Ideally, all of our hunts would go as planned. In a perfect world, when we finally catch up with that buck of a lifetime, it’ll be a combination of our planning, tactics and woods knowledge that turn the tide in our favor.
Of course, not all hunts turn out that way. And sometimes, things still work out just fine.
That was the case on Nov. 3, when Tom Kittrick of Millinocket spent a very short day in the woods, and still managed to shoot a monstrous 7-pointer that weighed in at 250 pounds.
“I hadn’t actually made it to my spot yet,” the 38-year-old Kittrick said with a laugh. “I was actually just cruising through [the woods]. There was an old strip cut. I looked over, and [the buck] was standing in the raspberry bushes. So I snuck back on him and was able to get him with one shot.
“It wasn’t a wicked exciting hunt, because I hadn’t quite made it to [my stand], but it was still a really awesome deer,” Kittrick said. “A beautiful deer. Just beautiful.”
Kittrick’s buck is this week’s feature deer in the BDN Biggest Bucks contest, and leaves him in the running for one of two grand prizes at the end of November.
At the local tagging station — Lennie’s Superette in Medway — the deer drew some attention.
“There was a guide there who looked at his teeth. He guessed that he was probably between 10 and 12 years old,” Kittrick said. “[The deer] really didn’t have any teeth in the front. They were all pretty-well gone. So I’d say if he was in his prime, he would have had a bigger rack.”
Before going to the tagging station, shortly after shooting the buck from a distance of about 40 yards, Kittrick decided the moment was worth sharing.
“I wasn’t too far out of town, so before I even went and looked for him, I called my family,” Kittrick said. “We hunt as a family all the time … so I called my wife and she went and got [my daughter] out of school. My son is home-schooled, so they all came out and helped me [field-dress] him and drag him out. We kind of make it a family affair whenever we can.”
That’s no exaggeration: This year, both Kittrick and his wife were drawn for moose permits. Neither shot a moose. But both children — 15-year-old Jaimyn and 13-year-old Devin — did.
“I’d never drawn a permit. I’d been putting in [to the state-run permit lottery] all my life, since I was 10. [My wife had] put in for probably 15 years and never been drawn,” Kittrick said. “We said, ‘Let’s just let the kids [shoot], because they might never get a chance.”
Jaimyn took the first moose, on Wednesday of the October season.
“My son had already shot deer, so he said, ‘Let Jaimyn take the first shot on the first moose,’’ Kittrick said. “And that’s just the way it worked out. They’re both really good kids. They get as excited for one another as they do for themselves.”
Devin followed with a moose of his own the next morning.
“I’ll tell you what: It was fun,” Kittrick said.
Jaimyn’s moose weighed 630 pounds. Devin’s was 470. Add a 250-pound buck, and you’d assume the family has plenty of meat on hand. You’d be right.
“Right now, we’ve got all of it vacuum-sealed and in this big freezer,” Kittrick said. “What we do is we make a lot of homemade sausage and hot dogs and stuff.”
Devin, who shot deer when he was 10 and 11 years old, hasn’t showed much interest in deer hunting this fall, but Jaimyn’s been very eager to bag her first buck.
“The only thing that would have made [my deer hunt] better is if my daughter would have been the one to shoot it,” Kittrick said.
But they’re not through: Jaimyn and her dad head to the woods as often as they can, and have their eye on another big deer.
“[Jaimyn and I] saw a big buck that Saturday, [two days] after I shot mine,” Tom Kittrick said. “We found where he beds down, we’ve found his scrapes and rubs. We just need to connect with him.”