Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Deer Tracks and Black Berries

If you have not yet been notified get out in the woods NOW! Not only is August your last chance to get out there and do some scouting in preparation for the upcoming hunting season it is also a great time to harvest some blackberries. Most Mainers may “rave” about fiddleheads but for me there is no better forage than the blackberry. Old logging roads and snowmobile trails are typically loaded with this tasty treat so while out deer/bear scouting make sure to carry a Ziploc bag in case you stumble upon a nice thicket. This weekend, I managed to pick close to a gallon of these delicious edibles which make wonderful blackberry beer!

Blackberry Beer – How To can be found at the following URL but a Google search will also provide other recipes.

I managed to additionally check both an old favorite and a new hunting location. The old haunt needed the typical maintenance tied to clipping back the undergrowth and clearing back shooting lanes to a sufficient distance. It was hard work with the heavy humidity and hundreds of mosquitoes buzzing and biting. After the cutting was complete, I sat back and looked out from the high ridge and over the woods lot below. Perfect ranges exist for my 30-30 Marlin and each of the four cleared directions extend into the woods anywhere from 100 to 25 yards making shots with my 3x9x40 . . . elegant. As I rested, I began reflecting on the numerous times I had heard that familiar crunching sound working its way slowly through the woods, my adrenaline surging, until finally the deer would emerge and I would take my shot. I have heard it said that only 1 tree in 100 is a suitable stand location and from this tree I have shot multiple deer . . . apparently I hit the jackpot. It is truly a spectacular stand location with magnificent views over a small pond and during many a November morning I have watched ducks and geese play in its shallow waters.

Deer tracks were many and varied with small and large deer traveling both directly on and parallel to existing trails. Several good rubs were located but nothing consistent with what I would consider a “pattern”. Still a beaten path existed around the pond and I was glad to see that despite the heavy snows last winter the deer in central Maine are still thriving.

New to bow hunting, I have been looking for a location from which to harvest my first deer. After a through search of the un-posted lands within a few miles of the house, I managed to identify two locations. Both sites allow me to use either my portable climbing stand or blind and are accessible with minimal effort. Heavy concentrations of forage and deer sign have me convinced that this is where my best chance lies with the fall bow season. With housing nearby, I am betting that most ethical rifle hunters see no options in this area and therefore I will most likely have the place to myself considering the relatively low number of bow hunters.

Good luck in your scouting and foraging and remember to take a notebook with you to make note of any and all interesting details. If you are anything like me, the mind has strange way for forgetting the important details even in a few months time making setting up that perfect shot or remembering a good patch of berries extremely difficult.

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