It shan’t be long before I embark on Maine North Woods Deer Camp 2010 journey. It’s the third week of November now and the deer should be in rut, looking for love, looking for action! This week and next week is the traditional Maine deer rut season. People argue over when the rut comes on and what causes it, whether it’s the moon’s phase or something else. The best theory I’ve read tied the rut’s arrival to the number of daylight hours. That’d mean the rut comes to the same place at the same time every year.
If you read my last post about deer season, Maine’s Big Buck Club, I touched on the circumstances under which I got Big Bucky. I was a little surprised no one caught the fact that I inadvertently associated the wrong buck picture with the pair of antlers I also photographed. The antlers in that post were of the 210 lb buck, but the picture of me in the back of that truck was this deer, from last year:
(Note how the custom camo paint job on my rifle blends the barrel into the trees perfectly once it gets above the truck door.) Here is the other picture of the same deer:
Note how the antlers point up and they don’t really curve forward much, and the rounded nose end of the deer, all signs of a younger buck. Had this buck been a little older, a little more mature, I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity that I had. Here’s the story ….
It was the first morning of deer camp. I set my alarm clock to get up early, but (of course) the alarm clock didn’t go off. I woke up about an hour later than I wanted to and the sun was already creeping up on the horizon. SHTF hunting home, Hokie Magnum, had the audacity to ask, from the comfort of his bunk, “how’d that alarm clock treat you?”
I inhaled a fast breakfast and had another SHTF deer camp hunting homie drop me off at my strategic location where I was going to walk in and sit in my stand for the morning. My homie went back to the cabin for breakfast and I headed down an old logging road with alders and browse about chest high. Once the dirt road was out of sight, and thinking I didn’t want to make a bunch of noise at the base of my stand, I stopped in the trail/road, set my rifle down against a tree, and got my Tink’s 69 “scent bombs” out to fill them.
Kneeling on the ground, the browse taller than my head, I squirted the Tink’s into the plastic bottles. The hot doe urine scent was smelling strong when I heard something, looked up and there was this buck, in the middle of the trail, darting its head up and down trying to figure out what in hell it was looking at hiding behind the browse that smelled so good.
A smarter, older buck that had his hormones a little more under control would have seen me and bolted, but this buck was trying to figure out what was going on – he wanted some action! I looked to my right and saw my rifle against the tree and thought, “he’s either gonna bolt or he’s not,” so I slowly grabbed my rifle and he didn’t bolt, he just stood there ….
That season, last season, I was able to hunt for about 10 minutes, literally, before I was done. It was the smallest 8 point buck most anyone of us had ever seen, including the old timers at the tagging station.
This season we head to deer camp with a leaner crew and a shorter week. There won’t be much time for scouting, but I’ve come to find where the decent areas are. The first day I’ll walk in on that same trail to see if I can get lucky again. It’s unlikely, but a homie can hope.
– Ranger Man
BTW: Here is a pic of the 8 point buck that landed me in the “official” Big Buck Club. The difference in size is dramatic. Here you can see this buck was much older as the antlers curved forward and the nose has a more square end.
If you want to read more about how to hunt Maine North Woods big bucks, I’d recommend Hal Blood’s book, Hunting Big Woods Bucks, and a book on the Benoit’s style of hunting, Big Bucks the Benoit Way. They’re legendary hunters and the strategies they suggest are similar to the ones I use when hunting deer in Maine’s North Woods.