Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Old Man Shoots a Moose

Article featured in The Maine Sportsman Magazine, September 2015 Special Edition

Sitting in the hot and crowded gymnasium in Rangeley, I almost fell out of my seat when I heard the old man’s name called over the loud speaker. After over 20 years of applying, Dad’s dream of being drawn for a coveted moose tag had finally come true. The months, after the initial exhilaration of the drawing, dragged by slowly but as September edged closer, Dad’s excitement reached crescendo. Having participated on my own moose hunt in 2004, I well understood the difficulties inherent in hunting moose. Despite all these complications, I relished the challenge of helping Dad shoot a moose.

Drawn for a bull permit in zone 2, Dad’s chances of shooting a bull moose were exceptionally high and even further increased, by our stay at Red River Camps, a remote outpost located deep in the middle of the zone. Due to challenging work schedules, Dad would be unable to arrive at Red River until late Tuesday afternoon. Further complicating matters, my brother and his strong back would only be with us until Wednesday evening . . . we need to shoot a moose and quick!

Having a more flexible work schedule, I arrived on Sunday and spent all day Monday and Tuesday scouting. While scouting, I watched 20 bulls get hauled out of clear cuts, shot by other hunters…it was a scene I found both thrilling and frustrating. Dad and my brother arrived at camp Tuesday afternoon and after quickly dropping off supplies and a large trailer at camp, we proceeded to inspect a few of the locations, I had scouted previously. We pulled onto a short secondary road, carefully got out of the trucks and using a small electronic hand held caller, set forth a few loud cow in heat bellows and were shocked when a bull responded only 60-70 yards away. Quietly picking our way down a short logging road, a huge bull violently emerged from the underbrush, took three steps into the road, turned and disappeared as quickly as he had originally appeared. I could hear Dad’s heart beating from 10 yards away and I motioned for him to take a knee and brace his rifle. After an hour of cow calling, the light began to fade and we were forced to give up on the old behemoth bull. Meandering back to our vehicle, our conversation was energized, hopeful and filled with the promise of what the next day would bring.

After a night of restless sleep, we plowed full force into Wednesday but despite monumental efforts including hours of driving, sitting in clear cuts and calling, we were only successful in spotting several cows and a calf moose, not a single bull was seen. As quickly as the bulls had appeared, they had also as quickly vanished. With the setting of the sun, we said our goodbyes to my brother and we retired Wednesday night with tempered hopes.

Thursday morning we were beginning to feel the pressure and despite the urge to explore new logging roads, ultimately we decided to stay in our core area, knowing that moose were plentiful and if we were persistent, luck would eventually turn in our favor. Slowly driving down the first road of the morning, I remarked to Dad that he had to stay vigilant as a moose could at first look like a rock, bush or even that fallen tree . . . just as I said the words “tree”, the “tree” we had booth been looking at moved and standing broadside was a large cow moose.

I stopped the truck and told dad to get out load his gun. While I was not completely certain that the cow was traveling with a bull, I determined it was better to be prepared than scramble at the last minute. Dad and I sat for over 20 minutes watching the cow quietly feeding and were just about to give up hope when a small bull emerged from the woods only 20 yards behind the cow. For such a large creature, the moose is a master of camouflage, practically impossible to see in the deep dark Maine woods when not moving. Seconds later, a thunderous shot erupted from Dad’s Marlin XL7 .30-06 and the moose dropped. Standing there in amazement, at how quickly our luck had changed, we watched in disbelief as the bull slowly began to stand. Again the .30-06 barked and again the moose dropped, this time for eternity.

As the adrenaline subsided, Dad and I began to comprehend the impossibilities of the situation. The moose lay 200 yards up wildly overgrown tangle of spruce swamp, filled with sink holes, fallen logs, stumps and hazards where no man should ever venture. Even equipped with tow ropes and a come-along, the situation looked grim. Our woes were further compounded, by a temperature that at 8:30AM had climbed to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. While we had brought plenty of gear and ice filled coolers to properly extract, butcher and pack out the moose, all this equipment was back at camp, a two hour round trip. We had both made the cardinal mistake of complacency, firmly believing that Dad would likely not shoot a moose that morning.

