Finally some early snow!

The deer season around Jackman Maine started off with tracking snow in the higher elevations. I hunted on my own for a few days before my client showed up. I saw a few average bucks but, couldn’t seem to find one of those big old square toed tracks. I took Wednesday off to do some chores and pick up my client (Steve) at the airport. By Thursday the snow had melted in all but the north facing slopes so it was getting tough to track. Then as luck would have it Thursday night brought a couple of inches of new white stuff. We picked up a good track in the morning and by early afternoon Steve got a shot at him. It was a long shot in the hardwoods and it did not connect. Needles to say it had warmed up again that day and melted most of the snow again. We came close again on Saturday, but could make it happen for Steve. Sunday I took him back to the airport as the weather report was not calling for much chance of snow. 
      By Sunday evening the forecast had changed to a possibility of 1-3 inches of snow. Snow began to fall early in the night but soon changed to rain. We woke Monday morning to a pretty steady rain and barely a skim of snow left in town. I headed out In the Ramcharger before daylight in hopes that there might be snow in the high country. As I drove north there began to be more snow covering the ground until finally there was enough to track on. As I was approaching a favorite mountain, there was 2 inches of snow mixed with sleet coving the ground. I was the first vehicle on the road and I soon came across a deer track. I jumped out to look at the track and to my surprise it was a big old square toed track! I was going to roam the mountain for a track but, now id didn’t have to. As I started on the track at 7:00 o’clock, it was drizzling fairly heavy and the trees were dripping. I thought to myself, this is a deer killing day! The buck found a doe with 2 lambs and began chasing them, but soon headed off for greener pastures. Within an hour I jumped the buck in an old chopping. He kind of surprised me as he made no indication that he was going to bed down. This was one of the few times that I didn’t wait a half hour to go after him. He was only a couple hundred yards from a road he was going to cross and then there was a brook another couple hundred yards away that I knew he would cross before stopping. Instead I stripped off my shirt and put it in my pack and then poked along slowly until I could figure out what he was going to do.
     After he crossed the brook he headed up a hardwood ridge so I thought he might bed down again. I circled left to get to the top of the ridge and when I did I began to cross his track where the buck zig- zagged up the ridge. When I got to the top of the ridge I picked up his track again where he went down the other side. Down it the hardwoods I came to where he had fed on a blowdown and his track was running away. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen him go. Now I was pretty sure this buck wasn’t going to bed down, so I picked up the pace to try and catch him looking. The buck crossed another brook and went to a signpost rub and stopped to shine it up. This buck was acting frantic as he would run a few jumps then walk then paw the ground. I figured he was searching for another doe to check on. Then he pawed the ground a couple of time and headed up the next ridge. At the top of this ridge there were some old brushy skid roads. That is where he really got crazy and had a feeling I would get a chance at him soon. He would walk down a skid road then turn and run up on a knob and down to the next skid road. When he walked down that skid road he turned around and walked back about 20 feet and jumped up another knob. As I crested that knob, I peeked over the top and there he was standing in a skid road 50 yards away looking back towards me.   
     I knew I would have to shoot quickly but, he was standing in the brush. I pulled on his shoulder hoping the Remington 180gr. round nose core-lokt would get the job done once again. At the shot the buck bolted back and gave me a good mid air shot as he came out of the brush. I knew that shot was good but gave him another one as he disappeared in the brush. I ran down to where he was standing and could see the brush moving. The buck was down! I said a little prayer for the buck and pulled him out of the brush to look him over. My first shot had made it through and broken both shoulders a little low. The second shot had struck him right behind the shoulder and the third shot must have gone over him as he disappeared in the brush. I looked at my watch and it was 10:30. I had the rest of the day to get him out. I was thinking it might take that now that I’m getting a little age on me! His feet were huge, almost (4” x 3”) but he is short in the body so he only weighed 214pounds, but his perfectly symmetrical 10 point rack more than makes up for it. It was a great day to be alive and tracking in the Big Woods.

"The Gray Ghost" provides transportation, Big Woods Bucks style!