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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Skunked...and it really does stink!

Another year of 'Deer' season has come and gone and other than a pile of hunting clothes needing to be laundered and a gun cabinet full of rifles, shot guns and hand guns needing to be cleaned I have nothing to show for my efforts. I will say despite ending the season empty handed I do enjoy just being out doors. Heading to the woods or Deer Camp with friends and family is certainly a highlight in the year for me.

My southern Maine excursion last weekend was great! Over slept, locked ourselves out of camp and even had to haul a guys truck out of a slippery predicament. Sounds bad but I actually had a blast! Alarm was set for 4:30 a.m. last day of hunting season..woke up and it was pouring out. General consensus of course (after having a mere two hours of sleep and seeing the down pour) was to go back to bed for a while! After sleeping several more hours we got up around 8:30am and although still drizzling we decided to grab our gear and head out to Josh's Deer Camp and hunt out behind there for the remainder of the day. Made sense considering we were going to stay the night out there anyways. As we were leaving I decided to grab my sunglasses on a whim hoping I might get to use them at some point (even though the sun was behind clouds at the time). After about half an hour it stopped raining and the sun came out. Wish I could say it was an educated guess that I would need them or even a chance that the weather forecast had predicted sun. However, it was mere dumb luck. Just the same it definitely lifted our spirits to see the sun come out and know we weren't going to get completely drenched for the afternoon hunt.

Deer camp was exactly as I had expected. A nice yet simple camp off a 4-wheeler trail surrounded by pines, maples and oaks. The smell of the wet leaves, damp pine needles and the smoke from a fire started in the wood stove has me settling in quite nicely. Truck is unloaded and we are dressed in our hunter orange, guns in hand and head out the door. After checking my compass we head off down the trail. Several logging roads on each side of the trail go off in many directions. The one I head down has a small tree rubbed to a toothpick so this is very promising! Josh tells me 'Just down this trail a little ways there is a little brook and just past that is a nice place to sit where you can see in either direction for quite a ways.' Sounds good to me! With the sun beating on my cheeks and the cool air swirling around me I'm off and plan to meet back up in an hour and a half or so. I take a quick glance at the sun because I don't have a watch with me. I know, I know...this sounds ridiculous but I'm actually a pretty good judge of telling approximately what time it is by the amount of daylight and the positioning of the sun. Now I come across this 'brook' which is more like a frickin' raging river. Seriously, I could have taken a bath or gone for a swim it was so deep and moving quickly. Opting not to risk dropping my gun (actually my dad's gun) in this 'brook' I walk down stream a little ways and find a few suitable stepping stones and make my way across. I took my time walking the trail. I'm not one who can sit for very long as I get too fidgety. However, not wanting to deviate too far from where my hunting partner was expecting me to be I decided to climb part of a steep hill to a ridge that ran along half way up. This way I could see if he was coming to look for me or not. I actually did manage to sit for about an hour. The wind was extremely strong and with branches falling and leaves swirling like mini tornadoes I figured it was about time to head back. About half way back I met up with Josh who had explained one of his buddies, Matt, had come down with his 2 wheel drive and will probably need help getting out later. No worries, still several hours of hunting first.

Matt found a great spot to camp out for the remainder of day light. Surrounded by rubs and scrapes not too far from the ridge where I was sitting Matt set up his blind and hunkered down for the rest of the afternoon. Again, taking direction from my hunting partner I start down yet another logging road. Taking my time and finding a nice pine tree to sit down and lean against I took in all the nature surrounding me. I watched a rabbit hop by (poor things stand out like sore thumbs right now), listened to the wood pecker a few trees over and watching the chipmunks gathering food combined with all the smells the forest has to offer I was very content. After about 40 minutes it was time to meet up with Josh again. Still quiet in the woods. No shots fired and there was only about an hour and a half left of day light. The probability of knocking down a deer during 'regular' hunting season was dwindling and fast. We made our way back to camp to stoke the stove and regroup. Starting back out we went in the opposite direction to find a good place to sit before the sun set. The wind seemed to have picked up even more and as the sun quickly faded so did this years hunting season for me.

Not all was lost. As I stated in the outset, just being in the woods enjoying nature is quite satisfying for me. Mind you, I was still somewhat disappointed but not nearly as disappointed as my hunting buddy. He had spent all week hunting (various locations) and came up empty handed. Of course this week is black powder and being the die hard hunter he is, he's out there
again this week with his muzzle loader. After talking with many of my friends and acquaintances we are part of a very large 'club' this year. Many hunters came up empty handed. Some are heading out with their muzzle loaders like Josh. I hope for his sanity (and maybe even a little bit of his pride) :) He is able to tag out this hunting season.

Next on my agenda is to do a little rabbit hunting. I want to take up duck hunting next year and want to warm my Labrador Retriever, Scout, up to the sound of the shot gun. While we are waiting for the lakes to freeze over for ice fishing, Scout and I will make our way though some woods to do a little dog training and snag a hare or two for my Grandma to make Wabbit-Stew.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Amber,
    Great post, and your right – it’s just being out there that really counts. Hope that you and yours have some luck with them pesky wabbits!

    Regards,
    John

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice story - albeit no deer. I have heard that the deer are few and far between out Maine way. Hopefully things will turn around for you next year.

    Thanks for sharing your excursion with us. It was a good read!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nothing wrong with getting skunked. Well, I am sure that no one likes it but its all part of being in the outdoors. It doesn't always go as planned. It still beats watching tv, signing on the computer or going to the mall. Its great to read about people getting out, enjoying life outside in the real world.
    regards
    Dan

    ReplyDelete

Grand Lake Stream

Grand Lake Stream
I love this place!