While guiding bear hunters, I once witnessed two men dissect a 365 pound black bear in a little over an hour. Knowing this, I determined that Dad and I equipped with axes and knifes, could dissemble this small bull and hand carry it to the truck in a relatively short expanse of time. Working together, with one man cutting and another carrying, we could potentially transport the entire moose out of the woods, without the need to tow it out and use a trailer. Though understandably a herculean effort, it was still highly feasible. Though this solved our problem of not having ropes or a trailer, it did little to solve our issue of not having a viable place to put the meat where it could be kept from spoiling. Eyeing the large blue tarp in the back of the truck, I hatched a plan to construct a large container in the trucks back seat to hold the meat and by running the air conditioner on high, keep the meat at a cool temperature until it could be transported into town for butchering. With a plan in place, the old man and I began cutting and carrying and by 12:30 PM had managed to cram the entire back of my Toyota extend cab with moose meat. The head we placed in the back of the truck, to comply with Maine law requiring a visual presentation of a harvested big game animal. Pulling into the game tagging station in Patton, Dad and I received a very surprised look from the attendant as he noted the moose carcass crammed into the back of my truck. While I am certain that he likely has seen some pretty amazing bull moose in this day, I doubt he will ever forget the day the guys showed up with a moose in their back seat.

Sometimes despite how much you plan and prepare, things still go wrong. Being resilient and able to overcome problems is the key to “Yankee ingenuity” or our exceptional ability as Mainers to understand and overcome difficulties.

Bear Hunt Taken to the Extreme

This is a short article I wrote for the Sept/Oct 2015 edition of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine (SAM) Newsletter....ENJOY!

 I have to admit that standing half naked in the middle of the Maine woods with two individuals I had met only hours before was a little unnerving (especially as the sound of the dueling banjos from “Deliverance” began to play in the back of my head) but this was my first bear hunt and I was determined to take every step possible to insure I provided myself with the highest level of opportunity to tag a massive bruin. I guess what I had forgotten to think about, as I reveled in the brilliance of my advanced preparations in scent control was how I was going to change into my scent free clothes once I had arrived at the bait spot.

Unfortunately, things had not gone as planned and upon arriving I was forced into putting on a “show” for my new friends; while taking a barrage of sarcastic comments on how they planned to rent me out to a few bachelorette parties that weekend for beer money. 

 To better understand how I had allowed myself to arrive at this point of humiliation, I need to rewind to October 2006 when in a casual conversation I mentioned to my Uncle Kim (a registered Maine guide from Grand Lake Stream) that I would like to go on a bear hunt. A few months later, my Uncle called to inform me that he had cashed in a couple favors and come September 2007 I would be going on a bear hunt. As I hung up the phone I had a huge smile on my face and could barely contain my excitement with the anticipation of fulfilling one of my lifetime dreams. Like many of my other adventures this one began with educating myself with the task at hand and almost immediately I began researching all things “bear” in books, on the Internet and on hunting shows trying to learn as much as possible about their habits, haunts and behaviors. Part of this research, had informed me that a bear’s sense of smell is as sensitive if not better than a deer and because of his fact, I planned to take the same precautions as I would on a deer hunt and washed all of my hunting clothes in no scent soap, dried them outside and finally packed them in a dry bag with pine and spruce boughs to preserve them from absorbing any offensive odors. My plan had been simple, to wear my regular street clothes on the drive to the bait site and then change into my hunting apparel once I arrived. So perhaps now you can see how I ended up with very little clothing on in a desolate and unnamed Township somewhere in the wilds of Washington County with two individuals I barely knew.

Well, I can honestly tell you that during that first evening on the stand I knew that I was hooked on bear hunting. Every squeaking tree branch, changing shadow and crunching leaf set my heart racing. Though I can’t put my finger on precisely what it is about bear hunting that makes it so definitively different from other hunts but for me there is a thrill to it that sets it far apart for other big game. For over three hours, I sat overwhelmed with my good fortune at being able to be in this place and mesmerized by a gymnastics display by what I believe to be one of the largest red squirrel colonies in the state of Maine. Those of you who have never sat over a bear bait let me assure you that doughnuts and cake are as much liked by red squirrels as by bears. As I watched the sun slowly sink to the horizon, I heard several shots in that critical half an hour before the end of legal hunting time when bears become increasingly more active and I waited intently hoping that my chance might be next. However, by the end of my first night on the stand no bear arrived but I was still filled with excitement and hope as to what the next evening might bring.

 Upon arriving back at the truck the CB radio crackled with activity that indicated the other members of the various parties had taken sizeable bruins. I was very excited at the chance to see a bear up close and personal, as until this evening the few bear I had seen in my lifetime had either been by chance encounter while deer or partridge hunting. With suicidal intent, we raced back toward town down the twisting dirt roads narrowly missing large boulders protruding from the road surface and washouts the size of the Grand Canyon. We incredibly managed to arrive back in town, shaken but not stirred, and immediately went to check out the bruins. Two of the harvested bears were in the 300 lb range and each where beautiful specimens both with thick black coats and one with a large white chest patch. The third bear (actually filmed by the hunter and watched by me about half a dozen times) was hit with what appeared to be a beautiful shot just behind the huge bruins forward shoulder with a Marlin 45-70. Unfortunately, although tracked with hounds and my very enthusiastic cousin until about 1:00 AM that evening and then again at first light the following morning the bear even after these exhaustive measures was not recovered.

During a late dinner that night that consisted of appetizers of deer venison jerky, jalapeño cheese and crackers and a main course of ½ lb moose burgers, fresh corn on the cob and garlic mashed potatoes my uncle expressed a list of concerns with the “limited” power of my 30-30 Marlin. As many of you know the Marlin 45-70 is a sizeable caliber capable of launching a projectile that packs an incredible amount of down range energy (especially at a bear bait site where most shots are less than 25 yards) but after the previous nights unfortunate recovery debacle and my inexperience with bear hunting I listened intently to his argument. I attempted to explain that I had used the 30-30 Marlin extensively on whitetails for over 15 years with zero recovery problems, however, he was adamant that I needed to take this hunt to the “extreme” and use a more substantial firearm. My presented weaponry of choice, produced from his extensive arsenal, consisted of either a pump action 760 Remington .308 or Remington semi-auto .270. That afternoon after taking both guns to the gravel pit and poking at a target at about 50 yards from various sitting and standing positions I decided that the .270 was a better fit and even though I was shooting a gun that I was completely unfamiliar with, typically a BIG no-no for me personally on any hunt, I relented to his pleas.

The second night I arrived at the stand around 3:00 PM and once again put on a show for my new friend and another buddy of his who was planning to shoot his bear with a Smith and Wesson 500 magnum. I noted that the other hunter was wearing his hunting clothes and seemed unconcerned that my “extreme” scent control measures were the least bit necessary. Having come this far, however, I decided not to change my tactics and I put on my clothes and sprayed down with a healthy dose of activated carbon scent eliminator.

I sat on the bait for the entire evening watching the red squirrels and listening to the calls of the chickadee and as the shadows lengthened and as the golden hour approached I heard a single distant shot from the Smith and Wesson 500 but as the sun sank below the horizon I knew that a bear this year for me was not going to happen. I arrived back at camp and was pleased to see that the other hunter was excited to have been able to shoot his bear with a pistol and he was busy making plans to butcher it for future table fare and of his good fortune I could not have been happier. To say that I was disappointed would not be entirely correct but I had been hopeful. In the end, it was an “extreme” privilege to be able to get a chance to hunt for bear this season and the people of Grand Lake Stream always make my visits incredibly enjoyable. I have a saying that hunting is only about 5% about the actual taking of a game animal and the other 95% is about the friends you meet, memories that are made, stories that are swapped and time spent in the field learning about the many wonders that Mother Nature has to offer.

As I sat in the camp on Wabassus lake that evening playing a friendly game of cribbage with my uncle I rejoiced that I had been allowed to spend this time with him and in my mind I was already making plans to come back again on another “extreme” bear hunt.

Wildlife Quiz - Small Mouth Bass

The Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) exist as freshwater member of the sunfish family. The Smallmouth Bass differs from the Largemouth Bass in that its upper jaw of does not extend beyond the back of the eye. The Smallmouth Bass goes by many other names such as Smallie, Bronzeback, Brownie, Black Bass, Brown Bass, and Bareback Bass. Originally a native to the Mississippi River, Saint Lawrence River, Great Lakes, and Hudson Bay, through stocking the Smallmouth Bass can now be found inhabiting lakes, streams and rivers across Canada and the United States.

Smallmouth Bass commonly live 5-7 years, with a few impressive individuals reaching 10-20 years of age. Older adult Smallmouth Bass can attain lengths up to 27 inches and weigh as much as 12 pounds but in Maine, only a few individuals ever exceed 5 pounds. Male Smallies weigh around two pounds, while females tend to be larger, averaging three to five pounds.

The Maine state record smallmouth bass stands at 8 pounds and was caught in Thompson Lake by George Dyer in 1970. The current world record for a smallmouth bass is 11 lb 15 oz. 

