Hal’s 2009 Season

I started off the 2009 deer season with our annual Ontario get away. After the long road trip out which always consists of a lot of coffee and fast food, we settled into camp with anticipation of the first days hunt. We were anxious to get back to an area we had found the previous year. Two hours into the first morning found us wondering what happened to all the deer that were there the previous year. The area had gone from lots of deer to almost none. Needless to say we headed to check out a new area. The next area we tried proved to be a hot spot. It was a two mile trek on ATV’s to get back into a grown up clear-cut. The cut was grown up with head high firs, and jack pine. It was a great area to still hunt with rolling ridges and grassy swales. In October when our trip takes place, the big bucks aren’t moving much so still hunting is the best way to get a look at one. After two hours of still hunting, Chris and I jumped a monster buck that was lying on the edge of a jack pine thicket. We only saw the buck for one jump before he disappeared into the pines, but that was enough to see that he carried a tall tined heavy rack. Throughout the rest of the week we saw a decent buck every day, but none of them that were what I was looking for. We spent a lot of time scouting as it was obvious that the deer herd had suffered quite a bit of winter kill, whether from the weather or the wolves. We ended up finding some good potential places for this year and are looking forward to getting back out there. Our group passed up quite a few bucks that week and the new guy in camp shot an average ten point that dressed 210 pounds.
The hunting conditions in Maine were tough as well as they were in most areas. Unseasonably warm temperatures as well as lack of tracking snow made it challenging to say the least. It was frustrating to see all the buck sign and yet have that much trouble seeing a buck. I know from tracking bucks over the years, that they have a lot of hiding places that a hunter would never find on bare ground.
     I guided hunters the entire season so I didn’t have a chance to chase the bucks on my own. During the rifle season my clients saw a fair amount of deer, but couldn’t put a horn on any of them. We saw as many as 6 deer in day and the third week the count was 20 deer sighted for the week. We finally got snow on the last day of the season, giving me high hopes for the muzzle loader season. Even though it rained a couple of times and made a crust on the snow, my client took a nice 8 pointer the weighed 174 lbs. on the second day of the hunt, after tracking him all day.
     Since the weather had been mild, we decided to make a return trip to Ontario and see if we could get some film footage for another DVD. We had high hopes to get back into the places we knew had some bucks. We arrived at camp to below zero temperatures and it got worse from there. The first morning the temperature was -15. Chris and I got off to a good start when we broke through the ice on the edge of the lake and ruined the camera. By day four it was -26 with the wind blowing. With an inch of snow at those temperatures and only one camera left to work with, we figured it would futile to try an get tracking footage. We headed for home the next morning with mixed emotions. All in all the season for me was roller coaster ride with all the ups and downs and I am looking forward to the upcoming 2010 seasons.

Good luck on the trail!