THE BUCK HUNTER
By Hal Blood

Well, itís hard to believe another fall is upon us. This year, it seems as though the signs of fall came a little earlier than usual. The swamp maples were tuning red by mid August and by the second week of September, the hardwood ridges in the high country had the orange tinge of the sugar maples and yellow birch taking on their fall color. My wife even commented on her flowers dying off two weeks earlier than usual. Some of the old timers say it is the sign of a harsh winter coming, but I guess time will tell on that one. I do know one thing for certain and that is there is no natural food in the woods up north this year. That is totally opposite from last year when Mother Nature provided a bounty crop of food.

I have never seen the Bears so fat and furred out the first week of the season as they were this year. You would think that it would be opposite with no natural food, but the bears really put the feed bag on at the baits to make up for the lack of natural food. This brings me to make a point about bears and the population. For the past fifteen years or so, the increase in Bear baiting has given almost every Bear in the State access to food in any given year. I think this has created an explosion in the population. Twenty years ago if I had more than one Bear coming to a bait site, I was excited about it. Nowadays, if I donít have several bears coming to a site I probably wonít bother hunting it. Back then, seeing one or two cubs with a sow was the norm, but now two and three with each sow is more common. Iíd say this is because the sows get plenty of food at a bait site before they go to den up.

Iím really excited about the amount of Deer and Deer sign around my area. Three easy winters in a row have really helped them bounce back in a lot of areas in the North Country. Any of you who had given up on hunting the big woods, should consider giving it another try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find. You may have to scout some new areas, but you are sure to find some big old bucks lurking around. I hope this is the year of November snow again. Itís been a while since weíve had snow for the entire deer season, but it was quite common to have a snowy season in years past. I guess itís just the cycle of things and hopefully the early fall will help it along.

The Moose seasons are coming right up. If you are one of the lucky ones with a permit, be prepared to do plenty of scouting. Iíve told you before, the days of riding the roads and shooting a big bull are pretty much over. There are very few clear cuts anywhere now and where there are some there will be plenty of hunters too. For the most part, the woods are thick and a moose can disappear in a hurry. Another thing to think about is that in the Northern zones there are a lot more cow permits, so expect that to increase the road hunting activity. Find yourself a road system to hunt on foot and if you have to pack a moose out, it will only add to the memories of the hunt. Having a few strong Buddies around would be a bad idea either!

Next month is Deer scouting time so get yourself in shape and donít forget to get your Big Woods Deer call. The guyís that already bought them, have been calling in deer all summer.

Good luck on the trail!

Hal is a Master Maine Guide, Author and Speaker. Hal owns Cedar Ridge Outfitters with his wife Deb and Big Woods Bucks with his partner Chris. He can be contacted through his websites at: cedarridgeoutfitters.com or bigwoodsbucks.com


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