I have hunted the great state of Maine exactly once. We covered hundreds of miles and explored the magical big woods for a week and saw two moose but not a single deer, not even a doe. We traveled around and filmed everything we saw and everybody we met, and put together a TV show. It was a hit, and the episode remains one of the most popular we have ever produced for Big Deer TV.
Today’s guest blog is from Kevin McKenna, who hunts in Maine every year. Although Maine is one of the toughest places in America to kill a deer, especially a good buck, Kevin’s post has me longing to go back again, maybe next year.
(Dan, blue shirt on right, and Dave; Kevin snapped the picture)
Hi Mike: This is a little back story of me and my friends Dan and Dave. We all met at MT Chase Lodge in Shin Pond, Maine. The three of us have hunted here between 18-28 years: Dan with his dad, who can no longer hunt as the years have crept up on him, and Dave, whose hunting partner Charlie passed away awhile back. I hunted here with my dad, Larry, who passed away in 2009. Basically we came together as the leftovers, and promised each other we would come back the third week of November every year. Dan is from Mass, Dave is from Maryland and I’m from Conn. We’ve been coming back and hunting together for years now.
Now to last year’s hunt.
With highs in the 40s and lows in the 30s, the weather was not ideal for Maine hunting. We hunt two areas that are 10-20 miles away from the lodge. We bounced back and forth during the week, and found some good buck sign in each place, but had little daytime deer movement.
We found the most promising sign on Thursday evening so we were all in the last two days. Friday morning came and each of us headed to our spots about ¼-mile from each other; we were all on stand by 7 a.m.
Right off the bat Dan had a buck grunting on a little ridge 60 yards away, but he never showed himself. I had a buck freshen up his rub and scrape but just couldn’t see him. Dave was in an area with a really big buck making tracks, but no sighting of him.
Saturday was upon us, the week having flown by, and we had one last day to make it happen. We awoke to the coldest temps yet, 29, and a pretty good fog. On our 20-mile drive we talked things over and agreed that the fog might work our advantage…maybe the bucks would be on the move a little longer in the morning.
Each of us hunted the same spots as the day before. I got my stand at 6:50 a.m. and at 7 a deer started blowing at me, having caught my wind. “What a way to end the trip,” I thought. At 7:15 the sound we all love to hear—BANG! A couple of minutes later Dan was on the radio, “He’s down!” I started doing a little jig on stand and so did Dave.
We knew the work was about to start, so we made our way to Dan. Dave and I found our friend and congratulated him on an awesome buck. The buck had come off the same ridge where Dan heard the grunt the day before and proceeded to hit his scrape, paw the ground and nose the licking branch. Dan had a show for 3-4 minutes before he figured he’d better shoot.
After pictures, the time was at hand for the inevitable drag–1/4 mile as the crow flies but more like 1/2 mile and all up hill. Well, 2 1/2 hours later we arrived at the truck, and headed off to the check station and then back to the lodge to show off Dan’s trophy. The buck was 8 points and dressed 185 pounds, Dan’s best Maine buck to date.
Love the show Mike.—Best, Kevin
As I mentioned, Maine is a tough place to kill a deer. Any buck is a good one, and an 8-pointer pushing the 200-pound mark dressed is a trophy. Not only the shooter but also his buddies revel in the hunt and the experience, and that is the way it ought to be. Congrats Dan, Kevin and Dave. I admire your commitment to keep going back and hunting together all those years in one of the most magical deer woods on earth. Maybe I’ll see you up there next year.–MH