart beat to set in, I shouldered my rifle and fired a shot at its front quarter. The deer bolted deep into the woods. I gave it time to bed down.

I didn’t give it long enough (25 minutes) and when I pursued it the deer jumped up and bolted again. The process repeated itself a few times, and each time I fired another shot. By this time my SHTF hunting homie (Hokie Magnum) had arrived, and (he never lets me live this down) I had to borrow a 5th .308 round from him.

Eventually this buck made its way back into the old logging road and was standing ass end to me. Conveniently, there was a chest high tree stump next to me. I rested the rifle on the stump and .… that was it.

Hokie Magnum might tell the story a little differently, but that’s how hunting stories go. (Don’t believe anything he says.)

My three to four SHTF vegan fans might send me hate mail for this post, and they’ll criticize me as being a hypocrite for what I’m about to say, but …. whenever I drop a deer and walk up on it, its eyes still open, taking its last breath ….

Yes, there is the inevitable excitement that comes over any hunter when you finally get a deer, especially if it’s a big one, but …. let’s just say I respect the animal. I respect all animals. Not enough to go vegan, but enough to value hunting more than grocery store meat shopping.

I’m not a religious man, but I’m spiritual. To that end, I say an apology to the dying animal and a silent prayer of thanks. I should probably do the same thing every time I eat a restaurant hamburger or a can of chicken soup, but …. I don’t, so …. pass the bacon, please.

– Ranger Man

20 comments… add one
  • UK Mike October 20, 2010, 11:42 am

    so it was Hokie Magnum’s round you dropped it with then?
    Does that technicaly make it his kill?
    I think you should pass him a dollar for the round pdq.!!
    Could be fight’n talk that when you’ve had a few beer’s I think!!

    • Ranger Man October 20, 2010, 7:12 pm

      The deer would have technically been his if he fired the final round, but I fired the final round, even if the round was his.

      Beer at deer camp? That never happens …. *ahem*

  • Dave October 20, 2010, 1:37 pm

    You killed an innocent, un-armed animal ?! How could you !
    Only kidding Bro :-) Would an Animal rights person feel better if a deer crossing the road gets hit by a car instead & suffers for a day or 2 before dying & killing the family in the car also ?

  • Kraken October 20, 2010, 2:04 pm

    Here in the mid-west my family sits in tree stands and blinds, I always thought that was asinine, and not really “hunting”. More like “waiting”. Sounds like I need to get on over to Maine if I want to see if I’m wheat or chaff.

    • Ranger Man October 20, 2010, 7:11 pm

      People do that here, too – myself included. Hunting from a stand increases your odds greatly depending on what part of the state you’re hunting in. What I don’t do, and what isn’t allowed by Maine law anyway, is hunt deer over a feeder on fenced in land.

  • uk mike October 20, 2010, 3:12 pm

    Next hunting season just for a bit of fun I’m going to equip all of Maines deer with movement sensing gatling guns…. That should spice the deer hunt up a bit!! lets see who bags who!!

  • johnboy October 20, 2010, 3:25 pm

    I’m still waiting for my uncle to take me on my initiation hunting drip. And down here in sc people hunt both ways. But luckily my uncle is a walker.

  • Liberty October 20, 2010, 5:01 pm

    deer with movement sensing gatling guns–(Rolling on the floor laughing) I thought that they gave up the right to own self-feeding rifles in the UK, never mind gatling guns.

    • uk mike October 21, 2010, 3:58 pm

      Kind of a Dr Evil moment there….. Deer with auto aim gatling guns…
      I’d just love to see Ranger Man chased through the woods by a 200 pound deer, gatling gun or not, that’d be so funny I’d probably die of laughter!! Either that or pee myself!!

      • Liberty October 21, 2010, 5:51 pm

        Why would anyone like to see Ranger Man chased by a deer ? What I would like to see is the people of the UK man up & get their right to self defense back.

        • Ranger Man October 21, 2010, 6:05 pm

          lol – Liberty for the burn!

          • uk mike October 22, 2010, 5:15 am

            You and me both,the uk is’nt like that though, they just wont stand up for their rights, they’re all mouth till it comes to the crunch then they disapear, the unions bow to the bosses and have no real power, same as the gun clubs and such… yep you’ll get a few who say lets do this or lets do that but they won’t, you just can’t get them fired up for long they just seem to fizzle out. It’s also a nation of tell tales, sneaky type people, shite place to live trust me.
            and as for the Deer and Ranger Man comments… gee just trying to have a laugh..excuse me for trying to have a bit of fun in life.

