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My long time hunting partner, son and I traveled to the North Maine Woods for our annual deer hunt on November 23rd. This would be my 16 year olds son's first Maine deer hunt. We usually pass thru at odd hours so we made the traditional stop at LLBeans. Did some scouting on Sunday, but didn't find too much sign in our usual spots. There was about 12 inches of snow on the ground when we arrived.

Hunted hard the first 4 days in our usual areas, but the deer had vacated sometime prior to our arrival. We found some rubs, but no tracks in the snow that had been there for a few days. Got another 5 inches on Wednesday, so walking was really tough. We decided to move to check some other spots we knew of. On Friday afternoon we found an area pretty much loaded with deer. Some great mature timber, mixed with some old and new cuttings. We didn't have much time left but tried to make the most of it. My son was doing the best he could struggling with a sore throat and bad cough. He actually missed several mornings of hunting, because I wanted him to rest and not develop something serious.

On Saturday morning we were still hunting through the area that was loaded with sign, when we came upon a bunch of fresh tracks. After following for a short distance, I believed we were following a buck that was chasing a doe. You could see where the doe would run, stop and abruptly change directions, where the bucks was swinging arcs around her. When we approached some old cuts, with whips growing up, I told my son that they could be in that thick stuff. Right about then I see a large body moving right to left and antlers at 60 yards. I told my son to shoot if he could get a shot, but it was much to thick and the buck was moving fast. He came back again a little further out still in the thick stuff. I knew I had to get a better look down there so we repositioned about 10 yards and as we did, kicked the doe out. When she ran he followed never offering a shot. Darn it! Last thing I wanted to do is chase the doe out! We sorted the track out for about 10 minutes and began to follow again, when we heard 3 shots not too far off. Turned out to be about 550 yards away.

Turns out the buck ran past my friend as he was sitting up on a spruce slope and looking down into the hardwoods. He was only sitting there for a couple of minutes and was planning on getting up when he caught the movement. 3 shots and he had him. Of course we were disappointed at our failure, but I was happy for my friend and that is exactly why we hunt relatively close to one another. About 4 years ago I bagged a buck when he kicked it by me.

The buck was 197 pounds dressed on November 30. An older deer with huge antler bases and some character.

My son had quite a good time on his first Maine deer hunt. We had a lot of laughs and worked hard on our hunt. A hunt we will always remember. He said he wants to go again next year, so I am already thinking forward to that.

Thanks for reading!

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Nothing better then a guys vacation congrats on a great time and memories with your son.

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Great story! Great hunt! Do they still issue the "Maine Biggest Bucks" patch to anyone who checks a 200lb or larger buck? I got my patch with my first buck in 1976. I always loved hunting and trapping in Maine!

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Great stuff!  That's what it's all about. 

I loved my family and friends hunting trips for the 20+ years I went on them.  

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3 minutes ago, trapoholic said:

Great story! Great hunt! Do they still issue the "Maine Biggest Bucks" patch to anyone who checks a 200lb or larger buck? I got my patch with my first buck in 1976. I always loved hunting and trapping in Maine!

They sure do!  Not easy to come by when you only go up for one week a year. Shot quite a few up there, but only two over 200 in about 25 trips since 1990. Got a 223 in 2016 and my best a 230 during Thanksgiving week 2008.

Edited by Nomad
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Awesome trip Mark! 

No joke up there. We were next door in Pittsburg NH last week and saw how it is the real deal. Not bait and wait like NJ-at all. 

Even seeing one on it's feet is an accomplishment. You both were CLOSE.....

Quality time spent together indeed! Well done troop. :up:

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1 minute ago, LPJR said:

Awesome trip Mark! 

No joke up there. We were next door in Pittsburg NH last week and saw how it is the real deal. Not bait and wait like NJ-at all. 

Even seeing one on it's feet is an accomplishment. You both were CLOSE.....

Quality time spent together indeed! Well done troop. :up:

Yes, I read about your adventure.  Definitely is a special and different hunt up in the north woods.  You guys were really into some good sign.  Just need that one break to put one down.

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The last week of the season is the best in Maine. That is when the rut is in full swing. The rut is two weeks later in Maine because this is natures way of insuring fawn survival. The fawns are born two weeks later in the spring than they are here. 

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Awesome trip. Congrats to your friend on a nice bruiser. Seems like hunting was good all around in the big woods this year with the early snow. 

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1 minute ago, trapoholic said:

The last week of the season is the best in Maine. That is when the rut is in full swing. The rut is two weeks later in Maine because this is natures way of insuring fawn survival. The fawns are born two weeks later in the spring than they are here. 

I used to go up earlier, but found what you say to be accurate.  Always great rut activity last week and usually a better chance for some snow on the ground.

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15 minutes ago, trapoholic said:

Great story! Great hunt! Do they still issue the "Maine Biggest Bucks" patch to anyone who checks a 200lb or larger buck? I got my patch with my first buck in 1976. I always loved hunting and trapping in Maine!

Congrats on your buck!  What was the weight?

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Great read...beautiful bruiser of a buck. Too bad your son couldn’t connect but I’m sure memories were made. Gorgeous cabin you’ve got there!

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