When water temperatures warm to the mid-50s, smallmouths begin move into the shallow flats to spawn. Spawning occurs in water 3-15 feet deep, in small diameter gravel nests that border underwater stumps, boulders and vegetation. The female can lay up to 20,000 eggs, which are guarded by the male until they hatch.

Voracious eaters, Smallmouth Bass prey upon almost anything they can fit in their mouths and have even been observed eating frogs, mice and birds. Their tenacity makes Smallmouth Bass one of the most popular game species, regarded for its size by many anglers as, "the gamest fish that swims".

Wildlife Quiz Questions:
1. What is the difference between a Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass?
 2. What was the original native range of the Smallmouth Bass?
 3. How long does a Smallmouth Bass typically live?
4. What is the largest Smallmouth Bass caught in Maine?
5. What is the weight of the world record Smallmouth Bass?
6. When do Smallmouth Bass spawn?
7. How many eggs do Smallmouth Bass lay?
8. What large prey species have Smallmouth Bass been seen feeding upon?

 Wildlife Quiz Answers: 
1. The Smallmouth Bass differs from the Largemouth Bass in that its upper jaw of does not extend beyond the back of the eye.
 2. The Smallmouth Bass was originally a native to the Mississippi River, Saint Lawrence River, Great Lakes, and Hudson Bay.
3. Smallmouth Bass commonly live 5-7 years.
4. The Maine state record smallmouth bass stands at 8 pounds and was caught in Thompson Lake by George Dyer in 1970.
5. The current world record for a smallmouth bass is 11 lb 15 oz.
6. Smallmouth Bass begin move into the shallow flats to spawn, when water temperatures warm to the mid-50s.
7. Female Smallmouth Bass can lay up to 20,000 eggs.
8. Smallmouth Bass have been observed eating frogs, mice and birds.

The 12 Month Grand Slam

This September, I will be working to complete my lifelong dream of harvesting each of Maine’s big game animals (deer, turkey, bear and moose) in a single calendar year. Know as the Maine “grand slam”, it is an achievement only made possible by drawing a coveted moose tag, being a skilled and lucky hunter and heavily supported by gracious family and friends. After harvesting an 8 point buck last hunting season and shooting a turkey this spring with my bow, I realized after being drawn in the lottery for a September bull tag in zone 2, that if I was successful on the moose hunt and harvested a bear my dream could potentially become a reality.

The first week of September, I will be participating in the Maine bear hunt, sitting at a bait site and patiently awaiting the arrival of a bruin. This hunt will be followed by a few weeks off, before I head back into the wilds of the far north for a chance at a bull moose. Both hunts will require months of plotting and planning, if I hope to have any chance of achieving my goal.

Tantamount to success, will be a solid understanding of the strengths and limitations of my hunting rifle. These skills can only be learned through regular shooting practice. I am convinced that a majority of hunters simply do not spend the proper amount of time on the range, needed to really learn their favorite hunting rifle. This lack of comfort causes a hunter to be much slower to shot and additionally less confident in their abilities, when a shot opportunity arises, slight out of their comfort range. For me, shooting practice will mean weekly visits to the local gravel pit, taking shots at targets from 25-300 yards and from various shooting positions (sitting, kneeling, standing and from shooting sticks).

I encourage all hunters to spend time on the range before heading afield; it will ultimately make a person a better more confident sportsman. Though a truly monstrous size animal with bulls nudging over 1200 pounds, they are still very difficult to locate in the thick woods of Down East, Maine. Low numbers create the proverbial “needle in the hay sack” scenario, creating much difficulty in finding these titanic creatures. To locate a moose, you first need to find appropriate moose habitat. This can be done by studying your Gazeteer or using Google earth to virtually scout areas with limited human access, swamps and areas bordering small lily pad ponds.

Moose hunters heading Down East (Wildlife Management District (WMD) 19) will be well served exploring the vast network of logging roads around Little Musquash Lake (Delorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 35, D-4), West and East Monroe Ponds (Map 35, D-4) and Musquash Stream (Map 35, C-5). Moose can frequently be found, during early mornings and late evenings, patrolling these shallow ponds, dipping their heads under the water to uproot their favorite food, the common water lily. These salt rich plants are a moose favorite. Hunters finding small ponds filled with these treats would be well served to stake out these spots during dusk and dawn.