  • Hokie Magnum October 21, 2010, 12:13 am

    I lived the entire experience that Ranger Man’s describes, defends, and displays in photos. He really looks like that too – never takes that helmet off.

    It is true that I supplied the fatal round that earned him the buck patch. I’m okay with him getting all the credit, really. Ranger Man’s patented spray and pray from the hip technique almost worked. We may never know what really happened. Some natives prefer to think he let the first 3 fly to get the deer moving. Others maintain he was fighting a Predator. In any case the gift of my bullet was more of a gesture of mercy – for both Bambi and Ranger Man. It was very formal and serene, like Spock handing Kirk a phaser calibrated to “hamburger.” Had I not been there (SHTF style btw,) Ranger Man’s technique would have devolved into a macabre scene from “The Lord of the Flies.”

    Moving on – 168 grains of ballistic silvertipped .30 cal mojo closed the deal. One shot, one kill. Helps when you aim for the back of the head too. Ranger Man earned that buck though, lol…my role was a small one in that infamous north woods mortar strike.

    I am cool with how it all went down though. He cleaned it. I did help drag him to the truck. The real lesson here SHTF bloggers, from my view – is that hunting alone sucks! I shot a deer a few years back, same area. Skewered the SOB at 4ish, cleaned out by 4:20 (sharp,) and didn’t finish dragging the fella out of the woods till 8pm – with 3 of us! Extra fellas help. If not for ammo, then for dragging. If not for dragging, then for driving. If not for driving, then for beer. I’m kidding. We don’t do beer at deer camp *ahem.*

    Would have been nice though if I got some backstraps or something. Just sayin’. Ranger Man gitsrdone – and that’s worthy of a big buck patch. Can’t wait for this season!


    Hokie Magnum

  • Mike October 21, 2010, 1:51 am

    Nice buck! Here in WA there aren’t any fenced and baited areas to hunt that I know of. It’s walk and look. I generally find a good place and sit there all day and have done better that way than walking.

    If anybody asks me where the best place to get a deer is, I always tell them ‘close to the road’. If you can’t get one close to the road, hunt uphill. At least it’s a downhill drag.

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. October 21, 2010, 8:39 am

    I agree with your hunting ethics – hunting and shooting are two entirely different scenarios. I live in Texas, where the standard practice has become spreading corn on the road and putting blinds within sight of a feeder is very commonplace occurrence. Its become more of a ‘pick your deer’ that is coming to the bait, vs. taking them while they are alert and moving about.

    Its not just ethics either – our young hunters are losing their ability to track and map out a strategy for hunting deer too. We, the older hunters are responsible for this – we’ve become lazy.

    I’ll take issue on a point though – deer blinds. These are boxes that are located on elevated points where a hunter sits to wait out a deer. The only advantage I see in using them is when elements like rain make it more uncomfortable to be there. The person who sits outside has much more opportunity to find a more suitable spot. They get to pick the spot where wind is to their advantage, and the sun is behind them for less chance of animal spotting them. The blind user is fixed in that position – pretty hard to move it on short notice and animals definitely recognize changes in their environment. Animals are aware that that ‘box’ is dangerous, animals come out peering at it to see if they see anything out of the ordinary.

  • paul folsom III December 6, 2010, 4:31 pm

    my name is paul folsom i have shot a lot of dear and now it is only bucks only it is a littel bit harder. Buti usually get a buck every year. but this is the first year i got one that went over 200 it went 209 it was a 11 point .that put me in the big bucks of maine and get a patch. i was pretty happy waiting now to get my neck mount back from lenny keys taxidermy from smyrna maine he is good and have good prices. i am happy to finally get a patch thanck you.

  • Jeff Cote February 25, 2011, 10:36 pm

    Hell ya i couldnt have said it better myself! I was awarded the patch this year too for my 237lb 10 pointer… “Ranger’s Lead The Way” ……..Jeff…… Hancock ME

  • Jonathan Bachelder April 1, 2015, 10:36 am

    I also had a great year in 2014 with my 10 year old boy sleeping beside i shot a 211 lb 8 pointer. This is a memory i will never forget he won’t either.

  • dennis goulet June 1, 2015, 10:43 am

    I lost my patch and card a while back for a deer I took in 1994 in Palmyra. It was an 8pt. 215lbs.er. It was tagged in Palmyra and weighed at a store in Hartland. Is there a way to get replacements? I live at 130 River Rd. Biddeford Me. At the time I tagged the deer I was living on Granite St in Biddeford. It would mean a lot to me if I can get replacements. Thank You Dennis Goulet


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