Friday, November 25, 2011

Girls At Deer Camp? (Part 3)

The Show Begins
Guides are too tough for ear plugs!
The next morning, we prepared a large breakfast to fuel the ladies through the various planned outdoor activities. Due to the limited time the girls had in their schedule, I had a difficult time deciding on exactly what to do. Ultimately, we decided on an early morning coyote hunt, followed by moose spotting, a healthy sprinkling of heatah hunting and finally an all out ammo dump at the sand pit.
Our coyote hunt was conducted out of a portable blind and ended up as successful as I anticipated . . . nada. All the scent eliminator in the world just can cover up stinky Maine guide and Old Spice. I think the girls however enjoyed the coyote hunt “experience” and from it developed an understanding of what it means to hunt out of a ground blind, how to operate a game call and the joy that is achieved by firing off an automatic rifle at a stump.

Moose spotting was again met with less than favorable results, again not an absolute surprise given the time we arrived at some of the “prime” spots. Given an hour closer to twilight, the results may have been better. However, we did manage to tour some beautiful locations and I think the ladies were appreciative of seeing woods and waters that many Mainer’s never chance to see.

Photographers make great shooters!
Heatah hunting thankfully was met with success! After introducing Sophie (the one with a hunting license) how to operate a 12 g shotgun and providing her with a general description of a partridge, I could see that killer glint in her eye! On the first sighting, it was Sophie who picked out THREE partridge running across the road. After collecting ourselves from the excitement, I asked if she wanted to take point. Declining, I shouldered the shotgun and proceeded down the road with both writer and photographer closely following. After a KABOOM followed by a CONSIDERABLE amount of effort (involving crawling on my hands and knees through a spruce thicket), I managed to bring a bird to hand.

To clean the bird, I proceeded with the classy, step on the wings and pull the feet. This was not an activity that the girls wanted to either watch or participate in but after the initial tearing and popping noises were complete, they were very interested in touching the feathers and inspecting the assorted remains of what had been only minutes before a living creature. I pointed out a few of the key organs, kidneys, heart, gizzard, etc. and was pleasantly surprised when Erin asked if she could preserve and take home the tail and wing feathers. After this unexpected display, I had to admit that now along with the rest of the boys, I too was seriously smitten.

As the final minutes of our hunt quickly ticked away, a single bird ran across the road and I could see by the look in her eye that this time Sophie was ready! Jumping out of the truck and loading the gun, I handed it off to Sophie and we began walking up the road to where the partridge had entered the woods. Creeping ever so carefully, I positioned myself behind her and whispered directions. Ok Sophie, right by that small stick is where he went into the woods, almost there, raise your gun, get ready to work that safety, finger off the trigger until your ready to shoot, keep that stock firmly planted in your shoulder. At that moment of course, as is typical, the bird flushed straight away from us in a speedy blur through the overgrown spruce trees. I had initially thought that perhaps Sophie would be upset at not having a chance to shoot but I could not have been more wrong. She was literally vibrating with excitement and practically overcome with varying levels of emotional response. Getting back in the truck, she jumped around in the seat like a highly caffeinated labrador puppy on its first duck hunt. The words that immediately came from her mouth were like english only much faster and beyond my comprehension. Once she calmed down a bit, I seem to remember her saying something like "that was awesome" but I am not entirely sure.

Say Cheeeese!
At the sandpit, I was very impressed with the shooting exhibition, put on by both Erin and Sophie. Neither having ever held yet alone fired a firearm, they both possessed a natural talent at acquiring the targets and sloooooowly pulling the trigger. Each pounded the heck out of the two targets they were assigned, using both the AR15 (at 150 yards!) and 9mm handgun (at 25 yards!). Despite repeated attempts, neither wanted to try shooting at the quickly moving skeet and so they both watched as the boys and I attempted to impress them with some hard to hit doubles. In the end, few clay pigeons were harmed in this particular shooting session.  At the end of the shoot, I presented both Erin and Sophie each with their targets to take home and I hope (along with the memories and over 800 pictures that were taken!!) they hold on to them as a reminder of their time with the boys at deer camp.

The Curtain Closes
In the end, it was refreshing to have girls participate in deer camp and I am deeply honored that the boys and I were chosen to represent hunters from all across the state of Maine.  Potentially circulating to 1,000s of readers, with mixed opinions about hunters and hunting, I will be curious to see how the magazine’s readership accepts the deer camp article. I feel the boys and I did a good job representing sportsmen and therefore, I anxiously await the release of the article.  However, due to publishing timelines, the article will not come out until November 2012, so the wait for the end product will be excruciating.

It is critical, as sportsmen, we always strive to represent our given pursuits in a positive and professional manner, as ultimately it will be the individual who will decide the fate of outdoor traditions such as hunting and fishing. When out in the wilds, remember to do your part and always represent outdoorsmen in a positive light and when provided the opportunity, invest your time in introducing someone new to our sport.

Just joining the conversation? Be sure to read Girls At Deer Camp? - Part 1 and Girls At Deer Camp? - Part 2


  1. Fantastic series. You parting words are so important ....

    My son-in-law pulled over on the turnpike, grabbed his gun, hopped out of the car, and jumped a fence when he saw a good sized deer in a field. Someone did not take kindly to his actions. Minutes later, he took a good grilling from the game warden who magically appeared. He was lucky that he had not fired at the animal.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Girls at deer camp? In a rational world that's mutually exclusive.

  3. Anon, You have created a comment that contains too many multi-syllable words. My head now hurts in attempting to interpret your meaning. I am simply going to assume it is all good and say thank you. :)


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