While a majority of hunters are familiar with calling moose, most do not realize that moose, like deer, can be lured by sexual as well as curiosity scents. Moose are inquisitive creatures and will frequently investigate the smells of other moose or strange smells that are not perceived as dangerous. Hunters can use this trait to their advantage, using scents to pull moose out of the deep Down East woods and into shooting range. Several companies make moose lures but my personal favorite is the type that is ignited and burns like an incense stick. The trick to successfully using this product is to take a 5 gallon bucket and drill 8-10 ½ inch holes in the top sides about 1 inch up from the bottom. Take a shovel and clear a patch of earth down to bare earth in an area slightly bigger than the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. This “clearing” is to ensure that nothing catches fire while the incense sticks burn. Next take 2 incense sticks, poke them into the ground, light them and place the bucket over the top. The bucket will protect the slowly burning sticks from rain or strong winds that could extinguish them, while still allowing the smoke to slowly escape. This set-up creates a huge scent cloud that saturates the entire target area. Once allowed to burn all night, it is sometimes a simple matter of arriving early the next morning and shooting your love sick bull moose as he stands drooling over the smoldering bucket.

Moose hunters looking for a location to base their zone 19 hunt should consider staying at the Machias River Campsite (Map 25, A-3). While few camp sites exist (one lean-to, two RV and three tent sites) at this first come first serve location, several additional camping opportunities exists further north up the Machias River Corridor, accessible via the Stud Mill Road. Harvesting a moose is the pinnacle of an outdoorsman’s hunting career. To be fortunate enough to be chosen to pursue and potentially harvest the largest game animal in North America is truly a unique experience.

I like nothing better than to help facilitate a sportsman successfully harvesting a moose, as their excitement in the endeavor is always infectious. Anyone is planning a central Maine moose hunt Down East, please contact me and ask questions, I would be happy to assist.

Wildlife Quiz - Butterflies

Butterflies exist within the order Lepidoptera, a word derived from the Greek words "lepido" (scale) and "ptera" (wings), which refer to the scales that cover the wings of most adult butterflies. Butterfly wings vary in color and pattern from species to species, making most easy to identify from a distance. Scientists have identified about 17,500 different species of butterflies, spread throughout almost the entire world with more species identified each year.

The Maine Butterfly Survey, conducted in 2015, through a joint effort by Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and several other partner agencies, lists over one-hundred different butterflies as “breeding residents” or those butterflies most common to the state of Maine.

Perhaps the most amazing of Maine’s butterflies is the Katahdin Arctic (Oeneis polixenes katahdin). This medium-sized (1.5 inch), yellowish-brown subspecies of the arctic tundra butterfly is found no where else in the world but the summit of Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park. On windless days with no rain, that Katahdin arctic can be seen by an astute observer flitting over and among the Tablelands granite boulders and sparse growth of grasses and sedges. Because of its isolation, limited distribution and small population, the state currently lists the Katahdin Arctic as endangered.

From egg to adult, butterflies undergo a series of physical changes known as metamorphosis. This process all begins, when female butterflies deposit their eggs on a suitable plant. Caterpillars hatch from the eggs and feed voraciously to help fuel the change process. When the time is right, caterpillars find a sheltered spot to form a chrysalis from which fully developed winged adult emerge to begin the cycle anew. While many different birds and animals feed upon butterflies, by far the greatest threat to this winged insect comes from habitat loss cause by human encroachment into their territory.

Wildlife Quiz Questions: 
1. What does the Greek word “lepido” mean?
2. What does the Greek word “ptera” mean?
3. How many species of butterflies exist?
4. According to the Maine Butterfly Survey, how many different species of butterflies can commonly be found in Maine?
5. What is the name of the species of butterfly that only exists on Mt. Katahdin’s expansive Tablelands?
6. What is the life cycle of the butterfly called?
7. What is the name of the structure caterpillars create to protect themselves during their transition into a butterfly.
8. What animal species poses the greatest threat to butterflies?

 Wildlife Quiz Answers: 
1. The Greek word “lepido” means “scale”.
2. The Greek word “ptera” means “wings”.
3. Scientists have identified about 17,500 different species of butterflies.
4. Over one-hundred species of butterflies can commonly be found in Maine.
5. The species of butterfly that only exists on Mt. Katahdin’s expansive Tablelands is the Katahdin Arctic butterfly.
6. The life cycle of the butterfly is called metamorphosis.
7. The structure caterpillars create to protect themselves during their transition into a butterfly is called a chrysalis.
8. The animal species posing the greatest threat to butterflies is man.

Escape to Coastal Washington County and Avoid the Summer Heat

By August, the heat of the Maine’s summer can still be brutally unrelenting. Those searching for cooler temperatures should explore coastal Washington County, where cool sea breezes bring pleasant relief to stifling summer temperatures. A perfect destination for those looking to escape is the small town of Eastport (Delorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 27, A-4). Despite its diminutive size, Eastport provides a large number of opportunities for hikers, campers and fishermen, guaranteed to keep even the most energetic outdoorsman busy. To have enough time to explore all Eastport has to offer, individuals should plan to stay overnight at Seaview campground (http://www.eastportmaine.com). This pet friendly campground has numerous cottages to rent and tent/RV ocean side lots that border the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. During the summer season reservations are strongly suggested so please call 853-4471 for more information.

Visitors to Eastport looking for less rustic accommodations should consider staying at the exquisite Kilby House bed and breakfast (http://www.kilbyhouseinn.com). Located on Water Street, guests are only a short walk to local shops and restaurants. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-853-4557. From Water Street, a short stroll down Sea Street brings visitors to one of the best lobster rolls Down East, served fresh caught from the fine folks at Quoddy Bay Lobster. Combined with coleslaw, roll and the impressive water view and you’ve got all of the ingredients necessary to create the perfect lunch. Quoddy Bay Lobster will also pack lobster to go, so that those not lucky enough to come to Eastport can also enjoy!

After lunch, consider heading out on the pier to take in the expansive views of Passamaquoddy Bay and Canada’s Campobello Island. Seals and Minke whales frequent these waters so be on the look out. Anglers looking to try their luck may fish off the pier and are often treated to Flounder, Pollock and Mackerel. In fishing for flounders, the most successful fishermen use worms, either the garden or sand variety instead of clams as this tends to keep the bait from being constantly eaten by the Sculpins. Those fishermen looking to explore the salt waters beyond the pier, should book a trip with Fundy Breeze Charters (http://www.fundybreeze.com) or phone 207-853-2849. Captain Skip Harris offers off shore fishing for Cod, Pollock, Halibut, shark and Giant Bluefin Tuna along with light house, puffin and whale watching tours aboard his 33 foot sport fishing boat the Vonnie and Val.

Just a few miles outside of the city of Eastport sits 95-acre Shackford Head State Park. Managed by the Bureau of Parks and Recreation, this hidden gem contains miles of family-friendly hiking trails and a chance to see over 100 different plants and 28 species of birds, including nesting bald eagles. Parking and start of the trail system is next door to the Marine Trades Center. The park is pet friendly and has picnic tables but does not have drinking water or restrooms so plan accordingly. The 1.2 mile trail from the parking area to the "Viewpoint" is an easy hike that can be accomplished by young and old alike. From the Viewpoint, hikers will enjoy panoramic views of Campobello, Lubec, Perry, Pembroke and a sweeping view across Cobscook Bay. For a longer more challenging hike, continue following the Schooner Trail to its terminus at Ship Point. This trail leads hikers through grassy meadows, patches of wild blueberries, along several impressive rocky granite outcroppings and through thick pine and birch woodlands. Upon reaching the point, be sure to keep a watchful eye on the expansive Cobscook Bay as whale sighting are always a high probability. Another nearby local secret is state-operated Gleason Cove Park (Map 37, E-3).

Upon leaving Eastport on Route 109 drive to Route 1 and take a right in the town of Perry. Drive approximately half a mile, crossing the Little River and immediately turning right onto the shore road. Follow the shore road for a few hundred yards and turn right onto Gleason Point Road. There are no signs but continue down this dirt road three quarters of a mile until reaching the park. The park is a great place to take kids as it contains miles of great beach-combing opportunities and broad vistas of Passamaquoddy Bay and nearby Deer Island. Picnic sites are available and offer the perfect location for families to enjoy a lunch packed by Quoddy Bay Lobster. For boaters there is an excellent launching ramp where anglers can access the western passage and Passamaquoddy Bay.

Remember when hiking that Maine’s weather and temperatures in August are notoriously fickle and can change dramatically in a short period of time. Make sure when hiking to bring along plenty of water and always carry a rain jacket. Also, tides in Cobscook and Passamaquoddy Bay can fluctuate daily by more than 20 feet so when exploring the shoreline always keep an eye on the ocean.
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