Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Coyote Hunting, Bass Fishing and Hiking Chick Hill

Coyote Hunting
While hunters can shoot coyotes in Maine all year round, a special night hunting permit allows hunters to shoot coyotes at night until Aug. 31st. While use of spotlights is certainly extremely beneficial, hunting under the added illumination of a full moon offers an even higher degree of visibility, providing more accurate species identification and faster target acquisition in a larger kill zone. The full moon on August 7th will afford the last really good opportunity to pursue these critters at night until the coyote night hunting season re-opens in mid December.
Those new to predator hunting will find August the perfect time to get out and try their luck, as young coyotes will be out and about in the early evenings. These awkward, uneducated teenage coyotes are typically much easier to dupe and will often forgive calling mistakes that would typically run off more wary mature coyotes. If wanting to try hunting coyotes this is the month!
The Stud Mill road is a dirt highway through the vast Maine wilderness, providing access to thousands of miles of prime coyote hunting opportunities. One of my personal favorite spots is located in and around Cranberry Lake (DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 35 E2 and 3). Hunting in groups of 3 or 4 people a common technique involves using a vehicle to drop off individuals at set intervals and have them try calling. A couple miles between each caller is sufficient spacing and allows each person plenty of breathing room. Once the driver parks the vehicle and is in place, they call for about an hour and then drive back and collect the other hunters. This sequence can be repeated over and over and allows a group to cover a lot of miles calling. Just remember to take turns being the last man out of the truck as stud mill coyotes seem to be forgiving of vehicles that simply drive by but a stopping vehicle makes them extremely cagey and the last man out of the truck usually shoots the least number of coyotes.
Please remember that the Stud Mill road and all of the connecting side roads are a titanic and complex maze for the uninitiated. When dropping off hunters, be sure to have a plan in place for pick-up that involves colored marking ribbons at drop off positions, a set meeting time to be by the roadside and GPS waypoints. Being lost in the Maine woods anytime of year isn’t an enjoyable option and a simple plan makes this scenario completely preventable.
Good Night Bass Fishing
The warm waters of summer mark the return of the bass’s feisty attitude. Early mornings, late evenings and even the dead of night certainly top my list as favorite hours to fish. These times typically see less boat traffic and paddlers are less abused by high winds that tend to blow throughout the day. Add to these benefits, the possibility of viewing beautiful sunrises and sunsets and it isn’t hard to understand why the best time to be on the water usually starts or ends in the dark.
Big bass tend to emerge from their shadowy underwater lairs to feed long after boat traffic has departed. Dark colored lures like Jitterbugs and other surface disturbers are the preferred lures and are guaranteed to elicit brutal strikes from hungry aquatic predators hiding in the shadows. Crawford Lake (Map 36, D-2) is a great spot to begin the night angling obsession and promises excellent after dark bass fishing action.
Hiking Chick Hill
At 1,160 feet above sea level, Chick Hill (Map 24, A-1) provides a fantastic place to take the family for a short hike. For the minimal effort expended, Chick Hill boasts impressive views, sure to be enjoyed by everyone. To get there, from the intersection of Route 180 and Route 9 in Clifton, drive east on Route 9 for 3.3 miles, then turn left onto Chick Hill Road. Drive 0.3 and veer right at the fork, then drive another 0.3 mile to where Chick Road ends at a rough, gravel parking area.

The hike to the summit from the parking lot is less than a mile and a half and is comprised of moderate terrain. The summit is the prefect sport to enjoy a picnic lunch, boasting expansive views of Little Little Chick Hill, Schoodic and Tunk mountains.
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