After his son experienced a frustrating bear season in 2014, dad Scott Martin wondered if now-11-year-old Jeffery Martin would want to take part in the next year’s hunt.
“The year he turned 10, he spent probably close to 25 hours in the bear stand with no luck,” the elder Patten man explained. “He put a lot of time in that first year. But we never saw a bear when we were sitting in the blind.”
Jeffery Martin laughs at the memory.
“I wanted to go out [in 2015], but I didn’t really, really want to go out,” he said.
But he did. One key reason: By that point, he was officially chasing an elusive hunting “grand slam,” and was trying to bag the state’s four wild game animals — wild turkey, bear, moose and deer — in the same season.
The bear he shot on the second-to-last day of the season filled the second piece of the grand slam. He bagged a moose just four days later.
And on youth deer day, he and his dad traveled to Kenduskeag and Jeffery completed his slam.
Scott Martin, 43, said he’s never completed a grand slam of his own — he’s never shot a bear — but he did grow up loving the outdoors and hunting.
And the duo agree on the exact day they began focusing on completing the grand slam.
“He was 10 when he shot the turkey and turned 11 a month later,” Scott Martin said. “Before he turned 11, I got drawn for a moose permit. And about the time we got the moose permit, we started thinking something [special] might happen.”
While tenacious and skilled hunters may succeed at filling their turkey, bear and deer tags, it takes a lot of luck to bag a moose: If your name isn’t drawn in the moose permit lottery, you can’t participate.
Well, that’s almost the case.
Jeffery was listed as his dad’s subpermittee, and either of the two would be allowed to shoot a moose.
“When I got drawn for the permit, there was no question who was going to do the shooting,” Scott Martin said.
Scott Martin shot his first moose at about Jeffery’s age, after his own father took him along as the subpermittee.
Jeffery Martin said all of the hunts were exciting, but he loved the moose hunt best.
“I really like the part where we would call and then we’d hear a call back, and [the moose] would come close to coming out,” he said.
During the deer hunt, Scott Martin took his son south to Kenduskeag, knowing that doing so would improve his son’s odds for two reasons. First, there are more deer in central Maine than there are in Patten. And second, hunting in Kenduskeag on Youth Deer Day meant Jeffery would also be allowed to target antlerless deer if he chose to do so; no “doe permits” were allotted in the zone closer to their home, so he would have been targeting only bucks if they’d stayed in Patten.
Scott Martin said his son’s commitment to hunting has impressed him.
“I enjoy being in the outdoors, and I’m real proud of his dedication,” Scott Martin said. “I was real happy to see that he was able to see the reward of putting the time in on the bear stand.”
And Scott Martin also praised his son’s marksmanship.
“I’m proud of his shooting ability. He’s a very patient and very accurate shooter,” Scott Martin said. “He’s very calm in those situations and does really well.”
With one grand slam in the bag, Jeffery Martin’s not done. On Monday morning, he went turkey hunting and shot his second turkey in two years … and it was bigger than the one he bagged a year ago.
But he says it’s not the shooting nor filling tags that keeps him heading back into the woods.
“I just like being outside and listening to all of the animals,” Jeffery said.
John Holyoke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke